• Dietrich Bonhoeffer;
  • imago Dei;
  • simulation theory;
  • social brain;
  • theological anthropology;
  • virtue


After providing a brief overview of social neuroscience in the context of strong embodiment and the cognitive sciences, this paper addresses how perspectives from the field may inform how theological anthropology approaches the origins of human persons-in-community. An overview of the Social Brain Hypothesis and of simulation theory reveals a simultaneous potential for receptive/projective processes to facilitate social engagement and the need for intentional spontaneity in the form of a spiritual formation that moves beyond simulation to empathy and love. Finally, elements of a virtue science that draws on Dietrich Bonhoeffer's relational imago Dei are shown to be helpful in framing and motivating theological approaches to human origins.