Defense PhD thesis by Jasper Bosman (with livestream)

19 October 2020

On September 18, 2020, at 10.30 AM, Jasper Bosman will defend his PhD thesis Celebrating the Lord’s Supper in the Netherlands. A Study of Liturgical Ritual Practice in Dutch Reformed Churches at Kampen Theological University. Jasper Bosman, who currently works as a pastor in the city of Hilversum, was accepted to the PhD program at Kampen Theological University in 2015. His study is the result of a PhD project supervised by prof. dr. Hans Schaeffer and prof. dr. Marcel Barnard. 

Initially, the defense was scheduled for March 20, but as a result of measures taken to reduce further spread of the Corona virus, the inevitable decision was made to postpone the defense to a later date. The board of IRILIS is very happy for Jasper that the defense of his work will finally take place, and wishes Jasper the best of luck.

Four voices in theology

Little empirical research has been conducted to date on the Lord’s Supper in the Reformed tradition, and especially within the Dutch context. This study seeks to fill this void by describing and analyzing the performance, perception, and valuation of the Lord’s Supper within two Reformed denominations in the Netherlands from four different perspectives. These perspectives are derived from the Theology in Four Voices model, a research instrument developed by the Action Research: Church and Society (ARCS) project in the United Kingdom. The goal of this inquiry is to promote a better understanding of what happens in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper from an empirical perspective. It also serves to bolster the valuation of concrete liturgical ritual practice both within and outside the Dutch Reformed context by offering tools enabling local churches to assess and foster their own celebration of the sacrament from a fourfold perspective.

The study describes the following four voices: Operant Voice (how the Lord’s Supper is performed), Espoused Voice (how congregants respond to the Lord’s Supper), Formal Voice (how ministers and other theologians respond to the Lord’s Supper), and Normative Voice (what official church documents regulate in connection with the Lord’s Supper). Each “voice” is fully theological and represents one possible perspective on the same reality. Following the description of these four perspectives, a “conversation” between them is constructed, in order to describe and analyze the similarities and differences between them. A final, separate chapter then formulates lessons that can be learned from this “conversation.”

About the author

Jasper Bosman is currently working as a pastor in a Reformed church in the city of Hilversum, the Netherlands.

About the book

The thesis was published as volume 22 in the series Netherlands Studies in Ritual and Liturgy (NSRL). 

Jasper Bosman, Celebrating the Lord’s Supper in the Netherlands. A Study of Liturgical Ritual Practices in Dutch Reformed Churches, Amsterdam/Groningen 2020, 388 p., ISBN 978-94-6375-820-8, € 24. 

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