• Stuart Christine

Student thesis: Phd


The study undertakes a missiological dialogue between the 'child-reception' texts of Luke 9:46-48 and 18:15-17, explored in the context of a proposed Lukan 'child-motif', and missional experiences catalyzed by children during the time my wife, Georgie, and I spent as workers for BMS World Mission in the favelas of São Paulo, Brazil. The process of bringing text and recalled experience of 'receiving the child in the name of Jesus' into a critically constructive dialogue is grounded in the epistemological and methodological framework proposed by the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur. Recognizing the differing qualities of knowledge-sources being brought into dialogue, appropriately differing methods of critical analysis are employed to enable the Ricoeurian processes of 'ex-planation' and retrieval: autoethnographical, in regard to my personal engagement with the favela mission context; sociological, in regard to the life-experience of children in the favelas of São Paulo at that time; and literary critical in regard to the Lukan use of child related texts, supplemented by reception-transmission and historical-cultural analyses as appropriate. Guided by insights drawn from the work of the Brazilian educationalist and social activist Paulo Freire, the critically evaluated sources of experience and text are then explored in dialogue with each other from the perspectives of the generative themes of abandonment, powerlessness and hopelessness. This dialogical process offers insights into the paradigmatical significance of the child and her reception in Luke's presentation of Jesus' mission, and for the response of the reader-disciple called to emulate that mission 'in his name' towards the 'little-ones' of communities characterized by the deprivation typical of the favela slums in which we worked. The study concludes by suggesting two pathways for future research: a further iteration of Ricoeur's hermeneutical cycle, bringing into dialogue experiences from different cultural contexts of social deprivation, and the appropriation of the methodology of biblical/experiential dialogue, to bring a fresh perspective on Luke's presentation of the mission to the Gentiles in the Acts of the Apostles.
Date of Award3 Jan 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester


  • Luke
  • Preschool
  • Brazil
  • Child Theology
  • Missiology
  • Favela
  • Children
  • Autoethnography

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