Item description for Theology Of The Body For Beginners by Christopher West...
Overview What is the "Theology of the Body"? According to Pope John Paul II, if we live according to the true meaning of our sexuality, we "fulfill the very meaning of [our] being and existence." The human body is a "theology" because it is meant to be a sign of God's own life and love in the world. With clarity and precision, Christopher West unpacks John Paul II's Theology of the Body, translating it into a language everyone can understand
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Studio: Ascension Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25" Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Release Date Jun 30, 2004
Publisher CATHOLIC WORD/ASCENSION #1426
ISBN 1932645349 ISBN13 9781932645347
Availability 0 units.
More About Christopher West
CHRISTOPHER WEST is an adjunct professor of the Institute of Priestly Formation in Omaha, Nebraska, and a visiting professor of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Melbourne, Australia. His books, extensive lecturing and numerous tapes have sparked an international groundswell of interest in John Paul II's theology of the body. He and his wife, Wendy, have three children.
Christopher West currently resides in the state of Pennsylvania.
Reviews - What do customers think about Theology Of The Body For Beginners?
Best book ever! Sep 3, 2008
This book opened my eyes and and is must-read for everyone. This takes you to the very core of the meaning of life. As more and more people read about the "Theology of the Body" a much-needed revolution will transform the world.
Beautifully simple Jun 16, 2008
This is a beautifully simple explanation of John Paul II's Theology of the Body. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a clear and easy-to-understand introduction to the Theology of the Body.
Well thought out explanation of a complex subject Apr 23, 2008
Prior to his elevation to Pope, Karol Wotija, wrote extensively on this subject (see "Love and Responsibility"). After he became Pope, the late Holy Father, John Paul II gave, over several years, a long series of talks on love, marriage, contraception, sex and the roles of men and women. These talks were collected into the book "Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body".
If anyone has read the late Holy Father's work, it becomes clear that he is an exceptionally intelligent man. These works are deep with meaning and it will take many decades to go through them. Most people will need an "interpreter" to understand them more fully.
What Christopher West tries to do with this book is cut to the chase. This book is not intended to be a scholarly review of the whole of John Paul II's mammoth work, but an introductory work, an "executive summary" if you will.
Theology of the Body has become controversial among some in the Church; especially theologians and traditionalists. The reasons are complicated, but they do not seem to be based on an honest and fair appraisal of facts. I have yet to see a critic of Theology of the Body fail to make false and misleading statements in their criticisms.
This book is intended to be a friendly and readable guide and invites people to study more *after* they finish it. It is inspiring and truly a wonderful introduction to this deep and profound subject. Not all of us are scholars, not all of us are theologians, not all of us has IQ in the low 160s.
Does it cover everything the Pope talked about? No. Can someone with a less than a high school education understand this? Most assuredly yes. Is there better introductory material on Theology of the Body available for those unfamiliar with it? Not that I have seen.
In short, this is an excellent introductory work and I recommend it unreservedly.
A Tragic Quasi-Theology of the Body Jan 17, 2008
As an academic theologian, I was intrigued when this book was not only being passed around among my friends and students but was recommended as one of the finest explications on the body, gender, and sexual intimacy as seen through the writings of John Paul II. It is not. And I say this not as a critic of those with conservative Christian beliefs (I am one), I say this because what West teaches in this volume is so sadly misdirected. In fact, I shared an outline of this book with a number of colleagues who gasped just as I did. "Surely," one said, "this guy doesn't have a degree in theology." And that was it. To the trained reader, this book falls apart not long after one begins to read it. West needs a theological mentor.
In a word (a fuller exploration is impossible), West thinks our society has become "Gnostic" and so flees from this heresy into the arms of a materialism ('monism') with an application to sex that we haven't seen since the 1960s. A colleague linked it to ancient near east pagan fertility religions. West exploits our understanding of marriage and misconstrues the place of sexual intimacy within it. For West, sex is no longer a gift from God, it is a "participation" in divine life -- on a parallel to how one participates with God in sacramental worship (e.g. the eucharist). Therefore to have sex (within marriage) is to gain some access to divine reality that one does not gain elsewhere. And with this surprising announcement, West thinks that the church will not only protect the sanctity of sex but recharge marital sex with all the exciting goodness God planned for it. There is a lot more, but this is the gist of it.
The book ends -- really, it is a major part of the book -- with an angry screed against any form of contraception. The ethical and medical arguments are considered, but the theological conclusions are utterly irresponsible. To use contraception is to reap the most severe criticisms. It is to deny any relationship with God, to void one's marriage, and to sin in the most profound sense. Of course, Natural Planning is the only option offered.
There are a lot of solid orthodox books of sexuality, the intimacy of persons, marriage, and the relationship of sexual life to marriage. One will find solid Catholic works on the relationship of marriage to sacramental life. But this is not one of them.
I couldn't help thinking that the outrageous, pop-theology style of West is one of the things that make people want to read him. Surely Christian theology, even bright laity like West, can do better than this. At least we should stop recommending him to our friends.
Looking for a resource? Here it is! May 9, 2007
This is the best book yet I have read this year- simple, totally engaging, profound and provoking. And small! Christopher West, acknowledged as one of the most erudite interpreters of John Paul II's Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology Of The Bodyhas seeded his book with the "right questions" that lead to a deeper search for knowledge and challenge in knowing self, another, and the Word Incarnate. It is scholarly and practical, a rare and refreshing combination. A Resource Section points out to further study, aid for ministry building and contacts. A Glossary of Terms, explaing some of the key theological expressions used in the book is itself a gem to stimulate individual or group conversations, research and meditation. This is a book I definitely recommend for use in Adult Formation of couples, especially those preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony, which I have started to do and have found very fruitful!