Facing the uncertainties of the third millennium, Christian thinkers are taking inventory of the preceding two thousand years of theological developments and strategies. The contributors to Mursell’s work offer an excellent introduction to this task for Christian spirituality. Ten chapters survey major epochs, each chapter providing a basic orientation to the period followed by a chronological survey of major approaches and the contribution of key individuals. Sidebars and full-color illustrations supplement each discussion. Endnotes reference primary sources and a bibliography of further reading completes each chapter. A general index of subjects allows access to specific contents across the various sections.
The coverage is remarkable for its geographical and chronological breadth, addressing accurately the teachings and practice of the early church fathers, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon churches, the Medieval West, Eastern Christian, Russian, Protestant, Catholic, Anglican, American Protestant, and twentieth-century traditions of Christian spirituality. The work navigates a fine line between a historical survey and a reference dictionary, its discussions truly “introductory” rather than comprehensive within the available space. It will serve pastors, students, and libraries as a primer for the study of Christian spirituality, whether as the first steps in the pursuit or as a means to place more specific discussions in the larger context.
About the Contributors
Dr. Ralston brings a rich pastoral background to his classroom, having served as an associate pastor and pastor in Ontario and as a director of adult education in the United States. Dr. Ralston is an active member in the North American Academy of Liturgy and the Evangelical Homiletics Society. His research in New Testament manuscripts and worship has taken him into a wide variety of settings and produced numerous scholarly articles. His teaching interests include preaching, worship, and spirituality. He is also an active Master Scuba Diving instructor and emergency first-response trainer. He and his wife, Carol, have two daughters and five grandchildren.