Myriam Renaud

Theology "God: Construction within the bounds of the 1993 Parliament of the World Religions' Global Ethic"

My dissertation focuses on the concept of God in Gordon Kaufman's constructive philosophical theology. God, for Kaufman, is an imaginative construct which serves as an ultimate reference point. Kaufman's theological method is designed to help theists reconstruct a more coherent and consistent concept. In the chapters I have written, I explore the shifts in Kaufman's theology during his six-decade-long career and argue that the Personalist (middle) phase of his theology was, and continues to be most helpful to Western theists. Currently, I am analyzing the moral bounds Kaufman places on the God-constructs produced by his method. Because these bounds are vague, I propose replacing them with those contained in the Global Ethic ratified by the 1993 Parliament of the World Religions. As an ordained minister (Unitarian Universalist), I consider my academic work to be a form of ministry. For this reason, I have sought to engage various kinds of groups in theological conversation both within and outside of my religious tradition. I look forward to my year at the Marty Center as an opportunity to bring my work to new forums. I also look forward to receiving feedback on my dissertation, learning about the religion-oriented research taking place outside of the Divinity School, and sharing insights on college-course pedagogy.