Tastes of the Divine

Hindu and Christian Theologies of Emotion

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Michelle Voss Roberts
Comparative Theology: Thinking Across Traditions
  • Bronx, NY: 
    Fordham University Press
    , June
     2014.
     296 pages.
     $85.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9780823257386.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

This book has been reviewed in JAAR by Fracis X. Clooney. Click here to read the review.

The intensity and meaningfulness of aesthetic experience have often been described in theological terms. By designating basic human emotions as rasa, a word that connotes taste, flavor, or essence, Indian aesthetic theory conceptualizes emotional states as something to be savored. At their core, emotions can be tastes of the divine. In this book, the methods of the emerging discipline of comparative theology enable the author's appreciation of Hindu texts and practices to illuminate her Christian reflections on aesthetics and emotion.

Three emotions vie for prominence in the religious sphere: peace, love, and fury. Whereas Indian theorists following Abhinavagupta claim that the aesthetic emotion of peace best approximates the goal of religious experience, devotees of Krishna and medieval Christian readings of the Song of Songs argue that love communicates most powerfully with divinity. In response to the transcendence emphasized in both approaches, the book turns to fury at injustice to attend to emotion's foundations in the material realm. The implications of this constructive theology of emotion for Christian liturgy, pastoral care, and social engagement are manifold.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Michelle Voss Roberts is associate dean of academic affairs and associate professor of theology at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Her most recent book, Tastes of the Divine: Hindu and Christian Theologies of Emotion (Fordham, 2014), received the American Academy of Religion’s Award for Excellence in Constructive/Reflective Studies.

Keywords: 

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