Vision, Mental Imagery and the Christian Life : Insights from Science and Scripture book cover
1st Edition

Vision, Mental Imagery and the Christian Life
Insights from Science and Scripture

ISBN 9781138478336
Published July 9, 2019 by Routledge
230 Pages

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Book Description

This book uniquely explores how the notion of vision is presented in modern science and the Bible, and how it can be applied to contemporary Christian contexts. The word "vision", our ability to see, has been described by an increasing body of scholarship in the social sciences as our capacity for mental imagery and imagination. As such, this unique cognitive capability has been utilised in many fields for a variety of purposes, from arts and psychotherapy to politics and business management, and even for performance enhancement in sports.

The current book argues that a better understanding of vision can have far-reaching practical implications for Christian life and ministry by helping people to align themselves with God’s specific purposes. After a theoretical overview that integrates scientific and theological insights, the final chapters present a variety of strategies that can help believers to discern God’s call through the use of mental imagery and then to develop and cultivate the perceived vision.

The book examines the scientific and biblical principles of vision in a comprehensive manner, with a special emphasis on the practical implications of the issue. As such, it will be of great interest to scholars of Theology, Biblical Studies and Church Growth/Leadership, as well as Organisational Behaviour, Business Management and Psychology.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Nature and Significance of Vision

1. Vision and mental imagery in science

2. Applications of Vision in the Social Sciences

3. Vision in Scripture

4. The Essence of Biblical Vision

5. The Vulnerability and Authentication of Divine Vision

6. Cultivated Vision, Ignatian Spirituality and Vision-led Ministry

7. Vision in the Christian life I: Discerning God’s Call

8. Vision in the Christian Life II: Cultivating the Perceived Vision

Conclusion: Becoming a “Visionary” Christian


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Zoltán Dörnyei is Professor of Psycholinguistics in the School of English, University of Nottingham (UK). During the past three decades he has published over 100 academic papers and 25 books on various aspects of the psychology of second language acquisition. Parallel to his main job, Zoltán has also undertaken training in theology: he obtained an MA in biblical interpretation and a second PhD in Theology at Durham University (UK). His publications in this area include Christian Faith and English Language Teaching and Learning (2013, New York: Routledge; with M. Wong and C. Kristjánsson) and Progressive Creation and the Struggles of Humanity in the Bible: A Canonical Narrative Interpretation (2018, Eugene, OR: Pickwick).


"Zoltán Dörnyei is one of the most formidable researchers I know. In this characteristically fascinating book he traverses a number of usually distinct intellectual worlds to offer us an account of vision which is rich, inspiring and also practical. I can think of no one else who could bring together neuro-science, social science, business and theology into a work so useful and interesting as this one."

Karen Kilby, Bede Professor of Catholic Theology, Durham University, UK

"In this book, Zoltán Dörnyei offers a masterful multifaceted exploration of vision through the prism of his cross-disciplinary expertise in science and theology. Substantial, insightful, and practice oriented, this seminal work is essential reading for anyone wanting to more fully understand and experience the power of vision in Christian life and ministry."

Carolyn Kristjánsson, PhD, CEC, Trinity Western University, Canada

"We are living in times when many people, both individually and collectively, are seeking purpose in their lives and are longing to discern a vision for a more hopeful future. By bringing together two distinctive lines of inquiry across the social sciences and theology, this book represents a new kind of scholarship, one that reaches imaginatively across these disciplines while at the same time offering concrete practical proposals to any community compelled to respond to vision in action."

Maggie Kubanyiova, Professor of Language Education, University of Leeds, UK