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Old 27th June 2009, 11:51 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,588
Default Theology of the Body: lecture 8

8. Original Unity of Man and Woman

"the fact, however, that man is a "body" belongs to the structure of the personal subject more deeply than the fact that in his somatic constitution he is also male or female."

human persons are first and foremost human, then secondly male or female. This means that the equality of men and women, which is based on our having the same nature, is more fundamental than our differences based on gender, on the two "ways of being a body of the same human being created in the image of God".

Now here is a wise insight on the character of the so-called mythical stories of the Old Testament:

"Following the contemporary philosophy of religion and that of language, it can be said that the language in question is a mythical one. In this case, the term 'myth' does not designate a fabulous content, but merely an archaic way of expressing a deeper content."

"the analogy of sleep" -- JP takes this element of the story to be figurative, not literal; yet he does not thereby deny the historical character to the story as a whole. Some elements are literal and some are figurative.

she is defined as "a helper fit for him" -- Woman is equal in nature to man, since she has the same nature (bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh), yet her role as pertains to gender is as a helper. And this also prefigures the role of Mary, created to be a helper to Christ for our salvation.

Now let's compare again these last 8 lectures to the popular version of the theology of the body. The focus is on human nature, on the relationship between humanity and God the Creator. The distinction in roles is discussed (woman as a helper for man) as soon as the topic of the creation of woman begins. The false equality found in some popular TOB works is absent; the excessive focus on the marital act is absent. Men and women are presented by JP as first of all human persons created by God, and then as male and female. But not every reference to gender becomes a reference to sexual acts. The real TOB is substantially different from the popular version.
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