Drawing on the wisdom and teaching experience of highly respected theologians, the Engaging Theology series builds a firm foundation for graduate study and other ministry formation programs. Each of the six volumes—Scripture, Jesus, God, Discipleship, Anthropology, and Church—is concerned with retrieving, carefully evaluating, and constructively interpreting the Christian tradition. Comprehensive in scope and accessibly written, these volumes, used together or independently, will stimulate rich theological reflection and discussion. More important, the series will create and sustain the passion of the next generation of theologians and church leaders.
What does it mean to be human in the twenty-first century? Susan Ross explores this question through the lens of human desires: for God, freedom, knowledge, love, and pleasure, but also for power, consumer goods, self-gratification, and money. Beginning with biblical narratives of human desires, she goes on to consider how ancient, medieval, and modern thinkers have wrestled with the various ways that human beings have sought fulfillment in the world and in God.
The twenty-first century brings new questions and continuing challenges:
- In a world of increasing complexity and fragmentation, can we still talk about the ?self??
- How have feminism and new thinking about sexuality changed the ways we think about ourselves?
- How do we maintain our humanity in the face of monstrous human evil?
- What do the findings of science say about our uniqueness as human beings?
Anthropology: Seeking Light and Beauty offers a path through the many conflicting views of humanity, suggesting a fuller way of living as we try to follow the example of Jesus.
Susan A. Ross is a professor and chair of the theology department at Loyola University Chicago. She is a vice-president and member of the Board of Editors of Concilium, the international theological journal. She is the author of Extravagant Affections: A Feminist Sacramental Theology (1998) and For the Beauty of the Earth: Women, Sacramentality, and Justice (2006).
Ross offers a succinct past-to-present account of theological responses to the question of what it means to be a human being and the implications of those responses for contemporary ethics. . . . Although primarily theological, the biggest strength of this book is its historical breadth and its deft integration of multiple disciplinary interlocutors, including philosophy, psychoanalysis, social theory, and bioethics, among others.
Jeanine Viau, Religious Studies Review
What stands out in this fantastic introductory volume to theological anthropology is the myriad of voices that Ross effectively encompasses in her narrative, including Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, Lonergan, Rahner, Schillebeeckx, and David Tracy. [This book] is highly recommended as an introductory volume to theological anthropology, and appropriate as source material for an undergraduate course regarding anthropology or moral theology. It is well-written, concise, and adequately sourced.
Robert P. Russo, Lourdes University
Embracing challenges that emerge from modern and postmodern culture, gender studies, the natural and human sciences, studies of trauma and violence, and technology, Ross remains convinced that the Christian tradition has wisdom to offer to all those who continue to ponder the meaning of being human. With clarity and grace, she offers a splendid overview of theological anthropology and its contemporary challenges. Anthropology: Seeking Light and Beauty is an invitation to join in a lively conversation about the future of humankind in relation to God and to all of creation.
Mary Catherine Hilkert, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
Professor Ross deftly weaves wisdom from classical Christian sources together with insights from contemporary thinkers to form a tapestry that inspires us to think courageously about what it means to be a human being today. Her commitment to the values of truth and justice is evident throughout, and so are her wide-ranging knowledge, her profound Catholic faith, her esteem for science and the arts, and her engaging style of presentation. This is a splendid text, designed to appeal to a wide range of readers!
Anne E. Patrick, William H. Laird Professor of Religion and the Liberal Arts, emerita, Carleton College