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The Dangers of Christian Practice

Lauren Winner
Yale University Press, 2018, 230pp ., hbk

The Dangers of Christian Practice

This is a captivating read: Lauren Winner draws on a wealth of insight, and a variety of historical and liturgical exemplars, to illustrate her central thesis about Christian practices. That is, that they are themselves often deformed and impaired, just as much as any other human customs and symbolic traditioned actions, such that their effect can be lessened. However, Winner goes even further, to describe what she calls “characteristic damage”: that which is intrinsic to a thing, proper to it, and not merely incidental. As she puts it: ‘What I am after in this book are the damages done to, via, and by the agents of Christian practice, that are about the practices…It is the aim of this book to suggest that deformations of Christian practices are part of the practices themselves…’ (16)

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