Scholars of the social sciences have devoted increasing attention of late to the concept of human happiness, mainly from sociological and psychological perspectives. This groundbreaking volume, which includes twelve essays from scholars of the New Testament, the Old Testament, systematic theology, practical theology, and counseling psychology-along with an extensive introduction and epilogue by the editor-poses a new and exciting question: what is happiness according to the Bible? Informed by developments in positive psychology, the contributions explore representations of happiness throughout the Bible and demonstrate the ways in which they impinge upon both religious and secular understandings of happiness.
Brent A. Strawn is Associate Professor of Old Testament at the Candler School of Theology and Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University, where he is also affiliated with the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies and a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Law and Religion.
"These essays are from some of our most solid and respected scholars, who evidence great skill in moving from close textual work to more generalized conclusions...This is a welcome book, the only one of its kind in the discipline...This is a bold and compelling beginning of an important probe about faith and culture." --Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology
"This work, based on a 2009 conference at Emory University, is of high quality...This work is particularly valuable because little academic theological attention has been given to the topic. Also, it brings together insights from the Bible, theology, and psychology in unique, interesting ways." --CHOICE
"For some time the study of happiness has been flourishing in such disciplines as psychology, neurobiology, philosophy, and spirituality. But in biblical studies, happiness has not received the attention it deserves. This new work goes a long way toward filling the gap. In creative dialogue with the Positive Psychology movement, ten world-class biblical scholars, together with a systematic theologian, a professor of preaching, and a psychologist, have produced a collection of wide-ranging, insightful essays. The effective outcome is a biblical theology of happiness. Not only that: it is a joy to read."--Stephen C. Barton, author of Life Together: Family, Sexuality and Community in the New Testament and Today
"In light of Scripture's many words about enjoyment, goodness, and happiness, it is surprising how little attention has been given to the subject of happiness and its various elements and dimensions in the Bible. That hole is now filled with this comprehensive effort to engage Scripture, theology, and psychology in a conversation that lets us see how both human happiness and divine happiness are constantly explored in the Bible, not apart from the reality of sin and suffering and evil but in both present experience and expectation."--Patrick D. Miller, Charles T. Haley Professor of Old Testament Theology Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary