Christian Spirituality Studies Blog

Book: Apocalypticism and Mysticism in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, edited by John J. Collins/ Pieter G. R. Villiers / Adela Yarbro Collins

Co-edited by SSCS Past President Pieter G. R. de Villiers (who is also a contributor), this essay collection explores how Christian mysticism drew on late Hebrew and Aramaic texts and the Greek philosophical tradition for its early development. Here is the book’s “aim and scope”:

The nature and origin of Jewish mysticism is a controversial subject. This volume explores the subject by examining both the Hebrew and Aramaic tradition (Dead Sea Scrolls, 1 Enoch) and the Greek philosophical tradition (Philo) and also examines the Christian transformation of Jewish mysticism in Paul and...

Article: Spirituality and Belief: Implications for Study and Practice of Christian Spirituality, by Diana L. Villegas

In this open access article, Diana Villegas, author of The Christian Path in a Pluralistic World and the Study of Spirituality, argues for the importance of theological reflection in a time when multiple spiritual paths are available within and outside traditional religions. Here is the article’s abstract:

The aim of this article is to show the inherent connection between spirituality and belief and the significance of this for the study and practice of Christian spirituality. John Hick, a scholar of religion, argues that religions arose in human culture in order to offer beliefs and...

Article: Basil and Augustine: Preaching on Care for the Poor, by Kimberly F. Baker

In an article which provides two historical examples of how the Christian practice of charity is rooted in the rich theological tradition of the early church, Kimberly Bakeremphasizes the importance of understanding the relationship between giver and receiver. Here is the article’s abstract:

In their preaching on care for the poor, Basil and Augustine call for a transformation of one’s relationships. While the Roman patronage system rested on relationships of privilege and dependency, Basil and Augustine cultivate a different type of relationship between the giver and receiver of charity...

Blog: Ecozoic Cafe

For the past several months, I’ve been experimenting with another blog which may be of interest to followers of this one. I’m calling it Ecozoic Cafe, and I’ve copied its About page below. All feedback is welcome!

Jonas Barciauskas,
Christian Spirituality Studies blog moderator

About

Why the title Ecozoic Cafe?

Ecozoic is a term proposed by Thomas Berry (1914-2009), C.P, Ph.D., a Catholic priest of the Passionist Order and a scholar of cultural history and world religions. Berry intended Ecozoic to indicate a new era where humanity can choose to live in greater harmony with the...

Article: Icons: A Case Study in Spiritual Borrowing between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Emergent Church, by Dann Wigner

Dann Wigner used a qualitative empirical approach to gather the data for this article about the spiritual borrowing of Eastern Orthodox icons by several emergent churches. He selected three communities identifying themselves as emergent churches where he “observed multiple services and meetings, interviewed thirty-eight members or regular attendees, and conducted documentary research on their podcasts and blogposts which composed their archives of sermons and public conversations.” Wigner also familiarized himself with the literature on spiritual borrowing within the larger Emergent Church (EC...

Article: Stories, Hermeneutics and Maturation in Christian Life, by David B. Perrin

Storytelling plays a significant role in the spiritualities of many religions. In this recently published article, David Perrin explores how stories help shape a person’s character as well as his or her spiritual life within the Christian tradition. Here is the article’s abstract:

Everybody loves a good story. Whether it is told on the big theater screen, performed as an opera, or read from the tattered pages of a favorite childhood story book, we all enjoy participating in story-telling and story-receiving in differing ways throughout our lives.  Stories have that effect on us: they take...

Book: Pilgrim River: A Spiritual Memoir, by Kenneth Garcia

Nature played a major role in Kenneth Garcia’s spiritual journey, as it has for many others seeking ways to follow a spiritual path. An accomplished essayist, Garcia has written a book one reader described as “at once luminous, tragic, and hopeful.” Here is the book’s blurb:

Pilgrim River candidly narrates one man’s wandering but sincere attempt to come to terms with the overpowering experience of God—a journey from unbelief to nature mysticism in the deserts and mountains of Nevada and Utah, to sojourns through the country of marriage and the republic of letters, and finally to the...

Dissertation: “Not of This World”: Christian Devotional Literature as Minority Discourse, by J. Stephen Pearson

Pearson’s dissertation draws on scriptural, devotional, and theological texts to argue that the Christian community has historically been a minority within its larger social, cultural, and political context. Here is the abstract:

This dissertation re-reads the history of Western Christianity in order to reconsider notions of Christianized culture and politics. Using concepts from contemporary ethnic studies, I examine devotional works from the Western Christian tradition to expose a thematic thread that depicts the Christian community as a cultural minority: Exile in Patrick of Ireland...

Dissertation: The Art of Trinitarian Articulation: A Case Study on Richard of St. Victor’s De Trinitate, by Todd Vasquez

In his examination of Richard of St. Victor’s De Trinitate, Todd Vasquez explores the various ways in which the 12th century theologian and spiritual writer expressed his understanding of the Trinity. More than just a straightforward exposition of doctrine, the Victorine’s major work is a complex treatise that calls for a careful reading to appreciate its various forms of trinitarian expression. Here is Vasquez’s abstract:

Richard of Saint Victor deliberately constructs his treatise De Trinitate with trinitarian structures to sustain the hearts and shape the minds of his readers with the...

Syllabus: New Testament Spirituality

Describing his recent revision of this syllabus, David Rensberger of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, writes “I did update the structure at a number of points this time around. ‘What to do about Jesus’ is a question in any course that surveys the NT; this time I reformulated that session in light of how Jesus shows up in the spiritual-vs.-religious debate.  I also added a new segment on discipleship and revamped the selection of materials from Paul.” Here is the course description:

The spirituality of the biblical writings has not been the subject of much study in modern...

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