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Human Being – Being Human

A Theological Anthropology in Biblical, Historical, and Ecumenical Perspective


Billy Kristanto

The ecumenical dialogues within Christianity mostly concentrate on the issues of justification, the Church, and the Holy Spirit. An ecumenical theological anthropology can rarely be found. The book presents the classical topics in theological anthropology from the Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox perspectives. The plurality or sometimes even the apparent tensions among theological traditions are shown to be within the limits of God’s word alone.

"In this fascinating book, Kristanto shares his thoughts on biblical notions, his vast explorations in the history of theology, and his analysis of today´s intellectual challenges. Bringing these all together in one highly readable work, Kristanto manages to demonstrate perfectly the relevance of the biblical concept of the human being for the Church and society."

Herman Selderhuis

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2 The Constitution of Human Being


In sound theological anthropology all ‘components’ of body, soul, and spirit are inseparably related to each other. The classical dualism of soul which is contrasted with body arguably originates in Plato. In his Phaedo, Plato presented various arguments to support the idea of the immortality of the soul. According to Plato, human bodies are copies of the true substances which are the eternal Forms. One of his most important arguments teaches that because Forms are immaterial, the affinity with that Forms can only be captured by the intellect which is also immaterial. Human body is the imprisonment of the soul desiring to dwell in the realm of Forms. Because death is the final separation of the soul from the body, in the present life, human being should exercise the “practice of death,” that is, the philosophical contemplation.

The facts are rather these: let us suppose that it escapes purely, dragging nothing of the body with it, as having (wilfully anyhow) had no dealings with the body during its lifetime, but having shunned it and kept itself to itself, making that its constant aim and practice – which simply means, in fact, pursuing philosophy in the correct manner, and in very truth practising death; or wouldn’t you call this ‘a practice of death’? Then in this state it goes away to the place which is like itself, invisible, to that which is divine …194

Moltmann criticizes this Platonic doctrine of the immortality of the soul as a philosophy...

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