Wellness, Health, and Salvation: About the Religious Dimension of Contemporary Body-Mindedness

By Christoffer Hinrich Grundmann.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Alluding to the enormous investments in wellness, health, and anti-aging by affluent US society today the article focuses on the anthropological and religious implications of this phenomenon by stating that the pursuit of such caring for the body has superseded the quest for salvation. The first section provides a historical background analysis of how the contemporary semi-religious body-mindedness came about, while the second part analyses wellness, health, and salvation from a phenomenological point of view. It shows that any body image which does not address human frailty turns into something utterly inhumane while a religiously informed anthropology, in contrast, not only accepts frailty, dying, and death as realities of life but situates these experiences within a broader frame of reference and meaning thereby setting people free to leave behind at the proper time anxieties and worries about body-upkeep and to embrace life in the face of death.

Keywords: Wellness, Health, Body, Salvation, Anthropology

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.127-138. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 747.358KB).

Prof. Dr. Christoffer Hinrich Grundmann

John R. Eckrich University Professor in Religion and the Healing Arts, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana, USA

Born in 1950 in Bergheim/ Erft, Germany. After completing theological studies in Germany (1967-1978; M.Th.) and ministerial training at Caracas, Venezuela, I received Lutheran ordination (1978) and thereafter taught for four years at the Tamilnadu Theological Seminary (TTS) in Madurai, India (1979-1982). Returning to Germany I became hospital chaplain and theological consultant to the German Institute for Medical Missions at Tuebingen (1983-1991). In 1991 I earned my first doctorate (Dr. theol.) with a dissertation on emergence and development of medical missions (Gesandt zu heilen!, Guetersloh, Mohn, 1991; Sent to heal!, UPA 2005) from the University at Hamburg, Germany, and joined the staff of the ‘Institute for Missions, Ecumenics, and Religions’ at that very institution. After completing the second doctorate (Dr. theol. habil.) with a thesis on healing in the African Independent/Indigenous Churches (Leibhaftigkeit des Heils, Muenster / London, LIT 1996) I was awarded the venia legendi (official academic permission to teach at a university) and became Privatdozent (professor without pay) at Hamburg University for the history of regligions, being awarded the title ‘Professor’ in 2001. In 2001 I was inducted into the John R. Eckrich University Chair in Religion and the Healing Arts at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN, USA.