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Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336 [Hardcover]

By Caroline Walker Bynum (Author)
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Item description for Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336 by Caroline Walker Bynum...

In The Resurrection of the Body, noted scholar Caroline Bynum addressed the idea of bodily resurrection in the ancient and medieval West with respect to persecution and conversion, social hierachy, and cultural burial practices. Bynum suggests that Western attitudes toward the body that arose in these times still undergird our modern notions of the individual.

Publishers Description

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.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336 by Caroline Walker Bynum has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Publishers Weekly - 12/12/1994
  • Booklist - 01/01/1995 page 780
  • Library Journal - 12/01/1994 page 97

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Columbia University Press
Pages   384
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.27" Width: 6.24" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   1.69 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 15, 1995
Publisher   Columbia University Press
Age  22
Edition  New  
ISBN  023108126X  
ISBN13  9780231081269  

Availability  116 units.
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More About Caroline Walker Bynum

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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...
  1. Lectures on the History of Religions
  2. Middle Ages
  3. New Historicism: Studies in Cultural Poetics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Western
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Eschatology
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

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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.

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