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Re-enchanting a Disenchanted Universe – Post Modern Projects in Theologies of Space

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'Disenchantment' was an expression coined by Max Weber to describe a process whereby the world was rid of all spiritual reality and subjected to the power of the calculating and rational human mind. An enchanted universe was one in which space was presenced with spiritual agency, where things were subjects, not objects, and in which an epistemology of engagement, not disengagement, operated. Disenchantment involved, amongst other things, the emptying of space, the objectification of being, and the linearizing of time. Christian theology from the seventeenth century became associated with a disenchanted, modernizing agenda through early Christian scientists such as Bacon, Newton, and Descartes. While modernity has brought unprecedented levels of supremacy over nature the association of Christian theology with the modern agenda of disenchantment has been questioned in the postmodern context. Theologies of place and space are now being sought that take seriously an agenda that places God and spirituality back in the world and not beyond the world, that emphasizes an organic and not a mechanistic universe, and that resuscitates the notion of agency in the world.

Affiliations: 1: School of Religion and Theology, University of Kwazulu-Natal Private Bag XO1, Pietermaritzburg, 3209;, Email: balcombt@ukzn.ac.za

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