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Spiritual Songs and Biblical Wisdom

by Natasha Duquette

This essay proposes that distinctively Christian poetry (“psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs”) could provide compelling models for what Paul Moser has termed “Christ-Shaped Philosophy.”

In this brief space, I consider the aesthetic veiling of Biblical wisdom in poetic form, both in the special revelation of scripture and in the general revelation of post-Reformation British verse.

The poetry penned by Christ-shaped men and women, from George Herbert to Anna Barbauld, does not necessarily oppose the glimpses of truth conveyed through the argumentative prose of classical Greek philosophy or continental natural theology, but appeals more strongly to the heart as well as to the mind. It thus more closely follows the speech acts of Christ himself, and so could inform the style as well as practice of Christ-Shaped Philosophy.

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