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Work in the Spirit: Toward a Theology of Work Paperback – April 27, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub; Reprint edition (April 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579106412
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579106416
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. He has published and edited nine books and over 60 scholarly articles, including his book Exclusion and Embrace, which won the 2002 Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This book is an excellent reflection on theology of work.
Volf has helped to redefine work for me, and that is a good thing, by giving a new context for understanding it and its intention.
Adam B. Shaeffer
Miroslav Volf has given us the foundation for a fresh view of human work that is needed in our time.
Don W. Huse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Don W. Huse on July 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale University Divinity School. As a native Croatian now living in working in the West, Dr. Volf has observed the world of work from many vantage points.

Before making his case for a new theology of work, Dr. Volf lays a foundation based on the significance and historical transformation of work.

Importance of Work
Work as a basic necessity provides sustenance, but human work goes far beyond that. Our work plays a significant role in how we understand ourselves anthropologically and sociologically. Indeed Volf states, "work is indispensable for the survival and the well being of both individual human beings and the societies they live in, and it conditions their individual and social identity. As such, it is the basis of individual human life and of all human history."

Transformation of Work
Throughout most of human history, "The wisdom of a trade was passed virtually unchanged from generation to generation." Changes in the nature and character of work were subtle and spread of centuries. After industrialization, and further accelerated by the discovery of computer technology, work has been "revolutionized by increasing rapid technological development." Volf roughly divides the history of human work in industrialized nations into three consecutive eras; the agricultural era, the industrial era, and the information and service era. Dr. Volf shows how the nature of our work has significantly changed through these stages. Importantly, Dr. Volf shows how in preindustrial times, prior to machine production, the production of goods was the result of skilled crafts people.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. J. Bloor on May 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely helpful book. It begins the exploration of work as Charisma and the ethical dimensions of work when it comes to humanity, the environment etc. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a Theology of Work or is looking at understanding how to live out the Christian faith in the world.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ado on February 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To fulfil his destiny, man is asked to make of himself what he is supposed to become.
--Paul Tillich

What, if not work, is today's society gravitational center? It has become either an idol before whom many vow in search of meaning and self-value, or an unavoidable necessary evil that sets itself merely as a means to leisure. In a better scenario--whether in its Protestant or secularized outlook--work is understood as a `vocation' to fulfill. In critical discussion with Luther, Smith, and Marx whose views on work have survived well into our day, Miroslav Volf, back then Professor of Systematics at the Croatian Evangelical-Theological Faculty, challenges such understandings. The six chapters of his book published in 1991 lead him to uphold work as an enjoyable, good, and God-intended humanizing task which both advances creation and anticipates its final consummation.
Influenced by his former mentor Jürgen Moltmann's `hope-centered' theology, it is not surprising to find Volf proposing a `charismatic' theology of work grounded in the `new creation.' Because work is integral to life and living the Christian life means for Christ to live in a person through his Spirit, work is to be done in the Spirit (cf. 141; Rom. 8:4; Gal. 5:16ff). Thus the thrust of the book is marked by spelling out the implications of an inaugurated eschatology heavily drenched in the Spirit's ever-new activity--in his view, two aspects overlooked in previous scholarship which until then had been mostly focused on work ethics. In Volf's perception, furthermore, his book is needed because the narrow `vocational' paradigm for understanding work in Protestant theology is outdated for today's society, and flawed as it elevates the mundane to the level of gospel making it immune to prophetic critique.
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