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New book explores the search for spirituality

15 May 2009

The diverse spiritual landscapes of the modern world and the reasons why individuals and societies continue to seek spiritual meaning and fulfilment are the focus of a new book, The Search for Spirituality, by Ursula King, Emeritus Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bristol.

The Search for Spirituality, published by Canterbury Press, looks at cultural diversity and clarifies the meaning of spirituality in different languages, faiths and societies.  It asks whether we are experiencing a spiritual renaissance, revival or revolution as ever more people continue to lose hope and feel depressed when faced with the stark realities of the modern world,  and suggests that a more ethically grounded and action-orientated spirituality is not just a necessity – it is imperative if we want to create a world more united and whole.  Spirituality has personal, social and global dimensions, and given our pressing environmental concerns, it is of great significance for all people on the planet.

At a personal level, the book covers the many new approaches to spirituality that have emerged including how spirituality is linked to the experience of birth, childhood, maturity, aging, dying and death; the significance of spirituality in the education of children and lifelong learning; the impact of spirituality on physical, mental and emotional health; how far psychotherapy can be seen as a spiritual journey; how women’s spirituality differs from men’s; and the specific contributions of feminist, ecofeminist, and ecological spirituality.  At a social level the book explores how spirituality relates to nature, science and technology, and how the transformative experience of the arts, whether painting, sculpture, music or dance, can help provide the nurture and sustenance we need to face the struggles of everyday life.

Professor Ursula King is an internationally renowned scholar on spirituality, interfaith dialogue, women and religion, and the French thinker Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  She is Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies and Emeritus Professor of  Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bristol, where she chaired the religion department and directed the Centre for Comparative Studies in Religion and Gender, after teaching for many years at the University of Leeds, in London, and in India.

The author and editor of numerous books, including Christian Mystics and Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Teilhard de Chardin, Professor King has also lectured widely throughout the world, and has been awarded honorary doctorates from the universities of Edinburgh, Oslo and Dayton, Ohio.

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