A Brief History of Spirituality by Philip Sheldrake

By Philip Sheldrake

A short heritage of Spirituality tells the tale of Christian spirituality from its origins within the New testomony to the current day.

  • Charts the most figures, rules, photographs and ancient classes, exhibiting how and why spirituality has replaced and built over the centuries
  • Draws out the distinct topics of Christian spirituality, exploring the historic and cultural occasions and stories that modified people’s attitudes and practices
  • Coverage extends correct as much as the trendy day, exploring the large alterations in spirituality lately and how it really is these days usually contrasted with ‘religion’
  • Written by means of a number one commentator on spirituality, and released within the well known Brief Histories of Religion series

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Basil became bishop of Caesarea and is best known for his ascetic instructions for monks, or ‘‘rules,’’ which will be discussed in the next chapter. His ascetic works remain at the heart of Eastern monasticism. Together with his sermons, the emphasis of Basil’s writings is a practical-ethical (ascetical) theology of the highest quality. Gregory Nazianzen was also concerned with monastic asceticism (with less emphasis on leaving the city for the ‘‘desert’’ or on the hermit life), but is better known as one of the greatest theologians of the early Church.

On a more positive note, Augustine is also a theologian of desire. ’’13 For Augustine, God created humans with the divine image in their heart. In his Tractates on the Gospel of John Augustine invites us to reconnect with this real self: ‘‘Return to thy heart; see there what, it may be, thou canst perceive of God, for in it is the image of God. In the inner man [sic] dwelleth Christ, in the inner man art thou renewed after the image of God’’14 However, the language of the heart does not imply a privatized spirituality.

Second, and closely related to this language of participation, is the emphasis on discipleship as membership of a family or community. Thus ‘‘discipleship,’’ and all that may be said about it, expands beyond a few close confidants to embrace all who follow Jesus within the community of believers, initiated in baptism and nurtured in the Eucharist. This community is described in the language of union and participation as a body, the living body of Christ (see, for example, 1 Cor 12, 12–13). 16 Foundations: Scriptures and Early Church Spirituality in the New Testament Once we turn from general scriptural markers for Christian spirituality to the spirituality of the New Testament writers, the first and most important thing to bear in mind is that the New Testament is a first-century document.

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