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The Heart Set Free: Sin and Redemption in the Gospels, Augustine, Dante, and Flannery O'Connor Paperback – May 10, 2005

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"Kim Paffenroth¹s little gem of a book sparkles with insight into nearly everything that matters, whether for ill or for good*lust and love, ambition, and humility, self-deceit and self-surrender, revenge, and reconciliation. For Christians and others wanting to deepen their spiritual life, it provides a fine introductory guide to the parables of Jesus, St. Augustine¹s Confessions, Dante¹s Divine Comedy, and Flannery O¹Connor¹s fiction." -Ralph C. Wood, University Professor of Theology and Literature, Baylor University

"The Heart Set Free is a splendid book, a fine companion volume to Kim Paffenroth's recent In Praise of Wisdom. With loving attentiveness and scholarly collegiality, he gleans wisdom from four Christian 'classics': the Gospels, Augustine's Confessions, Dante's Commedia, and the stories of Flannery O'Connor. Each chapter deepened my appreciation and understanding of these works. Most importantly, this book will help its reader to find ways to liive out forgiveness, humility, love, and radical grace celebrated in each of these classics." —Paul J. Contino, Associate Professor of Great Books, Pepperdine University (Paul Contino)

"In this delightfulbook, Paffenroth looks at the writings and teachings of Jesus and three greatChristian authors. Instead of a general survey, however, the author discusseshow each identifies and analyzes two particular sins, including their roots andeffects, as well as the virtues that heal them...It is a bracing, welcome littlebook. Notes placed at the end of chapters are themselves fascinating and wouldserve better as footnotes, and the bibliographies are also helpful. Because ofPaffenroth's comparative approach, this study will be of interest primarily toreaders who enjoy any of all of these four authors."- Daniel Boice, Catholic Library World, December 2005 (Catholic Library World)

'Each chapter of The Heart Set Free aims at producing such wisdom in its readers, and in this aim, Paffenroth may number himself in the company of the evangelists, Augustine, Dante, and O'Connor.'
~ Scott Huelin, Valparaiso University, Christianity and Literature, Vol 55, No. 4, 2006


"Kim Paffenroth¹s little gem of a book sparkles with insight into nearly everything that matters, whether for ill or for good*lust and love, ambition, and humility, self-deceit and self-surrender, revenge, and reconciliation. For Christians and others wanting to deepen their spiritual life, it provides a fine introductory guide to the parables of Jesus, St. Augustine¹s Confessions, Dante¹s Divine Comedy, and Flannery O¹Connor¹s fiction." -Ralph C. Wood, University Professor of Theology and Literature, Baylor University

"The Heart Set Free is a splendid book, a fine companion volume to Kim Paffenroth's recent In Praise of Wisdom. With loving attentiveness and scholarly collegiality, he gleans wisdom from four Christian 'classics': the Gospels, Augustine's Confessions, Dante's Commedia, and the stories of Flannery O'Connor. Each chapter deepened my appreciation and understanding of these works. Most importantly, this book will help its reader to find ways to liive out forgiveness, humility, love, and radical grace celebrated in each of these classics." —Paul J. Contino, Associate Professor of Great Books, Pepperdine University (Sanford Lakoff)

“In this delightfulbook, Paffenroth looks at the writings and teachings of Jesus and three greatChristian authors. Instead of a general survey, however, the author discusseshow each identifies and analyzes two particular sins, including their roots andeffects, as well as the virtues that heal them…It is a bracing, welcome littlebook. Notes placed at the end of chapters are themselves fascinating and wouldserve better as footnotes, and the bibliographies are also helpful. Because ofPaffenroth’s comparative approach, this study will be of interest primarily toreaders who enjoy any of all of these four authors.”- Daniel Boice, Catholic Library World, December 2005 (Catholic Library World)

About the Author

Kim Paffenroth is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; annotated edition edition (May 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826416136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826416131
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
In Christian experience, one of the central themes recurring over time and in the attendant literature has been sin and redemption. From this book by Kim Paffenroth, 'The Heart Set Free', one sees selected snapshots of this issues from the Gospels (first/second century), Augustine (fourth/fifth century), Dante (thirteen/fourteenth century), and Flannery O'Connor (twentieth century). According to Paffenroth, 'these thinkers offer timeless criticisms of four of the greatest and most flawed societies of all time - Israel, Rome, medieval Europe, and America - and they do so in a way that raises their critiques out f the particular historical context and renders them relevant today.' Paffenroth's method is explained in the preface - each figure is contained in a chapter, with two particular sins highlighted, and two actions that can be redemptive. Then for each, Paffenroth highlights three specific texts and does a directed study including reflection and prayer. This includes both an academic and spiritual element to the writing, in combination in such a way that makes this text useful for classroom, congregational and small group study.

The chapter on the Gospels looks at the sins of revenge and arrogance. These are sins recurrent in today's society, and Paffenroth choses the texts of Matthew 5 (love your enemies), Mark 10 (the request of James and John to sit at Jesus' right and left hand), and Luke 4 (the proclamation of the Acceptable Year of the Lord). Paffenroth draws on various means of textual analysis and spiritual analysis, including interfaith dialogue. For example, the idea of service being an antithesis to arrogance is one that occurs in other religions, too.
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