E. Jerome Van Kuiken, review of Simeon Zahl, The Holy Spirit and Christian Experience (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020)," Participatio 10: "The Holy Spirit and Christian Experience" (2022): 229-233
Van Kuiken, E. Jerome. Review of Simeon Zahl, The Holy Spirit and Christian Experience (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020)," Participatio 10: "The Holy Spirit and Christian Experience" (2022): 229-233
Much Protestant theology has a chronic heart problem. From the later Luther up through Barth, Torrance, and Kathryn Tanner, it has suffered from a diminished role for personal experience in theologizing. Fearing fanaticism, subjectivism, and anthropocentrism, Protestant theologians have swung to the opposite extreme of building cerebral systems of doctrine that never touch people’s lived and felt realities. This condition could prove terminal as it alienates post-Christendom Westerners from Christianity. So runs Cambridge theologian Simeon Zahl’s diagnosis. His prescription is to rehabilitate the role of experience in theology by 1) norming Christian experience by the doctrine of the Holy Spirit; 2) retrieving Augustine’s and the early Reformers’ insights into the emotional effects associated with soteriological doctrine; and 3) drawing social-scientific “affect theory” into dialogue with theology to produce an “affective Augustinianism”....
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