Master of Arts
This thesis explores how the theological concept of perichoresis can interact with the individualist and collectivist spectrum in progressively fruitful ways. Chapter one explores a general understanding of the spectrum and perichoresis while structuring them around the idea of a relational center. Chapter two conducts a literature survey of works that advance the spectrum in their argument and actively use perichoresis, directly or indirectly, in their solution. Chapter three conducts a series of reflections and conceptual movements based on the literature survey results. The most decisive contribution formulates a five-stage adaptation to the IC spectrum integrating perichoresis. There is also insight into theological opportunities and an alternative metaphor for the linear IC spectrum entirely. These conclusions aim to generate new questions, connections, and insights into modern relationality. Additional works are in the appendix for future research and support.
Summary for Lay Audience
The thesis aims to explore the idea of relationships and to demonstrate how relationships can improve in our modern times. In today’s society, people tend to either value what they think about themselves or what the group thinks about them. These two values are individualism and collectivism respectively, and this paper wants to improve upon these values by applying a Christian belief called perichoresis. Perichoresis provides the belief in a certain kind of relationship that portrays a beautiful unity and shows one’s uniqueness within the relationship. The concept of perichoresis is a mystery and is complex but is applied to God’s nature and Jesus himself. The hope is that by applying this kind of relationship to our modern relationships, it will generate new insights, connections, and ideas of how people can treat each other.
This paper will review books and authors that have already attempted to use perichoresis to improve relationships. The books that will be selected are diverse and different to provide a better chance of discovering something new. After the books are summarized, this paper will present reflections on what the authors have shown in their works. Drawing on these thoughts and reflections, this paper will present a five-stage process of how to integrate the idea of perichoresis.
These five stages are valuable and helpful for improving how people relate in modern times. The first two stages provide insight into how to improve one's understanding of individualism and collectivism. Stage three adds the idea of relationships and how they can be more impactful on the spectrum between individualism and collectivism. Finally, stages four and five start to imagine if individualism, collectivism, and relationships were improved, what that could mean for how we interact in our relationships today. These ideas are needed now more than ever in order to bring people together rather than alienating each others. The idea of perichoresis is beautiful and can contribute a lot of hope and creativity for relationships in our time.
Latta, Steven, "Exploring the Relational Center of the Individualist/Collectivist Spectrum: A Literature Survey of Direct and Indirect Perichoretic Works" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8841.