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A Brief History of Spirituality tells the story of Christian spirituality from its origins in the New Testament to the present day.
Charts the main figures, ideas, images and historical periods, showing how and why spirituality has changed and developed over the centuries
Draws out the distinctive themes of Christian spirituality, exploring the historical and cultural events and experiences that changed people's attitudes and practices
Coverage extends right up to the modern day, exploring the huge changes in spirituality in recent years and the way it is nowadays often contrasted with 'religion'
Written by a leading commentator on spirituality, and published in the popular Brief Histories of Religion series
""[Sheldrake's] grasp of the key figures and movements within the western Christian tradition is consistently sure-footed, and the book will be very useful for those seeking an accessible one-volume introduction to the subject by an acknowledged authority ... This is an excellent book and can be safely recommended to students and others alike."" Theology
""Wonderfully encapsulates the complex manner in which the term spirituality has taken on various meanings within the Christian tradition ... Those who are interested in learning more about the major movements in the Christian tradition are sure to find this book a wonderful introduction into learning more about thinkers who have ardently longed to attain wisdom."" The Heythrop Journal
""One gets the sense that Sheldrake knows and loves his subject, and more importantly, wants to share his knowledge with others. I strongly recommend this book."" Anglican Theological Review
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.
- ISBN: 9781405117715