The Body of Compassion: Ethics, Medicine, and the Church

Overview

In The Body of Compassion, Joel Shuman presents an important, new theological treatment of contemporary bioethics, weaving together personal experience, a critical treatise on contemporary bioethics, and an exploration of a Christian theological alternative.The author first draws the reader into a consideration of the current state of bioethics by relating the story of his grandfather, a hard-working family man who died a solitary death, unaccompanied by loved ones, in the unfamiliar and sterile world of a ...

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Overview

In The Body of Compassion, Joel Shuman presents an important, new theological treatment of contemporary bioethics, weaving together personal experience, a critical treatise on contemporary bioethics, and an exploration of a Christian theological alternative.The author first draws the reader into a consideration of the current state of bioethics by relating the story of his grandfather, a hard-working family man who died a solitary death, unaccompanied by loved ones, in the unfamiliar and sterile world of a hospital. Troubled by the way his grandfather died, Shuman takes the reader along as he explores how modern medicine has distanced itself from dealing with people as living beings beyond their immediate physicality. He examines how various approaches to bioethics over the past twenty years have tried to remedy this problem by prescribing certain standards for treatment and how each of these ultimately has fallen short due to the lack of “a teleological concern for the body”—i.e., to trying to understand what the body is actually for in a larger context. From this point, Shuman deftly moves to a discussion of the centrality of the body to Christianity, focusing on how baptism, participation in the liturgy, and the partaking of the Eucharist all serve to unite Christians as one in the body of Christ. For Christians, the author argues, the body does not just belong to the individual but rather is one with the community of the Church. With this in mind, Shuman proposes a new kind of bioethics for Christians, where care for the body of Christ becomes the model of how we should care for and receive care from each other.This fresh and thought-provoking book issure to be of interest to ethicists, medical professionals, and everyone who is troubled by places where science and religion intersect and seem to conflict.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Religion and ethics instructor Shuman's first book is the latest entry in Westview's ever-intriguing "Radical Traditions" series. Using examples from literature and personal experience, Shuman constructs an interesting case for the primacy of compassion--Christian compassion--in the delivery of healthcare. The standard of moral rectitude he sets for caregivers may seem impossibly high, but his work will be instructive and provocative for many readers. For most collections. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Shuman (theological ethics, Duke U.) weaves personal experience, contemporary bioethics, and a Christian theological alternative into his treatment. Taking his grandfather's lonely end in a sterile hospital as a goad, he explores how modern medicine has distanced itself from people as living being. He also explores various approaches to bioethics of the past 20 years and finds that each has failed due to the lack of a theological concern for the body that places it in a larger context. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592441792
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 236

Meet the Author

Joel Shuman is a native West Virginian who teaches moral theology at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, PA. He attended Bethany (WV) College, and received a degree in physical therapy from the Medical College of Virginia. He earned the Master of Theological Studies from Duke University Divinity School, and the Ph.D. in Religion from the Graduate School of Duke University . A frequent public speaker and the author of numerous popular and scholarly articles about theology and medicine, he has recently written (with Dr. Keith Meador) 'Heal Thyself: Spirituality, Medicine and the Distortion of Christianity', published by Oxford University Press. A United Methodist and father of three, he lives with his family in Mountain Top, Pennsylvania.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
List of Credits
Introduction
1 Before Bioethics: The Moral Paradox of Modern Medicine 1
2 The "Birth" of Bioethics: Scientific Expertise and the Justification of the Modern Project 47
3 After Bioethics: Toward a Christian Theology of the Body and Its Goods 79
4 Beyond Bioethics: Caring for Christ's Body 113
Afterword: Awaiting the Redemption of Our Body - Life and Death in the Meantime 157
Notes 161
Bibliography 201
Index 209
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