We had a very interesting class Monday. We were joined by some professors from Beijing--who are visiting the school. How they wound up in my class I dont know but they were a delight--there were some language issues, but thankfully one of them was able to translate for the others. They were from the religious studies department of Beijing University--the Dean, who teaches philosophy, a taoist philosopher, a marxist studies prof. and a professor of Christian studies, who recently translated some of Graham Ward's stuff into Chinese. The class topic was theology and the body and we began with a reflection on Catherine of Siena and then moved backwards and forwards considering the various ways in which the idea of 'body' has been understood throughout Christian history, and how we might think about it today. There was an interesting roadblock of sorts when it came down to the idea of the 'soul' between those who were very clear in their belief i its existence, but less clear in their ability to explain it in any meaningful way. I'm not a big 'soul' man, unless it's Marvin Gaye--I believe its simply language trying to get at something beyond words.
I did raise a point made by John Caputo that "technology repeats theology," meaning that miracles in the Bible become medical and technological miracles today--opening up new space to think about the relation between the material and immaterial worlds.
I have been thinking through a book idea around this--techno-theology, exploring the relationship between technology and flesh-the organic and the mechanical, the material and the immaterial, stuff like that.