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Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-Dualism Debate Paperback – October 31, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (October 31, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802846009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802846006
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #790,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Kellemen on September 29, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cooper defends what he states has been the major view throughout church history: holistic dualism. By that term he means that human nature is of one substance with two primary modes of existence: body and soul inseparable in this life and the next. Cooper sees all other views of the nature of human nature as lacking biblical, theological, and historical support.

His study of Hebrews anthropological terms, while interesting, diminishes the conclusions of the classic work by H. W. Wolff. Though Wolfe would agree that there is great semantic overlap among the various terms, he expertly explains that the terms do have a semantic emphasis, and that we can develop a biblical anthropology from those terms. When all is said and done, Wolff's view might be called "Holistic polychotomy"--human nature is one nature with many functions, summarized as relational, rational, volitional, emotional, and physical.

Reviewer: Robert Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of "Biblical Psychology," "Soul Physicians," "Spiritual Friends," and "Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By G. Stucco on January 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
A must read on eschathology. Very well written, balanced, fair, not triumphalistic but cautious, yet firm in its conclusions. Bravo Cooper!

The author notices that absolute, metaphysical and anthropological dualism (Augustine, Calvin, Aquinas and Swinburne) has fallen on hard times due to the influence of Materialism (Hobbes), Behaviorism, Spinozism, Psychology (which tends to support epiphenomenalism), and some Theology (e.g., Cullman). Nowadays, it seems that the old antithesis of body/soul; mind/matter; this life/the otherworld, is coming under increasing criticism. Some theologians no longer believe in an intermediate state after death (a state between death and final resurrection), denying that it is possible for the "soul" to survive physical death as a conscious, living subsistent being. These theologians prefer to support either: a) soul sleep (also known as extinction/re-creation theory; or b) immediate resurrection, which claims that at death we are immediately resurrected in the presence of God. The anthropological view advocated by these theologians is known as "ontological holism." Aristotle for instance, did not believe in immortality of the soul. Cooper does not agree with this view; in his book he examines the OT, the inter-testamental writings, the NT (in the Gospels, Pauline and non Pauline writings), to find evidence that supports the traditional Christian belief in an intermediate state after death. Himself no friend of metaphysical dualism, he proposes what he calls, "holistic dualism" or, to use another term, "functional holism." At the end of the book he considers six objections to his theory and concludes by citing the support that his theory has in traditional thinkers like Cobb, Pope John Paul II, Neo-Calvinism and Thomas Aquinas.
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35 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Micah Newman on October 16, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book wasn't quite what I expected. What I thought it would be is a thorough survey of Biblical anthropology--that is, human nature as presented in the Bible--and a philosophically-minded hermeneutics thereof to extract some data with respect to the mind/body and monism/dualism question. And it is that, sort of. But a more complete description of what it is is an opinionated quasi-screed against monism as the philosophical Zeitgeist of our age. The author has an agenda, and he minces no words furthering it. The thing is, this kind of book is just the thing that could always stand more word-mincing, so to speak. I have no problem with the author having an opinion on his chosen subject and being open about it, it's just that the tone of his particular approach comes out sounding to this reader like at least two parts rhetoric for every one part argumentation.

To begin the book, we're harangued repeatedly with the reminder that if traditional dualism is false, then almost all of Christendom has believed a fundamental falsehood about human nature. Then, the traditional dualist view is presented as under attack from all fronts in Christian scholarship and direly needing defending. This dichotomy sort of sets the tone for the rest of the book.

The OT portion of the book mainly analyzes the various uses of the Hebrew words "ruach" and "nephesh," especially with respect to Sheol. I found all this thoroughly confusing, but Cooper, from somewhere, pulls the conclusion that the data _in toto_ support his own "holistic dualist" view. Then there's a lot of space given to analyzing such language in the intertestamental Apocrypha, and I just did not find this of much interest, these works being noncanonical in the Protestant church.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Walker on March 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
Summary: A carefully written and researched defense of the traditional view of the soul over and against anthropological monism. Monism refers to the body and the soul being the same thing and dualism refers to the soul continuing to exist independently of an earthly body.

Under a variety of pressures, Christian scholars have been moving away from understanding the Bible to teach dualism in anthropology. In some circles dualism has become the supposed cause of almost all ills. The more academically palatable view is now monism.

Among Christians who have a high view of Scripture, the pressure comes from a concern to decouple biblical theology from Platonic or philosophical influences, an unfortunate confusion about proper inference and speculation in developing theological outcomes from the Bible, and confusing the historical literalism of Augustine and the Reformation with Spinoza’s literalism.

Among liberals the theological pressure includes a similar mix but also a bias towards materialism and against the supernatural. The materialistic bias is so ambient as to influence all parties.

Dr. Cooper shows that accepting monism requires jettisoning some biblical texts, heavy-handed interpretation of other texts, creating unique ad hoc explanations of the intermediate state (including immediate recreation at death), requiring Paul to change his views on the soul midstream, or embracing doctrines openly rejected by the historical church and the Bible for instance soul sleep. The rational deficiencies of monism in coordination with a resurrection are no less troubling.

Dr. Cooper argues that both the Old and New Testament require dualism and that while Greek dualism is similar to the Bible’s doctrine it is not identical.
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