Thursday, November 03, 2005

Radical Orthodoxy and JPII's Theology of the Body

I've finally gotten around to reading James K.A. Smith's Introducing Radical Orthodoxy, and it's really an exciting read, especially for anyone favorable towards the ressourcement school of Catholic theology.

There are all sorts of quotes from the book I've thought about posting, but one in particular finally got me to the keyboard; it is as follows:
    Contemporary scholarship in a plurality of fields has demonstrated that how we think about the body has a direct impact on our politics and our construction of social reality. In other words, dualistic understandings that devalue embodiment often give rise to totalitarian organizations of social arrangements. Further, such dualistic devaluations of the body are reductionistic, producing notions of being human that are driven by factors that consider many aspects of embodiment unnecessary or at least merely supplemental. (104)
As one might infer from the title of this post, this passage reminded me of John Paul II's Theology of the Body project, which -- among other things -- stresses the importance, significance, and implications of our embodiedness for our understanding of the human person and human society. It reminds me as well of Robert George's outstanding article, "A Clash of Orthodoxies", in which George outlines how a dualistic understanding of the human person is at the heart of secularism's moral errors.

As George, Smith, and JPII demonstrate(d), getting our understanding of what it mean to be human has profound implications.

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