Cooper, Adam G.
Cooper, Adam G.
Office—St. John's Lutheran Church, 165 Yarra St., Geelong, Victoria 3220, Australia. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer. Lutheran Church of Australia, Geelong, Victoria, Australia, pastor.
Fellow, University of Melbourne Classics Department.
Adam G. Cooper, a fellow of the University of Melbourne's classics department, is a pastor for the Lutheran Church of Australia at St. John's Lutheran Church in Geelong, Australia. In addition to Life in the Flesh: An Anti-Gnostic Spiritual Philosophy, Cooper published The Body in St. Maximus the Confessor: Holy Flesh, Wholly Deified. The Body in St. Maximus the Confessor functions as a response to the criticism of "those Greek patristic writers most influenced by Neoplatonism," or orthodox views regarding Plato's concept of the relationship between the body and the spirit as reflected by early Christian theologians, according to a critical summary by Bronwen Neil appearing in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History. The study follows Maximus's process of logical reasoning in exploring theological concepts of the body as a physical and spiritual entity. Cooper favorably interprets Maximus's writings and, in particular, his unique views regarding corporeality, which distinguish his perspective from those of his contemporaries. Neil explained that Cooper organizes the text into five primary sections that address the subject of corporeality from multiple angles, meaning Cooper's interpretative analysis greatly varies from the established and accepted body of existing readings. Furthermore, Neil stated, "it is methodical without being prosaic; it draws heavily upon Scripture, especially the Pauline books, as well as patristic writings; and it seeks to make a contribution to the life of the Church and of the individual Christian." One of the main themes in the book surrounds the issue posed by Maximus's defense of the physical body as a benefit to one's spirituality, which is in direct opposition to the Platonic view of the body as the prison of the soul.
Valerie A. Karras, in an article for Church History, expressed admiration for The Body in St. Maximus the Confessor. "Part of Cooper's interpretive strength is not only his commitment to situating Maximus's theology of creation and the human body within his intellectual heritage and context … but also his recognition of the importance of Maximus's lived experiences within his ecclesial, sacramental, and monastic environment," she commented. Although she reported that "Cooper occasionally fails to distinguish in sufficient detail the corporeal differences of some anthropological stages," or the changes the body experiences during the spiritual process of deification such as becoming genderless, she concluded that the text is "is an excellent scholarly work that should prove a valuable contribution to the field."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Church History, December 1, 2007, Valerie A. Karras, review of The Body in St. Maximus the Confessor: Holy Flesh, Wholly Deified, p. 826.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, April 1, 2006, Bronwen Neil, review of The Body in St. Maximus the Confessor, p. 324.
Oxford Scholarship Online Web site,http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/ (July 20, 2008), author profile.