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God, Sexuality, and the Self


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Table of Contents

Preface; Prelude: God, sexuality and the self; The arguments of this book; 1. Recasting 'systematic theology': gender, desire and theologie totale; 2. Doing theology 'on Wigan Pier': why feminism and the social sciences matter to theology; 3. Praying the Trinity: a neglected patristic tradition; 4. The charismatic constituency: embarrassment or riches?; 5. Seeing God: Trinitarian thought through iconography; 6. 'Batter my heart': reorientations of classic Trinitarian thought; 7. The primacy of divine desire: God as trinity and the 'apophatic turn'; Coda: conclusions and beyond; Glossary of technical terms and names.

About the Author

Sarah Coakley is Norris ulse Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. Her recent publications include Religion and the Body (Cambridge University Press, 2000), Powers and Submissions: Philosophy, Spirituality and Gender (2002), Pain and Its Transformations (2008), The Spiritual Senses (with Paul L. Gavrilyuk, Cambridge University Press, 2011) and Sacrifice Regained (Cambridge University Press, 2012). Coakley is also the editor of Re-Thinking Gregory of Nyssa (2003) and co-editor (with Charles M. Stang) of Re-Thinking Dionysius the Areopagite (2009).


'In the beginning was the Word ... Where the Christian account of divine trinity is traced back to the Johannine correlation of God and the Logos, the third Person may be no more than a necessary postscript. In this remarkable first volume of her Systematic Theology, Sarah Coakley proposes an alternative, Pauline trinitarianism in which the Holy Spirit is fundamental rather than marginal - the Spirit who 'helps us in our weakness' by redirecting human desire towards God. From this starting point, the argument opens out to incorporate patristic traditions of ascetic spirituality and contemplation, the trinity as represented in the visual arts, and fieldwork in a modern charismatic church. The book is an extraordinary achievement, lucid and nuanced yet passionate and provocative in its plea for a reintegrated theology.' Francis Watson, Chair of Biblical Interpretation, Durham University
'Wonderfully refreshing ... an astonishingly rich and deep theological and spiritual exploration.' Church Times
'Rich, suggestive and controversial.' The Times Literary Supplement
'Sarah Coakley does some very interesting things in [God, Sexuality, and the Self] ... She 'risks' writing for a general Christian audience, and her readable, even entertaining book shows that it was worth the risk.' Peter J. Leithart, First Things
'... reading God, Sexuality, and the Self is like watching the world premiere of a brilliant new opera - one whose story draws on fascinating bits of regional history so viewers come away understanding their own home better, even though the art itself is new.' Christian Century
'... brilliant.' The Tablet
'This book, God, Sexuality, and the Self, has been a joy to read ... Capturing the energy of God, sexuality, and the self in such a clever, comprehensive and challenging way, is truly impressive. The language is challenging, the academic standard [is] very high.' Faith and Freedom
'Admirably, Coakley aims to approach a wider audience whilst remaining academically rigorous.' Aaron P. Edwards, Theological Book Review
'The utterly compelling heart of the book, in which Coakley interprets a selected history of Trinitarian iconography, stands as a masterclass in the use of visual resources for systematic theologians.' Linn Marie Tonstad, Theology and Sexuality
'Coakley's work is engaging and fascinating as a means of critiquing a number of strains of contemporary theology.' Jack Kilcrease, Anglican and Episcopal History

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