Autism & The Trinity: Theological Anthropology and Disability Ethics [Abstract]

Here is the abstract for a paper I will be presenting at the upcoming SBL/AAR Regional Conference in DFW [Saturday, March 8 at 4 PM]:

Autism & The Trinity: Theological Anthropology and Disability Ethics

There are many pressing ethical issues surrounding the view and care of disabled persons.  At the heart of these difficulties lies the question of anthropology, that is, “what does it mean to be a human being?”  Unfortunately, the theological anthropologies put forth by many Christians have often been oppressive to the disabled community.  In response, Amos Yong has recently offered a promising Trinitarian anthropology constructed in light of disability perspectives.  His Trinitarian anthropology lays emphasis on both the embodied and interdependent nature of human beings and thus paves the way for the possibility of responsible ethical reasoning.  However, Yong’s work is primarily concerned with Down’s Syndrome.  Thus the task remains to explore how a Trinitarian anthropology might inform the ethical view and care of the Autistic community.  In this paper, I will evaluate and appropriate Amos Yong’s Trinitarian anthropology in light of the experience of those on the Autism Spectrum.  I will first detail the insufficient nature of classical theological anthropologies for nurturing a healthy understanding of Autistic persons.  This will be followed by an evaluation of the promises a Trinitarian anthropology offers from an Autistic perspective.  Finally, I will conclude the paper by highlighting the unique contributions that a Trinitarian anthropology brings to the ethical discussions surround Autism.

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