Minister to the Body: Richard Greenham and the Other Side of Puritan Pastoral Practice
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This dissertation examines the role of the body in the theology and pastoral practice of Richard Greenham (c. 1540-1594). Contrary to those who find in puritanism a Platonizing disdain for the body, Greenham highly values the physical aspect of human nature. He spends much of his time and resources caring for corporeal needs. He gives generously to the poor, establishes a community co-operative to regulate the price of grain, and advises on the best ways to treat physical ailments. Furthermore, the body plays an integral role in his spirituality. In his renowned counseling, he ministers to both soul and body, and in his sermons and writings, he urges Christians to glorify God with their bodies in daily life and in corporate worship on the Sabbath. His understanding of the worth of the body arises from a theological basis. God creates and redeems whole people. God creates people as unions of bodies and souls, and Christ took on a complete human nature, including a body, in order to redeem his people in both body and soul. While death separates body from soul, the Son of God will resurrect the bodies of the dead, reuniting them with their souls, when he comes again. He will raise the godly to an everlasting, embodied, and glorified existence in the presence of God, but he will raise the ungodly to unceasing physical and spiritual torment. Greenham ministers holistically because he understands the Christian faith to concern not just the salvation of souls but the redemption of whole people.