Prof. Adrian Thatcher
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From 'Body-and-Soul' to 'Persons-in-Relation' - an exhilarating journey

I gave this lecture at the annual conference of The Champernowne Trust for Psychotherapy and the Arts, at Buckland Hall, Brecon Beacons, Wales, in July, 2006. I was honoured to be invited to give a lecture as a theologian, since the Trust and its conferences exist ‘to promote emotional health through Jungian Psychotherapy and the Creative Arts’, and I have expertise in neither. However, the theme of the conference in 2006 was ‘Body and Soul’, so a contribution from a theologian was thought to be apt.

I had already been writing about ‘persons’ for twenty-five years, so the lecture sketches out a history of the individual in the West, and problematizes it. I used some ideas of Gilbert Ryle and Ludwig Wittgenstein to deconstruct any notion that the self has an inner being to it. I wondered whether that emphasis would incur the wrath of the Jungian analysts who were there, but they were entirely untroubled by it. Perhaps the further emphases on relationality, and on spirituality as ‘in-between-ness’, restored the balance of the lecture. Re-reading the lecture after four years, I think it can stand as a lively reflection on who and what we think we are, straddling the boundaries between philosophy and theology, spirituality and materiality, individuality and sociality, and secularity and religious belief.

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