Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sr Lorraine on Dawn Eden, Part 2

Guest post #2 as promised, from Sr Lorraine of "Open wide the doors to Christ." Be sure to visit her site to join in the comments.

In her thesis, Dawn lists ten themes that she says are the major themes in Christopher West's work. She also listed them in the talk she gave at her defense (near the bottom of that page).

Her listing of these themes raises the question: how did she determine that these themes are in fact the major ones of West's work? She doesn't explain her criteria for selecting them. 
This leads to the further question: do these ten themes in fact represent the distillation of West's work? If West himself were to summarize his work in ten themes, would he choose these or something else? Do these themes really capture the essence of his work? Are there others that could have been included? West is basing his themes on John Paul, and several other important themes could be noted, such as the communion of persons, spousal meaning of the body, shame, receptivity, celibacy for the sake of the kingdom, the new evangelization and the culture of death, and most importantly, the theme of self-gift.

If Dawn wants to critique all of West's work, she needs to be absolutely sure that she is presenting his work accurately. Her synthesis is certainly open to debate. My personal opinion is that she's selecting themes that better suit her criticisms of West, and omitting others that are more fundamental but not so open to criticism. This leaves Dawn's thesis vulnerable, since her critique assumes her reading of West corresponds to what he is actually saying, but it may not. Again, this relates to the difficulty I mentioned in my first post, that Dawn has taken on a project that's so broad she can't do it justice.

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