Deep and wide study of 2,000 years of Christian thought on the human body
Does Christianity scorn our bodies? Friedrich Nietzsche thought so, and many others since him have thought the same. Ola Sigurdson contends, to the contrary, that Christianity — understood properly — in fact affirms human embodiment.
Presenting his constructive contributions to theology in relation to both historical and contemporary conceptions of the body, Sigurdson begins by investigating the anthropological implications of the doctrine of the incarnation. He then delves into the concept of the gaze and discusses a specifically Christian "gaze of faith" that focuses on God embodied in Jesus. Finally, he weaves these strands into a contemporary Christian theology of embodiment.
Sigurdson's profound engagement with the whole history of Christian life and thought not only elucidates the spectrum of Christian perspectives on the body but also models a way of thinking historically and systematically that other theologians will find stimulating and challenging.
Ola Sigurdson is professor of religious studies and systematic theology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
K. G. Hammar — former Archbishop of the Church of Sweden "Ola Sigurdson writes kaleidoscopically. When you think that you have gotten hold of the question at hand, he shakes his material and new perspectives emerge. This book deserves to become a classic. It is a mine where one can continually retrieve new material illuminating all the questions having to do with the body - and that seems to concern everything in heaven and on earth."
Anders Olsson — Stockholm University "A monumental work, extraordinarily learned and eminently accessible, even to a non-Christian reader such as myself."
Brian Brock — University of Aberdeen "This book has needed to be written for a long time now — a philosophically robust, historically informed, yet genuinely theological account of human embodiment. Ola Sigurdson offers us a gripping account of how the Christian confession of Christ's incarnation and our embodied condition reciprocally illumine each other. Masterful."
Werner G. Jeanrond — University of Oxford "Christian faith, hope, and love are always embodied — emerging neither solely from an individual body nor solely from a social body. Rather, our understanding of our body, our bodies, and their interrelations is never stable but is shifting, depending on our eschatological experiences of our emerging selves, our social embodiments, and our relationship to God's radical otherness. Sigurdson's impressive study offers compelling insights into our attempts to relate to our own complex embodiment as persons, communities, churches, and humanity. Seeing the body as the medium of communication for God's presence, Sigurdson presents a critical and superbly readable reexamination of Christian experiences and concepts of the body — human, divine, and incarnate."
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