Conversation, Friendship and Transformation : Contemporary and Medieval Voices in a Theology of Discourse book cover
1st Edition

Conversation, Friendship and Transformation
Contemporary and Medieval Voices in a Theology of Discourse

ISBN 9780367595609
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
192 Pages

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Book Description

Conversation is the central spiritual exercise in philosophical and theological reflection on language and love. Groundbreaking in its interdisciplinary approach, Conversation, Friendship and Transformation invites readers to an exploration of theological reflection on conversation and friendship as transformative ways of knowing self, others and God. Contemporary contributions in the areas of rhetorical theory, friendship studies, and gender collaboration provide a fruitful lens through which conversation as discourse may be understood as a pathway for theological inquiry. Augustine’s De doctrina christiana and Confessions manifest a foundational example of reflection on the nature of language and love in the context of basic questions of Christianity and culture. Two texts from the medieval tradition are brought forth to confirm and develop Augustine’s contributions. The Letters of Heloise and Abelard have received substantial scholarly attention from the work of medievalists, historians and literary critics, but require more intentional theological reflection about the relation between the truths of the Christian faith and the collaborative participation of men and women. Thomas Aquinas’ discussion of oratio in the Summa Theologiae is presented for the first time as a pivotal treatise in this profoundly influential text in the history of Western thought.

Table of Contents

Introduction by David Burrell, C.S.C.

1 Exercises in Conversation: Revisioning and Retrieval

2 Contemporary Invitations to a Theology of Discourse

3 Augustine’s Semiotics of Creation and Revelation as Primary Spiritual Exercises

4 Exercises in Memory and Conversion in the Epistolary Discourse of Heloise and Abelard

5 Towards a Theology of Discourse in the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas


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Jennifer Constantine Jackson holds a Th.D. in systematic theology from Regis College and the University of Toronto. She is currently chairperson of the Theology and Religious Studies Department at Rosemont College and serves on the internal board of Rosemont’s Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility. Publications include ‘Sapienter amare poterimus: On Rhetoric and Friendship in the Letters of Heloise and Abelard’ in Friendship in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age: Explorations of a Fundamental Ethical Discourse (2011). Her research areas are: Aquinas studies, rhetorical theology, and theological anthropology.


"Ultimately, Jackson mounts a persuassive invitation to re-vision theology as friendship, rigorously understood and lived, in the intrinsically cruciform exercise of our conversation with God and our human neighbors." -- Nathan Lefler, University of Scranton

"Ambitious, highly scholarly, and truly innovative [...] a remarkable achievement."

Paul J. Wadell, St. Norbert College