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Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life Paperback – April 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Fresh Air offers careful examination of the Holy Spirit, all tangled up with a wide wonder."--Nichole Nordeman

"People told me Jack Levison was a great teacher, and when I read this book I realized why. His excitement is infectious; he tells a great story; he sets little-known biblical passages on fire and drills down to unimagined depths in well-known ones. He has a boyish enthusiasm, but his account of the holy spirit - and what the spirit can do for whole churches, not just individuals! - is mature, seasoned, challenging and wise. His scholarship is spot on, his human warmth and Christian compassion are everywhere. An unbeatable combination." --N. T. Wright

"Jack Levison's book is the most biblical, wide-ranging, innovative, and refreshing book on the Holy Spirit in years. The Spirit is here de-programmed and set loose. You may be surprised in every chapter, I know I was." --Scot McKnight

"Fresh Air is, well, a breath of fresh air. Jack Levison fuses an accurate but unpretentious examination of the Holy Spirit in Scripture with a lively and generous style that invites the entire Christian community, regardless of label, to embrace God's Spirit in the everyday ordinariness of life." --Eugene Peterson

"Fresh Air is exactly what its title promises: a lively, fresh study of the theology of the Holy Spirit by  a brilliant and spirited theologian. If there is such a thing as poignant Christian midrash, then this surely is it." --Phyllis Tickle

"I've often asked pastors, 'Who is the most neglected person of the Trinity?'  They always answer, 'The Holy Spirit.'  In this lively and--well--Spirit-filled book, Jack Levison enjoys the exploits of the Holy Spirit throughout scripture, provoking a fresh encounter with God.   Jack is uniquely qualified to lead us, combining his scholarly understanding of scripture with his deep affection for the church, both mainline and Pentecostal.  No one will think about the Holy Spirit in the same way after reading Jack's book."--Will Willimon

About the Author

Jack Levison teaches at Seattle Pacific University. The author of many books and articles, he has won major national and international awards for his scholarship. Scot McKnight, author of The Jesus Creed, called Levison’s Filled with the Spirit “the benchmark and starting point for all future studies of the Spirit,” and Walter Brueggemann hailed it as “inspired.”



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Paraclete Press (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612610684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612610689
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Called a "brilliant and spirited theologian" by author Phyllis Tickle, Jack Levison is a featured blogger for The Huffington Post ( and a regular contributor to Patheos (, the world's largest independent site for conversations on religion. Jack is an internationally recognized scholar, whose books have received wide acclaim. Eugene Peterson considers him "the most competent scholar and clearest writer on the Holy Spirit that I have known." Scot McKnight, author of The Jesus Creed, characterized Filled with the Spirit as "the benchmark and starting point for all future studies of the Spirit," and Walter Brueggemann hailed it as "inspired." Jack has received grants from the National Humanities Center, the Lilly Fellows Program, the Louisville Institute, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Rotary Foundation, the International Catacomb Society, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He directs an international research project, The Historical Roots of the Holy Spirit, and is founding editor of a new book series, Ekstasis: Religious Experience from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. He currently serves as president of the Pacific Northwest Region of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature. Raised in Levittown, New York, Jack left to attend Wheaton College, where his Greek professor captured his imagination with visions of Cambridge University. When he returned from England to pursue doctoral studies at Duke University, Jack fell in love with a divinity student, Priscilla Pope, alongside of whom he now teaches at Seattle Pacific University. Jack now lives with his family and black lab mix in Shoreline, Washington.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr Conrade Yap on December 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
How well do we understand the scope of the Holy Spirit's work in this world? Have we restricted the Holy Spirit to only fruit of the Spirit, or to tongues or great biblical signs and manifestations? Definitely not, says Jack Levison, a Professor at Seattle Pacific University. In fact, the Holy Spirit is present in more ways than one, in more people than we thought, and in more ways than we can even imagine.

This book is a breath of fresh air. Written by one who has one foot on a mainline Protestant denomination and another foot on the Pentecostal persuasion, the author hopes to share a fresh air of spiritual wisdom with both camps. The hope is that the attempt will share biblical, radical, and practical values for all. The Holy Spirit (Note: for reasons explained in the book, the author prefers to use small caps. I use capitalization to conform to common usage). Some of the "radical perspectives" that Levison has proposed in his book are:

- The spirit being in EVERY human being, both Christians as well as non-Christians;
- The spirit is present in all situations, including social upheaval and during our status quo
- The spirit inspires whole communities
- The spirit drives faithful people into hostile places
- The spirit inspires both "ecstasy and restraint, study and spontaneity."

Key to the understanding of this book is our openness to letting the Spirit work as freely as He wants. Levison argues that the Holy Spirit manifests Himself through routine awakenings, our routine listening, as well as routinely encouraging us.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James R. V. Matichuk on June 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
When I picked up Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit For an Inspired Life and saw endorsments from N.T. Wright, Eugene Peterson, Walter Brueggemann, Scot McKnight, William Willimon and Phillyis Tickle I got excited. I am always on the hunt for a good book on the Holy Spirit so seeing this one endorsed by some of my favorite authors made me want to take up and read. Much of what is written on the Holy Spirit has an `anything goes' feel to it with low-level discernment, but these people don't endorse those books. So I had high hopes that this book would thoughtfully present the reality of the Spirit in a way that was fresh, insightful, inspiring and eye-opening. I was not disappointed.

Jack Levison is professor of New Testament at Seattle Pacific University. He's written an engaging book with each of the chapters profiling people from the Bible and illuminating aspects of the spirit's activity. Through out the book he speaks of the `holy spirit' rather than "Holy Spirit" because he is trying to be attentive to the way the biblical language functions (he is not denying the Trinity). The Greek word pnuema and the Hebrew ruach both mean wind, breath or spirit (ruach means wind fifty times in the Hebrew Bible, but the rest of its nearly four hundred occurrences refer to the spirit from God). Levison wants to preserve the way a single word in the Hebrew or Greek `could encompass stormy winds and settled souls, the rush of the divine and the hush of human holiness(17).' And so he attends to where he hears the spirit in the text and shows us the way God's spirit is powerful and unsettling, life-giving and good.

Levison does not always go to the most common passages people use when speaking of the spirit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Clint Walker VINE VOICE on March 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Very few books come more highly recommended than this fine book from Jack Levison. With glowing reviews from people such as Eugene Peterson, Nicole Nordeman, N.T. Wright, and Will Willimon, I wondered if the publicity might overstate the value of this book. They did not. This book is as good as advertised.

This brilliant book does a wonderful job of weaving together the narrative of the Spirit, the author's personal narrative, and the story of God as revealed in Scripture.

The text has a narrative flow that makes it easy to read, and yet there are times when you must stop to think. It moves through Scripture in a sequential and logical ways, in many ways communicating a biography of the Holy Spirit and his relationship to humanity. Levison shares enough insightful stories and pithy, well-written lines that at the same time readers will pause to ponder. Each chapter has companion Scriptures to study and consider.

The book, while accessible, has theological depth. Especially, as one might consider, the theological depth relates to the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. And while some theological books on the Holy Spirit simply cause one to think, it becomes very clear that Levison's goal is to form spirits.

As I read and continue to read, I sense this book touching and forming my own spirit. For that I am grateful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Caleb Carbone on February 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book. It gives a whole new perspective to how we as Christians should see the Holy Spirit and the role it has played in the church and in scripture.
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