Salvation—Personal and Political

George Newlands

in The Oxford Handbook of English Literature and Theology

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199544486
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Salvation—Personal and Political

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  • Religion
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Christianity
  • Religious Studies



A great deal of human striving may be understood as a search for salvation, intellectual, physical, and emotional. This search generates stories, which are recorded in texts both sacred and secular. Religion, as part of human striving, searches for salvation through transcendence, and through the consequences for human life of divine action. This article focuses on Christian input into narratives of salvation, which is worked out in personal struggle, but also, as the tradition has shown, in community. It is this community element that is a recurring emancipatory theme. This may bring out the ecclesial dimensions of the Christian salvation theme: word and sacrament, participation and eucharist, worship and discipleship. Here too there are communities of damnation, where an irrational and wasteful dynamic tears communities apart, dragging individuals helplessly to destruction. The salvation theme is one of essential hope, but not an easy or unreflected hope.

Keywords: salvation; Christianity; divine action; theology; eucharist; worship; sacrament

Article.  4417 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity ; Religious Studies

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