Journal Article

BRIAN FRIEL'S <i>FAITH HEALER</i> AS POST-CHRISTIAN, CHRISTIAN DRAMA

Ed Block

in Literature and Theology

Volume 14, issue 2, pages 189-207
Published in print June 2000 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online June 2000 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/14.2.189
BRIAN FRIEL'S FAITH HEALER AS POST-CHRISTIAN, CHRISTIAN DRAMA

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Using terms and concepts which the late Swiss humanist and theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar develops in his Theodrama, this essay argues that Irish playwright Brian Friel's controversial 1980 drama, Faith Healer, can be read as a complex postmodern reaction to religious experience. Acknowledging the challenge of postmodernism, Balthasar's thought helps see Faith Healer as a post-Christian Christian response to the mysteries of call, mission, dispossession, and absence, human experiences which in part define the postmodern problematic. Making reference to such other Friel dramas Wonderful Tennessee, Dancing at Lughnasa, and Molly Sweeney, the essay also shows that even when read as putative artist parable, Faith Healer benefits from the approach which Balthasar's thinking encourages.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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