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Document Details :

Title: The Vulnerability of the Body
Subtitle: A Daring Christian Approach to Nakedness
Author(s): DE CLERCQ, Eva
Journal: Bijdragen
Volume: 72    Issue: 2   Date: 2011   
Pages: 183-200
DOI: 10.2143/BIJ.72.2.2131109

Abstract :
‘Religion and corporeality’. At first sight, the coordinating conjunction «and» sounds rather odd here because in the vision of many people spirituality and materiality necessarily exclude each other. Still, many scholars have offered abundant evidence that Christianity is a religion of embodiment. Yet, as will become clear from the works of the theologians Erik Peterson and André Guindon, the turn toward the body within Christianity is primarily a turn toward a clothed body. This may explain why the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has argued that our culture, which is heavily influenced by Christian theology, is characterized by the impossibility of nakedness. In his view, we should try to think a possible nakedness of man by liberating it, piece by piece, from the theological fabric which is wrapped around it. The question that I want to raise here is whether such a naked nudity is really a human option. Drawing on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and introducing the notion of corporeal vulnerability, I will argue that it is not.