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Gift and Communion

John Paul II's Theology of the Body


Publication Year: 2014

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-v


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pp. vii-viii

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Carl A. Anderson

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pp. ix-xiv

Speaking in 1978 of the newly elected John Paul I, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła once described the pope’s role in post–Vatican II society as shouldering “the cross of contemporary man”—taking up and addressing the dangers, the wrongs that “can be righted...

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pp. xv

Every book, although it may have but one author, is always made possible by the contributions of many. This English translation of my book, which was first published in Polish by Znak Publishing House in Kraków in 2006, would not have come to...

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pp. xvii-xxii

The goal of this book is to present that aspect of theological anthropology which John Paul II himself referred to as “the theology of the body.”1 The primary source for the presented reflections is the 129 catecheses John Paul II delivered during his Wednesday...


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pp. xxiii-xxiv

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1. Discourse on Method

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pp. 1-40

Using the title of the first philosophical publication of René Descartes, Discours de la méthode from 1637, as the name of this chapter is intentional.1 It results from the conviction that the method of the theological anthropology of John Paul II is built in...

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2. The Body that Reveals

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pp. 41-92

In the Wednesday catecheses, John Paul II describes and analyzes the human body according to the principles of an adequate anthropology. As shown in the previous chapter, the pope explains the concept of an adequate anthropology as “an understanding...

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3. The Gift that Creates Communion

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pp. 93-136

Both concepts mentioned in the title of this chapter, gift and communion, have an important philosophical and theological history. It is worthwhile, therefore, to begin our reflections with a short historical introduction. Many anthropologists and ethnologists...

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4. Man as the Image and Likeness of God

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pp. 137-169

The understanding of man as the image and likeness of God, fundamental for the development of Christian thought, is rooted in the first chapter of the Bible: “God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have...

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5. The Language of the Body

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pp. 170-206

The concept of “the language of the body” occupies an important place in John Paul II’s Wednesday catecheses on the theology of the body. Before analyzing this concept in papal thought, it is helpful to examine how it is understood in other fields...

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Final Remarks

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pp. 207-212

George Lindbeck’s book The Nature of Doctrine may well be regarded as one of the most important theological publications of the late twentieth century.1 In the context of dialogue between religions, the Yale professor suggests a particular hermeneutics of...


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pp. 213-226


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pp. 227-230

E-ISBN-13: 9780813225968
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813225951

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2014

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • John Paul II, Pope, 1920-2005. Theology of the body.
  • Human body -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church.
  • Sex -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church.
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