The concept of body in religious studies


  • Matti Kamppinen University of Turku


Body, Human, Religion -- Study, Methodology, Christianity, Catholic Church, Pentecostalism, Biology, Food, Physical fitness, Sports, Everyday life, Emotions, Health


Recently it has become fashionable to speak about embodied religion, religion as bodily processes and embodiment in general. In this article the different uses of the concept of the body are analysed and the different contexts in which the concept can be used in coherent and systematic ways are clarified, and furthermore in such a way that it enhances the methodology of religious studies. Bodies are relevant in religious studies first and foremost for the reason that some bodies support religious beliefs, desires and actions, such as priests in the Catholic Church or members of the organizations of charismatic Christianity. Secondly, bodies are ascribed religious meanings. That is, in addition to a human body x, we have one or more religious actors who ascribe religious meanings to this particular body. Even though bodily issues are important for biological creatures such as human beings, they are not relevant for religious studies if they do not involve secondary theories that attach religious contents to them.



How to Cite

Kamppinen, M. (2011). The concept of body in religious studies. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 23, 206–215.