Transfiguring Love

In Fiona Ellis (ed.), New Models of Religious Understanding. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 79-96 (2018)
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In this essay I build on John Cottingham’s suggestion that we need an epistemology of involvement (or receptivity), as opposed to an epistemology of detachment, if we are properly to understand the world in religious terms. I also refer to these as ‘engaged’ and ‘disengaged’ stances. I seek to show how the spiritual practice of an ‘active’ or ‘engaged’ love is integral to the sort of epistemology of involvement through which we come to a religious understanding of the world. Such an understanding is one that gives proper recognition to the sacred or reverence-worthy character of the world. I discuss how a religiously-inflected language of love and the practice it informs can transfigure the world for us and enable its sacred or reverence-worthy character to come into view (supposing it is there in any case). I also seek to show how this is connected to a process of spiritual formation (or Bildung).
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