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Religion General

Tastes of the Divine

Hindu and Christian Theologies of Emotion

by (author) Michelle Voss Roberts

Fordham University Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2014
General, Theology, Comparative Religion
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2014
    List Price
    $28.00 USD
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2014
    List Price

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The intensity and meaningfulness of aesthetic experience have often been described in theological terms. By designating basic human emotions as rasa, a word that connotes taste, flavor, or essence, Indian aesthetic theory conceptualizes emotional states as something to be savored. At their core, emotions can be tastes of the divine. In this book, the methods of the emerging discipline of comparative theology enable the author’s appreciation of Hindu texts and practices to illuminate her Christian reflections on aesthetics and emotion.
Three emotions vie for prominence in the religious sphere: peace, love, and fury. Whereas Indian theorists following Abhinavagupta claim that the aesthetic emotion of peace best approximates the goal of religious experience, devotees of Krishna and medieval Christian readings of the Song of Songs argue that love communicates most powerfully with divinity. In response to the transcendence emphasized in both approaches, the book turns to fury at injustice to attend to emotion’s foundations in the material realm. The implications of this constructive theology of emotion for Christian liturgy, pastoral care, and social engagement are manifold.

About the author

Michelle Voss Roberts is Professor of Theology and Principal at Emmanuel College, a multireligious theological school at the University of Toronto. Her published work in comparative theology includes Dualities: A Theology of Difference (2010), Tastes of the Divine: Hindu and Christian Theologies of Emotion (2014), and Body Parts: A Theological Anthropology (2017). With Chad Bauman, she is also the editor of the Routledge Handbook of Hindu-Christian Relations.

Michelle Voss Roberts' profile page


  • Winner, American Academy of Religion's Award for Excellence, Constructive-Reflective Studies

Editorial Reviews

“This work is an important contribution to the current landscape of comparative theology—where deep learning is taking place across religious lines—as it moves the discourse forward by incorporating both critical analysis and embodied practices.”---—Jeannine Hill Fletcher, Fordham University

The main thrust of her argument, and indeed the most delightful part of her book, comes toward the end in the section on 'Tastes of the Divine.'---—C.A. Barnsley. Transylvania University, Choice Connect

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