Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?

Current Issues in Theology

Book 3
Cambridge University Press
Free sample

Are humans composed of a body and a nonmaterial mind or soul, or are we purely physical beings? Opinion is sharply divided over this issue. In this clear and concise book, Nancey Murphy argues for a physicalist account, but one that does not diminish traditional views of humans as rational, moral, and capable of relating to God. This position is motivated not only by developments in science and philosophy, but also by biblical studies and Christian theology. The reader is invited to appreciate the ways in which organisms are more than the sum of their parts. That higher human capacities such as morality, free will, and religious awareness emerge from our neurobiological complexity and develop through our relation to others, to our cultural inheritance, and, most importantly, to God. Murphy addresses the questions of human uniqueness, religious experience, and personal identity before and after bodily resurrection.
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About the author

Nancey Murphy is Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary. She is an internationally known author and speaker in the field of religion and science.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Jan 12, 2006
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Pages
149
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ISBN
9781139448963
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Movements / General
Psychology / Physiological Psychology
Religion / Christian Theology / General
Religion / Theology
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
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This content is DRM protected.
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 This book is based on contributions made to an international conference held in the Pontifical Gregorian University and presents reflections of authors from all five continents. The conference was held to acknowledge the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II, noting that during this time Lonergan was a professor at the Gregorian.

The reference to “rediscovering Lonergan” in the title stems from a conviction that there is much in Lonergan’s thought that remains relevant to the globalizing world of today and that continues to be important for implementing Vatican II.

The reference to anthropology in the title emerges from a conviction that philosophical and theological anthropology is central to the thought of Lonergan and, at the same time, that it is often the “issue underlying the issues” in debates today both within the Church and in society at large.

The book has a three-fold structure, which echoes the structure of the conference on which it is based. Part 1 explores the anthropology of Lonergan in depth and the method that emerges from it. Part 2 explores three key areas of application: interreligious dialogue; an interdisciplinary approach to the social sciences; and the ethos of Catholic universities. Part 3 presents short summaries of workshops that were held during the conference, where participants describe how they are implementing Lonergan’s method. It concludes with by comments on overlaps between the thought of Lonergan and the pastoral vision of Pope Francis.

Reinhold Niebuhr was a twentieth-century American theologian who was known for his commentary on public affairs. One of his most influential ideas was the relating of his Christian faith to realism rather than idealism in foreign affairs. His perspective influenced many liberals and is enjoying a resurgence today; most recently Barack Obama has acknowledged Niebuhr’s importance to his own thinking.

In this book, Kenneth Hamilton makes a claim that no other work on Niebuhr has made—that Niebuhr’s chief and abiding preoccupation throughout his long career was the nature of humankind. Hamilton engages in a close reading of Niebuhr’s entire oeuvre through this lens. He argues that this preoccupation remained consistent throughout Niebuhr’s writings, and that through his doctrine of humankind one gets a full sense of Niebuhr the theologian. Hamilton exposes not only the internal consistency of Niebuhr’s project but also its aporia. Although Niebuhr’s influence perhaps peaked in the mid-twentieth century, enthusiasm for his approach to religion and politics has never waned from the North American public theology, and this work remains relevant today.

Although Hamilton wrote this thesis in the mid-1960s it is published here for the first time. Jane Barter Moulaison, in her editorial gloss and introduction, demonstrates the abiding significance of Hamilton’s work to the study of Niebuhr by bringing it into conversation with subsequent writings on Niebuhr, particularly as he is re-appropriated by twenty-first-century American theology.

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