A Plea for Embodied Spirituality
The Role of the Body in Religion
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The body is crucial to religious life, but there has been little practical attention to how to make a helpful reality of this fact. Strong forms of philosophical dualism have been widely abandoned by post-war theologians in favour of a more integrated view of human nature, but guidance on the role of the body in Christian spirituality remains fragmentary.
Focusing particularly on drawing out practical implications for religious life and ministry, this book will survey the many ways in which the body plays an important role in religions and spiritual life, drawing on scientific research, theology and philosophy.
1. Introduction 1
2. Minds, Bodies and Persons 11
3. The Embodied Origins of Religion 27
4. The Ascetic Life 39
5. Extreme Spirituality as ‘Flow’ Experience 55
6. Attending to Our Bodies 68
7. Embodiment: Postures and Meanings 81
8. Enacting Liturgy 95
9. Emotions and their Expression 108
10. Healing 124
11. Spiritual Bodies, Apparitions and Visions 143
12. Concluding Reflections 157
Appendix: The Body in World Faith Traditions by Sara Savage 162
References and Further Reading 195
Index of Names and Subjects 215
"In this accessible and deeply personal book psychologist and theologian Fraser Watts uses insights from an extraordinarily wide range of disciplines to provide an account of religion that integrates mind with body, thinking with feeling and action. The fruit of a lifetime's scholarship, clinical practice, worship, and reflection, it not only provides rich resources but also models the integrated approach for which it pleads." -- Joanna Collicutt, University of Oxford, UK
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