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Other titles in the Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion series:
A Brief History of Spirituality (Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion)by Philip Sheldrake
Synopses & Reviews
A Brief History of Spirituality charts the development of the Christian tradition of spirituality from its origins in the New Testament to the present day. Author Philip Sheldrake, a leading figure in the development of spirituality as an academic subject, suggests that Christian spirituality can only be understood in terms of a series of dialectical tensions: experience and practice; interiority and external engagement; personal and collective; this-worldly and future-oriented. Begining with a brief discussion of the importance of history when approaching spiritual traditions, this book then, working within a broad chronological framework, goes on to draws out the distinctive themes and emphases of Christian spirituality and show how and why different styles of spirituality have emerged at different points throughout history. Finally, an epilogue explores major shifts in the understanding of spirituality in the last part of the twentieth century and suggests some critical trajectories for the coming decades.
Book News Annotation:
Defining spirituality as a vision of the human spirit and of what will cultivate its full potential, Sheldrake (applied theology, U. of Durham) briefly traces the history of its manifestation in Christianity. He identifies four paradigms: the monastic, the mystical, the active, and the prophetic-critical, and describes the role, if any, each played in long periods from the foundation of Christianity through the 20th century. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A Brief History of Spirituality tells the story of Christian spirituality from its origins in the New Testament to the present day. Moving through the main figures and historical periods, the author shows how and why spirituality has changed and developed over the centuries.
Philip Sheldrake, a leading commentator on spirituality, draws out the distinctive themes of Christian spirituality, exploring the historical and cultural events that changed people’s attitudes and practices. The major spiritual teachers are described, along with the ideas, images and experiences that so strongly affected those around them. Coming right up to the modern day, the book explores the huge changes in spirituality in recent years and examines the way it is often contrasted with “religion.”
About the Author
Philip Sheldrake is William Leech Professorial Fellow in Applied Theology at the University of Durham. He is also Honorary Professor at the University of Wales Lampeter and is regularly a visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame and other North American universities. He has taught and written extensively in the field of Christian spirituality and spirituality more generally. His books include Spirituality and History (2nd edn 1998), Spaces for the Sacred: Place, Memory and Identity (2001) and, as editor, New SCM Dictionary of Christian Spirituality (2005, in the USA New Westminster Dictionary). He is Past President of the international Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What is Spirituality?.
Spirituality and History.
Periods and Traditions.
1 Foundations: Scriptures and Early Church.
Christian Spirituality and the Scriptures.
Spirituality in the New Testament.
Spirituality and the Early Church.
Spirituality and Martyrdom.
Spirituality and Doctrine.
Christian Spirituality as Transformation and Mission.
Theories of Spiritual Transformation.
2 The Monastic Paradigm: 300-1150.
The Emergence of Monasticism.
Widows and Virgins.
Wisdom of the Desert.
The New Hermits.
The Spiritual Values of Monasticism.
Spirituality and the Conversion of Europe.
Local Spiritualities: Ireland.
Spirituality in the East.
3 Spirituality in the City: 1150-1450.
The Gregorian Reform.
The Vita Evangelica.
The Rebirth of Cities.
Cathedrals and Urban Vision.
The City as Sacred.
Universities as Sacred Space.
Vita Evangelica and Urban Sensibilities.
The Mendicant Movement.
Dominic, Francis, Clare, and Bonaventure.
Spirituality and Eastern Christianity.
4 Spiritualities in the Age of Reformations: 1450-1700.
Seeds of Reform: The Devotio Moderna and Christian Humanism.
The Crisis of Medieval Spirituality.
Spirituality and the Lutheran Reformation.
John Calvin and Reformed Spirituality.
The Catholic Reformation.
The New Orders.
Ignatius Loyola and Early Ignatian Spirituality.
Seventeenth-Century French Spirituality.
5 Spirituality in an Age of Reason: 1700-1900.
Spirituality in the Roman Catholic Tradition.
American Puritanism and the Great Awakening.
The English Evangelicals.
The Oxford Movement.
John Henry Newman.
A Distinctive “American Spirituality”.
6 Modernity to Postmodernity: 1900-2000.
The Impact on Spirituality.
Spiritualities of Liberation.
Spiritualities of Reconciliation.
Ecumenical Spirituality: The Example of Taizé.
Spirituality and Inter-Religious Dialogue: Bede Griffiths.
Making Spirituality Democratic: The Retreat Movement.
Making Spirituality Democratic: The Charismatic Movement.
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