Paul Fiddes

FiddesPaulPaul Fiddes is professor in systematic theology at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University. As indicated on his wikipedia page his book The Creative Suffering of God (1988) is “considered to be one of the major contributions to theology in the last decades of the 20th century”. Relationality, vulnerability and love can easily be seen as key concepts in his work. More recently, and important to our conference topic, Paul Fiddes has taken an interest in the debates concerning theology/ecclesiology and ethnography. He brings narrative theology together with empirical research from within his understanding of God’s being in becoming, in an everlasting movement of love in which we participate and can be bodily attuned to.

All human stories, I suggest, can be a means of encounter with the self-unveiling God who shows God’s self to be like dynamic movements of love and justice between a father and son in a spirit of love and hope. In stories we reach out beyond ourselves, beyond our immediate and local existence to other lives. This reaching beyond, or self-transcendence, has an ultimate horizon in mystery.

… Affirming that all human persons participate in the story of the Trinity leads us to make doctrine in collaboration with all those searching through their own stories for what it means for human beings to flourish; it also justifies the use by theology of methodology from the human sciences in general. (Fiddes, P., ‘God and Story in the Church and in Doctrine,’ Ecclesial Practices, 2015(2):10, 19-20)

Moreover, highly interesting is that Paul Fiddes is currently also working to give shape to a major project on Love in Religion. The latter is a major project inspired by the double love command to love God and one’s neighbour:

By drawing on the theological and aesthetic resources of different religious traditions, the aim of the project is to explore the research question: what grounds are there for thinking that love, in religious consciousness and practice today, is the ultimate reality of the universe? The underlying conviction is that a study of the phenomenon of love is, finally, discovery of the nature and activity of God in the world (project-website).