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Paul’s letters to 2 Corinthians and to Romans afford deep insight into the “inner and outer human being.” Until now, the Platonic concept of the “inner/outer human being,” which is specially oriented towards the soul, has been of pivotal importance for New Testament Exegesis. This article argues instead that the principle of an inner and outer human being was used in Hellenistic times with differing connotations and in differing contexts and that Paul’s elaborations on the topic should also be analyzed in light of this diverse medical-philosophical tradition. The phrase “the human being inside and outside” should neither be equated with the soul and the body nor reduced to a simply dualistic notion.

In: Religionspraxis und Individualität

Insofar as Christianity can be said to have begun with the disappearance of a body, namely the absence of Jesus’ body in the grave, this disappearance occasioned not so much a disjuncture with Jesus’ preceding work as a new start, by way of a salvific turn, according to multiple accounts in the New Testament. It is through the absence of Jesus’ body and subsequent appearances of the risen Jesus that the messianic promise is fulfilled. Furthermore, the absence of Jesus’ body opens up space for transfigured bodies in multiple forms to fill the gap, each in its own way. Christian faith was thus marked, from the earliest time, by questions regarding the meaning, representation, and transformation of the body. In the Gospel of John, after Jesus is resurrected he blows (ἐμφυσάω) the holy spirit into his disciples. Here the infusion of the spirit evokes the framework of ancient embryology, in which spirit brings life. Ancient embryology illumines the recurrent passages in John referring to birth, being reborn, and children of God, especially 1:13–14 and 3:3–8.

In: Religion and Theology

In this paper we take issue with George H. van Kooten’s recent argument that Paul’s concept of inner human being has a background in ancient philosophical treatises as a metaphor of the soul. We argue that its Greco-Roman physiological meaning was decisive in its adoption by Paul and that the split between ancient medicine and philosophy was not essential in antiquity. Ancient medical-philosophical texts did not focus on the core or center of a person but rather sought a deep understanding of his or her inner aspects. These texts sought to understand how it is that we can discover bodily information about this inner person and to what degree the relationship between the inner and outer person can be interpreted. At the same time, however, we are discussing Walter Burkert’s evolutionary understanding of Pauline’s concept of the inner and outer human being. Paul’s definition of the inner human being corresponds to recent anthropological concepts of embodiment insofar as the visible outer human being has an inside which, according to Paul, is not detached from the body, but must be grasped from a physical perspective.

In: Religion and Theology
This series welcomes multidisciplinary research on the history of ancient and medieval anthropology broadly understood in terms of both its European heritage and its reception of, and engagement with, various cultural and intellectual traditions (e.g. in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Coptic, Syriac, Arabic etc.). This series encourages multidisciplinary studies of the various philological, textual, and archeological sources concerned with the development of anthropological theories in ancient medicine, philosophy, religion, and theology, as well as the subsequent theoretical and practical interactions between these theories. Particularly welcome are studies that emphasise the fundamental connection between different philosophical, scientific, and socio-cultural contexts where anthropological theories were produced and applied, and that analyse the implications of these theories in ethical, ascetic, ecological, gender, and political life from classical Antiquity up to the Middle Ages. Attempts to understand human beings as biological, physiological, religious, and socio-cultural entities persisted from Antiquity and are echoed in the establishing of the complex and multifarious European identity. In grasping this cross-cultural and diversified process, one is able to see the foundations of contemporary scientific, religious, and political discourses that treat the human being and how humanity relates to the world.
Die Bedeutung von Persönlicher Frömmigkeit und Family Religion für das Personkonzept in der Antike
Der Band stellt die anthropologische Frage nach Transformationen des Personkonzepts von den vorderorientalischen Hochkulturen bis zur Spätantike in einem kulturübergreifenden und religionsgeschichtlichen Horizont. Nachdem die Artikulation von personaler Identität, von Individualität und von »inneren Tiefen« in der Vergangenheit oft erst in der Linie Platon – Paulus – Augustin angesetzt, sie der vorgriechischen Antike aber oft abgesprochen wurde, fragt der Band danach, welche Religionspraxis, gerade auch jenseits des offiziellen Kultes, in den Kulturen der vorhellenistischen Zeit für den Ausdruck von personaler Identität oder von Individualität von Bedeutung waren, was sich mit den Schriften eines Platon, Paulus oder Augustin tatsächlich geändert hat und welche anderen Faktoren in der Religionspraxis hierfür von Bedeutung waren.