The Bible and the Pursuit of Happiness: What the Old and New Testaments Teach Us About the Good Life

ISBN : 9780199795734

Brent A. Strawn
456 Pages
162 x 237 mm
Pub date
Nov 2012
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Scholars of the social sciences have devoted more and more attention of late to the concept of human happiness, mainly from sociological and psychological perspectives. This volume, which includes essays from scholars of the New Testament, the Old Testament, systematic theology, practical theology, and counseling psychology, poses a new and exciting question: what is happiness according to the Bible? Informed by developments in positive psychology, The Bible and the Pursuit of Happiness explores representations of happiness throughout the Bible and demonstrates the ways in which these representations affect both religious and secular understandings of happiness. In addition to the twelve essays, the book contains a framing introduction and epilogue, as well as an appendix of all the terms used in reference to happiness in the Bible. The resulting volume, the first of its kind, is a highly useful and remarkably comprehensive resource for the study of happiness in the Bible and beyond.


Introduction Brent A. Strawn, "The Bible and Happiness?"
Part I. Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
Introduction to Part I
Terence E. Fretheim, "God, Creation, and the Pursuit of Happiness"
Nathan MacDonald, "Is There Happiness in the Torah?"
Jacqueline Lapsley, "A Happy Blend: Isaiah's Vision of Happiness (and Beyond)"
William P. Brown, "Happiness and Its Discontents in the Psalms"
Carol A. Newsom, "Positive Psychology and Ancient Israelite Wisdom"
Part II. New Testament
Introduction to Part II
Carl R. Holladay, "The Beatitudes: Happiness and the Kingdom of God"
Joel B. Green, "We Had to Celebrate and Rejoice!' Happiness in the Topsy-Turvy World of Luke-Acts"
Colleen Shantz, "I Have Learned to Be Content': Happiness according to St. Paul"
Greg Carey, "Finding Happiness in Apocalyptic Literature"
Part III. Beyond the Bible:
Continuing the Conversation into Other Disciplines
Introduction to Part III
Ellen T. Charry, "The Necessity of Divine Happiness: A Response from Systematic Theology"
Thomas G. Long, "A Constructed Happiness: A Response from Practical Theology"
Steven J. Sandage, "The Transformation of Happiness: A Response from Counseling Psychology"
Epilogue Brent A. Strawn, "The Triumph of Life: Towards a Biblical Theology of Happiness"
Appendix Michael J. Chan, "A Biblical Lexicon of Happiness"

About the author: 

Associate Professor of Old Testament, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

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