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Posted July 26, 2006

Book: Exploring Christian Spirituality: Essays in honor of Sandra M. Scheiders, IHM
Editors: Bruce H. Lescher and Elisabeth Liebert, SNJM
Paulist Press. New York. 2006. Pp.249

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM, commands respect as one of the most significant and influential figures in the emergence of the study of Christian spirituality as an academic discipline concerned with the focused and disciplined exploration of religious experience. Exploring Christian Spirituality honors her contributions in this field by addressing issues at the creative "edges" of the discipline.

In Exploring Christian Spirituality, colleagues and students of Dr. Schneider's, as well as other collaborators in the academic discipline of Christian spirituality, examine the subject from various disciplinary and methodological perspectives. Some essays address critical issues in the definition of Christian spirituality: its status as an academic discipline, its interdisciplinary character, and the scholar's objectivity. Other essays explore the "edges" of Christian spirituality in dialogue with other disciplines: biblical spirituality, gender studies, the natural sciences, and interfaith issues. Dr. Schneiders also contributes a chapter exploring her latest thinking on a fundamental theme: the relationship of spirituality to theology.

An Excerpt from the Book:

"The name of the world is not world. It is load." - Kuranko Proverb

"If ever my grief were measured
or my sorrow put on a scale,
it would outweigh the sands of the ocean." Job

For those who labor under the weight of he world, nothing matters more than being able to find a way to live in the world with hope. Does death come at us in "a big blind swipe?" Is "the mathematical cruelty of the universe" the final world? These are not abstract questions. They arise from the midst of experience and demand a response that is both honest and courageous. If the struggle described in these texts has anything to teach us about contemporary spirituality, and I think it does, it is primarily about what it means to face the ambiguity of our experience honestly and courageously. It is about what it means to find a way, in spite of the heaviness of existence, to live with hope.

Table of Contents:

Part I: Methodological Essays
1. Spirituality and its critical methodology
2. Christian spirituality: intrinsically interdisciplinary
3. Writing in spirituality as a self-implicating act: reflections on authorial disclosure and the hiddenness of the self

Part II: Essays at the edges of the discipline
4. The quest for biblical spirituality
5. The genre of gender: gender and the academic study of Christian spirituality
6. The contributions of natural sciences to the academic discipline of Christian spirituality
7. The weight of the world: the heaviness of nature in spiritual experience
8. Judaism: Christianity's partner in waiting and working for the full redemption of the world
9. Interfaith aesthetics: where theology and spirituality meet
10. The discipline of Christian spirituality and Catholic theology

Part III
Major published works of Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM