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The Revelatory Body
Theology as Inductive Art
HARDCOVER; Published: 8/23/2015
ISBN: 978-0-8028-0383-2
Price: $ 25.99
256 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Argues that theology can respond faithfully to the living God only by paying due attention to human bodily experience

Scripture points to the human body and lived experience as the preeminent arena of God's continuing revelation in the world, says Luke Timothy Johnson. Attentively discerning the manifestations of God's Spirit in and through the body is essential for theology to recover its nature as an inductive art rather than — as traditionally conceived — a deductive science.

Willingness to risk engaging actual human situations — as opposed to abstract conceptualizations of those situations — is required of the theologian, Johnson argues. He celebrates the intimations of divine presence and power in such human experiences as play, pain, pleasure, work, and aging, showing how theology can respond faithfully to the living God only by paying due attention to human bodily experience.

Read an excerpt from this book on EerdWord.
"Readers will come away from this book with some lasting impressions of a scholar of deep faith and compassion seriously trying to re-engage secular society, both in endorsement and in critique."
Walter Brueggemann
— Columbia Theological Seminary
"Fully conversant with the rich, thick theological tradition, Luke Timothy Johnson has probed deeply into Scripture and has made exquisite connections between Scripture and the lived reality of the human body. This book in a most accessible way exhibits Johnson's deep learning, the largeness of his spirit, and the generosity of his theological sensibility. . . . To write such a book requires a lifetime of awareness, to the great benefit of readers."
Amy Plantinga Pauw
— Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
"By turns personal and scholarly, Johnson's winsome book invites readers to ponder the work of the living God in common experiences of bodily life. Here is biblical and theological reflection that discovers the revelatory in the ordinary!"
Elizabeth Johnson
— Fordham University
"This beautiful book focuses like a laser on a theology of the body in the concrete. Laced with deep knowledge of Scripture and salted with personal experience, it makes the interesting case that the movement of God's Spirit is expressed not only grandly in public events but also simply through events of the body. The human body — at play, in pain or pleasure, at work, being exceptional, aging — is a locus of divine revelation, and theology would do well to begin from that place. . . . Truly a gift from a wise elder."
David Kelsey
— Yale Divinity School
"The arena in which God is preeminently revealed in the world is not some disembodied `spiritual' experience but ordinary, everyday human bodily experience. That is Luke Johnson's bold and fresh theme in this graceful, passionate, plainly readable, down-to-earth book. He keeps the discussion concrete by exploring that theme in a chapter each on the ambiguous mix of joy and suffering in bodily experiences of play, pain, passion, work, and aging. This is a book for all of life's seasons."
"Should be read by anyone wearied by the stilted and sterile ruminations of the deductive 'theology of the body' now taught in many seminaries and dioceses. Graciously written, The Revelatory Body opens a door to a better body theology."
The Presbyterian Outlook
"An extraordinary collection of essays by a first-rate scholar and theologian."