Theology and the Kinesthetic Imagination: Jonathan Edwards and the Making of Modernity

Hardcover | June 16, 2014

byKathryn Reklis

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Beauty, bodily knowledge, and desire have emerged in late modern Christian theology as candidates to reorient theological reflection. It is hoped they will subvert the fragmentation of the self-wrought philosophies of Western Enlightenment and the political and economic regimes thosephilosophies fund. This book returns to a particular moment in the history of Protestant Christianity and its collusion with the creation of this modern, rational subject: the publically rehearsed theological debates regarding the series of eighteen-century Atlantic world revivals known as the GreatAwakening and the work of pro-revivalist theologian Jonathan Edwards. A central point of contention in the debates between revivalists and detractors of the revivals was the unruly body of those seized with "the new birth." Scholarly attention has focused on debating the extent of the revivals'influence or on rescuing Edwards as an exemplar of the American mind, rather than on what these flailing bodies might mean. This book explores the unruly bodily performances of the revivals as a means of forming and expressing an alternative subjectivity to the one demanded in the early modern circum-Atlantic world. Drawing on the concept of "kinesthetic imagination" in conversation with performance studies, Reklistraces the bodily ecstasy of the revivals as a way to describe the convergence of memory, imagination, and desire in the production of theological knowledge, known and conveyed through bodily experience. This case study of Edwards and the eighteenth-century revivals gestures beyond itself to the waybodily ecstasy continues to be coded as the expression of a primitive, hysterical, holistic or natural self almost always in relationship to its other - a modern, rational, fragmented or artificial self.

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Beauty, bodily knowledge, and desire have emerged in late modern Christian theology as candidates to reorient theological reflection. It is hoped they will subvert the fragmentation of the self-wrought philosophies of Western Enlightenment and the political and economic regimes thosephilosophies fund. This book returns to a particular ...

Kathryn Reklis is Assistant Professor of Protestant Theology at Fordham University.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:June 16, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019937306X

ISBN - 13:9780199373062

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsAbbreviationsIntroduction: Theology and the Kinesthetic Imagination1. Location, Location, Location2. Creating the Repertoire3. Scenarios of UniversalityEpilogueNotesBibliographyIndex