The human theosis in the light of the eschatological conceptions of Orthodox theology

  1. Lemma
  2. Ἡ θέωση τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὑπὸ τὸ φῶς τῶν ἐσχατολογικῶν ἀντιλήψεων τῆς Ὀρθόδοξης θεολογίας
  3. English
  4. Koutalis, Vangelis
  5. Ethics - Orthodox theological tradition and practice > Eschatology - Orthodox Anthropology - Ecumenism and dialogue > Westernism and anti-westernism - Orthodox theological tradition and practice > Patristic studies - Concepts of knowledge and modes of reasoning > Mysticism and Orthodox spiritual experience - Orthodox theological tradition and practice
  6. 07-01-2018
  7. Patronos, Georgios [Author]. The human theosis in the light of the eschatological conceptions of Orthodox theology
  8. Ἡ θέωση τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὑπὸ τὸ φῶς τῶν ἐσχατολογικῶν ἀντιλήψεων τῆς Ὀρθόδοξης θεολογίας : 2nd revised edition - Athens: Domos Editions, 1995.
  9. theosis (divinization in Christ) - deification - nepsis/purification and deification - spiritual progress (deification / theosis) - Patristic theology - eschatology - Christology - ecclesiology - Pneumatology
  10. Ορθόδοξη Θεολογική Ψηφιακή Βιβλιοθήκη Ι.Μ.Δ.
    1. <p>Patronos, G. [Πατρώνος, Γ.] (1995). <em>Ἡ θέωση τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὑπὸ τὸ φῶς τῶν ἐσχατολογικῶν ἀντιλήψεων τῆς Ὀρθόδοξης θεολογίας</em>. 2nd revised edition. Athens: Domos Editions.</p>
    1. This book, written by the Greek Orthodox theologian Georgios Patronos, is a Biblical-Patristic study on theosis, on the deification of the human being, intended to bring into focus the eschatological elements that can be found in the Patristic teachings with regard to the notion of theosis. Some of the problems touched upon are the question whether theosis is a reality that can be reached in the present historical time or is it an eschatological condition referring to the future, the question what relation does exist between the dimension of theosis that is already experienced by human beings in their everyday life and the future dimension of the ultimate accomplishment of theosis in the eschata, the ultimate time, and in the heavenly kingdom, the question whether there is a functional relation between the present and the future forms of theosis or is the present form of theosis confined to morality presaging an ontological, real future theosis, as well as the question what is the relation between human theosis and human perfection, especially in the Patristic tradition.

      In the introductory chapter of this study, the concept of theosis as articulated by other intellectual traditions is examined. More particularly, the different significations that theosis acquired in the Hellenistic world, in Platonism and Stoicism, in the philosophy of Philo, in the eschatological community of Qumran, and in the eastern religions, are weighed up against the Biblical anthropology and theology concerning the soteriological perfection of the Creation, and the central tenets of the Patristic teaching on the same topic, without leaving the Byzantine theology and the contributions of certain modern Russian Orthodox thinkers out. Despite the fact that all the Fathers participated in the development of a cohesive theory on human theosis, their views were never established in the form of a doctrine. The Orthodox teaching on theosis was, and still remains, open, since it is intimately associated with the past, present, and future soteriological experiences of the active members of the Church, and structured, also, in an eschatological perspective. Theosis is conceived as a synthesis of historical charismatic functions and eschatological gifts. This emphasis on the eschatological element is a crucial difference with the Western theological views on theosis. Eastern Christian spirituality retained its resurrectional character and never abandoned a conception of theosis in ontological terms, whereas Western Christian spirituality came to be moralistic, sin-centered, and death-centered.

      The first chapter, following the introduction, is dedicated to the theocentricity of theosis and its christological precondition. The meaning of theosis in the New Testament, the christological views expounded by the early Church Fathers, such as Athanasius the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, Cyril of Alexandria, the relevant contributions of Dionysius Areopagita, Maximus the Confessor, John of Damascus, Theodoret of Cyrus, and later those of Symeon the New Theologian, Nikolaos of Methone, and Gregory Palamas, are discussed. In all these attempts to understand theosis, the idea that the descension of God to the fallen human reality, down to death itself, opens the way for the ascension of the human beings to the divine reality. The christological approach to the question of theosis though, is also complemented by a pneymatological and ecclesiological understanding. This understanding is the topic of the second chapter of Patronos’ book, the subdivisions of which go into the Biblical and Patristic pneymatology of theosis, the ecclesiological character of human theosis, and the implications for theosis derived from the liturgy, the sacraments, the baptism, and the Holy Eucharist.

      The third chapter provides the reader with a comprehensive discussion of the question of theosis in an ontological framework. Orthodox theology considers theosis not as a condition which implies an accomplished identity of essence or an exceptional individual achievement, but as a condition which involves human receptiveness, participation, actualization of possibilities, and fulfillment by virtue of divine grace. Human theosis is an ascension, though not an absorption of the human nature by the divine one. It affects both the human soul and the human body, and it entails the renovation of the whole creation. In the Patristic conception of theosis, the historical and the eschatological elements are interlaced. This harmonious conjunction underpins Orthodox spirituality, as the fourth, and final, chapter of the book maintains. By prioritizing the experience of the eschatological future in the present through the charismatic and sacramental path, as well as through the ascetical practice and the internal spiritual struggle, the Orthodox spiritual life combines the theoretical with the practical life, the faithful patience and obediebnce with the active effort, love and hope.