What does it mean to love our neighbor? How do we do it? These questions are key to living a fruitful Christian life in our world. Yet our world and culture is marked by division and the depravity of mankind, as throughout all of history, seems to be more and more evident every day. In Low Anthropology, David Zahl charts a trajectory for viewing others and even ourselves (because if we are honest, we are just as much a part of many problems we face) in a more gracious and understanding way. Honestly, it was one of those “breath of fresh air” reads, with such practical and common sensical insights into humanity and our life together as mankind.
For Zahl, the issue is with how we view human nature. As humans, do we have a high anthropology (a lofty, success-bound view of ourselves and others) or a low anthropology (we’re all mess ups and desperately need some help)? Do we have a high or a low view of humanity? Zahl argues that a low anthropology actually sets us up for a graciously healthy mindset for our relationships with others. The more we realize that we are failures desperate for grace, and so is every other person we share this earth with, the more likely we are to treat others with that same grace and even compassion.
The book looks at the problems of a high anthropology and how it is a harmful view of mankind, as well as some features of a low anthropology, such as limitations, doubleness, and self-centeredness. A section of the book also explains some fruits of a low anthropology, which was the highlight of the book in my lowly opinion. Community, unity, courtesy, humor, and compassion usually flow out of a properly and biblically low view of mankind. It also discusses low anthropology in religion, politics, relationships, and the self. Zahl navigates this topic with humor and ease, really keeping the reader’s attention with many “I totally get it!” moments.
What is most crucial is that Zahl approaches the topic from a biblical perspective, seeing mankind as made in the image of God, yet all on the same level as far as depravity is concerned. It was such a helpful guide for me and changed quite a bit of my thinking concerning my neighbors and even myself. We’re all in desperate need of grace and Zahl does a great job putting us all in the same desperately sinking boat, while looking to Jesus as the one redeemer!
Grab a copy from Brazos Press today!
*This book was graciously provided by Brazos Press in exchange for an honest review.
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