I’m writing a review of Joel Green’s book Body, Soul, and Human Life for JETS and I thought you might find it interesting. So, I’m going to post it here in a several pieces. I’d be interested in hearing any comments/questions you have about the review or the book.
What do neuroscience and biblical hermeneutics have to do with one another? As Joel Green’s new book demonstrates, they both provide vital perspectives on what it means to be human. Indeed, Green argues that no adequate theological anthropology can be done without paying attention to both of these disciplines. To this end, Green focuses in this book on “neuro-hermeneutics”—that is, understanding the human person by identifying the surprising areas of agreement between neuroscience and biblical hermeneutics.
Throughout Green argues that traditional (i.e. dualist) anthropologies need substantial revision. The growing consensus that the Bible portrays the human person as a holistic, physical being and the growing scientific evidence that all aspects of human existence—including the psychological, social, and spiritual—are grounded in human physicality both require, according to Green, that we understand human persons as entirely physical beings. Rather than trying to ground human uniqueness in the possession of an immortal and immaterial soul, Green contends that human uniqueness lies exclusively in their covenantal relationship with God (imago Dei).
What do you think? Have you spent much time reflecting on the dualism/physicalism question? Green is correct that nearly all biblical scholars view the Bible as emphasizing the holistic nature of human life, and modern science certainly presses us to appreciate that every aspect of human existence is connected to and influenced by our physicality. Does this mean that we need to reject dualism as a viable way of understanding the human person?