In Body – Biblical Spirituality For The Whole Person, Paula Gooder takes a hard and long look at the biblical representation of the body through a Pauline lens. The central themes of the book are that the body is not unspiritual as long as we deduce that spirituality is not the opposite of the physical, that the body is not bad (messy and fragile, yes but not bad) – pointer to this is the Pauline theology that the resurrection will entail an embodied transformation and that in addition to the above, far from being the villain that some consider, Paul is careful and sophisticated in his language about bodies.
While I would have liked deeper explorations on how we manage the body we currently inhabit here on earth and how we biblically challenge the inadequacies of our frail bodies and less of the philosophical takes on the goodness or inherent evil of the human body. Two aspects I enjoyed most are how Paula analyses how highly Paul rates the body to the extent that he uses it as a metaphor for the church and hope that lies ahead for our frail bodies upon resurrection. An embodied resurrection is a pointer to the fact that our currently frailed bodies will be remedied in the future. I have always enjoyed Paula Gooder’s writings and while this is as well written as the others, I did not enjoy this as well as I hoped.