Stephen Finlan and Vladimir Kharlamov 

Edited by Stephen Finlan and Vladimir Kharlamov Pickwick Publications Eugene, OR 97401, 2006 ISBN: 1-59752-438-7


 1. DEFINING the TERM (biblical texts)









The closest English equivalent of theōsis is “deification.” In Christian theology, theōsis refers to the transformation of believers into the likeness of God. Of course, Christian monotheism goes against any literal “god making” of believers. Rather, the NT speaks of a transformation of mind, a metamorphosis of character, a redefinition of selfhood, and an imitation of God. Most of these passages are tantalizingly brief, and none spells out the concept in detail.

Deification was an important idea in the early church, though it took long time for θέωσις  (theōsis) to emerge as the standard label for the process. The term was coined by the great fourth century theologian, Gregory of Nazianzus. Theologians now use theōsis to designate all instances when any idea of taking on God’s character or being “divinized” (made divine; occurs, even when the term θέωσις is not used. And of course, different Christian authors understood deification differently.

It is difficult to define theōsis, but nοt difficult to cite several biblical passages that strongly suggest a process of heightened reflection of godly nature, which stimulated Christian deification discourse. The following grouping of biblical passages is meant to bring out the logical development of the idea:






Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt 5:48)

The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)

Be imitators of God, as beloved children. (Eph 5:1)






You ... may become participants of the divine nature. (2 Pet 1:4)

You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you. (Ps 82:6)

Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? (John 10:34)






Truly it is the spirit in a mortal, the breath of the Almighty, that makes for understanding. (Job 32:8)

The Spirit of truth . . . abides with you, and he will be in you. (John 14:17)

It is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (Rom 8:16)






What is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:6)

Be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:2)

Clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:24)






He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory. (Phil 3:21)

predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. (Rom 8:29)

All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. (2 Cor 3:18)

When he [Christ] is revealed, we will be like him. (1 John 3:2) [p.2]






The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Hab 2:14)

The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. (Isa 32:17)

When all things are subjected to him, then . . . God may be all in all. (1 Cor 15:28)


Although some of these passages concern the afterlife, or events connected with the return of Christ, all of them have implications for the present life of believers, suggesting an ongoing transformation, a progressive engodding of the believer, to use the endearing Old English phrase.[1]

Let us look at the implications of this grouping of biblical sayings Imitation of God leads to a reception of the character traits of God, an idea that is standard throughout most of the Bible. The idea of being indwelt by a special spirit of God is found intermittently throughout the OT, and is a central idea in the NT. This is not synonymous with theōsis but it is an indispensable element in any theology of theōsis. Without the constant guidance of God, we humans always go astray. Without “encouragement,” the renewal of spiritual courage in our hearts, we constantly grow faint, like Peter after Jesus was arrested. But with a strong connection to inner guidance, believers “shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles” (Isa 40:31). “We do not lose heart.... ou inner nature is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16). As Jesus said “the kingdom of God is within [2] you” (Luke 17:21 NIV, KJV, TEV). This saying should not be marginalized just because it occurs in only one gospel It is an indispensable part of the proclamation of Jesus, and is full; consistent with his teachings about an indwelling Spirit of Truth that “will be in you,” [3] and of a “light in you.”[4][p.3]

What surely suggests theōsis is the notion of being transformed by God, or taking on the divine nature. In the letters of Paul, in particular, this means being transformed into the likeness of Christ, who is the embodiment of God. Believers are “conformed to” and “transformed into” the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18; Phil 3:21), even having the “mind of Christ” (Phil 2:5;1 Cor 2:16). One may, perhaps, suppress the divinizing implications of these passages, but not of those that say that believers will “become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21), and after death, “will also bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Cor 15:49). Theōsis is central to the theology of Paul throughout.[5]

All of this depends upon, and revolves around, Christianity’s central and unique idea: the incarnation—in Christ, God lived a human life. The incarnation is the definitive and unique doctrine of Christianity. Further, without the incarnation, there would be no theōsis. Christians are meant not only to learn from the life of the divine Son, but to reproduce the pattern of spiritual progress that he revealed, even to the point of taking on the character of God! A typical expression would be that of Didymus the Blind, who spoke of the soul’s process of becoming “perfect [ τελειοῦσθαι ( teleiousthai], becoming like [ὁμοιωθῆναι homoiōthēnai] God.” [6] This is a staggering idea, and one that certainly needs to be connected with a mature and well-balanced theology.

This is more than just the longing for union with the divine, which is a central goal for most religions. Not all religions take it so far as to develop a concept of theōsis while still preserving human personal identity, as Christianity does. But it is not always well-defined. Deification played an important,[7] but not definitive, role in early Patristic theology. Despite Patristic fascination with deification, the fathers do not develop a “doctrine” of theōsis. Nor do the doctrinal controversies and decisions of the Church Councils deal with the subject.

The popularity of the idea is matched by a lack of precise definition. The church fathers argue for, rather than spell out, deification. Theōsis [p.5] concepts are closely related to soteriology, Christology, and anthropology Doctrines about baptism and the Eucharist, the resurrection of the dead; eternal life, the image of God in human beings, redemption, and sanctification contain themes that relate to theōsis. But simply replacing theōsis with sanctification is an attempt to supplant Patristic theology witL standard Reformation language. Deification was often seen as the telos (goal) of human existence and of salvation.

The church fathers of the late second to fourth centuries (Irenaeus Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus) make theōsis a major theme, yet none of them defines the term,[8] or discusses it at sufficient length to clear up ambiguities; they seem to assume that its content is common knowledge in the Christian community.

The first theological definition of theōsis was given in the sixth century by Pseudo-Dionysius, but it is general and inexact: “Divinization consist; of being as much as possible like and in union with God.”[9] Τhe meaning of theōsis varies throughout Patristic theology, sometimes even within the same author.[10] Some scholars project later developments of theōsis onto earlier church fathers, underestimating the role of specifically second century themes. The articles here by Kharlamov will try to clarify how the theological concerns of the Apostolic Fathers and Apologists situate and shape their deification concepts.









A great variety of terms are used to communicate the idea of deification Ben Drewery sums up “the content or attributes of deification as [p.6] τελείωσις teleiōsis (ethical perfection), ἀπάθεια apatheia (exemption from human emotions or passions), ἀφθαρσία aftharsia ἀθανασία athanasia (exemption from mortal corruption or death).”[11] Among the conceptual equivalents for deification are[:]

union, participation, partaking, communion/partnership,

divine filiation, adoption,


intertwined with the divine,

similitude with God,

transformation, elevation, transmutation,

commingling, assimilation, intermingling,

rebirth, regeneration, transfiguration.

The preferences of particular authors vary greatly.

Considering the language of theōsis, special attention should be given to vocabulary groups in all their grammatical forms, of words for union—ἕνωσις henōsis; participation—μετουσία metousia (from μετέχω metecho,) μέθεξις methexis, μετάληψις metalēpsis (from μεταλαμβάνω metalambanō); partaking—μέτοχος metochos; and communion—κοινωνία koinōnia (from κοινωνέω koinōneō). In English, “partaking” and “sharing” suggest a distinction of the part from the whole, and connote a limited possession of the whole. In Greek, metousia, methexis, and metalēpsis convey the idea of “having together” or “obtaining a certain quality.” Metalēpsis, in addition, can imply “harmonious mutual existing” or “acting together.” Koinōnia and metousia express the idea of “communion” or “union.” Also, we need to be aware that the terms listed above are not only applicable to deification; they could refer to other issues as well.

        There are five groups of Greek words that explicitly point to making into a god or deifying:

1) ἀποθεόω / ἀποθειόωἀποθέωσις apotheoō/capotheioō–apotheōsis

2) θεοποιέωθεοποιίαθεοποίησιςθεοποιός theopoiēsis – theopoios;

3) ἐκθεόωἐκθειόωεκθεωτικός ektheoō/ektheioō-ektheōsis–ektheōtikos;

4) θεόωθέωσις [12] theoō–theōsis;

5) ἀποθειάζωἐκθειάζω apotheiazō ektheiazō. [13]

The subject-verb sets θεὸς εἰμί theios eimi (“to be god”) and especially θεὸς γίγνομαι theos gignomai (“to become god”) were extensively used. Here, we purposefully use the word “god” with the lower case letter “g” to indicate that the deified human person never stops being human. Here we should point [p.7] out that not all Greek words for deification connote a strong literal meaning of “becoming a god” or being “deified.” Often it is the qualities of Godliness that are being emphasized.

A favorite word of Athanasius, θεοποιέω theopoieō, with the element ποιέω poieō, “to make,” “to produce,” implies agency, something dοne to someone. It can be translated, “to make god.” Athanasius derives the noun θεοποίησις theopoiēsis and the adjective θεοποίητος theopoiētos from this verb. A mortal being made god is a paradox for Christian theology, where only God is without beginning or ending (ἀγένητος agenētos—“uncreated,” “unoriginated”). Of course, the mortal was generated or created (γεννητός gennētos), and so is not God. Athanasian θεοποίησις theopoiēsis connotes the idea of passive deification: the human is acted upon, so God retains primacy and infinity.

        Gregory of Nazianzus, in his poetry, uses θεὸν τεύχω theon teuchō (“to make/produce god”),[14] θεὸν τελέω theon teleō (“to complete/ accomplish god”),[15] and τυκτὸς θεὸς tyktos theos (“created god”).[16]

        The extraordinary richness of Greek language offered Patristic writers a broad selection to choose from. Even though θεοποίησις theopoiēsis and later θέωσις theōsis became the choice expressions for Christians, other deification vocabulary was retained.

        There is less diversity in deification terminology in Latin than in Greek. Some Latin writers simply transliterate Greek θέωσις theōsis, as we continue to do in English. Greek ἀποθέωσις  apotheōsiswas often rendered in Latin as consecratio or visa versa. The Latin consecratio was the official term used for declaring the deceased emperor, or any other figure, as divus.[17] Reflecting this widespread pagan usage, the English term “apotheosis” usually signifies an exaltation or a metaphorical glorification, usually without any Christian content.

Some English language authors make a distinction between divinization (taking on godly qualities) and deification (become a godlike being); others do not. Of course, all Christian authors made such a distinction conceptually, whether or not they make it terminologically. [p.8] When Latin writers came up with the term deificatio, derived from the verb, deificare, they were not making a distinction from “divinization,” but providing another word for it. It was already obvious, from the standpoint of Christian theology, that no mortal becomes God.








The Eastern Orthodox Church has retained theōsis as a concept for theological reflection, while the Western churches—separated by time, language, and philosophy from the Greek thinkers of the early church—have dropped it. In fact, theōsis simply does not exist for most contemporary Western theologians. In lay theology the term is usually perceived as either blasphemous or absurd. [18] Some Protestants try to assimilate it to familiar Western concepts such as “sanctification by grace” or “justification by faith,” trying to connect the Reformation directly to the Bible, as though the intervening centuries had no significance. We hope to show that the lines of continuity and transmission through the centuries of Christian thought are essential to Christian understanding at any one time and place. The near disappearance in Western Christendom of an idea that was widely accepted for over a thousand years (including by Latin theologians like Augustine), is a serious loss for the Christian thought and hope.

        A significant line of modern scholarship adopts the thesis of Adolf Harnack about the Hellenization of early Christianity, the transformation of the living faith “into the creed to be believed,” with theōsis considered to be “creedal” rather than “living.” This is said to be the change of “the glowing hope of the Kingdom of heaven into a doctrine of immortality and deification.” [19] M. Werner, [20] B. Drewery, [21] and many others follow [p.9] the line of Harnack’s thinking, categorizing theōsis with decline and with doctrinal hardening.

        At the opposite pole are theologians who build their entire theology upon a Christian concept of theōsis, including Vladimir Lossky, [22] Panayiotis Nellas, [23] and C. Stavropoulos, [24] who create the impression that there is nothing more important in Christian theology than deification, and, further, that Eastern Orthodoxy holds a “copyright” on it. Jean Daniélou exposes the anachronism of their approach, their interpreting the early fathers in light of later fathers. [25]







Between the polarized views—deification is either a pagan idea or the essential Orthodox doctrine—we find more moderate and historically oriented scholarly works. In 1938, Jules Gross published an extensive study of divinization in the Greek fathers, [26] providing the first comprehensive and chronological analysis of the notion, looking at Patristic, Hellenistic, mystery religion, biblical, and postbiblical sources. [27] More recently, new [p.10] attention to theōsis was stimulated by the work of John Meyendorff  [28] and through ecumenical dialogue. [29] A number of dissertations that deal with the history of theōsis or with theōsis in the works of particular figures, were produced. [30] In addition, several articles and books have appeared recently. [31] The first International Academic Conference on theōsis, [p.11] “Partakers of the Divine Nature: Deification/Theōsis in the Christian Traditions, held at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, on May 21-22, 2004, reaffirmed the significant academic and interdenominational interest in this aspect of Christian theology. It is gradually becoming a more appreciated topic in Western theological discourse.

        While some articles in this collection discuss pre-Christian antecedents of theōsis, Greek and Jewish, most focus on particular Christian understandings. The article by Gregory Glazov examines OT covenant theology, with an emphasis on divine adoption, and on bearing the fruit of knowledge or attaining the stature of a tree of righteousness in Proverbs, Isaiah, and Sirach. The article by Stephen Finlan on 2 Pet 1:4 (“You may become participants of the divine nature”) examines the epistle’s apparent borrowings from Middle Platonic spirituality, Stoic ethics, and Jewish apocalyptic expectation. The epistle stresses “knowledge of Christ,” which means cultivation of godly character and growing up into Christ.

        Vladimir Kharlamov’s first article examines the emergence of the deification theme in the Apostolic Fathers with its culmination in the passion mysticism of Ignatius of Antioch, who speaks of becoming a “Christ-carrier” and emphasizes the full integrity of human nature that participates in salvation and eternal life. The second article covers Apologists such as Justin Martyr (who considers the human being worthy to become a son of god, and even “god”) and Theophilus of Antioch (for whom the human being reaches full maturity and is declared god through the therapeutic experience of death and resurrection).

        Jeffrey Finch shows the integral connection between incarnational Christology and deification in the thought of twο of the Church’s most important theologians. For Irenaeus, the incarnation, the Recapitulation work of Christ, and deification of the believer are closely linked. For Athanasius of Alexandria, the intimate contact between humanity and divinity in the incarnation of the Word enabled the possibility of human deification.

        Robert Puchniak reminds readers of the importance of deification ideas to Augustine, including (but not exclusively) in some recently discovered letters. The God who “justifies,” also “deifies” the Christian. Elena Vishnevskaya summarizes the systematic doctrine of teōsis in Maximus the Confessor, delineating the roles of the divine initiative and the human response, which together make divinization possible. The liturgy provides a glimpse of future divinization.

        Myk Habets spells out the role of deification in Luther, Calvin, and the important evangelical writer, T F. Torrance. Luther, for instance, taught that         Christians are made, not just deemed, righteous. Stephen Finlan’s article on the brilliant Russian philosopher, Vladimir Soloviev, who stimulated much discussion of deification, examines Soloviev’s humbled thinking in his later years, and his warnings against false theōsis and false Messiahs. Soloviev provides a Trinitarian philosophy of divine goodness, truth, and beauty penetrating human life.

        Although these articles stretch from the antecedents of Christian theōsis to the distinctive shaping of the concept by particular Christian thinkers, they all shed light on the divinization concept, the only idea that is adequate to describe the linkage between inward and outward, personal and universal, spiritual progress.


Bakken, Kenneth L. “Holy Spirit and Theōsis: Toward a Lutheran Theology of Healing.” Saint Vladimirs Theological Quarterly 38 (1994): 409-23.

Calendine, Caren E “Theōsis and the recognition of saints in tenth century Byzantium.” Ph. D. diss., University of Wisconsin, 1998.

Chae, Isaac. “Justification and Deification in Augustine: A Study of His Doctrine of Justification.” Ph.D. diss., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1999.

Choufrine, Arkadi. Gnosis, Theophany, Theōsis: Studies in Clement ofAlexandria’sAppropriation of his Background. New York: Lang, 2002.

Cullen, J. A. “The Patristic Concept of the Deification of Man Examined in the Light of Contemporary Notions of the Transcendence of Man.” Ph. D. diss., Oxford University, 1985.

Daniélou, Jean. “Introduction.” In La Déification de l’homme, selon la doctrine des Péres grecs, edited by Myrrha Lot-Borodine, 9-18. Paris: Cerf, 1970.

Didymus the Blind. Commentary on Ecclesiastes. From Didymos der Blinde. Kommentar zum Ecclesiastes, pt. 2. Edited by M. Gronewald. Bonn: Habelt, 1977. Quotation taken from TLG 8.0 (electronic database) 01999 Silver Mountain Software.

Dodd, C. H. The Parαbles of the Kingdom. Rev ed. New York: Scribner, 1936.

Dragas, George D. “Exchange or Communication of Properties and Deification: Antidosis or Communicatio Idiomatum and Theōsis.” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 43 (1998) 377-99.

Drewery, Benjamin. “Deification.” In Christian Spirituality: Essays in Honour of Gordon Rupp. Edited by Peter Brooks, 33-62. London: SCM,1975.

Finch, Jeffrey. “Sanctity as Participation in the Divine Nature According to the Ante-Nicene Eastern Fathers, Considered in the Light of Palamism.” Ph.D. diss., Drew University, 2001.

Gowan, Donald E. When Man Becomes God:: Humanism and Hybris in the Old Testament. Pittsburgh: Pickwick, 1975.

Gregory of Nazianzus. Carmin. PG 37.

Gross, Jules. La divinisation du chrétien d’aprés les peresgrecs. Contribution historique à la doctrine de la grâce. Paris: J. Gabalda,1938. Published in English as The Divinization of the Christian According to the Greek Fathers, trans. Paul A. Onica. Anaheim, Calif.: A & C Press, 2002.

Hall, Francis J. The Incarnation. New York: Longman, Green and Company, 1915.

Harnack, Adolf von. History o f Dogma. Translated by Neil Buchanan. New York: Dover, 1961 [1900].

Harrison, Nonna Verna. “Theōsis as Salvation: An Orthodox Perspective.” Pro-Ecclesia 6 (1997), 429-43.

Himmerich, Maurice Fred. “Deification in John of Damascus.” Ph. D. diss., Marquette University, 1985.

Hinlicky, Paul R. “Theological Anthropology: Toward Integrating Theōsis and Justification by Faith.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 34 (1997) 38-73.

Hudson, Nancy Joyce. “Theōsis in the Thought of Nicholas of Cusa: Origin, Goal, and Realized Destiny of Creation.” Ph. D. diss., Yale University, 1999

Lossky, Vladimir. In the Image and Likeness of God. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1974.

__ ― The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1976, 1998.

__ ― The Vision of God Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1983.

Mannermaa, Tuomo. “Justification and Theōsis in Lutheran-Orthodox Perspective.” In Union with Christ: The New Finnish Interpretation of Luther. Edited by C. E. Braaten and R. W. Jensen. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,1998.

Martikainen, Jouko. “Man’s Salvation: Deification or Justification? Observation of Key-Words in the Orthodox and the Lutheran Tradition.” Sobornost 7. 3 (1976) 180-92.

McCormick, Steve. “Theōsis in Chrysostom and Wesley: An Eastern Paradigm on Faith and Love.” Wesleyan Theological Journal 26 (1991) 38-103.

McDaniel, Michael. “Salvation as Justification and Theōsis.” In Salvation in Christ: A Lutheran-Orthodox Dialogue. Edited by Robert Tobias and John Meyendorff, 67-84. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1992.

Meyendorff, John. “Theōsis in the Eastern Christian tradition.” In Christian Spirituality: Post-Reformation andModern. Edited by Louis Dupré and Don E. Saliers, 470-76. New York: Crossroad, 1989.

Nellas, Panayiotis. Deification in Christ: Orthodox Perspectives on the Nature of’ the Human Person. Translated by Norman Russell. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1987. First published in Greek in 1979.

Norman, Keith Edward. “Deification: The Content of Athanasian Soteriology.” Ph. D. diss., Duke University, 1980.

Norris, Frederick W. “Deification: Consensual and Cogent.” Scottish Journal of Theology 49 (1996) 411-28.

Perl, Eric David. ‘Methexis: Creation, Incarnation, Deification in Saint Maximus Confessor.” Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1991.

Places, Edouard des, I. H. Dalmais, and Gustave Bardy. “Divinisation.” In Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique, 1370-98. Originally edited by M. Viller, E Cavallera, and J. de Guibert. Continued by Charles Baumgartner. Vol. 3. Paris: Beauchesne, 1957.

Pseudo-Dionysius. Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. In Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works. The Classics of Western Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press, 1987. In the original Greek: Corpus Dionysiacum, Patristische Texte Und Studien; Bd. 36. Edited by Beate Regina Suchla. Berlin: de Gruyter,1991.

Rondet, H. “La divinisation du chrétien,” Nouvelle Révue Théologique 17 (1949) 449-76, 561-88.

Russell, N. The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Stavropoulos, C. Partakers of Divine Nature. Minneapolis: Light of Life, 1976. Tobias, Robert and John Meyendorff, editors. Salvation in Christ: A Lutheran-Orthodox Dialogue. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1992.

Vishnevskaya, Elena. “Perichoresis in a Context of Divinization: Maximus the Confessor’s Vision of a ‘Blessed and Most Holy Embrace.”‘ Ph.D. diss., Drew University, 2004.

Werner, M. Formation of Christian Doctrine: An Historical Study of the Problem.Translated by S. E G. Brandon. San Francisco: Harper & Bros., 1957.

Wesche, Kenneth Warren. “The Defense of Chalcedon in the 6th Century the Doctrine of ‘Hypostasis’ and Deification in the Christology of Leontius of Jerusalem.” Ph.D. diss., Fordham University, 1986.

__  ―  “Eastern Orthodox Spirituality: Union with God in Theōsis.” Theology Today 56 (1999) 29-43.

Williams, Anna Ngaire. “Deification in Thomas Aquinas and Gregory Palamas.” Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1995.

__ ―  The Ground of Union: Deification in Aquinas and Palamas. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Winslow, Donald E The Dynamics of Salvation: A Study in Gregory of Nazianzus.Cambridge, Mass.: Philadelphia Patristic Foundation, 1979.



[1] Pusey, Lenten Sermon 108, Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989) 5: 200.

[2] Heightening the social aspect of the gospel, NRSV offers “among, but “within or inside are more accurate translations of ἐντός entos. C. H. Dodd points out, “When Luke means ‘among’ he says ἐν μέσῳ (The Parables of the Kingdom [New York: Chant Scribners Sons, 1936] 84 n.1).

[3] John 14:17; cf. 14:26;17:23;15

[4] Matt 6:23; 5:16; Luke 11:35.

[5] See also the deification concepts in Col 1:9, 27; 2:10; 3:10; Eph 3:19; 4:23—24; 5:1.

[6] Commentary on Ecclesiastes on 3:19; from Didymos der Blinde. Kommentar zum Ecclesiastes, pt. 2, ed. M. Gronewald (Bonn: Nabelt, 1977) 99, located using TLG 8.0 (electronic database) 01999 Silver Mountain Software.

[7] “Deification was the ultimate and supreme thought” (Adolf von Harnack, History of Dogma, tr. Neil Buchanan (New York: Dover, 1961 (1900)] 3:164 n.2).

[8] Jules Gross, The Divinίzation of the Christian According to the Greek Fathers (Anaheim Calif.: A & C Press, 2002) 271—72.

[9] Ecclesiastical Hierarchy 1.3; Pseudo-Dίonysius: The Complete Works. The Classics o Western Spirituality (New York: Paulist Press, 1987) 198; in the original Greek: Corpus Dionysiacum, Patristische Texte Und Studien, Bd. 36, ed. Beate Regina Suchla (Berlin: de Gruyter,1991) 66.

[10] Donald F. Winslow proposes a “six-fold dimension” for theōsίs in Gregory of Nazιanzus alone: as a spatial, visual, epistemological, social, ethical, or “progressive union” metaphorThe Dynamics of Salvation: A Study in Gregory of Nazianzus (Cambridge, Mass. Philadelphia Patristic Foundation, 1979) 193—98).

[11] Benjamin Drewery, “Deification,” in Christian Spirituality: Essays in Honour of Gordon Ruρρ, ed. Peter Brooks (London: SCM,1975) 38.

[12] Although coined in the fourth century, θέωσις theōsis did not become the standard designator for deification until after Pseudo-Dionysus in the sixth century.

[13] See Norman Russell, The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) 333-44.

[14] Carm.

[15] Carm.

[16] Carm.

[17] Russell, Doctrine of Deification, 22.

[18] E.g., Francis J. Hall, The Incarnation (New York: Longman, Green and Company, 1915) 192; Donald E. Cowan, When Man Becomes Goda Humanism and Hybris in the Old Testament (Pittsburgh, 1975) 1.

[19] Adolf von Harnack, Ήistory of Dogma, tr. Neil Buchanan (New York: Dover, 1961 [1900])1:45.

[20] M. Werner, Formation of Christian Dogma (Νew York: Harper, 1957) 168.

[21] Drewery, “Deification,” 49—62.Introduction

[22] Vladimir Lossky, ln the Image and Likeness of God (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1974); The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1976, 1998); The Vision of Gad (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1983).

[23] Panayiotίs Nellas, Deification in Christ. Orthodox Perspectives on the Nature of the Human Person, tr. Norman Russell (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press; 1987). First published in Greek in 1979.

[24] C. Stavropoulos, Partakers of Dιviηe Nature (Minneapolis: Light of Lίfe,1976).

[25] Jean Daniélou, “Introduction,” in La Déification de l’homme, selon la doctrine des Péees grecs. The book is authored by Myrrha Lot-Borodine (Paris: Editions du Cerf, 1970) 15.

[26] Jules Gross, La divinisation du chrétien d’aprés les péres grecs. Contribution historique à la doctrine de la grâce (Paris: J. Gabalda,1938). Published in English as The Divιnization of the Christian According to the Greek Fathers, tr. Paul A. Onica (Anaheim, Calif.: A & C Press, 2002).

[27] See also Edouard des Places, I. H. Dalmais, and Gustave Bardy, “Divinisation” (Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique, original eds., M. Viller, F. Cavallera, and J. de Guibert. Continued by Charles Baumgartner. Vol. 3, Paris: Beauchesne,1957) 1370—98 and H. Rondet, “La divinisation du chrétien,” Nouvelle Révue Théologique 17 (1949) 449-76, 561-88.

[28] Meyendorff, “Theōsis in the Eastern Chrίstian tradition,” in Christian Spirituality; Post-Reformation and Modern, eds. Louis Dupré and Don E. Saliers (Newyork: Crossroad, 1989) 470-76. The theme of deification is widely scattered throughout Meyendorff’s works.

[29] For instance, Paul R. Hinlicky, “Theological Anthropology: Toward IntegratingTheōsis and Justification by Faith,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 34 (1997): 38-73; Tuomo Mannermaa, “Justification and theōsis in Lutheran-Orthodox perspective,” in Union with Christ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998) 25-41; Jouko Martikainen, “Man’s Salvation: Deification or Justification? Observation of Key-Words in the Orthοdox and the Lutheran Tradition,” Sobornost series 7, no. 3 (Summer 1976): 180-92; Salvation in Christ.- A Lutheran-Orthodox Dialogue, eds. Robert Tobias and John Meyendorff (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1992) and Michael McDaniel, “Salvation as Justification and Theōsis,” in the same volume.

[30] Here we list just some of the Ph.D. dissertations: Isaac Chae, “Justification and Deification in Augustine: A Study of His Doctrine of Justification,” Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1999; Caren E Calendine, “Theōsis and the Recognition of Saints in Tenth Century Byzantium,” University of Wisconsin,1998; Arkadi Choufrine, “Gnosis, Theophany, Theōsis: Studies in Clement of Alexandria’s Appropriation of his Background,” Princeton Theological Seminary, 2001 (published by Peter Lang in 2002); J. A. Cullen, “The Patristic Concept of the Deification of Man Examined in the Light of Contemporary Notions of the Transcendence of Man,” Oxford University, 1985^ Jeffrey Finch, “Sanctity as Participation in the Divine Nature According to the Ante-Nicene Eastern Fathers, Cοnsidered in the Light of Palamism,” Drew University, 2001; Maurice Fred Himmerich, “Deification in John of Damascus,” Marquette Universίtγ,1985; Nancy Joyce Hudson, “Theōsis in the Thought of Nicholas of Cusa: Origin, Goal, and Realized Destiny of Creation,” Yale University, 1999; Keith Edward Norman, “Deification: The Content of Athanasian Soteriology,” Duke University, 1980; Eric David Perl, “Methexis: Creation, Incarnation, Deification in Saint Maximus Confessor,” Yale University, 1991; N. Russell, “The Concept of Deifιcαtίοn in the Early Greek Fathers,” Oxford University, 1988; Elena Vίshnevskaya, “Perichoresis in a Context of Divinization: Maximus the Confessor’s Vision of a ‘Blessed and Most Holy Embrace,’“ Drew Unviersity, 2004; Kenneth Warren Wesche, “The Defense of Chalcedon in the 6th Century of the Doctrine of ‘Hypostasis’ and Deification in the Christοlogy of Leontius of Jerusalem,” Fordham Universίty,1986; Anna Ngaire Williams, “Deification in Thomas Aquinas and Gregory Palamas,” Yale University, 1995.

[31] We mention just a few among most recent: George D. Dragas, “Exchange or Communication of Properties and Deification: Antidosis or Communicatio Idiomatum” and Theōsis,” in Greek Orthodox Theological Review 43, no 1-4 (1998): 377-99; Nonna Verna Harrison, “Theōsis as Salvation: An Orthodοx Perspective,” in Pro-Ecclesia 6 (1997): 429-43; Steve McCormick, “Theōsis in Chrysostom and Wesley: An Eastern Paradigm on Faith and Love,” Wesleyan TheologicalJournal26 (1991): 38-103; Frederick W. Norris, “Deification: Consensual and Cogent,” Scottish Journal of Theology 49 (1996): 411-28; Norman Russell, Doctrine of Deification; Kenneth Paul Wesche, “Eastern Orthodox Spirituality: Union with God in Theōsis,” in Theology Today 56 (1999): 29-43; Anna Ngaire Williams, The Ground of Union, Deification in Aquinas and Palamas (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).


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