Siria's Reviews > Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336

Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336 by Caroline Walker Bynum
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's review
Sep 28, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: history, european-history, nonfiction, religious-history
Read from September 27 to 28, 2011

I should state at the outset that I do not have the mind of a philosopher or theologian. I am never going to be able to expound on Tertullian or Origen, or debate Aristotelian thought or neoPlatonism. However, Bynum's writing is lucid enough that while I'm reading her, I mostly feel as if I do understand a theological argument—in the case of this book, the metaphors of bodily resurrection used in both the early Christian church and again in Western Christianity in the 12th and 13th centuries. She examines how theologians and mystics at the time understood identity, resurrection, the body, consciousness and change. Some of their preoccupations seem quite odd to a contemporary mindset—an awful lot of ink was spilled over how a cannibal who'd only ever eaten embryos could be resurrected, for example—but their underlying concern, that of the continuity of self, still resonates. Not a book to skim through, but still very interesting, and extremely well footnoted (though I wish there had been a proper bibliography!).

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09/27/2011 page 21
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