06 November 2007

Sex & The Resurrection Body.

Lauren Winner reviews Courtney Martin's Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters and Beth Felker Jones' Marks of His Wounds: Gender Politics and Bodily Resurrection, which seems especially to offer fresh "of the body" theologizing:

Jones' starting point for a sanctified embodiment is the resurrected body of Christ; thus, her work creatively departs from many recent theologies of the body that begin with Creation. Indeed, insofar as Jones argues that "our bodies now must refer to the resurrection bodies to come," Marks of His Wounds offers a fresh answer to a set of centuries-old questions about bodily integrity and resurrection. Jones' central interest is in the perdurance of specific, material difference in resurrected bodies. She notes that Christ's resurrected body bore his particular wounds; analogously, our resurrected bodies will have particular marks, too. Specifically, she draws on Augustine and Calvin to argue that resurrected bodies will be gendered. Sex differences are natural (there is a bit of confusing slippage between "sex" and "gender" in Jones' account), and thus they will persist, transformed, in resurrected bodies. (Jones takes pains to note that gender is simply a "test case"—it is not necessarily the only particularity that will persist in our resurrected bodies.)

Here, Jones is arguing not only with many early church fathers but also with contemporary scholars such as Sarah Coakley, in whose work Jones finds a worrying "shadow of flight from the messiness of physicality." Hence Jones' last chapter explores how people anticipating gendered resurrected bodies ought to live now. Recognizing that the reification of embodied differences—including sex differences—has often led to abuse and oppression, Jones argues forcefully that her claims about embodied difference need not lead to violence: difference, in fact, is integral to peace, because without difference "the concept of peace is vacant."

. . .

The best books spark wide-ranging conversations and leave the reader with new questions, so to wish that Jones had gone or will go further with these lines of inquiry is merely to acknowledge what she has already accomplished: inviting us to face the brokenness of our bodies—not least the ways the world's brokenness gets written on the bodies of "starving daughters"—and to inhabit the knowledge that "redemption happens through the body." It happens here and now, prompting us daily to practice a distinctively eschatological embodiment, one that can witness to a world hungry for the Bread of Life.

Here's the whole thing.


Blogger Charlotte said...

I linked the LW article/review to my blogspot blog & the interweb tavern I frequent with various diverse Christian folk. We have a mutual friend (EJ) & she made me aware of your site here. I'm looking forward to following along, etc.

07 November, 2007 11:41  
Blogger Unknown said...

A positive (though possibly speculative) case can be made that male-female relationships similar to marital bonds can continue between the redeemed into the next life. This may then also imply a romantic, physical or even sexual aspect in such a relationship. This positive case is made on the rezfamilies website (go to google and search for 'rezfamilies', or just http://sites.google.com/site/rezfamilies/)

07 July, 2012 04:52  

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