Johannes Hoff's book Verteidigung des Heiligen is and does many things. It is a reflection on theology in the light of contemporary digital technologies and climate change. It is a polemic against transhumanism and an engagement with traditions in philosophy of technology, for example, Stiegler. And it is a nondualistic philosophical anthropology based on Augustine and—perhaps surprisingly—Plato: for Hoff, contemporary phenomenology and neurosciences can be reconciled with the “holistic” thinking of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Eckhart, and Cusanus (178).

Let me start with the first. The theological thesis of the book, according to the author (543), is that the digital transformation destroyed our receptivity for the holy. He contrasts this with early Christianity, which was not anthropocentric but put holiness in the center. He recommends ancient spiritual technologies of the self, for example, the self‐transformation techniques recommended by church fathers such as Augustine. For Hoff, this not putting the human in the center is paradoxically the only way to preserve the human.

This preservation is necessary since, as Hoff see it, transhumanism destroys the human via its divination (Vergöttlichung) of the human. He sees transhumanism as an “ideological superstructure of the economical agenda of mega‐corporations” (22) which threatens our civilization. Hoff is not against new technology. His anthropological “triangle” of technics, nature, and culture (70–87) is designed to adopt a middle path between transhumanist utopianism and bioconservatism. The problem, for him, is the combination with the liberalism of classic modernity and with power: this renders digital technologies toxic. Hoff is influenced by Foucault (87–98).

Moreover, according to Hoff, transhumanism distracts from the real challenges of our time, for example, ethics of information technologies. Throughout the book, he argues against “dataist” ways of understanding the human. But he also shows that these are not new; some of the present tensions are already present in the Western tradition. For example, Hoff contrasts Augustine's with Google's conceptions of time: Augustine developed a view of time that enabled an openness and transformation of the self, whereas Google roughly and mercilessly pins us down by means of its digital world memory: “Tat Twam Asi!” (This is what you are!) (250). Another example is his criticism of some concepts of rationality and their related conception of science, which undermine the intellectus of the premodern tradition and giver free reign to ratio and a science that is no longer rooted in our lived experience.

Finally, Hoff emphasizes this lived experience in his own philosophical anthropology. Perhaps most significantly when it comes to its potential impact on contemporary philosophy, Verteidigung des Heiligen is a defense of nondualism supported by readings of not only Merleau‐Ponty and Thomas Fuchs, but also the Augustinian and Proclean‐Platonic tradition. Against the Avicennian reading of Augustine, and of course against the transhumanism that sees the body as an instrument, Hoff defends embodiment (Leiblichkeit) and, more generally, a non‐Cartesian anthropology that recognizes vulnerability (276–277).

Hoff's book is a welcome contribution to a much‐needed critical reception of transhumanism in the humanities. I agree with Hoff that transhumanism often focuses on the wrong issues; consider, for example, the discourse on the risks of superintelligence and other work inspired by science‐fiction, which has a blind spot for more urgent ethical and political concerns raised by digital technologies. Hoff's attention to power issues helps with developing this direction. His anthropology is also an interesting philosophical work on its own, which achieves a stimulating dialogue between the pre‐modern tradition and contemporary philosophical questions. Hoff knows his classics and his readings are both interesting and provocative.

However, I wonder if Hoff is not too pessimistic when it comes to the spiritual potential of new technologies of the self. If we free these from their transhumanist ideology, could we use them in the service of the theological‐anthropological ideals Hoff defends? Could artificial intelligence (AI), for example, be used in a way that contributes to, rather than undermines and destroys, paths toward liberation/salvation and healing (making holy again)? Could we think of creative ways in which digital technologies might be integrated into the spiritual practices of everyday life? Furthermore, as Hoff acknowledges, transhumanism has an apocalyptic aspect. This suggests that, as much work in Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science shows, there are complex relations between, on the one hand, religion and spirituality, and on the other hand our scientific, technological, and economic culture. Could it be that Hoff's view here is itself too dualistic when it comes to human‐technology relations, and that there could also be more productive relations between science and spirituality? I do not know all the answers to these questions, but if the Christian and humanist traditions still have a future at all in the twenty‐first century, we need to address them. Hoff's book offers an interesting and stimulating starting point for such a reflection that offers some answers for discussion, and a scholarly work that is both extremely erudite when it comes to reading the tradition and highly sensitive to the main challenges of our time. It is an impressive achievement that deserves a wide readership, not only in theology, but also in philosophy of technology, philosophical anthropology, and beyond.