Partakers of the Divine Nature

Feast of St. Vladimir, Equal to the Apostles
Partakers of the Divine Nature: The History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions edited by Michael J. Christensen and Jeffery A. Wittung

Partakers_Divine_Nature_Square.jpgPARTAKERS of the Divine Nature is an uncommon anthology. Born from an academic conference exploring the topic of theosis / deification at Drew University, it is a collection of essays by writers representing the perspectives of both East and West, “across cultures and historical periods within the Christian tradition” (from the Introduction). From its early Greek origins to more modern constructions, the idea of theosis and its “compelling vision of human potential for transformation and spiritual perfectibility” (again, from the Introduction) has been increasingly explored in academic circles and simultaneously tarnished by deviations imposed upon it by the New Age movement. The editors of Partakers seek a restoration of sorts. This volume includes never-before-published essays by scholars on the concept of deification in the New Testament, as well as in ancient Greek, Syriac, and Copto-Arabic cultures. The authors parse its development in Patristic, Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions as they consider the works of Athanasius, Ephrem the Syrian, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, Maximus the Confessor, Gregory Palamas, St. Anselm, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Sergius Bulgakov, and Karl Rahner. The contributors list is just as impressive: Fr. Andrew Louth, Stephen Finlan, Fr. John McGuckin, Vladimir Kharlamov, Stephen J. Davis, J. Todd Billings, Boris Jakim, and Sr. Francis J. Caponi (among others). Also included is an extensive bibliography of works on theosis with nearly 300 entries. In the words of one reviewer, Partakers of the Divine Nature is “a broad and reliable collection that . . . provides a sense of what is at stake.”

326 pp. paper $29.99

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