The Study of Christian Spirituality: Contours and Dynamics of a Discipline

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Peeters Online Journals


This article, the substance of which was originally developed as the first presidential address of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality1 , is an attempt to describe the 'state of the discipline' of spirituality, at least as it has developed in North America in the second half of the 20th century. I harbor no illusion that my positions represent even a majority of scholars in the field nor that I have the one correct position on any of the topics I address. Rather, the article attempts to stake out a position about the nature and role of spirituality in the academy with sufficient substance and clarity to provide a framework for ongoing discussion. I address, at very unequal length, three of the most controversial substantive issues currently under discussion in the field: interdisciplinarity, Christian self-identification, and the self-implicating character of research in this field.