God and the Art of Happiness

God and the Art of Happiness

by Ellen T. Charry
     
 


Western Christian theology is skittish about happiness. We hope for future, eternal happiness, but we avoid considering happiness in this life as if we suspect such a thing is not allowed. That You May Have Life offers a refreshing interpretation of happiness as a way of life grounded in scripture and the incarnate Christ.

Ellen Charry here reveals how the Bible

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Overview


Western Christian theology is skittish about happiness. We hope for future, eternal happiness, but we avoid considering happiness in this life as if we suspect such a thing is not allowed. That You May Have Life offers a refreshing interpretation of happiness as a way of life grounded in scripture and the incarnate Christ.

Ellen Charry here reveals how the Bible encourages the happiness and joy that accompany obedience to the Creator, enhancing both our own life and the lives of those around us. This advances the well being of creation, which, in turn, causes God to delight with, in, and for us.

With this original theory of the Christian life, this book will encourage intelligent readers to take part in truly abundant life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a study that is sometimes dull and sometimes lively, Charry (By the Renewing of Your Minds: The Pastoral Function of Christian Doctrine) enters the by now tired cultural conversation regarding happiness. As she did in her earlier book, Charry seeks to make theology practical; in this study, she addresses her concern that Christian theology lacks a substantial doctrine of human flourishing. In the book's first section, Charry surveys the history of philosophy and Christian doctrine to reveal overlooked thinkers from Augustine to the Anglican divine Joseph Butler who encourage human flourishing. In the second section, Charry examines the biblical foundations of a doctrine she calls "asherism" (from the Hebrew asher, to be happy) and finds that Scripture encourages Christians to organize life around God so as to be buoyed by God's love, beauty, goodness, and wisdom. Happiness, she concludes, is celebrating our own spiritual growth and well-being and God's enjoyment of these. In her typically thoughtful and engaging style, Charry demonstrates that Christians need not be dour and gloomy about life, but that their traditions do encourage them to put on a happy face. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

“This original and powerfully argued book is destined to become a standard cite for scholars of theology and ethics. Ellen Charry critically reviews the idea of happiness in Scripture and tradition, with a particularly interesting analysis of Anglican divine Joseph Butler. What makes the book memorable, however, is its innovative teaching of ‘asherism.’ Asherism avoids the dangers of self-denying agapism and self-serving eudaemonism by confirming our perennial need to love God, neighbor, and self at once and to live out our lives and vocations by the letter, spirit, and telos of both the law and the gospel.”
— John Witte Jr.
Emory University

“Across epochs, locations, languages, circumstances, cultures, and discourses, texts in both Testaments of Scripture agree that the maker of heaven and earth seeks creation’s flourishing. . . . Reverent devotion to the creator and redeemer of the world is the happy life, for it crafts one into an instrument of divine wisdom, love, and goodness. The various patterns of life that Scripture intends to draw the reader into drive toward one goal: organizing ourselves around life in God that we may enjoy ourselves as we are buoyed by the love, beauty, goodness, and wisdom of God, which hoist us aloft.”
— from chapter 12“

Ellen Charry has the gift of making deep connections between theology and ordinary life. In happiness she has identified a wonderful theme through which to explore some of the heights and depths of human existence. She revels in her topic and constantly draws the reader into fruitful, wise reflection on important matters.”
— David F. Ford
University of Cambridge

“A frequently voiced complaint today is that academic theology writes only for its own guilds and too often tumbles into an ugly and lazy jargon-ridden abstraction. In this subtle, nuanced book, born from both hope and personal anguish, Ellen Charry reconnects knowledge and healing, thereby responding to a deep need.”
— Iain R. Torrance
Princeton Theological Seminary

Library Journal
Charry (By the Renewing of Your Minds) challenges the widespread perception that faithful Christian beliefs must produce a sense of discomfort or unhappiness in the world. On the contrary, she asserts that there is a place for authentic happiness, by which she means the special sense of happiness that comes through obedience to God's will. VERDICT Charry's book, which blends academic rigor with personal anecdote and biblical example, will appeal to readers of theology, both at the level of pulpit and pew.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802860323
Publisher:
Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date:
12/03/2010
Pages:
316
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author


Ellen T. Charry is Margaret W. Harmon Professor of Theologyat Princeton Theological Seminary. She earned a PhD inreligion from Temple University following an MSW fromYeshiva University and BA from Barnard College. Charry'sinterest is in the Christian life, and her books includeBy the Renewing of your Minds, Inquiring afterGod, and God and the Art of Happiness. From1998 to 2010 she was a member of the Theology Committee ofthe House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. Currentlyserving as an editor-at-large for The ChristianCentury, Charry has also served on the editorialboards of the Scottish Journal of Theology andPro Ecclesia, and was formerly editor ofTheology Today.

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