"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
mattress,/
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).


Friday, December 14, 2012

Augustine on Deification

As I have noted before, Augustine remains one of the most controverted figures for some Eastern Orthodox, very often misunderstood and seemingly deliberately so. Next year a new book will further complicate matters for those determined to write Augustine out of the canon of "orthodox" Fathers: David Vincent Meconi, The One Christ: St. Augustine's Theology of Deification (CUA Press, 2013), 296pp.
About this book we are told:

Provocative passages on deification abound in St. Augustine of Hippo. He relies on the term "deification" far more than other Latin fathers do. Even more important, the reality of the deified life runs throughout every major aspect of Augustine's presentation of Christianity.
By tracing how deification and related metaphors appear throughout Augustine's writings, David Vincent Meconi corrects generations of faulty readings on this crucial patristic theme. For Augustine, the Christian life is essentially an incorporation of the elect into the very person of Christ, forming his mystical body inchoately now in via and perfectly in patria. This is the "whole Christ," the totus Christus, where Christ and Christian become one through the charity of the Holy Spirit and the church's sacraments that elevate and enable men and women to participate in God's own life. This work opens by showing how the metaphysics of deification are set in principio, as all creation is an imitation of the Logos. Among all creatures, though, the human person alone bears the imago Dei, and emerges as the one called to appropriate God's life freely. For this purpose, the Son becomes human.
By treating Augustine's passages on deification both chronologically and constructively, Meconi situates Augustine in a long chorus of Christian pastors and theologians who understand the essence of Christianity as the human person's total and transformative union with God.

1 comment:

  1. This is exciting. I just pre-ordered this on Amazon even though it is way over priced by CUA. I once read a short book by Father John Romanides which abounded with Western Fathers and Saints. I was Blessed by that and I am sure I will be by this book. I have been one of those who didn't trust Saint Augustine of Hippo because the Calvinists used so much of what he said to justify their false teachings. Luther did likewise but not as vehemently. Then there is the Port Royal group who have at least remained Catholic unlike the Calvinists and Lutherans. Then when I became Orthodox there were other issues I had to deal with Augustinian theology. I do ho hope these will be clarified. Thanks for presenting this new book.

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