Theology of the Body, Extended

The spiritual signs of birth, impairment, and dying

On Sunday, April 27, two giants of Roman Catholicism will become saints at an unprecedented twin canonization astir with both joy and controversy: Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. While the media may focus on John Paul II’s perceived slow response during his pontificate to the sexual abuse crisis, fans of his wildly popular and influential Theology of the Body lectures (1979-1984) are ecstatic.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, Lectio Publishing announces the release of a new book, Theology of the Body, Extended: The Spiritual Signs of Birth, Impairment, and Dying by Dr. Susan Windley-Daoust. In this landmark book, the author honors the work of John Paul II’s popular and influential Theology of the Body lectures–a profoundly beautiful vision of human sexuality applied in the language of self-giving and fruitfulness–and extends it to the incarnate signs of giving birth, living with impairment and disability, and dying.

In fact, this important book extends beyond “one of the boldest reconfigurations of Catholic theology in centuries” to explore how our creatureliness can respond to these states in communion with others and, above all, with God who actively invites us to fully hand ourselves over to Him in each case. This is true for persons subject to the events as well as those who accompany them through their experience.

Theology of the Body, Extended breaks new ground:

  • Answers Saint John Paul II’s call to extend his work to bodily experiences beyond sexuality.
  • Details for the first time the spirituality of childbirth.
  • Explores how the impaired communicate this language of self-giving and fruitfulness through their impaired bodies or minds.
  • Treats the experience of dying as a sign that points to God.

This book is defined by both its theological anthropology and spiritual theology. It touches the heart with a depth of spirituality that actually helps us to see the world as God desires us to see.

Readers who will benefit from this book include:

  • Theology of Body teachers, students, and enthusiasts
  • Professors, scholars, and students of theology
  • Religious and lay ministers
  • Medical and nursing professionals
  • Persons enduring or facing childbirth, impairment, disability, grief, or dying (and those who accompany them)
  • Anyone interested in pastoral teachings of St. John Paul

The author, Susan Windley-Daoust, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Theology and Spiritual Director at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She received her doctorate in theology from Vanderbilt University. She is the author of The Redeemed Image of God: Embodied Relations to the Unknown Divine, and has been published in Sojourners and America magazine among others.

“The sensitive, thoughtful, and moving way in which the author handles her extension of John Paul II’s theology of the body is sure to edify and enlighten readers who truly value human life and seek a deeper understanding of three of its fundamental experiences, namely the “bodily” (yet deeply personal) events of childbirth, impairment, and dying. By exposing our vulnerability and its attendant dependency, while also beckoning us to craft an appropriate response to our state (if we are capable of deliberate action), these three events also signify a call to communion with others and, above all, with God, who actively invites us in each case to hand ourselves over to Him, and thus to receive Him and His gracious, healing activity more fully into our lives. This is true, not only of the persons subject to the events, but also of those who accompany them through their experience, or who even just witness it from afar; for they, too, are called to learn from what others can teach them firsthand about the sign-value of these primordial bodily events. This work makes a significant contribution to the ongoing effort and need to formulate more fully an authentic Christian anthropology.”
Jeff Tranzillo, author of John Paul II on the Vulnerable

“Susan Windley-Daoust represents a new generation of systematic theologians who are engaging with real-life issues of concern to all people. This book is important not least for illuminating the existential questions and concerns of an aging Baby Boomer generation, but the entire volume urges Christians across the life span to respond in faith to the divine call to live faithfully into our embodied creatureliness in light of the Christ event and the Spirit’s outpouring on all flesh. The challenges of life become opportune windows into the spiritual dimension in these pages. Here is one systematic theology you will not want to put down.”
Amos Yong, J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology & Dean, School of Divinity, Regent University.

To inquire about exam or desk copies, or textbook orders, call Linda Wolf (513) 677-3887.
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