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Theology of the Body Explained: A Commentary on John Paul II's "Gospel of the Body" [Paperback]

By Christopher West (Author)
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Item Number 137958  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   552
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   1.72 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 31, 2003
Publisher   Pauline Books & Media
ISBN  0819874108  
EAN  9780819874108  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Theology of the Body Explained: A Commentary on John Paul II's "Gospel of the Body" by Christopher West

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More About Christopher West

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Christopher West has traveled in and studied China for more than twenty years. He is the author of three previous novels in this series including" Death of a Blue Lantern," a finalist for the 1998 Anthony Award. He lives in London, England.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
a good effort   Nov 23, 2005
Theology of the Body Explained is a gallant and partially sucessful effort by Christopher West to make Pope John Paul II's talks on this subject more accessible for those Catholics who aren't theologians.

It is very serious, very careful and pretty ponderous. The book really doesn't take off until you've slogged through 70+ pages.This is a mighty subject and an important one and West deserves praise for trying to get the message to to the people but except for highly motivated grad students or those who want to really wow them down at the parish hall, Theology of the Body Explained is a bit more than most folks can digest.

Christopher West wrote another book, Theolgoy of the Body for Beginers that is much shorter and far more lay person friendly.
Required reading for EVERYONE!  Oct 21, 2005
This book is so amazing. He makes John Paul's encyclical understandable to the average person. I believe and tell people all the time that this should be required reading for everyone, christian and non-christian, catholic or protestant. Find the answers for the meaning of life and more.
Detailed Down to Earth View of Theo of the Body  Feb 3, 2005
In this book, Christopher West handles the Theology of the Body by John Paul II in a way that respects the beauty and seriousness of the subject. He also brings John Paul II's very thick language down to earth so that your average person can fully grasp the details of the Theology of the Body.

At the very beginning of the book, Christopher West covers John Paul II's impact on religious studies. He provides a fantastic, well thought out picture of John Paul's development into the Phenomenological and Personalistic giant that led him to develop the Theology of the Body. This study gave me an understanding of the importance of John Paul's general teachings and what brought the Theology of the Body into existence.

The book is complete in its coverage of the Theology of the Body, ending with how it follows on Humanae Vitae. And the Theology of the Body is a great follow up to Karol Wojtyla's (John Paul II's) 1960 book entitled Love and Responsibility.

The book is solid, full of details and captures the depth of TOB. If one is looking for a less detailed (summary) view of TOB, see Christopher West's "Theology of the Body for Beginners."
Excellent Accessibility and Depth  Feb 5, 2004
Christopher West is a well-established name as a popularizer of John Paul II's Theology of the Body. This book differs from West's other works in being a systematic commentary on the pope's 129 noontime talks on the meaning of the human body according to Catholic Christianity, which we given over five years early in his pontificate (1979-1984).

The organization of the book is impeccable. The book is divided into six "cycles", which are formed according to the main themes of John Paul's talks, which I list below:

1. "Original Man": Adam and Eve before the Fall, and how their integrity as individuals and in their relations with each other and God contrast with our imbalanced, Fallen condition.

2. "Historical Man": our current, fallen state. West explains the Pope's penetrating analysis of how exactly sin touches our lives.

3. "Eschatological Man": a stirring vision of how our form is divinized (which reminds me of Eastern theology's emphasis on the Transfiguration) and how marriage is consummated with our perfect communion with God in heavean.

4. "Celibacy for the Kingdom": one might wonder how celibacy fits into the picture after the Pope does so much to elevate the dignity of marriage, but in fact here West shows how celibacy and marriage complement each other.

5. "The Sacramentality of Marriage": this treats John Paul's study of St. Paul, including a wonderful explanation of an unpopular phrase from Ephesians: "Wives, be submissive to your husbands...".

6. "Love and Fruitfulness": West looks into John Paul's closing reflections on Humanae Vitae, the encyclical of Paul VI that raised a fury among Catholics who were disappointed by the papacy's continued stance against artificial contraception.

The cycles are in turn broken down into sections, each of which generally comments on one or two of John Paul's noontime audiences. Everything is scrupulously referenced not only to the Theology of the Body talks (which Pauline Press also publishes) by also to the Catechism and pertinent encyclical letters on sexuality and the human person. At the end of each cycle, West also has a review section, summing up the key points of that particular cycle.

In this book, West recounts how the Theology of the Body had helped him heal from a long period of being a lapsed, worldly Catholic, and this sense of wonder and freedom permeates the book. There is food for the mind and the heart, as I have grown to appreciate the dignity of marriage, celibacy, and the human person in a way I would never have expected just a few years ago. The very methodical organization and annotation of this volume might lead one to suspect that this book is dry, but it in fact reads wonderfully. In the space of a few weeks I read the entire book, in spite of a busy schedule as a medical student.

While it is best to read this book along with the original talks of the pope themselves, this commentary could be read on its own with great profit, as I have done. I am working on the original talks, but I read way ahead with West's book, loving every minute of it, and shall return to John Paul's masterpiece with that much more understanding and appreciation.

Professor West has done the world a great service in promoting John Paul II's magnificent celebration and defense of the human person.


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