By Philip Sheldrake

A quick heritage of Spirituality tells the tale of Christian spirituality from its origins within the New testomony to the current day.Charts the most figures, principles, photographs and old sessions, exhibiting how and why spirituality has replaced and built over the centuriesDraws out the distinct topics of Christian spirituality, exploring the old and cultural occasions and reports that modified people’s attitudes and practicesCoverage extends correct as much as the fashionable day, exploring the large adjustments in spirituality lately and how it's these days usually contrasted with ‘religion’Written through a number one commentator on spirituality, and released within the renowned short Histories of faith sequence

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Extra info for A Brief History of Spirituality (Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion)

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The ‘‘event’’ of Jesus Christ is also set in a particular time and place. Christian discipleship necessarily implies a relationship to this inaugural ‘‘event’’ of Jesus Christ. Yet, in their teachings, the classic historical forms of Christian spirituality are both faithful to that event and also necessarily different from those beginnings. This is because they too are set within particular times and places. Faithful ‘‘following,’’ discipleship, actually implies going beyond Jesus’ actions but in a way that is opened up by them.

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. For Gregory, strongly influenced by Origen’s thought, the spiritual life was a journey away from materiality towards a kind of spiritual luminosity or refinement.

4 Athanasius’ account also stresses the ideal of dispossession and the desert as the place where the full gospel may be practiced. These emphases may have owed something to the influence of Neoplatonic philosophy in Egypt, particularly through the teachings of the theologian Origen in Alexandria. This emphasized the soul’s alienation from God but also stressed human potential for ascent back to God through scriptural contemplation, repentance, purification, and celibacy. Egyptian monasticism developed broadly in three forms associated with geographical locations and by 400 numbered many thousands of ascetics, both men and women.

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