Theology of the Body Explained - Commentary on John Paul II
"Professor West has done the world a great service in promoting John Paul II's magnificent celebration and defense of the human person."
The first edition of Theology of the Body Explained (2003) quickly became a Catholic bestseller, serving as a standard reference text in universities, seminaries, and private study. This newly revised and expanded edition (2007) is based on Michael Waldstein's much improved translation of John Paul II's catechesis published by Pauline Books & Media under the title Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body (2006).
Key insights discovered through Dr. Waldstein's access to the John Paul II archives have been incorporated.
The text has been substantially reorganized to reflect what we now know about the structure of John Paul II's original manuscript
The newly discovered headings of the Pope's original text have been incorporated.
The illuminating insights of John Paul II's six undelivered and previously untranslated addresses on the Song of Songs, Tobit, and Ephesians are unfolded here for the first time.
The Prologue has been thoroughly revised, updated, and expanded based on new insights into the mind of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II.
William May, Professor, John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family
"We owe a debt of gratitude to Christopher West. Since he first discovered the Theology of the Body in 1993, he has been a pioneer in the difficult task of seeking the right language with which to explain John Paul II's difficult theological and philosophical teaching. This newly revised commentary is the fruit of West's own ever-deepening understanding and integration of the material. West's work offers readers an excellent entry and much solid assistance in decoding John Paul II's difficult text. It will encourage them to read John Paul II himself with more open eyes and with clearer reflection."
From the Foreword by Michael Waldstein, Founding President, International Theological Institute, Austria
"Christopher West is a well-established name as a popularizer of John Paul II's Theology of the Body. This book differs from West's other works in being a systematic commentary on the pope's 129 noontime talks on the meaning of the human body according to Catholic Christianity, which we given over five years early in his pontificate (1979-1984).
"The organization of the book is impeccable. The book is divided into six 'cycles', which are formed according to the main themes of John Paul's talks"The organization of the book is impeccable. The book is divided into six 'cycles', which are formed according to the main themes of John Paul's talks, which I list below: "1. 'Original Man': Adam and Eve before the Fall, and how their integrity as individuals and in their relations with each other and God contrast with our imbalanced, Fallen condition. "2. 'Historical Man': our current, fallen state. West explains the Pope's penetrating analysis of how exactly sin touches our lives. "3. 'Eschatological Man': a stirring vision of how our form is divinized (which reminds me of Eastern theology's emphasis on the Transfiguration) and how marriage is consummated with our perfect communion with God in heaven. "4. 'Celibacy for the Kingdom': one might wonder how celibacy fits into the picture after the Pope does so much to elevate the dignity of marriage, but in fact here West shows how celibacy and marriage complement each other. "5. 'The Sacramentality of Marriage': this treats John Paul's study of St. Paul, including a wonderful explanation of an unpopular phrase from Ephesians: 'Wives, be submissive to your husbands...'. "6. 'Love and Fruitfulness': West looks into John Paul's closing reflections on Humanae Vitae, the encyclical of Paul VI that raised a fury among Catholics who were disappointed by the papacy's continued stance against artificial contraception. "In this book, West recounts how the Theology of the Body had helped him heal from a long period of being a lapsed, worldly Catholic, and this sense of wonder and freedom permeates the book. There is food for the mind and the heart, as I have grown to appreciate the dignity of marriage, celibacy, and the human person in a way I would never have expected just a few years ago. The very methodical organization and annotation of this volume might lead one to suspect that this book is dry, but it in fact reads wonderfully. In the space of a few weeks I read the entire book, in spite of a busy schedule as a medical student. "Professor West has done the world a great service in promoting John Paul II's magnificent celebration and defense of the human person." G. Nora, Amazon.com customer review.