Spiritual Traditions and the Virtues: Living Between Heaven and Earth

ISBN : 9780198862949

Mark Wynn
272 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Jun 2020
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Spiritual Traditions and the Virtues develops a philosophical appreciation of the spiritual life. The book shows how a certain conception of spiritual good, one that is rooted in Thomas Aquinas's account of infused moral virtue, can generate a distinctive vision of human life and the possibilities for spiritual fulfilment. Wynn examines the character of the goods to which spiritual traditions are directed; the structure of such traditions, including the connection between their practical and creedal commitments; the relationship between the various vocabularies that are used to describe, from the insider's perspective, progress in the spiritual life; the significance of tradition as an epistemic category; and the question of what it takes for a spiritual tradition to be handed on from one person to another. In his account of the virtues, Aquinas shows how our relations to the everyday world can be folded into our relationship to the divine or sacred reality otherwise conceived. In this sense, he offers a vision of how it is possible to live between heaven and earth. Spiritual Traditions and the Virtues considers how that vision can be extended across the central domains of human thought and experience, and how it can deepen and diversify our understanding of what it is for a human life to be lived well.


1 Philosophy as A Way of Life
2 Religious and Secular Conceptions of the Human Good
3 Metaphysics and Experience
4 Enacted Example in the Spiritual Life
5 The Epistemic Significance of Tradition
6 The Nature of Faith
7 Spiritual Goods and the Content of Religious Belief
Concluding Remarks: Spiritual Traditions and Human Possibilities

About the author: 

Mark Wynn is the Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion at the University of Oxford. He was previously Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Leeds.

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