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Anthropology in Theological Perspective

, 2004
ISBN: 9780567086877

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In this comprehensive study, renowned theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg examines the anthropological disciplines—human biology, psychology, cultural anthropology, sociology and history—for their religious implications. The result is a theological anthropology that does not derive from dogma or prejudice, but critically evaluates the findings of the disciplines.

Pannenberg begins with a consideration of human beings as part of nature; moves on to focus on the human person; and then considers the social world: its culture, history and institutions. All the elements of this multi-faceted study unite in the final chapter on the relation of human beings to their history.

Resource Experts
  • Examines the religious implications of Anthropology for humanity.
  • Discusses the place of the human being within a social and historical world.
  • Automatic footnotes when referenced.

Top Highlights

“This explains how anthropology, or in any case the discussion of anthropological themes, became so fundamentally important to the public life of the modern age. For, just as the Christian religion had been the basis for the spiritual unity of society in the days before the internal division of Christianity and the horrors of the confessional wars, so from the seventeenth century on, a shared conception of the human person, human values, and human rights became the basis for social coexistence.” (Page 15)

“Agreement is most easily achieved on a list of the elements that must go into the concept of culture. These include subjective factors such as convictions, attitudes, types of knowledge, and values as well as modes of behavior, habits, and customs; in addition, language and tradition, skills such as the use of tools, specific types of dwellings and clothing; and, finally, art and other products of human activity as well as social institutions.” (Pages 314–315)

“Thinkers no longer took the cosmos as their starting point in order to demonstrate in a quasi-experimental way that God is the first cause of the natural order. Instead, they argued from the existence and experience of human beings in order to show that God is inevitably presupposed in every act of human existence.” (Page 12)

“Modern anthropology no longer follows Christian tradition in defining the uniqueness of humanity explicitly in terms of God; rather, it defines this uniqueness through reflection on the place of humanity in nature and specifically through a comparison of human existence with that of the higher animals. To some extent this represents a revival of the ancient and in particular the Stoic approach which understood humanity in the framework of the cosmic order as a microcosm that reflects the macrocosm of the physical universe. Democritus was the first to describe the human being as ‘a world in miniature,’ a microcosm (Diels, Frag. 34). A human being is an image of the macrocosm by virtue of containing all the strata of reality (body, soul, and spirit).” (Pages 26–27)

  • Title: Anthropology in Theological Perspective
  • Author: Wolfhart Pannenberg
  • Publisher: T & T Clark
  • Pages: 552

Wolfhart Pannenberg (1928–2014) was a German Christian theologian. Born in Stettin, Germany (which is now Szczecin Poland), Pannenberg was baptized at as an infant into the Lutheran Church. Despite his baptism, Pannenberg had virtually no contact with the church in his early years. Some time in his youth though, he had an intensely religious experience that he called his “light experience.” Pannenberg wanted to understand this experience and began to search through the works of great philosophers and religious thinkers. While in High School he encountered a literature teacher who had been part of the Confessing Church during World War II. He encouraged Pannenberg to take a hard look at Christianity. At this time Pannenberg experienced an “intellectual conversion” and decided that Christianity was the best available religious option. This propelled him into his vocation as a theologian.


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    Digital list price: $52.99
    Save $13.00 (24%)