Heythrop College Publications

Howells, Edward (2015) Teresa of Avila’s theological reading of history: from her second conversion to the foundation of St. Joseph’s, Avila. In: O'Reilly, Terence, (ed.) St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), Writer, Mystic, Saint: An interdisciplinary conference to celebrate the quincentenaryof her birth, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road, Oxford, 27-28 March, 2015. Legenda Books. [Book section] (Forthcoming)

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    Abstract

    The chapter argues that Teresa of Avila provides a critical treatment of several connected issues: the relation of history and theology, of nature and grace, and of human activity in relation to the divine initiative. These questions arise first in Teresa’s response to what she regards as the direct intervention of God in ecstatic states which disorientate her. Her autobiography or Life can be read as an attempt to reconcile such interventions with the ordinary progress of human living, making a critical approach to these questions. Over time, Teresa develops her theoretical understanding, reaching a mature view only in her later Interior Castle. But the relation of human activity and divine intervention, once recognised in this work, can be seen taking shape in the narrative of the Life (if not in Teresa’s early treatment of union), and it enables us to tease out the careful relation between the divine and human partners that Teresa develops in moving, in the Life, from ecstatic states to her fully human work of reform. This is the period from her second conversion to the foundation of St. Joseph’s in Avila, which lies at the heart of the narrative. The divine and human elements are found to be both carefully distinguished and united in her treatment, revealing critical resources for understanding these focal questions of Christian enquiry.

    Item Type: Book section
    Department: Pastoral and Social Studies
    Depositing User: Vicky Rowley
    Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2016 16:00
    Last Modified: 01 Dec 2017 21:30
    URI: http://publications.heythrop.ac.uk/id/eprint/2328

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