Volume 13, Issue Supplement, 2015

Dualismes: Doctrines religieuses et traditions philosophiques

Daniel Marguerat
Pages 375-393

Le corps, lieu de conflit entre l’esprit et la chair
Anthropologie paulinienne et dualisme

Pauline anthropology is of a fundamentally Hebrew nature : the body‑σῶμα is a holistic concept that designates man as creature in the world. The body is the way “I” is present in the world : man does not have a body, he is a body. Portraying the whole person, the body is the “temple of the Holy Spirit”, the setting for a sacred presence that transcends humankind (1Cor 6 : 12‑20). However, this body is also the scene of a conflict between flesh and spirit. The flesh‑σάρξ concept does not apply to a part of man but to the whole of man as a precarious, fragile and mortal being. As such, the human being stands up as an enemy of God, taking his human condition on as the foundation of his values (Rom 8 : 5‑8). The Spirit‑πνεῦμα is God’s sphere of influence in the world, to which one becomes affiliated through his spirit. Flesh leads to death while the Spirit turns to life. These two forces compete for the human body. Yet, such a dualism is not by nature ontological but historical : one remains capable of choosing between remaining a prisoner of mortal flesh or letting the Spirit of God dwell in him (Rom 8 :10).