The book explores the relationship between Christology and theological anthropology through the lens provided by the theology of Karl Barth and the mind/body discussion in contemporary philosophy of mind. It thus comprises two major sections. The first develops an understanding of Karl Barth’s theological anthropology focusing on three major facets: (1) the centrality of Jesus Christ for any real understanding of human persons; (2) the resources that such a christologically determined view of human nature has for engaging in interdisciplinary discourse; and (3) the ontological implications of this approach for understanding the mind/body relationship.
The second part draws on this theological foundation to consider the implications that Christological anthropology has for analyzing and assessing several prominent ways of explaining the mind/body relationship. Specifically, it interacts with two broad categories of theories: ‘nonreductive’ forms of physicalism and ‘holistic’ forms of dualism. After providing a basic summary of each, the book applies the insights gained from Barth’s anthropology to ascertain the extent to which the two approaches may be considered christologically adequate.
The mind-body debate is one of the most complex areas of contemporary intellectual endeavour, because it spans such a wide range if disciplines and issues. Cortez’s book offers a real contribution to this literature by arguing that theologians should work out their views on this matter from the person of Christ, rather than to Christ from more general, philosophical considerations. Using Karl Barth’s Christological anthropology, as a means of setting out his theological concerns, Cortez then considers how a Christological anthropology relates to a range of contemporary philosophical views in the mind-body debate, both monist and dualist. This is a careful, theologically sensitive essay in philosophical theology that ought to be taken seriously by anyone interested in the theological dimension to this discussion.
Oliver Crisp, University of Bristol
Never before has the question as to what it is to be a human self been so central to academic debates – and across so many disciplines! This is due not only, one suspects, to the exponential increase in the explanatory power of neuroscience, but also the growing influence of evolutionary psychology and other areas where naturalistic assumptions tend to dominate. Whereas Christian philosophers are contributing impressively to these debates at a philosophical level, few contemporary academics have sought to integrate theological and philosophical analysis of what it is to be a person. In this volume, Marc Cortez does precisely that – and in an impressively informed, insightful and lucid manner. It is not possible to be serious about theological anthropology without engaging with this extremely significant monograph – a book that should prove of equal benefit to Christian philosophers and theologians alike.
Alan Torrance, St. Andrews University
This is a very competent, well-constructed work which offers an extended engagement with the theological anthropology of Karl Barth, as set out in Church Dogmatics HI and a wide selection of contemporary literature on the relation between the mind and the body. In clarity and tightness of argument, thoroughness, conceptual skill and theological sensitivity, ‘Lis a superior book which takes debate about Barth’s anthropology in a significant fresh direction.
John Webster, University of Aberdeen
An excellent entryway into philosophical debates regarding mind and body for the uninitiated… Cortez has done a great service.
Michael Allen, review in Themelios
Overall, I have high praise for Cortez’s efforts. The thoroughness and depth of understanding that Cortez brings to the discussion is laudable…this book is well worth reading for those with some significant background in philosophy of mind. Cortez does a remarkable job of presenting complex material in an understandable way.
Christopher J. Black, review in Midwestern Journal of Theology