Embodied Theodicy: From Conceptual to Bodily Engagements with Suffering

This article leverages ethnographic research on spiritual journeys to expand traditional definitions of theodicy. Embodied theodicy builds upon embodiment literature to demonstrate how bodily experiences have real emotional consequences—they have the potential to change how individuals make sense of...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Main Author: Winfield, Taylor Paige
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2021]
In:Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Year: 2021, Volume: 89, Issue: 1, Pages: 204-239
Online Access: Volltext (Lizenzpflichtig)
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Summary:This article leverages ethnographic research on spiritual journeys to expand traditional definitions of theodicy. Embodied theodicy builds upon embodiment literature to demonstrate how bodily experiences have real emotional consequences—they have the potential to change how individuals make sense of their suffering. Whereas in some cases the bodily experience of pain leads to suffering, in others, pain provides individuals with perspective on their suffering and helps them overcome it. Data from two spiritual journeys, El Camino de Santiago and a Vipassana meditation retreat, introduce three models of embodied theodicy: pain as purifier, pain as teacher, and pain as solidarity. Embodied theodicy bridges the meaning-making concerns of classical and neoclassical literature with the embodiment theories of poststructuralists and contemporary scholars.
ISSN:1477-4585
Contains:Enthalten in: American Academy of Religion, Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1093/jaarel/lfaa070