Soul and body: transcending the dialectical intellectual legacy of the West with an integral biblical view?
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Greek philosophy informed the Medieval dualistic understanding of ‘body’ and ‘soul’, which continued to influence modern Humanism and Christian views during and after the Middle Ages. These fluctuating conceptions express the directing role of dialectical basic motives. It was mainly the Greek motive of matter and form which directed the thought of Plato and Aristotle, resulting in a dualistic view of the relationship between a so-called material body and rational soul. At the Council of Vienne (1312), the Aristotelian-Thomistic doctrine of the soul as the substantial form of the body was adopted. Within Protestant circles, the‘two-substances’ view caused a distinction between a (temporal) material body and an (eternal) rational soul (see article 7 of the Swiss Confessio Helvetica Posterior and the Westminster Confession Chapter 4, paragraph 2). Dooyeweerd shows how modern philosophy has received its deepest motivation from the dialectical motive of nature and freedom, which informed the development from Descartes up to Gould and Jaspers. Finally, in the last sections, the main contours of a biblically informed view are articulated with reference to the centrality of the human I-ness, to the theory of enkaptic interlacements and to the problem of supra-temporality.
- Faculty of Humanities