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Picture of Autism, Humanity and Personhood

Autism, Humanity and Personhood

A Christ-Centred Theological Anthropology

Author(s): Jennifer Anne Cox
Subject: Religion

Book Description

Theological anthropology is charged with providing an understanding of the human, but there are numerous challenges to this. Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder, the main characteristic of which is difficulty in social interaction. In its severest form, a person with low-functioning autism may be both intellectually impaired and unable to relate to others as persons. Theological anthropology can exclude people who are cognitively impaired because it has historically upheld reason as the image of God. Recent theology of intellectual disability has bypassed this difficulty by emphasising relationality as the image of God. However, this approach has the unfortunate consequence of excluding people with severe low-functioning autism. This calls for a new approach to theological anthropology. Autism, Humanity and Personhood provides a Christ-centred, inclusive anthropology which does not exclude people with severe autism.

The book takes a conservative evangelical approach to severe autism and the challenges it poses to theological anthropology. It considers significant aspects of salvation history – creation, incarnation, atonement and resurrection – in order to build a solid theological foundation for an inclusive theological anthropology. As long as we look within the individual, it is difficult to find a solid basis for the humanity of people who are severely intellectually and developmentally impaired. Instead of trying to ground humanity and personhood within the individual with autism, the book outlines an extrinsic basis for theological anthropology. That extrinsic basis is the gift of humanness and personhood from Jesus Christ, who alone is fully human and the true image of God. Jesus has overcome sin and death, which have wreaked havoc on the human person. Therefore, his incarnate life, death and resurrection are more than enough basis to declare that people with the most severe intellectual and developmental impairment are truly human persons.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-5074-2
ISBN-10: 1-4438-5074-8
Date of Publication: 01/04/2017
Pages / Size: 255 / A5
Price: £61.99


Jennifer Anne Cox is an adjunct faculty member at Tabor College of Higher Education, Australia. She has a Bachelor of Theology from Tabor College, a Bachelor of Theology with first class honours from Murdoch University in Western Australia and a PhD from the same institution. Her teaching areas include systematic theology and biblical languages. Jennifer has written several articles on theology of disability, theology of sickness and women’s ministry. Further theological research interests include intersex, theological reflection, spiritual gifts and mental illness.