Dissertation

Questions about the nature of embodied human life have occupied our thoughts from antiquity to the present. Contemporary scientific advance sheds constant new light on our understanding of the body, its composition, and its processes. Each new discovery raises fresh questions with regard to the many religious, theological, and philosophical attitudes toward embodied life. Among those thinkers who have had significant impact on our understanding of embodiment is the apostle Paul. Indeed, his influence on views of the body in Western civilization in the common era is difficult to overstate. In light of these considerations, my research focuses on the intersection of Pauline anthropology, eschatology, and ethics by exploring (1) the relationship in Paul's thought between his belief in the future resurrection of the body and his expectations for bodily practice among believers in the present, (2) attitudes toward the body in the world of Paul and his hearers that might have influenced his understanding of the relationship between bodily resurrection and bodily practice, and (3) the way in which Paul's social setting and his persuasive goals might shed light on his thinking about resurrection and practice. Given that embodied life is necessarily social and that Paul's letters are intended to persuade, my research looks at the relevant issues through the lenses of the social sciences and rhetorical studies.