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Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible

ISBN: 9781441252937

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Are humans composed of a material body and an immaterial soul? This view is commonly held by Christians, yet it has been undermined by recent developments in neuroscience. How much of Christian theology is built on views of humanity that modern science has proved to be untenable?

Exploring what Scripture and theology teach about issues such as being in the divine image, the importance of community, sin, free will, salvation, and the afterlife, Joel Green argues that a dualistic view of the human person is inconsistent with both science and Scripture. This wide-ranging discussion is sure to provoke much thought and debate.

The Logos Bible Software edition of Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of the Bible. Scripture passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about interpreting the Bible.

Resource Experts
  • Explores the relationship between body, mind, and soul with a biblical perspective
  • Addresses neuroscientific developments
  • Includes suggestions for further reading
  • The Bible, the Natural Sciences, and the Human Person
    • Humanity and Human Identity in Biblical Theology
    • Traditional Theological Anthropology and Contemporary Challenges
    • Why Science Matters
    • Some Definitions
    • In Anticipation
  • What Does It Mean to Be Human?
    • Distinctively Human?
    • Clearing the Deck
    • “In the Image of God He Created Them” (Gen 1:27)
    • “To the Measure of the Full Stature of Christ” (Eph 4:13)
    • Conclusion
  • Sin and Freedom
    • Challenges from the Natural Sciences
    • Freedom and Sin: Three New Testament Coordinates
    • Conclusion
  • Being Human, Being Saved
    • Questioning Conversion in Luke-Acts
    • The Neural Correlates of Change
    • Luke-Acts and “Embodied Conversion”
    • Concluding Reflections
  • The Resurrection of the Body
    • Resurrection in Israel’s Scriptures
    • The Gospel of Luke and the Intermediate State
    • The Disciples and the Resurrected Jesus (Luke 24:36–49)
    • The “Resurrection Body” at Corinth
    • Conclusion

Top Highlights

“‘man, his person as a whole, can be denoted by soma.… Man is called soma in respect to his being able to make himself the object of his own action or to experience himself as the subject to whom something happens. He can be called soma, that is, as having a relationship to himself—as being able in a certain sense to distinguish himself from himself.’10 The human person does not consist of two (or three) parts, then, but is a living whole.” (Page 4)

“Unrest around these issues, especially among philosophers, has yielded a plethora of options, including, for example, substance dualism, wholistic dualism, emergent dualism, naturalistic dualism, emergent monism, two-aspect monism, dipolar monism, reflexive monism, constitutional materialism, deep physicalism, nonreductive physicalism, and eliminative materialism.” (Pages 29–30)

“Personal identity with regard to both present life and life-after-death is narratively and relationally shaped and embodied, the capacity for life-after-death is not intrinsic to humanity but is divine gift, and resurrection signifies not rescue from the cosmos but transformation with it.” (Page 144)

“The first is that, in the ‘intertestamental period’ (i.e., the period of Second Temple Judaism), testimony to an intermediate state was ubiquitous. The second is that this intermediate state was conceived in a common way across Jewish literature of this era.” (Page 158)

“Schnelle writes, Paul nevertheless ‘uses σῶμα as the comprehensive expression of the human self.’” (Page 7)

In this outstanding work, the author provides a scholarly and thoroughly biblical analysis of human personhood in dialogue with the neurosciences. This book is likely to provide the definitive overview of this topic for many years to come.

—Denis R. Alexander, director, The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmund’s College

If you think nothing new ever happens in theology or biblical studies, you need to read this book, an essay in ‘neuro-hermeneutics.’ Green shows not only that a physicalist (as opposed to a dualist) anthropology is consistent with biblical teaching but also that contemporary neuroscience sheds light on significant hermeneutical and theological questions.

—Nancey Murphy, professor of Christian philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary

Few biblical interpreters have delved as deeply into the science of the human brain as Joel Green. Here he draws upon that learning in conversation with Scripture to put forth a fresh picture of human existence, one that makes sense from both perspectives. He does not shy away from hard questions, especially those about life and death, body and soul.

Patrick D. Miller, Charles T. Haley Professor of Old Testament Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

Here is an important and courageous study that steps out into a new frontier of biblical study. . . . This is a very informative book and, hopefully, the vanguard of many more studies in this area.

The Bible Today

Those interested in examining the compatibility of biblical faith with the present neuroscientific consensus will find much that is helpful in this very readable and engaging, but no less profound, book.

Religious Studies Review

  • Title: Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible
  • Author: Joel B. Green
  • Series: Studies in Theological Interpretation
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 192

Joel B. Green has been associate dean for the Center for Advanced Theological Studies since 2008 and professor of New Testament interpretation at Fuller since 2007; prior to that, he served for 10 years at Asbury Theological Seminary as professor of New Testament interpretation, as dean of the School of Theology, and as provost.

Green has written or edited 30 books, including four that have won awards: In Search of the Soul: Four Views of the Mind-Body Problem (with Stuart Palmer), Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology (with Paul J. Achtemeier and Marianne Meye Thompson), The Gospel of Luke, and Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (with Scot McKnight). 


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  1. Nicusor Curteanu
  2. Andrew McDonald
    Great book. I found it a challenging and technical read but with much promise for enabling us to both engage with the contemporary neurosciences and to reaffirm our traditional creedal statement about the resurrection of the body. Sadly this Logos edition is highly priced at NZD$36. (I know Logos will wax eloquent about the advantages of the Logos edition, but isn't that why we bought the software in the first place? We shouldn't need to pay for the benefits of Logos with every new book we buy). On Book Depository buy paperback for NZD$27.44 and on Kindle for NZD$14.
Save 25% off during the Memorial Day Sale!


Print list price: $24.00
Regular price: $23.99
Save $6.00 (25%)