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Carnal Hermeneutics$
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Richard Kearney and Brian Treanor

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823265886

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823265886.001.0001

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On the Flesh of the Word

On the Flesh of the Word

Incarnational Hermeneutics

(p.306) On the Flesh of the Word
Carnal Hermeneutics

John Panteleimon Manoussakis

Fordham University Press

This chapter reflects on the claim central to all Christian confessions: the Word became Flesh. The author claims that there has been a long tradition of misreading that has caused us to think in terms of spiritualizing the flesh rather than the incarnation of the spirit. This misappropriation is evident in the marginalization of the Eucharist in Christian spirituality. The author offers a detailed and original reading of St. Augustine’s Confessions as an exemplary text of carnal hermeneutics, in which he finds a “conversion of the flesh” alongside the more well known “conversion of the mind” and “conversion of the heart.” This overlooked conversion is evident in: Augustine’s reversal of the traditional sensory hierarchy, giving primacy to touch; in the use of the parable of the prodigal son to emphasize the flesh; and in the extended use of language associated with hunger, eating, and feasting.

Keywords:   Eucharist, Confessions, St. Augustine, Touch, Flesh, Conversion

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