Item description for Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336 by Caroline Walker Bynum...
Overview (PUBColumbia University)Addresses the idea of the resurrection of the body in patristic and medieval literature with respect to persecution and conversion, social hierarchy, and cultural burial practices. "A fascinating and wide-ranging account that tells us a lot about medieval thinking and practice,"---New York Times Book Review. 384 pages, softcover.
Bynum examines several periods between the 3rd and 14th centuries in which discussions of the body were central to Western eschatology, and suggests that Western attitudes toward the body that arose from these discussions still undergird our modern notions of the individual. He explores the "plethora of ideas about resurrection in patristic and medieval literature--the metaphors, tropes, and arguments in which the ideas were garbed, their context and their consequences," in order to understand human life after death.
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Studio: Columbia University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.96" Width: 5.99" Height: 0.91" Weight: 1.22 lbs.
Release Date May 23, 1996
Publisher Columbia University Press
ISBN 0231081278 ISBN13 9780231081276
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More About Caroline Walker Bynum
Caroline Walker Bynum is Professor of Medieval European History, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, and University Professor Emerita at Columbia University. She is the author of Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion and Metamorphosis and Identity, both published by Zone Books.
Caroline Walker Bynum has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336?
Essential Nov 11, 2005
I have just finished reading this book for a research paper I am preparing on the history of the doctrine of the resurrection, and I can already assure you that not only is this the most useful book I have read on the subject, but that no other writing I have yet found even comes close. There are a few things that I would have liked to see more of (development of the idea in the early middle ages and early renaissance for example), but these would probably have added considerably to the length of the book. I also disagree somewhat the interpretation of 1 Corinthians that Dr. Bynum regularly contrasts with medieval and patristic views -- Pauline theology is outside the scope of this study, and I rather wish she would have refrained from conclusions on if if she was not going to treat it in detail. These however, are minor concerns. If you want to study the history of this doctrine of bodily resurrection (which was of enormous importance to early Christianity), you will need to read this book.
Eschatology in the Patristic Era and High Middle Ages Oct 12, 2003
The Apostle Paul's responses to doubts and erroneous teaching concerning the resurrection in his letters to believers at Corinth and his disciple Timothy illustrates that what constitutes a proper understanding of the resurrection of the dead has been debated since the earliest days of the Christian church. Caroline Walker Bynum, a National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecturer, traces that debate in meticulous detail through the patristic era and High Middle Ages. In doing so, she demonstrates that "Christians clung to a very literal notion of resurrection despite repeated attempts by theologians and philosophers to spiritualize the idea." Bynum's review of patristic and scholastic literature shows that a belief that "body is necessary for self" shaped the evolution of eschatological thought from at least the time of Tertullian to the age of Thomas Aquinas. Her exhaustive exploration of the "images, examples and analogies" of theologians, artists, "mystics, poets, hagiographers, sculptors and tellers of folktales" demonstrates that there was substantial diversity in attempts to explain the mechanics of resurrection in light of the consumption, decay, mutilation, partition and putrefaction suffered by the body before and after death. As the title indicates, Bynum's monograph focuses on the thought of the western branch of the church, not that of the orthodox east. She also limited her scope to the patristic era and High Middle Ages, omitting the intervening centuries as if she had not imposed that limitation she "would never have finished." As a medieval specialist of impeccable credentials, Bynum is particularly well qualified to explore "virtually every aspect of [the] social, religious, intellectual and political life" of the latter period considered in this work. Bynum's reconstruction of the evolution of the western view of resurrection is meticulous and thorough. Shifting through the religious, intellectual and social she paints a richly detailed picture that is as persuasive as it is difficult to fault. If I were to hazard a recommendation for improvement it would be to add an index of primary sources in addition to the index of secondary sources she does provides. Hopefully an equally qualified scholar will pick up where Bynum leaves off and trace the continued development of resurrection in western thought through the twentieth century.