TOB Glossary

(These definitions may help you to understand the language used in St. John Paul (The Great)’s Theology of the Body text: “Man & Woman; He created them”)

1. Anthropological – in TOB, it is the study of what is essentially human, of what is adequate and essential to the human person. While this understanding resonates with our experience as persons, it is based on what Christ reveals of our human nature, since He is “God made man”, the New Adam, who is fully human in everything except sin. In particular He speaks of our Original Humanity (created “very good”, in God’s image) before the Fall.

2. Concupiscence – a corrupt form of desire, also known as lust, that unduly appropriates another as an object, to be used as a mere object for pleasure.

3. Disinterested gift of self— Within the Trinity, the ‘sincere gift of self’ is an infinite and complete donation of the Father to the Son and of the Son to the Father, where the self is totally given as gift in the service of the other without any reserve or selfishness. For a human being, this means that a full, free, faithful, fruitful and sincere gift of self to the other, which is free, unselfish, non-manipulative, irrevocable, unconditional dedication to the goodness of the other person. Christ showed a “disinterested gift of self” in dying on the cross before any of us were alive, purely because of our need and his good gift to us.

4. Ethos – (from the Greek – custom or habit) is our interior view of the world, an inner perception and conscious attitude or position concerning what is good or evil. The ethos and spirituality of marriage are the same things. Pope John Paul II hopes to give us an entirely new “lens” to see ourselves before the Fall, as God originally made us as “very good”, in “His image and likeness”.

5. Language of the Body – The meaning of the body as a effective sacred sign of love and gift to another; the body is both a nuptial gift and sacramental sign of God’s Divine Love.

6. Lust – The sinful use of our sexual desire, degraded to animal passion, abusing others as sexual objects either in thought or deed.

7. Manicheanism – a heresy that unduly separates body and soul, seeing everything concerning the body to be evil and banal and everything to do with the soul to be holy and transcendent. At the time of St. John, it was known as Gnosticism.  In St. Augustine’s time, it was known as Manacheanism. The most recent form is known as Jansenism.

8. Mysterium – the Latin word for mystery which was the Church’s original way of speaking of sacraments. In Ephesians Chapter 4, Paul speaks of the marriage between a man and a woman as a “Great Mystery” which means the union of Christ with His Bride, the Church. This is also known as “Spousal Analogy”.

9. Nuptial meaning of the body –The word nuptial calls to mind a wedding; it is synonymous with “spousal.” Man is incomplete without the woman, woman is incomplete without man. It is our God-given capacity for self-giving love, which is written within our very embodiment as male or female. The fullest expression of the nuptial meaning of the body, on a natural level, is marriage. Through the physical “two-in-one-flesh” union, we become a gift to one another in a communion of persons, we learn to love and be loved as God loves, and so fulfill our highest destiny. We become an incarnate reflection of the communion, the very life and love within the Trinity and prepare to share in that life forever. Its bodily expression is the sign of an unbreakable covenant bond, in which spouses commit themselves to one another in a lifelong union, a gift that is full, free, faithful and fruitful. Only such a total gift of self is capable of authentic sexual expression. This is true for every human person, whether married, single or celibate, since, in different ways, we are all called to become a sincere gift of self to others through our God-given masculinity or femininity.

10. Original innocence – The state of being free of sin, filled with the knowledge of God and sharing that love and knowledge of God spirituality and physically with one another. Our relationship with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world has not yet been tainted by sin.

11. Original solitude – Refers to man’s first relationship to God, being created in His image and likeness. It is his experience of being ‘alone’ without a helper, being ‘alone’ in the visible world, finding nothing substantially in common with the animals that he realizes how fundamentally different he is from them. “It is not good that man should be alone” means that no creature and nothing in created reality can be man’s helpmate. He is alone until God gives him Eve as a helpmate, companion, friend, sister & spouse.

12. Original unity – The original state of man and woman made in the image and likeness of God filled with grace, offering themselves as a sincere gift in communion with each other, prior to sin. The union of man and woman “two-in-one-flesh” is worlds apart from the copulation of animals, since it is the “begetting”, the “sincere gift of self of persons”. This not only speaks of the indissolubility of marriage but of the flesh being a “sacred sign”, that is a visible means (or conduit) that efficaciously conveys God’s life and holiness to one another. In this, God practically infinitely amplifies human love with Divine love. This is understood as the Primordial Sacrament, from which all others proceed. What God has joined, let no one divide.

13. Original nakedness without shame –The state of original holiness, free from sin, means that conscience is undamaged, Adam and Eve can stand before God and one another with no anxiety or shame, because they can see past the body, to the soul, all holy and filled with grace, to see God Indwelling within the soul. Neither feared being abused or causing abuse to others. They loved each other as persons not as objects.

14. Phenomenological – a human centered (anthropocentric) personalist way of considering the human body as an expression of morality; personal experience resonates with Divine truth.

15. Person – From the Greek persona “to speak through”. It was the name for the mask used by an actor in a Greek play. The modern use of the word person comes from the Catholic Church’s discussion of the relationships within the Trinity. In Scripture, God not only speaks to us, and us to Him, God speaks to Himself. In Genesis: “Let us make man in our own image…”; at the Baptism of the Lord: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with Whom I am well pleased…”; at Mt. Tabor: “This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to Him…”; at the tomb of Lazarus: “Father, I know you always hear me, but these do not know that you hear me. I pray out loud so that they may know you hear me. Lazarus, come out!” These Scripture passages reveal three distinct “I” relationship within God, each in union as one God, but distinct as a Persons.

16. Communion of persons – God reveals Himself as a total gift, a full, free, faithful and fruitful gift of Father to Son, and Son to Father; the Holy Spirit being the eternal gift given and received between them. For God, relationship and the sincere gift of self is an essential quality of being. For us, as human beings created in the image and likeness of God, we can only be fully human and fulfilled through the sincere gift of self in a communion (unity) of persons.

17. Sacrament – is defined as: a sacred sign instituted by Christ to give us grace. Although the original word for sacrament was mysterium, the Church took the Latin word for a ‘soldier’s oath of service for his Emperor until death’ “sacramentum” as an appropriate metaphor for the wholehearted commitment and change that each of the seven sacraments give us. For Pope John Paul II, the 7 Sacraments come from the Church who is Sacrament, because she is Spouse of Our Lord. He is Sacrament because he makes the Father visible in human flesh and gives us Divine Life through his humanity. In this he restores Genesis, restores humanity as Sacrament. In Eden, before the Fall Adam & Eve were the Primordial Sacrament, with God’s Indwelling Presence within, being capable of reciprocally giving and receiving Divine Love & Holiness through the Spousal love.
18. Sacrament of Creation – refers to all of creation as a visible sign of the mystery of God’s Love, which is even more clearly seen in the ‘sign’ given in the nuptial union between man and woman.

19. Sacrament of Redemption – refers to the mystery of God’s Love, able to heal and redeem fallen, sinful, historical man, redeeming us through His Sacraments, restoring His Abiding Indwelling Presence. In this new sacramental order, different from Genesis, Christ’s union with the Church, St. Paul compares, to the nuptial union of spouses. Closer than a couple is in the act of nuptial love is the unity caused by Christ penetrating our hearts and souls, already beginning the Banquet of Eternal Life, through the Eucharist.

20. Shame – a natural sense of fear and a precaution against our bodies being misused sexually; a virtue that protects and preserves the person from being abused as an object. Before the Fall, there was no need for modesty because they saw their nakedness as holy, in the image of God and held no fear of being abused either emotionally or physically.

21. Sincere Gift of Self – God reveals that His nature is self donation: free, full, faithful and fruitful. Therefore, created in “His image and likeness” means that our lives are meaningless, that is, we cannot find ourselves except through the “sincere gift of self, in a communion of persons”. In this, man can only realize our humanity and happiness and realize who he is by loving as Christ loves.

22. Theology of the body: John Paul II’s catechesis, an authentic anthropology, as given by Jesus Christ, on the meaning of the human person, love, sex and marriage in light of the body, as given at 133 Wednesday audiences from 1979 to 1984. These reflections, on Christ defining our identity in Scripture, recognize the fact that we do not just have bodies but are body persons, whose inner life is expressed through the body.

23. Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo – The official daily text of everything John Paul II said publicly

24. UD – Uomo e donna lo creò – The one-volume official Italian translation of TOB.

25. Original Happiness – Refers to the state of being holy, at one with God, reciprocal nakedness free from shame with original innocence and original unity; conscious of the meaning of the body as a sacramental sign.

26. Beatifying – The process of making holy, the full and proper meaning of the body as a sacred sign, an efficacious sign of grace. (i.e. the body participates and communicates Divine Life).

27. Incarnate – The state of being “in the flesh”, Emmanuel (God-with-us) refers to the Son of God becoming fully human (Son of Man).

28. Adequate Christocentric Anthropology – Central to Gaudium et Spes 22 is the principle that “in Christ, man reveals God to man and man to himself”. This means that Jesus not only reveals to us the true nature of God but the true nature of humanity. This is authentic anthropology since we need Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Yahweh/Creator, Adonaih/Husband and Christ/Redeemer/Messiah, who reveals God’s Divine plan for humanity. Christocentric anthropology means that Christ reveals the authentic meaning of humanity “in the image & likeness of God”.

29. Eros – From the Greek word for love applies above all to a desire for what is “true, good and beautiful”, which includes sexual love. It is the desire to be close to the other and share unity in flesh. According to Pope Benedict, in his encyclical “God is Love”, God reveals a desire to unite himself with humanity in the flesh and cause a unity with humanity “in the flesh” which is Eros. This is not a sexual union but something infinitely more unifying.

30. Historical/Fallen/Sinful Man – Are terms that JPII uses interchangeably to describe the sinful history of man that diverged from the Divine Plan after the Fall. While this wounded view of humanity is most apparent to us, Christ gives us the ability to go back to the “horizon” of Genesis, in order for us to understand the full meaning of humanity as God intended. To sinful man, Christ gives redemption. Therefore Redeemed Man is when sin is healed and forgiven and our humanity is restored “to the image and likeness of God”. .

31. Original Sin – Unlike personal sin, that is deliberately committed and personally culpable before God, original sin cannot be committed. It is the inherited state of woundedness or privation, the damage in our humanity and in the world caused by personal sin. It is the effect, even on innocent people, which is the impact of personal sin.

32. Personal Sin –is a direct offense against God which requires three things: full knowledge, full freedom and full consent. In this sense we know the wrong we do, are not forced to do it and choose to do it anyway and are morally guilty before God. When Adam and Eve first committed sin it was personal sin. Since it was the “first” some would then say that it was the “original” sin. However “Original Sin” that is inherited is a wounded humanity that is passed down as a consequence of personal sin, but we are not guilty or blamed for it but we feel its effects on us as victims.

33. Jansenism – Is a Catholic heresy that is similar to Manichaeism (or Gnosticism) that considers everything to do with the body as sinful and everything to do with the soul as holy, particularly with respect to our sexuality.

34. First Man – ‘First’ refers to the genealogy of Our Lord in St. Luke’s gospel where Adam is described as the ‘first man’ where ‘first’ means ‘son of God’. For JPII this is significant since a proper understanding of humanity must be ‘of God’.

35. Romano Guardini – was born in Verona, Italy, immigrated to Germany with his family while still very young. His father was a food importer who became an Italian diplomat to Germany. Romano Guardini was thoroughly fluent in the Germany language and thought, he experienced the height of the German culture and lived through it demise and fall in Nazism and Nihilism. As a Catholic priest, he was thoroughly Augustinian and wrote his thesis on St. Bonaventure, not St. Thomas Aquinas. He wrote extensively of how “the Catholic world view” has to engage the world and inform the world with the Gospel. He taught Pope Benedict and is considered to be one of the forefathers of the Second Vatican Council and the liturgical renew.

36. Undue appropriation – Refers to the misuse of the other person as object, to be taken (or stolen) and used as an object, then discarded, rather than being properly loved as person.

37. Eschatological/Glorified/Resurrected Man – Consistent with the Creator’s original design for man in Original Innocence, Eschatological man refers to our humanity free from sin, resurrected and glorified in heaven, “revirginalized” with a perfection of body where there is a perfect unity and harmony with body/soul in the Holy Spirit. This means a capacity for full communion with God and one another. Eshcatos – Greek. meaning last or the final events or ultimate resurrected destiny of humanity.

38. “Read…reread…reread in truth”—whenever JPII uses this expression, it means that the text being considered is so important that “it is measuring you as to whether you are human enough” in the “image & likeness of God” according to the true anthropology that Our Lord Jesus Christ is giving us. I compare it to walking into the full body scanner at YVR (the airport) and having it measure your humanity!