Dr Lincoln Harvey has managed to do something quite remarkable here: this book is at once historical and constructive; academic and accessible; detailed and concise; systematic and practical. It is good to see serious work done on theology and sport, and this book is a fine example of what serious theology about contemporary issues should look like.
Professor of Historical and Doctrinal Theology
Aberdeen University, UK
With lively prose, conceptual clarity and a deep affection for the subject matter, Harvey kicks off an important conversation about how theologically we should make sense of – and order our love in relation to – a central cultural phenomenon of our times: sport. Wonderfully insightful, historically rich and theologically punchy, this is vital reading for anyone who plays, watches or is utterly bemused by the world of sport.
Associate Professor of Theological Ethics and Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics
Duke University, USA
Sport, says Lincoln Harvey, is only for sport. But A Brief Theology of Sport is about much more than sport…. In winsome fashion it advances a conversation that is much needed and a thesis that deserves a response.
Professor of Christian Thought and Kennedy Smith Chair in Catholic Studies
McGill University, CA
Lincoln Harvey is a soccer fan, and one of the most besotted sort, a supporter of Arsenal. What as a Christian should he make of the hours spent absorbed in an activity that does nothing but itself? I give away only a hint of his profound proposal by citing a chapter title: “A Liturgical Celebration of Contingency”. This is high flying theology that manages to be a good read – not a common achievement.
Robert W. Jenson,
Formerly Senior Scholar for Research at the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, USA
Professor Emeritus of Religion, St. Olaf College, Minnesota, USA
A Brief Theology of Sport sweeps across the fields of church history, philosophy and Christian doctrine to draw the reader into its creative vision of sport. The book begins with an examination of how the Church approached sport in the past, before turning to consider sport on the basis of the divine act of creation. In doing so, Harvey is able to distinguish sport from all other human activities, identifying it as a set-aside sphere in which the unnecessary-but-meaningful nature of life is celebrated. This constructive proposal is used to shed light on a wide range of issues in sport, including the role of competition, professionalization and celebrity culture today. As such, A Brief Theology of Sport constitutes a significant contribution to our understanding of the value of sport in human life. No one who reads this book will look at sport in the same way again.