Friday 15 May 2015

Word & World 35, 2 (2015) on Posthuman Identity

The latest issue of Word & World is devoted to ‘Posthuman Identity’. The content (with main articles and abstracts as below) is available from here.


Frederick J. Gaiser
Corporate Personhood: A Posthuman Notion?


Thomas J. Jorgenson
Imagining the Nightmare: Empathy and Awareness in Post-Apocalyptic Young Adult Fiction
Contemporary young adult literature is often set in times of apocalypse or in dystopian societies, or both. These stories help their impressionable audience understand and learn to navigate the grey areas of being human that their brains are primed to grow into: understanding oneself, understanding other people, and understanding that right and wrong are not so simple as black and white. Pastors and teachers need to know this literature in order to know their young people.

Brent Waters
Is Technology the New Religion?
Transhumanists and posthumanists are in the initial stages of mythmaking, and any mythology inevitably has strong religious connotations. In broad outline, the themes of this emerging myth are strikingly similar to those of its Christian counterpart. Through technology, humans will be saved from their finitude and mortality. The chief difference lies in reversing the linchpin of this narrative: turning flesh into data displaces the Word made flesh.

Steven J. Kraftchick
Plac’d on this Isthmus of a Middle State: Reflections on Psalm 8 and Human Becoming
What does it mean now to be human? Pondering this question cannot occur only in the halls and vestibules of churches and classrooms of seminaries. It must also take place through conversations with those inside and outside the walls of communities of belief. To the extent that trans- and posthumanists are asking questions about the human being and its role in constructing and caring for the world, we should join them.

Roger A. Willer
Posthumanism’s Morality and ELCA Social Teaching
While there should be openness to some of the intentions and outcomes conceived as posthuman, it is clear that the generally understood principles of posthuman morality are woefully inadequate at this time. Posthuman adherents need to think much more deeply and broadly toward a substantive, justifiable framework that could provide the necessary moral guidance for their unprecedented efforts.

Tim Hutchings
Real Virtual Community
Virtual community can be real community. An example is the Church of Fools (now St Pixels), launched as an experiment eleven years ago, meant to last but three months. However, that experiment created a congregation that is still alive today, one in which people carry on public discussions with sufficient human feelings to form webs of personal relationships online.

Clint Schnekloth
The Humanity of Posts
Whereas humanism prioritizes human experiences over things, some posthumanist theory prioritizes things themselves. Thus the question of the humanity of posts (the wooden ones). What is the identity or experience of a post, and how shall we account for it in a posthumanist manner that informs theological commitments?

Erik Leafblad and Andrew Root
Youth and the Posthuman: Personhood, Transcendence, and Siri
When everything gets turned into a technology, and existence is about practical mastery, the mystery of being is buried and everything is made an object, blurring the lines between human personhood and other technological objects.

Face to Face

Jon Anderson
Virtual Community? A Gift to Be Nourished

Bill Holmes
Virtual Community? The Absence of Presence

Texts in Context

Frederick J. Gaiser
Not Safe, but Good: Preaching a Holy God in a Time of Terror
The biblical texts appointed for Trinity Sunday proclaim a holy God. This might be just what we need to confront the significant terrors of the world around us.

The 2014-2015 Word & World Lecture

John Swinton
Time, Hospitality, and Belonging: Towards a Practical Theology of Mental Health
Mental health problems are unique experiences that occur in the lives of irreplaceable individuals who have their own unique stories, histories, dreams, and desires; people who are deeply loved by God, and whom God desires God’s church to love without boundaries. People’s stories may be changed by their encounter with mental health problems but they are not defined by them.

Book Reviews

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