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

Friday, May 18, 2018

Deification Then and Now

As I have had many occasions to note over the last 15 years, deification/divinization/theosis has become hugely popular with many Western authors "rediscovering" it, or otherwise acting as though this is some new thing--new, that is, once it has been stripped of its supposedly suspicious "Eastern" understandings. Protestant and Catholic authors alike have been in on this for some time now, as many books and collections noted on here will make abundantly clear.

This high level of interest shows no signs of declining soon based on books published in the last year or so, and another collection to be released next month: Mystical Doctrines of Deification; Case Studies in the Christian Tradition, eds. John Arblaster, Rob Faesen (Routledge, 2018), 230 pages.

About this collection the publisher tells us this:
The notion of the deification of the human person (theosis, theopoièsis, deificatio) was one of the most fundamental themes of Christian theology in its first centuries, especially in the Greek world. It is often assumed that this theme was exclusively developed in Eastern theology after the patristic period, and thus its presence in the theology of the Latin West is generally overlooked. The aim of this collection is to explore some Patristic articulations of the doctrine in both the East and West, but also to highlight its enduring presence in the Western tradition and its relevance for contemporary thought.
The collection thus brings together a number of capita selecta that focus on the development of theosis through the ages until the Early Modern Period. It is unique, not only in emphasising the role of theosis in the West, but also in bringing to the fore a number of little-known authors and texts, and analysing their theology from a variety of fresh perspectives. Thus, mystical theology in the West is shown to have profound connections with similar concerns in the East and with the common patristic sources. By tying these traditions together, this volume brings new insight to one of mysticism’s key concerns. As such, it will be of significant interest to scholars of religious studies, mysticism, theology and the history of religion.

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