FAH/PHIL Guest Lecture – “Only Vulnerable Creatures Suffer: On Suffering, Embodiment and Existential Health” by Prof. Ola Sigurdson, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


Prof. Ola Sigurdson, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


11 Mar 2019


- 17:30






“Only Vulnerable Creatures Suffer: On Suffering, Embodiment and Existential Health”


In this talk I wish to explore how suffering, embodiment and existential health relate to each other through a phenomenological and theological analysis. I am especially interested in how suffering, which I will argue should be distinguished from the experience of pain, relates to human agency, and how suffering then becomes a particular mode of being in the world. Suffering is essential for the understanding of human beings as vulnerable creatures, but suffering can mean several different things, and to tease out these different nuances will be important to understand what kind of subjectivity is involved in our understanding of the suffering human being. It is through suffering as an ‘active passivity’ that we can transform the experience of pain (or any cause of suffering) to a constructive relationship that could be called ‘existential health’ through a work of suffering that could remind us of a spiritual discipline. The exposition will proceed, very simply, in three parts, on suffering, embodiment and existential health, followed by a short conclusion.



Ola Sigurdson is professor of systematic theology at the Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. A prolific writer, he has published more than twenty books and numerous articles, mainly on the intersection between systematic theology and phenomenology, on political theology, and of culture and health. His most recent English books are Theology and Marxism in Eagleton and Žižek: A Conspiracy of Hope (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and Heavenly Bodies: Incarnation, the Gaze, and Embodiment in Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2016).


All are welcome




Philosophy and Religious Studies Programme
Tel: (853) 8822 4768
Email: fah.philosophy@um.edu.mo