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Body Parts

Body Parts: A Theological Anthropology

Author: 
Michelle Voss Roberts (Author)
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Description

Christians have traditionally claimed that humans are created in the image of God (imago Dei), but they have consistently defined that image in ways that exclude people from full humanity. The most well-known definition locates the image in the rational soul, which is constructed in such a way that women, children, and many persons with disabilities are found deficient. Body Parts claims the importance of embodiment, difference, and limitation—not only as descriptions of the human condition but also as part of the imago Dei itself.

This thesis is inspired by a parallel claim in an Indian tradition that posits the reflection of the divine body in humanity. Its thirty-six parts invite Christians to consider how consciousness, limitations, mental and emotional capacities, organs of sensation and action, and elements are reflections of divinity. Each chapter pursues openings in the Christian theological tradition in order to imagine these sets of “body parts” as the image of God.

ISBN: 
9781506418568
Price: 
$29.00
ISBN: 
9781506418575
Release date: 
December 1, 2017
Pages: 
232
Width: 
6
Height: 
9

Contents

Preface

1. Introduction

2. The Conscious Body

3. The Limited Body (Part 1)

4. The Limited Body (Part 2)

5. The Subjective Body

6. The Engaged Body

7. The Elemental Body

Epilogue: The Eschatological Body

Bibliography

Index

Endorsements

Don't miss this book.

“Once again, Michelle Voss Roberts has given us a well-crafted example of how to do Christian theology by means of a careful study of another religious tradition. She reflects on the meaning of humankind as created in the image of God in light of Hindu teachings on the body. This book is not only an important contribution to comparative theology, but also to the theology of disability. Her reflections on disability in light of Hindu teachings on the body lead her to insights into God, cosmology, justice, gender, and sacraments. Voss Roberts is a theologian's theologian. Her insights into the meaning of Christian faith are propelled not only by her knowledge of Hindu teachings and practices, but also her considerable skills in the classroom and the depth of her own practice of Christian faith. This book rises out of the author's experience of doing theology in the classroom and is recommended for both undergraduates and graduate students alike. Don't miss this book.”

James L. Fredericks | Loyola Marymount University

Michelle Voss Roberts has written an engaging re-interpretation of the Christian concept of the imago Dei

“Michelle Voss Roberts has written an engaging re-interpretation of the Christian concept of the imago Dei, with particular attention to issues of physicality and disability.  Using a comparative methodology, she brings Abhinavagupta’s interpretation of non-dual Saivism to bear on human corporality and relationality, opening up new avenues for constructive thinking that offer a  more welcoming, diverse imagination of how humans embody God’s image, seen here as a “multifaceted jewel,” with “innumerable scintillating shards of colored light.”

Kristin Johnston Largen | United Lutheran Seminary

This scholarly but accessible volume will doubtlessly spark meaningful and engaged classroom discussion

“Michelle Voss Roberts has crafted a remarkable text here, weaving together Christian and Hindu understandings of the self and of the divine in ways that not only lead to better understandings of each tradition but that also fearlessly take on some of the most challenging issues in theological anthropology.  This scholarly but accessible volume will doubtlessly spark meaningful and engaged classroom discussion; it is also valuable for those of us who seek nuanced understandings of the embodied self that attend to vulnerability and interdependence. This volume is especially relevant and important in our current age, particularly insofar as it affirms the beauty of difference and the necessity of multiplicity."

Deborah Beth Creamer | The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada

Body Parts is blessed with an accessible and conversational tone throughout. It will be a valued resource in seminary and college classrooms.

Body Parts skillfully combines Christian theological learning with deep sensitivity to the human condition, to create a rich and sensitive perspective on the fundamental yet often misunderstood reality of human embodiment. Voss Roberts draws on Christian sources — ably nuanced through her reading of Saiva Hindu traditions — to reflect wisely on the wondrous yet always fragile unity of body and soul that makes us who we are, and to chart a course for how we might better flourish as individuals and in community. Inspired by her teaching and classroom conversations, Body Parts is blessed with an accessible and conversational tone throughout. It will be a valued resource in seminary and college classrooms.”

Francis X. Clooney, SJ, | Parkman Professor of Divinity, Harvard University

Both Christian and more than Christian, this book teaches us to accept all of God’s world.

“Human beings are embodied, hence finite, limited, vulnerable.  Could those very limits be reflections of the divine?  Voss Roberts’ use of Hindu as well as Christian ideas enables her to probe this question with unprecedented attention to the diversity of bodies and their aspects or ‘parts.’  Both Christian and more than Christian, this book teaches us to accept all of God’s world.”

Jerry Martin | Founding Chairman, Theology Without Walls and Past Chair, National Endowment for the Humanities