Saturday, May 30, 2009
Richard Schmidt's God Seekers
Richard H. Schmidt (2008), God Seekers: Twenty Centuries of Christian Spiritualities , Grand Rapids, MI:Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / Hardcover
This is an interesting book to read because it gives an overview of Christian spirituality by focusing on the biography of a certain person as representative of that spirituality. It is appropriate that the book should be entitled Christian spiritualities as each of the person mentioned represent a type of Christian spirituality. I am beginning to recognise and appreciate that there is not one Christian spirituality but many Christian spiritualities.
Schmidt offers the definition of Christian spirituality as "any spirituality which sees God in Jesus Christ." That's a great definition but it does not mention the role of the Holy Spirit and the telos of Christian spirituality.
There are 32 short biographies followed by a few quotations from each of the the person mentioned. Each forms a chapter and a type of spiritualities. The first biography is of Irenaues (early Christian spirituality) and ends with Rosemary Radford Ruether (Feminist spirituality). These make interesting reading but is just too brief. What make the chapters come alive is the beautiful line portraits of the persons mentioned drawn by Dean Mosher of Fairhope, Alabama where he drew from imagination, many of the the early spiritual writers who did not have any surviving portraits.
A good book for a general introduction to Christian spiritualities.