Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This project places itself within the tradition of Christian theology which has sought to think about its thinking of God. In so doing, the tradition has seen it necessary to do this thinking in light of one's contemporary situation. Thus, this project carries this line of thought through by thinking the thinking of God within the contemporary context. The thesis of the project is that theology is improvisation. This thesis is advanced through an analysis of the idea of attunement in both theology and improvisation.

The project articulates the nature of theology as improvisation by analyzing the nature of attunement within theological thinking and how this opens certain possibilities for theology. There are three broad steps. The first is a philosophical step that accomplishes two things: first, an articulation of the current situation of theology within a post-metaphysical world and, second, a sketch of the idea of attunement through an analysis of the work of Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida. The second step in the project's argument is an examination of improvisational music and the way that attunement works within the thinking that takes place within this musical form. Third, the project makes an explicitly theological turn by proposing a way of thinking for theology in light of the analysis of attunement in the first two steps. The result is twofold. First, the project takes up the work of David Tracy on theological fragments and uses this to show the multiplicity of forms available within theological thinking. This leads, second, to an analysis of St. Augustine of Hippo and his unstructuring of theological form. He does this through a hermeneutic of love which resulted in a plurality of forms used to think theologically because the object of theology--God--necessitated this plurality. The end goal of the project is a proposal for a way of thinking in theology that is attuned to the multiplicity of forms necessary for thinking God.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.