Gordon Kaufman: Human Being as Intentional Agent

Molly C. Haslam

in A Constructive Theology of Intellectual Disability

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780823239405
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823239443 | DOI:
Gordon Kaufman: Human Being as Intentional Agent

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This chapter explores Gordon Kaufman's construction of the theological concept “human being,” and the degree to which this construction does or does not fulfil his requirement of appropriateness to human experience and the provision of meaning for human life, particularly as this relates to individuals with profound intellectual disabilities. It demonstrates that Kaufman's theological anthropology is developed primarily around an understanding of the human as agent, with capacities for symbol-use, intentionality, self-reflection, creativity, and purposeful action. While he avers that there is no “essence” to human being—no reified point at which the theologian locates “human being”—he himself locates what is essential to human being in the capacity to “grasp, shape, create” itself in and through historical processes—what Kaufman refers to as our “biohistoricity.” This concept is one of his most distinctive contributions to theological anthropology.

Keywords: Gordon Kaufman; human being; theological anthropology; intentionality; biohistoricity

Chapter.  6577 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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