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, pictures and historic classes, exhibiting how and why spirituality has replaced and built over the centuries
  • Draws out the certain subject matters of Christian spirituality, exploring the old and cultural occasions and reviews that modified people’s attitudes and practices
  • Coverage extends correct as much as the fashionable day, exploring the massive adjustments in spirituality in recent times and how it's these days frequently 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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Example text

In other words, spiritualities arise from human existence and are not merely second order practices logically derived from pre-existing belief systems and doctrines. The characteristic Christian beliefs in God as Trinity and of Jesus Christ as the incarnation of God did not arise in the first instance from a change of intellectual horizons. They originated from the ways in which the first generation of Christians after Jesus’ time sought to live their lives in relation to Jesus’ life and teachings and how they experienced his abiding presence with them as Spirit.

Why were physical deserts chosen for monastic communities? The theme of the ‘‘desert’’ is common to many monastic texts. It is both a paradise, where people may live in harmony with wild animals, and at the same time a place of trial where ascetics encounter inner and outer demons. The desert is frontier territory. Living on a physical boundary symbolizes a state of liminality – existing between the material and spiritual worlds. 1 Some people suggest that there were continuities with Jewish ascetical movements (for example Qumran) or with early Christian ascetical groups within Syriac Christianity.

Here the image is a boxer preparing to fight. In other stories the image is one of warfare – battling with temptation or even literally with demons. So, for example, They said of Sarah that for thirteen years she was fiercely attacked by the demon of lust. ’’8 Mature desert ascetics, such as Sarah, did not pray to be relieved from temptations – indeed, sometimes they even asked their spiritual guide to pray that temptation continue because they believed that struggle had a spiritual value in itself.

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