AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractThis chapter argues that the historical legacy of suspicion towards the body, time and material existence forwarded in much classical theology also lurks behind contemporary cultural assumptions about weight. Drawing on the experiences of dieting women inside one UK secular commercial weight loss group this chapter argues that ancient theological understandings of salvation as a quest for perfection and hope for a future in which the body is reconditioned resurface in this secular context as women seek a similar future where their bodies do not take up so much space. Rendered theologically, salvation emerges as a spurious form of theosis as women’s efforts to remove their weight and freeze their bodies in time forge their bodies in the image of the phallic God. Attending mainly to the difficulties with such salvation narratives, the chapter ends by suggesting that a theological rooting of hope within the crucible of history has the potential to invest women’s present bodies with soteriological value.
CitationBacon, H. (2015). Dieting for Salvation: Becoming God by Weighing Less? In H. Bacon, W. Dossett, & S. Knowles (Eds.), Alternative Salvations: Engaging the Sacred and the Secular (pp. 41-51). London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury.
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