Present-Day Spiritualities

Contrasts and Overlaps


Many forms of present-day Western spirituality contribute to people’s well-being, whereas others have raised criticism. The study of these different forms is, however, complicated by their continuously diverging practices and ideas. By bringing to bear a multidisciplinary approach, the ten specialists of this volume are able to analyze diverse new instances of spirituality, e.g. in religious contexts (Buddhism, Christianity), popular use, organizations and enterprises, (alternative) health service, and works of art. Most contributions also discuss methods and theories. In their editorial chapters, Elisabeth Hense, Frans Jespers and Peter Nissen show the remarkable overlaps in the approaches, definitions and evaluations of the contributions in this volume and provide a theoretical framework. Both the fresh analyses and the theoretical reflections in this volume point the way to new approaches in this field of study.

Contributors include: Jerry Biberman, Mark Elliott, Miguel Farias, Johan Goud, Paul Heelas, Elisabeth Hense, Frans Jespers, Hubert Knoblauch, Peter Nissen, Paul van der Velde

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Biographical Note
Elisabeth Hense, Ph.D (2001), Radboud University, is assistant professor of spirituality at that university. She has published monographs, translations and many articles on spirituality, including Towards a theory of spirituality (Peeters, 2011).

Frans Jespers, Ph.D (1988), Theological Faculty Tilburg, is associate professor of comparative religion at Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands). He has published monographs and articles on philosophy of religion (Leibniz, Habermas), new religious movements in the Netherlands, and church music.

Peter Nissen, Ph.D. (1988), Catholic Theological University of Amsterdam, is Professor of Spirituality Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands). He has published monographs and many articles on religious history, Christian spirituality, popular religion, and religious culture, and edited a number of volumes, including A Glance in the Mirror. Dutch and Polish Religious Cultures (LIT, 2012).
Review Quotes
"This volume ... reflects the debate and the tentative conclusions arrived at with regard to present-day spiritualities. ... [I]t aims at exploring a wide range of spiritual beliefs and practices taking also into account the family resemblances (Wittgenstein) among them. The Epilogue penned by the three editors suggests that such an objective has been reached to some extent, opening up avenues for further research."

Francis-Vincent Anthony, Salesian Pontifical University (Rome)
Table of contents

List of Contributors ... vii

Preface ... ix
Elisabeth Hense, Frans Jespers, and Peter Nissen

Introduction: Present-Day Spiritualities in Confessional, Popular, Professional and Aesthetic Contexts: Contrasts or Overlap? ... 1
Elisabeth Hense


What Is ‘Spiritual’ in ModernWestern Buddhism? ... 21
Paul van der Velde

Current Forms of Christian Spirituality ... 43
Elisabeth Hense

Old Forms, New Motives? Spirituality in Traditional Forms of Catholic Popular Devotion ... 63
Peter Nissen

Popular Spirituality ... 81
Hubert Knoblauch

Spirituality in Organizations: Parallels with Spirituality in Other Disciplines—Toward a Coherent Theory ... 103
Jerry Biberman

CAM: Healing the Person, Spiritual Humanism, and the Cultivation of Humanity ... 113
Paul Heelas

Spirituality and Eroticism: Corpus Mysticum in Contemporary Dutch Literature ... 141
Johan Goud


Overlap and Contrasts between Forms of Spirituality from a Theological Perspective ... 163
Mark W. Elliott

Inside the Spiritual Mind: Cognitive Implications of Spiritual versus Religious Engagement ... 181
Miguel Farias

Explorations in the Border Region of Religious and Secular Spiritualities from the Perspective of Religious Studies ... 197
Frans Jespers

Epilogue: Some Remarkable Overlaps in the Study of Present-Day Spiritualities ... 219
Elisabeth Hense, Frans Jespers, and Peter Nissen

Index of Names ... 225
All interested in present-day spiritualities in the Western World, and anyone concerned with an approach of the contrasts and overlaps between these spiritualities by theology, religious studies, psychology, sociology and management studies.
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