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Broken Bodies

The Eucharist, Mary and the Body in Trauma Theology

Broken Bodies

The Eucharist, Mary and the Body in Trauma Theology

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Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334058373
Number of Pages: 256
Published: 29/03/2019
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm

The Body of Christ is a traumatised body because it is constituted of traumatised bodies. This monograph explores the nature of that trauma and examines the implications of identifying the trauma of this body.

Constructing new ways of thinking about the narratives at the heart of the Christian faith, 'Broken Bodies' offers a fresh perspective on Christian theology, in particular the Eucharist, and presents a call to love the body in all its guises.

It offers new pathways for considering what it means to `be Christian' and explores the impact that the experience of trauma has on Christian doctrine.


1. Trauma in Bodies, in Memories, and in Theology 

2. The Eucharist as Non-Identical Repetition: What is Being Re-Membered at the Altar? 

3. Christ is One: The Unity of the Body in the Theology of Cyril of Alexandria 


4. Priesthood

5. Sacrifice 

6. The Materiality of the Eucharist 

7. Trauma and Sacrament 

8. Body: A Love Story 

Further Reading 


Index of Biblical References 

Index of Names and Subjects 

Karen O'Donnell

Dr Karen O'Donnell is Coordinator for the Centre for Contemporary Spirituality and Programme Leader for the MA in Christian Spirituality at Sarum College.

"This extraordinarily powerful book does not retreat from the blood, loss and deathliness sewn into Christian theologies across the ages. Nonetheless, it also insists on their transformative potential and capacity to bring new light to experiences of trauma and its aftermath today. O'Donnell's is a bold new voice in constructive theology." -- Susannah Cornwall, Exeter University, UK

"At once both scholarly and heartfelt, this book makes innovative use of traditions of the Eucharist and of the Virgin Mary in ways that shed important light on the developing theology of trauma. Karen O'Donnell's book bears helpfully on doctrinal, liturgical and also pastoral issues. Warmly recommended." -- Christopher Southgate, Exeter University, UK

"... follows the good feminist practice of starting from one’s own experience, and using that experience as one of the measures for all matters under consideration – in this case, the Annunciation and Incarnation, the Eucharist, and the Trinity. But that does not mean that the book is light on scholarship. On the contrary, it is in part an exercise in ressourcement, drawing on the work of early Christian authors in order to understand the somatic character of Church life and Christian doctrine. The book is also deeply compassionate, and thus has a pastoral orientation. And as a Mariologist, I shall certainly use it as a text for discussion with students." -- Sarah Jane Boss, University of Roehampton, UK

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