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date: 27 April 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter shows why and how Christian ethics is helpfully linked to improvisation in the theater. It describes universal (ethics for anyone), subversive (ethics for the excluded), and ecclesial (ethics for the church) as three strands of Christian ethics. It goes on to identify theatrical improvisation as a way of resolving tensions in ecclesial ethics—tensions largely concerned with synthesizing the virtue tradition stemming from Aristotle with the Christological pacifism of the New Testament, as identified by J. H. Yoder and others. Key terms in theatrical improvisation, notably status, overaccepting, and reincorporation, are introduced; and the proposal is illustrated with reference to the place of the church in contemporary Western Europe, particularly in relation to secularization and the perceived threat of Islam.

Keywords: ecclesial ethics, overaccepting, status, reincorporation, virtue ethics, improvisation, pacifism, Christian ethics

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