An Introduction to Theological Anthropology (Paperback)
Theological anthropology is a topic of perennial interest among evangelical theologians and other scholars of religion. Although numerous introductions are available, the vast majority presuppose a nonbiblical worldview and require a familiarity with philosophy and theology. This volume fills a gap in the literature by offering a thorough introduction to the topic written from an evangelical perspective. It introduces foundational sources of knowledge on human persons from the scriptural narrative and church history while drawing from contemporary evangelical models.
Motived by ancient and Reformed reflections on human nature, Joshua Farris walks the reader through some of the most important issues in traditional approaches to anthropology, such as sexuality, posthumanism, and the image of God. He addresses fundamental questions like, What does it mean to be human? Who am I? and Why do I exist? He also considers the creaturely and divine nature of humans, the body-soul relationship, and the beatific vision. Farris concludes that humans are souls and bodies and are designed to experience the presence of God. They are appropriately understood in their creaturely context as divine image bearers, yet their goal is union with God.
Publication Date: April 2020
Topic: Anthropology, Eschatology, Image of God, Reformed Theology
Foreword by Marc Cortez
Preface: Humans--Creaturely and Divine
Introduction: Where Do We Begin? Humans, Prolegomena, and Method
1. What Am I? Creaturely and Redemptive Identity
2. What Am I and Where Did I Originate? Are We Apes, Humans, or Gods?
3. What Am I in Relation to God? The Image as Creaturely and Divine
4. What Does It Mean to Be Free? Freedom as Creaturely and Divine
5. Who Am I at Birth? Original Sin and Creaturely Failure
6. Who Am I in Christ? Humans, Descended and Ascended
7. Who Are We in Culture? Creaturely and Divine in Work, Race, and Disability
8. Who Are We as Male and Female? Humans as Gendered and Sexual
9. Why Am I Here? Creaturely Living, Dying, and the In-Between
10. Why Do I Exist? Creaturely Process and Divine Destiny
Conclusion: Where Do We Go from Here?
Appendix: Philosophy and Theology in Anthropology: A Review of Recent Literature
"An authentic tour de force, this book is your one-stop resource for theological anthropology, for students and professors alike. Farris demonstrates the fecundity of a broad evangelical Reformed tradition—in constant dialogue with the broader Christian tradition—for a wide array of topics related to the nature of humanity. He articulates a comprehensive anthropology adequately grounded in a doctrine of creation, yet without neglecting either Christology or eschatology."
Adonis Vidu, professor of theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
"What, who, and why am I? Few questions are more complicated and important to answer. In An Introduction to Theological Anthropology, Farris offers a bold, lucid, and comprehensive vision of the human person as an embodied soul whose identity and purpose are found in the vision of God. Unapologetically evangelical and Reformed, this introduction is a valuable resource for both teaching and research."
Joanna Leidenhag, lecturer in theology, University of St. Andrews
"In An Introduction to Theological Anthropology, Joshua Farris retrieves the best of the Christian tradition's reflections on human persons while interacting with various challenges of the twenty-first century. His work is attentive to questions arising from modern theology, philosophy, and the natural sciences. It addresses those questions from a broad Reformed and evangelical perspective in a style that will be accessible for many. Farris provides an engaging, integrated work that I look forward to using in my classroom."
Mary L. Vanden Berg, Jean and Kenneth Baker Professor of Systematic Theology, Calvin Theological Seminary
"What's a theologian, whose speciality is God, doing making claims about the nature of humanity? Isn't Reformed theology, with its doctrine of total depravity, itself a crime against humanity? Farris's book responds to these and other contemporary questions, arguing that humans will be able to answer the big questions about meaning, identity, and destiny only insofar as they can position themselves in relation to God and to the story of God's relationship to humanity attested in Scripture. To an age poised between modern confidence in science that reduces humanity to its materiality and postmodern suspicion of fixed forms that throws open the Pandora's box of human plasticity, Farris calls for a reconsideration of the biblical narrative and a retrieval of the way the church has traditionally interpreted it. While not shirking the contemporary challenges--their name is Legion--Farris here lets Jesus Christ, the God-man and light of the world, illumine what it means to be human."
Kevin J. Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School