The Spiritual Senses

The Spiritual Senses : Perceiving God in Western Christianity

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Is it possible to see, hear, touch, smell and taste God? How do we understand the biblical promise that the 'pure in heart' will 'see God'? Christian thinkers as diverse as Origen of Alexandria, Bonaventure, Jonathan Edwards and Hans Urs von Balthasar have all approached these questions in distinctive ways by appealing to the concept of the 'spiritual senses'. In focusing on the Christian tradition of the 'spiritual senses', this book discusses how these senses relate to the physical senses and the body, and analyzes their relationship to mind, heart, emotions, will, desire and judgement. The contributors illuminate the different ways in which classic Christian authors have treated this topic, and indicate the epistemological and spiritual import of these understandings. The concept of the 'spiritual senses' is thereby importantly recovered for contemporary theological anthropology and philosophy of religion.
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"The editors of this collection of essays are well-known and respected theologians. ... It comes as no surprise that their introduction and respective input (one chapter each) to this volume are excellent. ... this is a collection of high-quality essays, in which arguments are clearly marshalled and well supported by texts."
Louis Roy, The Thomist
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About Paul L. Gavrilyuk

Paul L. Gavrilyuk is Associate Professor of Historical Theology at the University of St Thomas, Minnesota. He is the author of The Suffering of the Impassible God: The Dialectics of Patristic Thought (2004) and Histoire du catechumenat dans l'eglise ancienne (2007). Sarah Coakley is Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. Her previous publications include Powers and Submissions: Philosophy, Spirituality and Gender (2002) and she was the editor of Re-Thinking Gregory of Nyssa (2003) and co-editor (with Charles M. Stang) of Re-Thinking Dionysius the Areopagite (2009).
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Table of contents

Introduction Paul Gavrilyuk and Sarah Coakley; 1. Origen of Alexandria Mark J. McInroy; 2. Gregory of Nyssa Sarah Coakley; 3. Augustine Matthew R. Lootens; 4. Gregory the Great George Demacopoulos; 5. Pseudo-Dionysis the Areopagite Paul L. Gavrilyuk; 6. Maximus the Confessor Frederick D. Aquino; 7. Alexander of Hales Boyd Taylor Coolman; 8. Thomas Gallus Boyd Taylor Coolman; 9. Bonaventure Gregory F. LaNave; 10. Thomas Aquinas Richard Cross; 11. Late medieval mystics Bernard McGinn; 12. Nicholas of Cusa Garth Green; 13. Jonathan Edwards and his Puritan predecessors William J. Wainwright; 14. John Wesley Mark T. Mealey; 15. Hars Urs von Balthasar and Karl Rahner Mark J. McInroy; 16. Analytic philosophers of religion William J. Abraham; Bibliography.
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