Sex, Flesh, God: Towards a Theology of Carnal Life

Wesley Hill at Marginalia Review:

To put it mildly, Christianity has a complicated relationship with flesh. The same Paul who declared the Lord’s ownership of the body also bequeathed to subsequent Christian history a disdain for physicality through his—misunderstood, as most interpreters now think, but no less influential for being so—sharp contrast between the life of the flesh and the new life bestowed by and in the Spirit of Jesus. Stark affirmations such as the one he wrote to the Corinthians—“flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”—at minimum lent confidence to later Christian denigrators of the body who imagined salvation as an escape from fleshly imprisonment and, at maximum, convinced generations of Christians that following Jesus ought to entail hating the body.

So it should come as no surprise that one of our most brilliantly creative theologians currently writing in English has turned his attention to the topic of the flesh. That phrase “writing in English” is one I’m intentionally foregrounding, because Paul Griffiths in Christian Flesh tells us at the outset that that is his aim. “Most Catholic theologians,” he laments, “aren’t very good at theology and aren’t very good at English.”

more here.

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