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Affect Theory, Shame, and Christian Formation

Authors: Arel, Stephanie N.

  • Explores the implications of shame, more carefully distinguished from guilt, for theological anthropology
  • Distinguishes how, in theological discourse, language about guilt eclipses shame, and thus has deleterious effects
  • Integrates theology with the growing field of affect theory
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eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-42592-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-42591-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book addresses the eclipse of shame in Christian theology by showing how shame emerges in Christian texts and practice in ways that can be neither assimilated into a discourses of guilt nor dissociated from embodiment. Stephanie N. Arel argues that the traditional focus on guilt obscures shame by perpetuating the image of the lonely sinner in guilt. Drawing on recent studies in affect and attachment theories to frame the theological analysis, the text examines the theological anthropological writings of Augustine and Reinhold Niebuhr, the interpretation of empathy by Edith Stein, and moments of touch in Christian praxis. Bringing the affective dynamics of shame to the forefront enables theologians and religious leaders to identify where shame emerges in language and human behavior. The text expands work in trauma theory, providing a multi-layered theological lens for engaging shame and accompanying suffering.

About the authors

Stephanie N. Arel received her PhD from Boston University’s School of Theology, USA, and is currently a fellow at the Institute for the Bio-cultural Study of Religion at Boston University. She serves on the Intercontinental Academia on Human Dignity, hosted jointly by Hebrew University, Israel, and Bielefeld University, Germany. She holds a certificate in trauma modalities for clinical treatment from the New York Institute for the Psychotherapies, USA. Her research focuses on trauma, shame, and Christian formation. She recently co-edited (with Shelly Rambo) a collection of essays entitled Post-Traumatic Public Theology.

Reviews

“This multidisciplinary work builds a strong bridge linking theological understanding of the human person and pastoral care, especially focused on the phenomenon of shame. It uses current psychology, neuroscientific analysis, philosophy and social theory to show what shame is, how it resides down in the physiological self, and how Christian language and ritual has to be adjusted to address its distinctive character. Stephanie Arel penetrates deeply into where shame lives and by so doing has given us a work that will enrich the theological and pastoral work of the churches.” (Roger Haight, S.J., Union Theological Seminary, USA)

“The universal and existentially human experience of shame has not received the same theological interest as its – similar yet so different – twin sister guilt. Stephanie Arel’s thoughtful analysis of this largely unexplored territory combines biological, psychological, philosophical, and theological perspectives to develop a fuller understanding of shame. She shows how shame involves the self – body and mind – as well as the other and the Other. Building on intriguing conversations with Augustine, Bourdieu, Sedgwick, Reinhold Niebuhr, and many others, Arel opens up healing, powerful, and dangerous vistas of dealing with shame through touch, symbolized in the rituals of Ash Wednesday. Knowledge and wisdom merge in this very readable study.” (R.R. Ganzevoort, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands)

“Through this richly textured analysis of shame, Arel positions herself alongside the great theological diagnosticians of the human condition. In Affect Theory, Shame, and Christian Formation, she builds a case for the reexamination of Christian practices that are attuned to the operations of shame, both individually and collectively. With clinical acumen and rhetorical sharpness, Arel guides readers across an impressive range of literatures and displays the importance of a theological voice in timely discussions about conflict and violence. “ (Shelly Rambo, Boston University School of Theology, USA)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-42592-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-42591-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Affect Theory, Shame, and Christian Formation
Authors
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-42592-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-42592-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-42591-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 206
Topics