Reading Bodies as Texts

With this issue of Textual Reasoning, we begin a new “occasional corner” of the journal, devoted to the reading of a different type of text: the human body. This corner will be edited by Philip Culbertson, Director of Pastoral Studies in the theology department of Auckland University (New Zealand), and a contributing editor of Textual Reasoning.

In this first incarnation of the corner, two contributions are presented. In the first, Philip Culbertson lays out some of the problems inherent in reading a body, specifically focusing on questions pertaining to the male gaze and the male body. His article is designed as a broad survey of this developing field, and ultimately raises more questions than it answers. Part Two of his article will appear in a future issue. The second contribution addresses the unveiling of the penis in contemporary film and explores the potential theological significance of this turn in the way that men’s bodies are being read as vulnerable. Graham Ward’s name will already be familiar to some readers of Textual Reasoning. He is dean of Peterhouse College in Cambridge, England, and a lecturer at the University in Christian theology, philosophy and critical theory. His books include “Barth, Derrida and the Language of Theology” (CUP, 1995), “Theology and Contemporary Critical Theory” (Macmillan, 1996), and “The Postmodern God” (Blackwells, 1997). He is senior editor of the journal “Literature and Theology” (OUP).

It is hoped that these and subsequent contributions to the occasional corner will generate more discussion, both on tr-list and in the pages of Textual Reasoning. Readers interested in contributing to the corner should contact Philip Culbertson at to vet their ideas.