The theological imagination: perception and interpretation in life, art, and faith

Research output: Book/ReportBook


To live in the world, we have to imagine it: to make sense of things by seeing coherent wholes in underdetermined data. Christian theology is both a way of imagining the world and a challenge to our need and capacity to imagine. It helps us bring into view both the power and the risks of our continuous interplay of finding and making a world. This book brings together theology, philosophy, psychology, literature and art to describe and interrogate the human imagination. In five interrelated chapters that draw on the philosophical history of the term ‘imagination’, psychological models and studies (including predictive processing), on the history of art and on literary criticism, the book constructs a phenomenology of imaginative engagement, examining the ways we inhabit our language, our life roles, and our world more widely, often without awareness of the imaginative work that co-constitutes them. Throughout and especially in its second half, the book investigates the interrelation between these dynamics of imaginative perception and the Christian faith. It argues that faith is both a way of making sense of the world – of seeing it as a whole with depth and significance – and a challenge to our forms of sense-making. The book concludes with an account of what it describes as an eschatological imagination.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages208
ISBN (Print)9781009519861
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 2024

Publication series

NameCurrent issues in theology


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