Partakers of the Divine Nature: The History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions

Partakers of the Divine Nature: The History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions


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This critical volume focuses on the concept of deification in Christian intellectual history. It draws together Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant scholars to introduce and explain the theory of deification as a biblically rooted, central theme in the Christian doctrine of salvation in diverse eras and traditions. The book addresses the origin, development, and function of deification from its precursors in ancient Greek philosophy to its nuanced use in contemporary theological thought. The revival of interest in deification, which has often been seen as heresy in the Protestant West, heralds a return to foundational understandings of salvation in the Christian church before divisions of East and West, Catholic and Protestant. Originally published in hardcover, this book is now available in paperback to a wider readership.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801034404
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/01/2008
Pages: 326
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.73(d)

About the Author

Michael J. Christensen (PhD, Drew University) is director of the DMin program and teaches spirituality and religious studies at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Jeffery A. Wittung (1974-2010) served as an editor at Baker Academic and was a PhD candidate at Drew University.

Table of Contents

Part 1: The Context of Theosis in Christianity
The Promise, Process, and Problem of Theosis—Michael J. Christensen
The Place of Theosis in Orthodox Theology—Andrew Louth
Part II: Theosis in Classical and Late Antiquity
Deification of the Philosopher in Classical Greece—John R. Lenz
Can We Speak of Theosis in Paul?—Stephen Finlan
Does 2 Peter 1:4 Speak of Deification?—James Starr
Part III: Theosis in Patristic Thought
The Strategic Adaptation of Deification in the Cappadocians—J. A. McGuckin
Rhetorical Application of Theosis in Greek Patristic Theology—Vladimir Kharlamov
Divinization as Perichoretic Embrace in Maximus the Confessor—Elena Vishnevskaya
Paradise as the Landscape of Salvation in Ephrem the Syrian—Thomas Buchan
Part IV: Theosis in Medieval and Reformation Thought
The Copto-Arabic Tradition of Theosis: A Eucharistic Reading of John 3:51-57 in Bulus al-Bushi's Treatise On the Incarnation—Stephen J. Davis
St. Anselm: Theoria and the Doctrinal Logic of Perfection—Nathan R. Kerr
Martin Luther: "Little Christ's for the World"; Faith and Sacraments as Means to Theosis—Jonathan Linman
John Calvin: United to God through Christ—J. Todd Billings
John Wesley: Christian Perfection as Faith Filled with the Energy of Love—Michael J. Christensen
Part V: Theosis in Modern Thought
Neo-Palamism, Divinizing Grace, and the Breach between East and West—Jeffrey D. Finch
Sergius Bulgakov: Russian Theosis—Boris Jakim
Karl Rahner: Divinization in Roman Catholicism—Francis J. Caponi OSA
Theosis in Recent Research: A Renewal of Interest and a Need for Clarity—Gösta Hallonsten
Resources on Theosis with Select Primary Sources in Translation—Jeffery A. Wittung

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