Christian Body, Christian Self

edited by Clare K. Rothschild and Trevor W. Thompson

Early Christian texts are replete with the language of body and self. Clearly, such concepts were important to their authors and audiences. Yet usage rarely makes sense across texts. Despite attempts to establish a single biblical or Christian vision of either body or self across texts, the evidence demonstrates plurality of opinion; and, reception history multiplies interpretations. Depending upon the particular anthropological-philosophical paradigm of the interpreter (e.g., Platonic, Cartesian), Christian texts reflect a number of views about the body and self. Today, scholarship on these concepts advances in many different directions. In addition to sophisticated new methods of drawing history-of-religions comparisons, scholars place early Christian texts in conversation with philosophy, psychology, political science, and developments in the hard sciences — in particular the neurosciences, sometimes all but doing away with the notion of self. Recent studies and monographs focus on the disabled body, the gendered body, the slave body, the martyr’s body, relevance of ancient scientific and medical treatises for understanding the body, the asexual body/self, embodied knowledge, the suffering self, and religion and the self. The essays in this volume individually and collectively participate in these ongoing discussions. They do not proceed with a uniform notion of either self or body, but recognize competition on the topics, ably captured by the variety of approaches to their meaning in antiquity and today, and offer nuanced analyses of texts and passages, highlighting individual perceptions of these crucial yet enigmatic concepts.

Survey of contents:

I. Introduction
Clare K. Rothschild and Trevor W. Thompson: Status quaestionis: Christian Body, Christian Self

II. Jewish Literature
Karina Martin Hogan: The Mortal Body and the Earth in Ben Sira and the Book of the Watchers
Matthew Goff: Being Fleshly or Spiritual: Anthropological Reflection and Exegesis of Genesis 1:3 in 4QInstruction and First Corinthians
Alec J. Lucas: Distinct Portraits and Parallel Development of the Knowledge of God in Romans 1:18-32 and Wisdom of Solomon 13:15

III. Pauline Literature
Troels Engberg-Pedersen: A Stoic Concept of the Person in Paul? From Galatians 5:17 to Romans 7:14-25
Stefan Krauter: Is Romans 7:7-13 about akrasia?

IV. Canonical Gospels and Acts
Martin Meiser: Anthropologie im Markusevangelium

V. Extra-Canonical Gospels and Acts
Manfred Lang: The Christian and the Roman Self: The Lukan Paul and a Roman Reading
Troy W. Martin: Clarifying a Curiosity: The Plural Bloods (αἱμάτων) in John 1:13
Richard I. Pervo: Identification Please: Aspects of Identity in Ancient Narrative
Janet E. Spittler: The Anthropology of the Acts of Thomas
Romulus D. Stefanut: From Logos to Mythos: The Apocalypse of Paul and Plato’s Phaedo in Dialogue
Robert Matthew Calhoun: The Resurrection of the Flesh in 3 Corinthians

VI. Later Witnesses

Annette Bourland Huizenga: Epitomizing Virtue: Clothing the Christian Woman’s Body
David Konstan: Torture and Identity: Paganism, Christianity, and Beyond
Fritz Graf: Apollo, Possession, and Prophecy

VII. History of Interpretation
John R. Levison: Assessing the Origins of Modern Pneumatology: The Life and Legacy of Hermann Gunkel