I am still enjoying (immensely!) a time of study at Tyndale House Cambridge. The last few days I have been translating Latin texts for a volume in the Reformation Commentary on Scripture. I have discovered a Reformation-era biblical commentator named Benedict Aretius (1505-1574). He was a Reformed man who appears to have served mainly in Bern, Switzerland. In his commentary on 1 Thessalonians 4:4. Here is verses 3 and 4: "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;  that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor . . . "
In commenting on verse 4 Aretius writes: "For indeed the vessel [i.e., the body] is polluted with an appetite of illegitimate thought, as the Lord Christ says."
Now, I suppose that one could take Aretius to be using "vessel" more in terms of the person as a whole. But that would not necessarily countermand what struck me. When one has an "appetite of illegitimate thought" one does indeed pollute the "vessel"--whether the vessel is construed as simply the body, or is denoting the person as a whole. Either way, one's thought life effects every aspect of one's being--the body included. When one dwells on sinful thoughts, and does not control one's thought life, one is harming or polluting the "vessel."
Interestingly, the English Standard version and NIV translate the Greek word here as "body," while other translations (NAS and King James) translate the Greek word as "vessel."
But here is what struck me: If we are simply working with biblical categories here, there is no obvious "problem" or crisis with how mind and body relate. If one's thoughts are polluted, they pollute all of who we are. I think it is imperative for Christians to allow such biblical categories and presuppositions and frameworks to have their way with how we think. And especially for students in academic settings. There is no reason to allow non-biblical and non-Christian categories set the rules for how intellectual inquiry is conducted. This may mean being lonely, and being set aside by contemporary fashions, but so be it. I will take Paul over Descartes any day.