HAND IN GLOVE: EVALUATING THE FIT BETWEEN METHOD AND THEOLOGY IN VAN HUYSSTEEN'S INTERPRETATION OF HUMAN UNIQUENESS

Authors

  • Wesley J. Wildman

    1. Associate Professor in the Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics Department in Boston University's School of Theology, 745 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, and convener of the Graduate School's Ph.D. program in Science, Philosophy, and Religion.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract.

Wentzel van Huyssteen's Alone in the World? (2006) presents an interpretation of human uniqueness in the form of a dialogue between classical Christian theological affirmations and cutting-edge scientific understandings of the human and animal worlds. The sheer amount of information from different thinkers and fields that van Huyssteen absorbs and integrates makes this book extraordinary and, indeed, very rich as a work of interdisciplinary theology. The book commands respect and deserves close attention. In this essay I evaluate van Huyssteen's proposal as well as the method he uses to produce it. Special attention is given to the concept of embodiment. Van Huyssteen's concept of embodiment is substantially correct in most respects and largely consistent with the scientific and theological pictures of human nature. In a few respects, however, his interpretation of the bodily character of human life appears to be insufficiently thoroughgoing relative to our best contemporary knowledge of human nature from the natural sciences.

Ancillary