Skip to main content

Bible and the Body, The

Ignoring the body-in Pauline language, keeping the body under-has been part of the Western intellectual tradition. The body has often been seen as the origin of transgressive impulses that have threatened the knowledge project. The body has been the recalcitrant servant of the self.The Hebrew body is different. The language of the body in the biblical texts suggests a perception of a self that is embodied, the body being the site of the self’s experience and identity. Bultmann’s dictum, that ’man’ does not have a body, but is a body, may be as true for the Hebrew Bible as for the New Testament. Is this to do with the structure of the honour/shame cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world, which are constituted by a ’politics of reputation’ (David Cohen), where status is accorded by the perception of a man (sic) in the public eye?But there is an intriguing minority of texts that hint at a variant construction of the body, where the body is disjoined from the self, a nod towards a Cartesian dichotomy of body and mind.

Author(s):  Clines, David J. A.
Format:  Presentation
Date:  2001