In this volume, Marjorie O’Rourke Boyle probes significant concepts of the human spirit in Western religious culture across more than two millennia, from the book of Genesis to early modern science.
The Human Spirit treats significant interpretations of human nature as religious in political, philosophical, and physical aspects by tracing its historical subject through the Priestly tradition of the Hebrew Bible and the writings of the apostle Paul among the Corinthians, the innovative theologians Augustine and Aquinas, the reformatory theologian Calvin, and the natural philosopher and physician William Harvey. Boyle analyzes the particular experiences and notions of these influential authors while she contextualizes them in community. She shows how they shared a conviction, although distinctly understood, of the human spirit as endowed by or designed by a divine source of everything animate.
An original and erudite work that utilizes a rich and varied array of primary source material, this volume will be of interest to intellectual and cultural historians of religion, philosophy, literature, and medicine.
Marjorie O’Rourke Boyle is the author of eight other books, including three volumes on Erasmus and Petrarch’s Genius: Pentimento and Prophecy. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in religion in 1979.
“A rich, synthetic, and nuanced investigation. This is a highly original piece of work that draws on an astounding array of primary sources as well as the author’s incredible knowledge of rhetoric and philology, archaeology, ornithology, the science of avian flight, ancient crafts of tent-making, Greek earthenware, and metallurgy. This is an erudite tour de force that requires but will also reward patient reading.”
—Barbara Pitkin, author of What Pure Eyes Could See: Calvin’s Doctrine of Faith in Its Exegetical Context