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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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Incarnation in the Age of the Buffered, Commodified Self

Incarnation in the Age of the Buffered, Commodified Self

(p.101) Chapter 6 Incarnation in the Age of the Buffered, Commodified Self
Questioning the Human

Anthony J. Godzieba

Fordham University Press

This chapter proposes a retrieval of personhood by reflecting on it in light of cultural developments in which the human person is considered a “buffered self” (Charles Taylor), fragmented, secularized, and fully immersed in consumer culture. Systematic theologian Anthony J. Godzieba introduces the claim of American cultural critic Chris Hedges that we not only are living our lives as consumers but find our lives measured over against a commodified celebrity culture that denigrates ordinary life and narrates “authenticity” in terms of material consumption and success. Christian anthropology has largely ignored this capitalist formatting of contemporary experience. Theological anthropology must tackle these philosophical, social, and cultural presuppositions directly if it is to speak with any sort of productive force in the twenty-first century in a context where – for instance – notions such as grace and salvation have become literally unthinkable. Godzieba argues that Catholicism’s incarnational and sacramental imagination, with its emphasis on embodiment and particularity, can be a resource for crafting an anthropology that resists the reductionism of the mainstream narrative and makes grace thinkable again.

Keywords:   Secularization, Consumer culture, Incarnation, Sacramental imagination, Grace, Salvation

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