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The Logic of the Body: Retrieving Theological Psychology

ISBN: 9781683594253
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The Logic of the Body

“Do not be anxious about anything.” When it comes to stress and worry, that's all we really need to say, right? Just repent of your anxiety, and everything will be fine.

But emotional life is more complex than this.

In The Logic of the Body, Matthew LaPine argues that Protestants must retrieve theological psychology in order to properly understand the emotional life of the human person. With classical and modern resources in tow, LaPine argues that one must not choose between viewing emotions exclusively as either cognitive and volitional on the one hand, or simply a feeling of bodily change on the other. The two “stories” can be reconciled through a robustly theological analysis.

In a culture filled with worry and anxiety, The Logic of the Body offers a fresh path within the Reformed tradition.

This is not only first-rate, but desperately needed.

—JP Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University and author of Finding Quiet

This is Christian scholarship at its best—careful exegesis of biblical passages, illuminating retrieval of historical categories, thoughtful and critical engagement with modern science and secular sources, all in order to do constructive theology in service of the church. Every pastor, theologian, and counselor needs to read this book.

—Joe Rigney, assistant professor of theology and literature, Bethlehem College & Seminary

This is a most welcome book from a young doctor of the soul.

—Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

Far too often when dealing with negative emotions we divide body and soul, not seeing individuals holistically. I believe this book will greatly benefit the church.

—Laura Wifler, cofounder of Risen Motherhood; podcaster; coauthor, Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments

A careful, scholarly piece of retrieval theology, it judiciously draws on the riches of the historical tradition in conversation with contemporary philosophy, neuroscience, and psychology, in order to develop a constructive theology of the emotions for today.

—Derek Rishmawy, RUF Campus Minister at UC Irvine; PhD candidate at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; cohost of the Mere Fidelity podcast

Emotions and embodiment are two vital aspects of the human experience, and yet far too often Christian accounts have pitted them against one another in problematic ways. Thankfully, Matthew LaPine’s volume pushes us to avoid picking between a psychological account and a theological one, but instead aims to help us see them together in a fresh way.

—Kelly M. Kapic, professor of theological studies at Covenant College; author of Embodied Hope

Top Highlights

“A model is tiered when it distinguishes emotional appraisal from thinking and emotional arousal from willing. ​” (Page 6)

“To cite just one example, modern psychologists largely assume that emotions are adaptive functions, inherited from more primitive forms of life rather than created traits for communion with God.” (Page 9)

“Emotions affect perception, learning, and decision making, and to the extent that emotions are connected to the body, then the body, too, is involved in emotional intelligence. As has been said, the body keeps score, and not with scars only.” (Page xix)

“First, most recent Reformed evangelicals hold a cognitivist philosophical account of emotion. Emotion is a sort of judgment or construal of my state of affairs that expresses some sort of interest or attitude.” (Page 26)

“Retrieval is an exercise in ressourcement, mining the past’s resources for the sake of engaging present problems” (Page xviii)

Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology

Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology is a peer-reviewed series of contemporary monographs exploring key figures, themes, and issues in historical and systematic theology from an evangelical perspective.

Learn more about the other titles in this series.

  • Foreword by Kevin J. Vanhoozer
  • Introduction
  • Emotional Voluntarism
  • The Psychology of Thomas Aquinas
  • Developments in Medieval and Renaissance Psychology
  • The Psychology of John Calvin
  • Modern Reformed Psychology
  • Book of Nature: Body and Soul
  • Book of Scripture: The Body in Biblical Theology
  • Book of Nature: Embodied Emotion
  • Book of Scripture: Commanding Emotion
  • Conclusion
  • Title: The Logic of the Body: Retrieving Theological Psychology
  • Author: Matthew A. LaPine
  • Series: Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Pages: 416
  • Format: Logos Digital, Paperback
  • Trim Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781683594253

Matthew A. LaPine(PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is pastor of theological development at Cornerstone Church and lecturer at Salt School of Theology (Ames, Iowa).


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  1. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    Quite a fascinating book that takes us on a journey - not only through Scripture - but back to Aquinas and his understanding of us, through to Calvin and then through a selection of Reformed thinkers - bringing us firmly into the 21st Century. I admit that I struggled a little with the first few chapters, but it was definitely worth my persistence - and when you get to the final 4 chapters, the earlier chapter make a lot more sense. Whilst the author is approaching his topic from a Reformed view (and I would note that I am a Lutheran pastor), his critique of Calvin and other Reformed luminaries is very good - whilst remaining quite respectful. Similarly, with the author’s dealing with modern psychological approaches - he seems quite fair in his criticisms though remains respectful. I especially applaud the author’s approach to anthropology - with us being “body and soul” - and that both according to Scripture and according to the book of nature, the two are not easy to separate. The author shows how this affects our approach to counselling, as well as how it affect our view of ourselves. He also stretched my understanding in both psychology and philosophy - which I enjoyed. I very much appreciated his Conclusion - as well as his thoughtful appendix on the Heart. Well referenced and superb Bibliography. Well worth the read for any Christian Leader / Counsellor who doesn’t mind digging a bit deeper into what makes us who we are.


Print list price: $29.99
Save $3.00 (10%)