In Search of the Soul

In Search of the Soul

Four Views of the Mind-Body Problem

Spectrum Multiview Book Series

Edited by Joel B. Green and Stuart L. Palmer
Contributions by Stewart Goetz, William Hasker, Nancey Murphy, and Kevin Corcoran

In Search of the Soul
  • Length: 223 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: May 13, 2005
  •  Discontinued
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-2773-2
  • Item Code: 2773
  • Case Quantity: 36

  • Honored in 2006 as a "Year's Best Book for Preachers" by Preaching magazine.

Why a search for the soul?

Many Christians assume that it is biblically faithful and theologically noncontroversial to speak of humans having a soul. Yet a wide range of biblical scholars are questioning whether we have correctly understood what the Bible means when it speaks of the "soul." And contemporary neuroscience is laying more and more questions at the doorstep of the church, asking whether our human sense of self is intelligible on the basis of soul. But for thoughtful Christians, following science on this point looks like caving in to reductionism, while denying science gives off the odor of obscurantism.

In Search of the Soul provides a rare opportunity to listen in as four Christian philosophers set forth their best arguments for their distinct views and then respond to each other. While each of these views calls for careful framing and patient exposition, they are labeled as follows:

  • substance dualism (Stewart Goetz)
  • emergent dualism (William Hasker)
  • nonreductive physicalism (Nancey Murphy)
  • constitution view of persons (Kevin Corcoran)

Editors Joel B. Green and Stuart L. Palmer introduce the debate by laying out the critical issues at stake, and wrap it up by considering the implications for the Christian life, particularly hospitality and forgiveness.

This is a book of timely interest to philosophers, theologians, psychologists and pastors. Whatever conclusions readers may draw, they will find here an instructive and engaging discussion of a controversy that will not go away any time soon.

"This book would be helpful to any intellectually-minded Christians concerned with matters touching upon the body and soul. It is interesting, challenging, and relevant. Laymen, students, pastors, and even scholars not well-versed in these issues would profit from these essays."

Gary L. Shultz Jr., Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, 2008

". . . the debate between God and science is increasingly pertinent. This volume not only enters the debate but does so with power, clarity, and the firm conviction of faith."

Tim Barber for Stone Campbell Journal, Fall 2007


1. Body and Soul, Mind and Brain: Critical Issues - Joel B. Green

2. Substance Dualism - Stewat Goetz
An Emergent Dualist Response
A Nonreductive Physicalist Response
A Constitutional Response

3. On Behalf of Emergent Dualism - William Hasker
A Substance Dualist Response
A Nonreductive Physicalist Response
A Constitutional Response

4. Nonreductive Physicalism - Nancey Murphy
A Substance Dualist Response
An Emergent Dualist Response
A Constitutional Response

5. The Constitution View of Persons - Kevin Corcoran
A Substance Dualist Response
An Emergent Dualist Response
A Nonreductive Physicalist Response

6. Christian Life and Theories of Human Nature - Stuart L. Palmer


Author Index

Subject Index

Joel B. Green

Joel B. Green (BS, MTh, PhD) is professor of New Testament interpretation at Fuller Theological Seminary. He was vice president of academic affairs, provost, and professor of New Testament interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Prior to his appointment at Asbury in 1997, he was associate professor of New Testament at the American Baptist Seminary of the West/Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.

His books include What about the Soul? Neuroscience and Christian Anthropology, Narrative Reading, Narrative Preaching: The Recovery of Narrative and Preaching the New Testament, Salvation, Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology (with Paul Achtemeier and Marianne Meye Thompson), Beginning with Jesus: Christ in Scripture, the Church and Discipleship, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in New Testament and Contemporary Contexts (with Mark Baker), Between Two Horizons: Spanning New Testament Studies and Systematic Theology (with Max Turner), and The Gospel of Luke in the New International Commentary on the New Testament.

For over twenty years, Green has been the editor of Catalyst, a journal providing evangelical resources and perspectives to United Methodist seminarians. An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, he has pastored churches in Texas, Scotland, and Northern California. He has also served on the boards of Berkeley Emergency Food and Housing Project, and RADIX magazine.

Stuart L. Palmer has a private practice as a clinical psychologist specializing in psychotherapy. He has had much professional experience working in hospitals, churches, and private care centers. There he provided pastoral support, pre-marital counseling, congregational care and spiritual care, and counseling for the terminally ill and their families. He has been published in the Journal of Psychology and Christianity and contributed to publications such as Between Nature and Grace: Mapping the Interface of Wesleyan Theology and Psychology.