Shuck and Jive

Thursday, May 31, 2007

What is a Soul?

We are going to be asking that question and learning how various cultures and religions understood the soul in our Thursdays with Jesus group. Beginning June 7th, we will be discussing a book written by one of our church members, John Nash, entitled Quest for the Soul: The Age-Old Search for Our Inner Spiritual Nature. John will lead the study himself. John is the editor in chief of Esoteric Quarterly that you can read electronically.

You can read more about Quest for the Soul here and browse the table of contents. Please read chapters 1 & 2 for Thursday, June 7th.

Following John's book we will read John Dominic Crossan's latest, God and Empire.


  1. There is no soul - it's just an old heresy based on Platonic thought, promulgated by 2nd century Christian apologists to get the Greeks interested.

    All is material. It is the body that will be resurrected.

  2. Hey, thanks Madpriest, welcome!

    That whole sould thing does sound a bit spooky to me. But so does resurrected bodies. Where will they all go?

  3. Far fetched, but possibly possible. The particles still exist and quantum physics and computer science show possible possibities as to how it could be achieved.

    For a full answer consult the science fiction writer, Philip Jose Farmer's "Riverworld" series of books - written back in 60s I would think.

  4. If you've never read it, John Calvin's early monograph, Psychopannychia, addresses the topic of the nature of the soul and the afterlife. This was written in 1534, so it's some of Calvin's earliest work (before he became a stodgy old Calvinist himself). In fact, it's his first explicitly theological work. It was written both to provide a pastoral paradigm for the troubled days of the mid-16th century and to set forth his understanding of what the Scriptures taught regarding the nature and substance of the soul. Calvin is interacting with the fully developed Aristotelian corpus at this point.

    I think it would be an interesting counterpoint to Nash's work, as Calvin is countering the mysticism (or "enthusiasm") of the more free-wheeling Anabaptists of his day. (Yes, it's hard for southerners to believe, but at one time, Baptists were the most radicalized liberal faction within Christianity!)

    Ad majorem Dei gloriam!