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A Plea for Embodied Spirituality

The Role of the Body in Religion

A Plea for Embodied Spirituality

The Role of the Body in Religion

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Paperback / softback


Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334060079
Number of Pages: 256
Published: 30/04/2021
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm

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.

Follow Fraser N. Watts on his blog 

Acknowledgements ix

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

Fraser N. Watts

Fraser Watts was the first Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Science at Cambridge University until his retirement in 2013. He was also Fellow and Director of Studies in Theology at Queens' College, Cambridge, and a President of the International Society for Science and Religion. He is the author of numerous books - most recently he co-edited the volume 'Evolution, Religion, and Cognitive Science' (OUP 2014). He remains actively engaged in research on psychology and religion, and theology and science.

"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