Sport is extremely popular. This ground-breaking book explains why. It shows that sport has everything to do with our deepest identity. Sport is where we resonate with the most-basic nature of reality.
A Brief Theology of Sport sweeps across the fields of church history, philosophy and Christian doctrine to draw the reader into a creative vision of sport. The book begins with an examination of how the Church has approached sport in the past, before turning to consider sport on the basis of the divine act of creation.
In doing so, Harvey is able to distinguish sport from all other human activities, identifying it as a set-aside sphere in which the unnecessary-but-meaningful nature of life is celebrated. This constructive proposal is used to shed light on a wide range of issues in sport, including the role of competition, professionalization and celebrity culture today.
As such, A Brief Theology of Sport constitutes a significant contribution to our understanding of the value of sport in human life. No one who reads this book will look at sport in the same way again
'Lincoln Harvey has managed to do something quite remarkable here: this book is at once historical and constructive; academic and accessible; detailed and concise; systematic and practical. It is good to see serious work done on theology and sport, and this book is a fine example of what serious theology about contemporary issues should look like.' -- Tom Greggs,Professor of Historical and Doctrinal Theology Aberdeen University, UK
'With lively prose, conceptual clarity and a deep affection for the subject matter, Harvey kicks off an important conversation about how theologically we should make sense of – and order our love in relation to – a central cultural phenomenon of our times: sport. Wonderfully insightful, historically rich and theologically punchy this is vital reading for anyone who plays, watches or is utterly bemused by the world of sport.' -- Luke Bretherton, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics and Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics Duke University, USA
'Sport, says Lincoln Harvey, is only for sport. But A Brief Theology of Sport is about much more than sport…. In winsome fashion it advances a conversation that is much needed and a thesis that deserves a response.' -- Douglas Farrow, Professor of Christian Thought and Kennedy Smith Chair in Catholic Studies McGill University, CA
'Lincoln Harvey is a soccer fan, and one of the most besotted sort, a supporter of Arsenal. What as a Christian should he make of the hours spent absorbed in an activity that does nothing but itself? I give away only a hint of his profound proposal by citing a chapter title: "A Liturgical Celebration of Contingency". This is high flying theology that manages to be a good read – not a common achievement.' -- Robert W. Jenson,Professor Emeritus of Religion, St. Olaf College, Minnesota, USA
This is a brilliant book. Brief but profound, brimming full of ideas and intriguing insights, it achieves something rare and yet deeply satisfying for those of us who love both God and sport – relating them to each other in a way that does proper justice to both.' -- Graham Tomlin, St Mellitus College, London
This important book provides an accessible and yet theologically rigorous account of how Christians should think about, and more importantly, ‘play’, sports. Dr Harvey is to be commended for the way in which he has meticulously examined the nature of modern sports through an interdisciplinary lens (mainly theological), offering insights into the nature of sport, play and competition and the complex history of the sport-faith symbiosis. The systematic reflections on why we play, watch, and just ‘love’ sport through reflection on key Christian doctrines, is arguably, the most significant and original contribution of this book that sits within an embryonic but fast-emerging literature that has long been in need of a theologian’s ‘heart’, ‘mind’ and pen. As an Arsenal football fanatic and theologian, the author passionately lives in his story and analysis of the sport-faith relationship, and thus, this volume connects to those well beyond the academy, while being an invaluable source for those in the academy' --Nick J. Watson, York St John University, UK
This is an impressive contribution, required reading for anyone interested in thinking deeply about the place and meaning of sport in the Christian life.' --Shirl James Hoffman, author of Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sport
Sport fans of all kinds will benefit from Harvey’s deep insights about the nature of sport and its place in human life. His liturgical understanding of sport, though titled as “brief” is theologically rich. And while his proposal to de-instrumentalize sport is not a new one in the philosophy of sport conversation, it is a unique and original contribution in its specifically theological orientation that seems likely to fulfill Harvey’s goal of inviting other theological scholars onto the “field of play” with him. -- Zachary Smith,
United States Sports Academy, Alabama, USA
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