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Questioning the HumanToward a Theological Anthropology for the Twenty-First Century$
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Lieven Boeve, Yves De Maeseneer, and Ellen Van Stichel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257522

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257522.001.0001

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Turtles All The Way Down?: Pressing Questions for Theological Anthropology in the Twenty-First Century

Turtles All The Way Down?: Pressing Questions for Theological Anthropology in the Twenty-First Century

Chapter:
(p.183) Turtles All The Way Down?: Pressing Questions for Theological Anthropology in the Twenty-First Century
Source:
Questioning the Human
Author(s):

David G. Kirchhoffer

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823257522.003.0012

With a challenging title, based on an anecdote about a dialogue between a scientist/philosopher and a lady on the structure of the universe, David Kirchhoffer proposes that the insight that human beings are the world (rather than merely live in the world) should be our starting point for reflections on theological anthropology. Relationality thus being the key-word for an up-to-date theological anthropology, this chapter discusses the main challenges that such an anthropology faces: first, anthropocentrism (challenged by the ecological crises, the debate on who counts as a person and technology); second, historicity (as introduced by social-constructivism and as taken more seriously in the Christian tradition in recent decades); third, vulnerability (as a morally neutral consequence of our interdependency); and finally, language (as a means to engage with diverse discourses ranging from art through to philosophy,business and cognitive neuropsychology). More than claiming to know the solutions for these different challenges, Kirchhoffer rather encourages theologians to further reflect on them and the way they are discussed in theological and other discourses with a necessary (self-)critical epistemological suspicion. For only in this way will we arrive at a relevant theological discourse on what human beings are, and be a legitimate dialogue partner for other discourses.

Keywords:   Theological anthropology, Relationality, Historicity, Vulnerability, Anthropocentrism, Language

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