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Soma in Biblical Theology: With Emphasis on Pauline Anthropology (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series) Paperback – August 22, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Theologians have argued that the translation of the word soma as 'person' defines man as an indivisible whole and as a complex of relationships rather than an organization of substances. Against the trends of modern biblical theology, Dr Gundry seeks to show that soma always refers to the individual physical body and that it should be defined in substantive categories.

From the Back Cover

The Apostle Paul uses this Greek word often -- in theologically important ways. - Does it mean "body" or "person"? - Does it stress function or substance? - Does it connote solidarity with others or individuality? What bearing do the answers to these questions have on: - Death of the whole person versus disembodied existence? - Resurrection of a spiritual body versus resurrection of a physical body? - Existential anthropology versus historical anthropology? - Sin as enslavement versus sin as guilt? - Salvation by liberation versus salvation atonement? - The body of Christ as a sacrament versus the body of Christ as a metaphor? - Christian mysticism versus Christian activism? --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series (Book 29)
  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521018706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521018708
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,931,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert H. Gundry (PhD, Manchester) is a scholar-in-residence and professor emeritus of New Testament and Greek at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. Among his books are Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross; Matthew: A Commentary on His Handbook for a Mixed Church Under Persecution, Soma in Biblical Theology, and Jesus the Word According to John the Sectarian.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeri VINE VOICE on May 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
Gundry tackles Bultmann's existential reading of 'soma' and finds it...wanting. Okay, just plain wrong.

Bultmann, who cast such a long shadow in biblical studies, had been heavily under the influence of existentialism. Like far too many biblical scholars, Bultmann mistook the current fads of his day for the historical Jesus. In light of this, he called those who had translated 'soma' in its most obvious meaning--a physical body--naive.

Of course, most of Bultmann's theories are now refuted or under attack.

Gundry's investigation into soma is very thorough. It is difficult to imagine how anyone could marshal a defense of Bultmann's interpretation after reading this book.

After long investigation, Gundry points out that "within Pauline passages...soma denotes the physical body, roughly synonymous with 'flesh'" (p 50).

Bultmann, Gundry points out, talks about how sin is nothing but self estrangement. "Self integration constitutes authentic existence; self-estrangement constitutes inauthentic existence. Again, Heideggerian forms of thought...rise to the surface" (p 205). It is hard not to smile at existential concepts mashed onto early Christian thought.

There was an idea current in the ancient world which placed evil wholly in the body, an idea which later influenced some Gnostic philosophical schools. But "The Pauline answer is to locate evil throughout the whole man, willing spirit and acting body alike" (p 216).

A rewarding book to pick up.
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Soma in Biblical Theology: With Emphasis on Pauline Anthropology (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series)
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