Homo stupidus eller imago Dei? En studie i neandertalarnas teologiska status.
Sammanfattning: Abstract: This paper is a student essay in systematic theology about the theological status of the Neanderthals. What can we say about these close relatives on the tree of life that are our cousins the Neanderthals? Are they simple dimwitted brutes or are they to be regarded among the humanity in Genesis that are endowed with the image of God. From the very start, the academic community had difficulty in interpreting the remains found in the Neanderthal Valley in Germany. One scholar wanted to name them homo stupidus, as throughout the history of neanderthal interpretation many scholars have seen these hominids as primitive, underdeveloped, and barbaric. However, recent scientific findings from various disciplines, ranging from archeology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, and genetics, have painted a very different picture of the Neanderthals. 40,000 years ago they had several of the social and cultural abilities that homo sapiens possessed.In this essay I argue that the theological status of neanderthals should be regarded as equal to that of humans. This is a controversial proposal to be sure but I’m not alone in taking this approach theologically. To my aid, I have three scholars who have discussed this theme before me and I will analyze their arguments while making my argument of the theological status of the Neanderthals. These scholars are Dr. Joshua M. Moritz of theology at the University of Francisco. Fr Simon Francis Gaine O.P. teacher of theology at Blackfriars Oxford, and Megan Stueve evolutionary anthropologist. Moritz and Gaine take a theological standpoint when they argue for the theological status of the Neanderthals, while Stueve takes a different approach using recent data from anthropology and archeology to argue for the theological status of the Neanderthals.My argument is made by first looking at the history of Neanderthals and their reception. Then I switch focus to the difficulty of pinpointing human nature from the perspective of humanity possessing exceptional and unique abilities and skills. From there I discuss the different interpretations of the theological concept of imago Dei and how they have evolved throughout the centuries. Lastly, I pinpoint the theological status of Neanderthals within the concept of imago Dei itself and discuss whether they are to be regarded as part of the divine image or not.
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