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In search of authenticity: the religiosity of Christian evangelicals

Montemaggi, Francesca 2013. In search of authenticity: the religiosity of Christian evangelicals. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The dominant theories in the sociological literature identify religion with propositional belief in the transcendent and belonging to and attendance at religious services. This understanding of religion replicates a past Protestant model that fails to account for contemporary religious forms, including Protestant forms. Drawing on Georg Simmel, one of the fathers of sociology, the thesis makes a theoretical contribution by reinterpreting and systematising Simmel’s notions of religiosity as a sensitivity, and of belief as trust, to enhance the understanding of contemporary individual religious identity. The use of these notions and of Simmel’s nuanced perspective on individuality enables the development of a theoretical framework for the understanding of authenticity. The study focuses on individual religiosity, which has been largely neglected by the literature. The most influential theories that have paid attention to the role of the individual – rational choice theory and spirituality studies – have centred on individual self authority and neglected to conceptualise the self. Accordingly, the thesis provides a relational account of the self, on which to ground authenticity as a process of identity formation. The narratives and practices, which emerged from the empirical research, have revealed the construction of Christianity through the prism of authenticity, as a distinctive and ‘truer’ way of living. This construction of authentic Christianity testifies to a shift from doctrinal adherence to a more pluralistic discourse by emphasising an overarching ethics of compassion over exclusive claims to truth. Thus, pluralism offers Christian evangelicals the platform to articulate the particularistic tradition of Christianity, whilst retaining a claim to – what they understand to be – universal truth.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Authenticity; Self; Modernity; Georg Simmel; Charles Taylor; Evangelicalism; Religion; Faith; Community; Tradition; Pluralism; Mysticism; Truth
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:05

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