RECOVERING BIBLICAL SENSUOUSNESS by William E. Phipps

RECOVERING BIBLICAL SENSUOUSNESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Phipps is a man with a mission. This is his third book aimed at restoring the life of the flesh which pervades the Bible. He argues that the sacred should be experienced as much in the feelings and senses as in the head, and furthermore, that prayer should be as much body language as talk. Each of the eight studies collected here focuses on a sensuous dimension of Judeo-Christian tradition--the importance of dance, the literal meaning of the Song of Songs, the fullbodiedness of Jesus' personality, the sacramentality of sexuality, etc. And all follow a common pattern: they explore the original holistic attitude, then trace its dissolution through Church history, and conclude by championing current efforts to revive it. The villains of his piece are the Church Fathers and medieval theologians imbued with the mind-body dualism of Platonic tradition, while the heroes include Reformers Luther and Calvin and several Puritans. Headlong enthusiasm for his cause makes Phipps extract favorable meanings out of cited texts to indulge in some highly conjectural exegesis. Often the writing makes you wince when it gets too hokey (God's creation is ""finger-lickin' good"") or clinical (kissing is ""labial conjunction""!). Rejoice: biblical theology's got its own Dr. Comfort.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1975
Publisher: Westminster