Edited by Dale M. Coulter and Amos Yong
This book explores the role of emotions and affections in the Christian tradition from historical and theological perspectives, especially related to the work of the Holy Spirit. Although historians and scholars from a range of traditions—including Wesleyan, Pentecostal, and Pietist—have engaged these issues, there has yet to be a sustained examination of the role of emotions and affectivity across the Christian tradition. By retrieving the complex discussion about affectivity in Christian tradition and bringing its many voices into dialogue within a contemporary ecumenical context, the contributors also point toward a number of new research trajectories.
The essays underscore the need to understand the shift in Western views of emotion that began in the late eighteenth century. They also explore in detail the vocabulary of affectivity as it has developed in the Christian tradition. As part of this development, the contributors reveal the importance of pneumatology in Western as well as Eastern Christianity, calling into question the idea of a pneumatological deficit advanced by some constructive theologians and addressing the relationship between affectivity and the pedagogical strategies that enable persons to cooperate with the work of grace in the soul. Finally, several essays explore the relationship between the erotic, the ecstatic, and affectivity in religious belief. This volume will interest scholars and students of historical theology, of emotions in theology, and of Christian renewal or charismatic movements.
“This volume makes an original and substantial contribution to the related fields of history of Christianity and historical theology. The twelve essays gathered here present a compelling and interesting case for what Yong calls ‘a renewalist historiographic method’ in these disciplines. This is an indispensable collection for scholars and students alike.” — Franklin T. Harkins, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
“When Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley described the renewal of the heart, they did so in terms of holy affections. As this book amply demonstrates, they were drawing on a rich tradition. By examining how an array of significant theologians have understood the affections throughout history, these essays not only correct modern misunderstandings and provide fresh insights, but give us a glimpse of Christianity itself as a story of renewal. This is an indispensable resource for all historians and theologians who study and seek renewal.” — Henry H. Knight III, Donald and Pearl Wright Professor of Wesleyan Studies, Saint Paul School of Theology
“Consideration of the contributions—and obstacles—of affectivity to authentic Christian life was a central theme in earlier Christian theology, but has been marginalized in much of the modern Christian West. This volume is a welcome indicator of renewed interest, across the ecumenical spectrum, in this theme. It is also a model of cross-disciplinary and broad-ranging engagement with the theme that promises to enrich theological anthropology, pneumatology, and beyond. Highly recommended.” — Randy L. Maddox, William Kellon Quick Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, Duke Divinity School
“In a period of theological publishing in which proposed edited volumes are often passed over by publishers, University of Notre Dame Press is to be applauded for choosing to print this substantive treatment of the role of the Spirit in Christian formation.” — Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care
“The Spirit, the Affections, and the Christian Tradition is a collection of essays concerning the role and understanding of emotion throughout the history of Christian thought. These essays were contributed by academics representing a variety of disciplines, including historians, philosophers, and biblical scholars. Each chapter focuses upon a different historical era or historical figure, ranging from the first century with Saint Paul to Jonathan Edwards in the eighteenth century. . . . In recent years, academia has begun to recover the role and value of the emotions, and this book fills a lacuna concerning the affections in Christian thought.” — The Pneuma Review
2017 Catholic Press Association Book Award, First Place in Spirituality: Hard Cover