Ten Theology Books to Watch For – Dec. 2017

December 14, 2017 — Leave a comment

 

Here are a some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:

* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology

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From the Tools of Good Works to the Heart of Humility: A Commentary on Chapters 4-7 of Benedict’s Rule

Aquinata Bockmann

Liturgical Press

In a new volume of her exegetical commentary, Sr. Aquinata Böckmann explores chapters 4–7 of the Rule of St. Benedict. They contain Benedict’s instruction of how to learn and live the spiritual art of monastic life that is focused on Christ. In her close reading of the text and its sources she pursues questions such as the following: How do general Christian rules help us to live in community? How does obedience lead us closer to Christ? How does silence build community? How does humility deepen our love for Christ and those around us? Never losing sight of the reality of monastic life, Sr. Aquinata weaves together Benedict’s wisdom and today’s challenges to show the crucial spiritual elements of his Rule.

 

 

The Monk’s Cell: Ritual and Knowledge in American Contemplative Christianity

Paula Pryce

Oxford UP

The call to contemplative Christianity is not an easy one. Those who answer it set themselves to the arduous task of self-reformation through rigorous study and practice, learned through the teachings of monks and nuns and the writings of ancient Christian mystics, often in isolation from family and friends. Those who are dedicated can spend hours every day in meditation, prayer, liturgy, and study. Why do they come? Indeed, how do they find their way to the door at all?

Based on nearly four years of research among semi-cloistered Christian monastics and a dispersed network of non-monastic Christian contemplatives across the United States and around the globe, The Monk’s Cell shows how religious practitioners in both settings combined social action and intentional living with intellectual study and intensive contemplative practices in an effort to modify their ways of knowing, sensing, and experiencing the world. Organized by the metaphor of a seeker journeying towards the inner chambers of a monastic chapel, The Monk’s Cell uses innovative “intersubjective fieldwork” methods to study these opaque, interiorized, often silent communities, in order to show how practices like solitude, chant, contemplation, attention, and a paradoxical capacity to combine ritual with intentional “unknowing” develop and hone a powerful sense of communion with the world.

 

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