Online Course in Spiritual Theology

OCST03 Christian Perspectives on the Human Person


1.5 ECTS (12 hours)

The unit provides students with various insights from Christian personalism and realist phenomenology about the spiritual and bodily unity of human beings, and how they inform a theology of the body. It also attends to questions concerning human dignity and diversity, interiority and subjectivity, self-determination, relationality and communion.

The study-unit will reflect upon the human person in the light of Christian faith. It will focus on (a) the dignity of human beings who, created in the image of God and called to be stewards of God’s creation, stand in relationship with God and with one another; (b) their identity as male and female; (c) sexuality as God’s gift to creation; and (d) the institution of marriage as envisioned by God.

Study-unit aims
The study-unit will provide students with ways to understand how we come to consider and express ourselves as men and women, the social forces that constrain us to act and think as gendered persons, and the potential consequences for not conforming to those norms and beliefs. It also provides the Catholic teachings on the dignity of the human person, sexuality and marriage, highlighting how these beliefs contrast with other positions regarding human nature and marriage.

Learning outcomes
1. Knowledge and understanding: By the end of the study-unit, the student will be able to (a) elucidate the basic Christian beliefs regarding human persons, sexuality and marriage; (b) compare and contrast these beliefs with other theories and teachings regarding human nature; (c) address issues relevant to female and male differences in power, dominance, communication, equality, and expectations/beliefs; (d) understand the importance of human reciprocity and the culture of gift. 2. Skills: By the end of the study-unit, the student will be able to determine where theories and teachings regarding human persons, sexuality and marriage follow, are parallel to or differ from the Roman Catholic teachings.

Teaching and learning methods
6 sessions of approximately 2 hours each.

Method of assessment
short assignment (1200 words)

Main texts and supplementary readings

  • T&T Clark Handbook of Theological Anthropology, T&T Clark, New York 2021;
  • Kirchhoffer, D.G. – Horner, R. – McArdle, P., edd., Being Human. Groundwork for a Theological Anthropology for the 21st Century, Wipf & Stock, Eugene (OR) 2013;
  • Lucas, R., Man Incarnate Spirit. A Philosophy of Man Compendium, Circle Press, New York 2005;
  • Mascia-Lees, F. – Johnson Black, N., Gender and Anthropology, Waveland Press, Prospect Heights (IL) 2000.