Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Religious and Theological Studies

First Advisor

Deborah Beth Creamer, Ph.D.


Anthropology, Epistemology, Feminist theory, Phenomenology, Theology


Constructive body theology provides an ethical commitment to and a set of analytical principles for understanding bodily experience. If we insist upon the theological value of embodied experience, how can we give an adequate account of it? Are feminist appeals to the senses useful in developing theological truth claims based in embodied experiences? Feminist theologies which explicitly seek to overcome body/mind dualisms often reinscribe them when they neglect to attend to perception as a critical element of bodily experience. Phenomenological analyses of perception (such as suggested by Merleau-Ponty) strengthen and refine our conception of embodiment. Grounding constructive theology in experience requires understanding experience as bodily perceptual orientation, as perceptual bodily and cultural acts involved in socially and historically situated contextual meaning-making processes. This shift expands phenomenological concepts such as intentionality and habit, and allows for a comparative investigation of historical and cultural differences in embodied experiences through examples found in sensory anthropology. Body theology, framed as principles, strengthens theological projects (such as those by Carter Heyward and Marcella Althaus-Reid, as well as new constructive possibilities) through opening dialogical avenues of exploration into embodied being in the world. Body theology principles help us conceive of and address how our bodily experiencing--our feeling, tasting, hearing, imaging, remembering and other sensory knowledge --comes to matter in our lives, especially where oppressive forces viscerally affect embodied life.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Heike Peckruhn

File size

358 p.

File format





Theology, Philosophy