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Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?


Part of Current Issues in Theology

  • Date Published: January 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521676762

£ 24.99

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About the Authors
  • Are humans composed of a body and a nonmaterial mind or soul, or are we purely physical beings? Opinion is sharply divided over this issue. In this clear and concise book, Nancey Murphy argues for a physicalist account, but one that does not diminish traditional views of humans as rational, moral, and capable of relating to God. This position is motivated not only by developments in science and philosophy, but also by biblical studies and Christian theology. The reader is invited to appreciate the ways in which organisms are more than the sum of their parts. That higher human capacities such as morality, free will, and religious awareness emerge from our neurobiological complexity and develop through our relation to others, to our cultural inheritance, and, most importantly, to God. Murphy addresses the questions of human uniqueness, religious experience, and personal identity before and after bodily resurrection.

    • Addresses human nature from the perspectives of philosophy, science, and Christian theology
    • Murphy defends a 'nonreductive physicalist' account of human nature
    • A valuable contribution to the science-theology dialogue
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '…a very clear and helpful overview of the ongoing question of whether humans are composed of a body and a nonmaterial soul or are purely physical beings … this book contains a great deal of sophisticated theology and science presented in a highly accessible form …' Theology

    '… [provides] a 'state of the art' assessment of pressing issues in theology. … a great deal of sophisticated theology and science presented in a highly accessible form and, as such will be very useful to theologians and churchpeople alike …' Theology

    Readers will find the breadth of this work its most useful characteristic. By offering such a survey Murphy alerts her readers to numerous facets and implications of thinking about human nature from within the Christian tradition, while critically drawing from scientific evidence and philosophical argumentation … All in all, this book will serve students and church professionals as an excellent introduction to contemporary issues surrounding theologically understanding human nature as neuroscientific portraits of humanness gain influence.' Scottish Journal of Theology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521676762
    • length: 166 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.22kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Do Christians need souls?: theological and biblical perspectives on human nature
    2. What does science say about human nature?: physics, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience
    3. Did my neurons make me do it?: reductionism, morality, and the problem of free will
    4. What are the philosophical challenges?: human distinctives, divine action, and personal identity.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Christian Anthropology
    • Souls
    • What is Humanity?
  • Author

    Nancey Murphy, Fuller Theological Seminary, California
    Nancey Murphy is Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary. She is an internationally known author and speaker in the field of religion and science.

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