Exploring Kenotic Christology

Exploring Kenotic Christology

by C. Stephen Evans


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This collection of essays, by a team of of Christian philosophers, theologians, and biblical scholars, explores the viability of a kenotic account of the incarnation. Such an account is inspired by Paul's lyrical claims in Philippians 2:6-11 that Christ Jesus though God in nature, 'emptied himself' or 'made himself nothing' by becoming human. The biblical support for such a view can be found throughout the four gospels, and the book of Hebrews, as well as in other places. A kenotic account takes seriously the possibility that Christ in becoming incarnate, temporarily divested himself of such properties as omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Several of the contributors argue that this view is fully orthodox, and that it has great strengths in giving us a picture of God who is willing to become completely vulnerable for the sake of human beings, and one that is completely consistent with the very human portrait of Jesus in the New Testament. The proponents of kenotic Christology argue that the philosophical accounts of God's nature that have led to rejection of this theory ought themselves to be subjected to criticism in light of the biblical data. Some essays test the theory by raising critical questions and arguing that traditional accounts of the incarnation can achieve the goals of kenotic theories as well as kenotic theories can. The book also explores the implications of a kenotic view of the incarnation for philosophical theology in general and the doctrine of the Trinity in particular, and it concludes with essays that examine the validity of the ideal of kenosis for women, and a challenge to traditional Christology to take a kenotic theory seriously.

CONTRIBUTORS: C. Stephen Evans, Gordon D. Fee, Sarah Coakley, Stephen T. Davis, Ronald J. Feenstra, Bruce N. Fisk, Ruth Groenhout, Edward T. Oakes, SJ, Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Thomas R. Thompson, Edwin Chr. van Driel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781573834445
Publisher: Regent College Publishing
Publication date: 12/01/2009
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 1,014,970
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

C. Stephen Evans is University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University.

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors     ix
Introduction: Understanding Jesus the Christ as Human and Divine   C. Stephen Evans     1
The New Testament and Kenosis Christology   Gordon D. Fee     25
The Odyssey of Christ: A Novel Context for Philippians 2:6-11   Bruce N. Fisk     45
Nineteenth-Century Kenotic Christology: The Waxing, Waning, and Weighing of a Quest for a Coherent Orthodoxy   Thomas R. Thompson     74
Is Kenosis Orthodox?   Stephen T. Davis     112
A Kenotic Christological Method for Understanding the Divine Attributes   Ronald J. Feenstra     139
Trinity and Kenosis   Thomas R. Thompson   Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.     165
Kenotic Christology and the Nature of God   C. Stephen Evans     190
'He descended into hell': The Depths of God's Self-Emptying Love on Holy Saturday in the Thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar   Edward T. Oakes, S.J.     218
Does Kenosis Rest on a Mistake? Three Kenotic Models in Patristic Exegesis   Sarah Coakley     246
The Logic of Assumption   Edwin Chr. van Driel     265
Kenosis and Feminist Theory   Ruth Groenhout     291
Conclusion: The Promise of Kenosis   Stephen T. Davis   C.Stephen Evans     313
Bibliography     322
Index     337

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Exploring Kenotic Christology 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
TheLogo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Full disclosure: This book was provided by Regent College Publising for review. "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."- Philippians 2:5-11Have you ever wondered what this poem/hymn means? What does it mean that God made himself nothing? What is this emptying, this demotion? Is it merely poetic language, or does it reflect something much more important? And how, within all of this, do you understand the incarnation? How can God, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, become man who is, seemingly by definition, none of these things? Did God give something up to become man? If so, how? And is God still God if he gives up some of His attributes, or do we find ourselves face-to-face with that oh so nasty of theological positions: a paradox? These questions, and many more, are at the heart of Kenotic Christology and, thus, at the heart of this book. Exploring Kenotic Christology is a theological volume which does exactly what it declares in the title. Through a collection of thirteen essays by various authors this book takes on almost the full raft of issues surrounding Kenotic Christology. Kenotic Christology is the idea, or theory, that in becoming human Christ, the second person of the Trinity, suspended some of His attributes as God. The motivating factor behind this is texts such as Phil. 2, but also the witness of the gospels to Jesus as a person who suffered, grew in maturity, wept, etc. One of the many problems that arises is that this seems to challenge the classical idea of God as immutable and impassable. The twelve authors of this book seek, in various ways, to grapple with these things. However, in being by twelve different authors this book is also very difficult to summarize. While Kenotic Christology may be a broadly recognizable theological category it seems inevitable that each individual kenoticist is unique in their theology. Instead of trying to summarize let me merely offer some comments on what you will find: The essays range from focused biblical considerations of how the scriptures witness to Kenotic Christology to in depth explorations of the philosophical quandaries offered by the same, from defenses of Kenotic Christology as orthodox to essays questioning whether or not this whole enterprise is founded on a mistake. Yes, you will even find criticisms of Kenotic Christology within these pages. If that doesn't communicate to you the quality of this collection, then I don't know what will. If you haven't picked up on this fact yet, let me make it crystal clear: This is a great book. Incarnation theology is an incredibly important part of Christian belief, one which we often spend too little time on. Here is a serious, well written, well edited, volume of impressive essays remedying that situation. It is, as you might expect, a more difficult read at times; such is the nature of the topic. It is also, as you may not have expected, more than worth it. Conclusion: 5 Stars. Conditionally Recommended. I have to say conditional simply because of the difficulty of this book. Yes, it will be a hard read. Yes, you may want to work you way up to this book by starting out with shorter, simpler, books on the incarnation. However, you will not be disappointed if you can get to reading this book.