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The Spiritual Virtuoso: Personal Faith and Social Transformation (Hardback)
  • The Spiritual Virtuoso: Personal Faith and Social Transformation (Hardback)
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The Spiritual Virtuoso: Personal Faith and Social Transformation (Hardback)

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£65.00
Hardback 216 Pages / Published: 14/12/2017
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Marion Goldman and Steven Pfaff define a spiritual virtuoso as someone who works toward personal purification and a sense of holiness with the same perseverance and intensity that virtuosi strive to excel in the arts or athletics. Since the Protestant Reformation, activist virtuosi have come together in large and small social movements to redefine the meanings of spiritual practice, support religious equality, and transform a wide range of social institutions. Tracing the impact of spiritual virtuosi from the sixteenth century Reformation through the nineteenth-century Anti-Slavery Movement to the twentieth-century Human Potential Movement and beyond, Marion Goldman and Steven Pfaff explore how personal virtuosity can become a social force. Martin Luther began to expand spiritual possibilities in the West when he charted paths that did not require the Church's intercession between the individual and God. He believed that everyone could and should reach toward sacred truths and transcendent moments. Over the centuries, millions of people have built on his innovations and embarked on spiritual quests that offer new possibilities for sacred relationships and social change.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781474292405
Number of pages: 216
Weight: 481 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This is a valuable book in its linking of spiritual virtuosity with movements for justice... The notion of a spiritual activist is a useful one, and students of both social movements and religious history will find much to learn here. * American Journal of Sociology *
[Goldman and Pfaff] bring considerable expertise in both New Religious Movements and social activism to this study...The Spiritual Virtuoso does do the important work of excavating the history of some current religious and cultural circumstances. * Reading Religion *
The modern era has been deeply shaped by the idea that deep spiritual commitments are important for everyone and not just for religious specialists. This drove the Protestant Reformation, the rise of movements to make the world more moral, and even the modern Western idea of personality. Yet it is a theme too often neglected by social scientists. In The Spiritual Virtuoso Goldman and Pfaff do a superb job of showing the centrality and material importance of this cultural shift. Their book should have wide influence. * Craig Calhoun, President of the Berggruen Institute and Centennial Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics, UK *
The Spiritual Virtuoso is a sociological tour de force, careening across centuries and religious traditions to show how charismatic visionaries shape social movements, technological innovation and spiritual change. Marion Goldman and Steven Pfaff connect the dots from Hildegard of Bingen to Cat Stevens, from the LSD-inspired Zen aesthetic of Steve Jobs to the Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther. * Don Lattin, journalist and author of Changing Our Minds - Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy (2017) *
This creative, fresh and insightful work on spiritual virtuosity demonstrates that the quest for personal spiritual fulfilment can be political, effecting widespread social change and global transformation. Goldman and Pfaff effectively displace dismissive narratives of individualism by carefully mapping how personalized religion places ethically authentic living at its center and in the process contributes to collective and societal good. This book is essential reading for those seeking to understand the rapid and dramatic shifts in contemporary religion. * Lori Beaman, Canada Research Chair in Religious Diversity and Social Change, University of Ottawa, Canada *

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