Minding the Spirit: The Study of Christian Spirituality

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Elizabeth A. Dreyer, Mark S. Burrows
JHU Press, 2005 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 382 pages

The birth of an academic discipline is a rare event. Even more extraordinary is academia's acknowledgment that spirituality has scholarly as well as personal dimensions. Inquiry and dialogue are the essence of this new discipline, as it paves the way toward a deeper understanding of what it means to be human within the Christian faith.

The twenty-five essays in this volume, originally published in either the Christian Spirituality Bulletin or Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality, offer groundbreaking explorations of Christian spirituality. Arranged under five broad headings, these essays create an insightful dialogue on the questions, methods, and critical approaches implemented by the discipline's top scholars. Topics addressed include the particular intellectual and methodological challenges presented by spirituality as an academic discipline, the self-implicating nature of the study of spirituality, historical perspectives, theological implications, healing as a function of spirituality, and the relationship between aesthetics and spirituality—art and spirit.

Scholars working on either broad or focused themes in spirituality will benefit from this clear and accessible presentation of the salient aspects of the discipline. In their insight and historical and methodological content, these essays provide valuable tools for students and teachers of spirituality and related fields, in their insight and historical and methodological content. This volume speaks to all who practice and study spirituality from any religious or secular perspective, encouraging reflective and open dialogue with one of humanity's major religious traditions.

Contributors: J. Matthew Ashley, Thomas Berry, Mark S. Burrows, Douglas Burton-Christie, Lawrence S. Cunningham, Lisa E. Dahill, Elizabeth A. Dreyer, Mary Frohlich, Belden C. Lane, Elizabeth Liebert, E. Ann Matter, Bernard McGinn, Meredith B. McGuire, Mark McIntosh, Barbara Newman, Walter H. Principe, Don E. Saliers, Sandra M. Schneiders, Philip F. Sheldrake, Jon Sobrino, Wendy M. Wright

 

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Contents

Spirituality as an Academic Discipline Foundations and Methods
1
The Study of Christian Spirituality Contours and Dynamics of a Discipline
5
The Letter and the Spirit Spirituality as an Academic Discipline
25
Broadening the Focus Context as a Corrective Lens in Reading Historical Works in Spirituality
42
A Hermeneutical Approach to the Study of Christian Spirituality
49
The SelfImplicating Nature of the Study of Spirituality
61
Spiritual Discipline Discipline of Spirituality Revisiting Questions of Definition and Method
65
The Role of Practice in the Study of Christian Spirituality
79
Words That Reach into the Silence Mystical Languages of Unsaying
207
Lover without a Name Spirituality and Constructive Christology Today
215
Spirituality and Healing
225
Monsenor Romero a Salvadoran and a Christian
229
An Ecologically Sensitive Spirituality
241
Reading from the Underside of Selfhood Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Spiritual Formation
249
Lourdes A Pilgrim After All
267
Christian Spirituality as a Way of Living Publicly A Dialectic of the Mystical and Prophetic
282

The Cost of Interpretation Sacred Texts and Ascetic Practice in Desert Spirituality
100
Spider as Metaphor Attending to the SymbolMaking Process in the Academic Discipline of Spirituality
108
Why Bodies Matter A Sociological Reflection on Spirituality and Materiality
118
The Language of Inner Experience in Christian Mysticism
135
Interpreting the Tradition Historical and Theological Perspectives
153
The Turn to Spirituality? The Relationship between Theology and Spirituality
159
Extra Arcam Noe Criteria for Christian Spirituality
171
Spirituality as a Resource for Theology The Holy Spirit in Augustine
179
The Mozartian Moment Reflections on Medieval Mysticism
200
Spirituality and Aesthetics
299
Beauty and Terror
303
A Wide and Fleshly Love Images Imagination and the Study of Christian Spirituality
314
Sound Spirituality On the Formative Expressive Power of Music for Christian Spirituality
334
Raiding the Inarticulate Mysticism Poetics and the Unlanguageable
341
Emerging Issues and New Trajectories in the Study of Christian Spirituality
363
Further Reading
373
Contributors
379
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About the author (2005)

Elizabeth A. Dreyer is a professor of religious studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut and the author of Earth Crammed with Heaven, The Cross in Christian Tradition, and Passionate Spirituality. Mark S. Burrows a is professor of the history of Christianity at the Andover Newton Theological School and editor of Biblical Hermeneutics in Historical Perspective.

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