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Transgressive Devotion

Theology as Performance

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SCM Press
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Academic theology is in need of a new genre. 

In "Transgressive Devotion" Natalie Wigg-Stevenson articulates a theological vision of that genre as performance art. She argues that theology done as performance art stops trying to describe who God is, and starts trying to make God appear. 

Recognising that the act of studying theology or practicing ministry is always a performance, where the boundaries between what we see, feel, experience and learn are not just blurred but potentially invisible, Wigg-Stevenson brings together ethnographic theological fieldwork, historical and contemporary Christian theological traditions, and performance artworks themselves.

A daring vision of theology which will energise anybody feeling ‘boxed in’ by the discipline, Transgressive Devotion blurs borders between orthodoxy, heterodoxy and heresy to reveal how the very act of doing theology makes God and humanity vulnerable to each other. This is theology which is a liturgy of Divine incantation. In other words: this is theology which is also prayer.


Natalie Wigg-Stevenson teaches Theology and directs the Contextual Education Program at Emmanuel College, Toronto. Her research focus is on how ethnographic methods help create theological conversations across church, academy and everyday life. She is the author of "Ethnographic Theology: An Inquiry Into the Production of Theological Knowledge". She is the co-chair of the ‘ecclesial practices’ group at AAR.

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