Religions and the Body

Beatrice Nuti. Ca' Foscari University of Venice (Italy)

This didactic module assumes a research approach according to which the body is also considered as a product of specific social, cultural, and historical contexts. This type of assumption doesn’t have a radical opposition with respect to truth claims of medical and biological sciences, but to move toward a comprehension of “body” inclusive of the diverse cultural heritage added and overwritten on the “natural body”, since a suspicious attitude toward what commonly is considered “natural body” by a specific community. Of course religion is a main element of every cultural heritage, each religious tradition has a particular understanding of the 'body' in a distinctive and unfamiliar way answering the questions “what’s the nature of body?”, “what’s its destiny after death?”, “How can individual reach spiritual states through the body condition?”, “what’s the ordinary religiously correct attitude toward body?”. Doing this, religions create a specific attitude to 'bodiliness' including relevant holy texts devoted to it, devotional body practices, clothes, food or sexual prescriptions.