There has been some interest (30 hits in the last month--top post on Google Analytics) in the post, "A Bit of Theological Anthropology" (Aug 16, 2007), including a critique from "Chris" (who has, unfortunately, hidden his/her blogger profile; you can find my responding comment here).
One of Chris' critiques is that theological anthropology is "is a slap in the face to the founding parents of this discipline." From what I have been able to learn (and please correct the details if you know more), the social science discipline of anthropology was "born" in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Theological anthropology is centuries older. Aquinas (c. 1225 – 7 March 1274), in his Summa Theologica, has a section that covers Man's Last End, Human Acts, Passions, Habits, Vice and Sin, Law, and Grace. These are the elements of theological anthropology. Going back even further, in his An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, John of Damascus (c. 676 – December 5, 749) has a chapter title, Concerning Man, which covers theological anthropology. Going back still further, the Bible (written between 1513 BCE and 96 CE) has much to say about humanity and human culture (see the article Anthropology and Hamartiology for passage links).
It seems that "non-theistic anthropology" is rather new to the playing field. Now, do not take this to mean that I discount it. I do not. If one views humanity and human culture from a non-theistic perspective, the result is a non-theistic anthropology like that to which Chris apparently refers. There is a place in the academy for such discussions--as long as assumptions are clarified (for example, that this anthropology is, in fact, non-theistic) and as long as anthropologies with other sets of assumptions (for example, theistic anthropology) are respected. I would further add that no one human perspective rules the table, deciding who gets to sit and who gets tossed out the door. Each may decide to whom he or she will listen, but this is a personal choice. This choice should carry no authority in the academy. It is merely another voice at the table.
Tag(s): theology anthropology
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