Buy New

or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Buy Used
Used - Good See details
Price: 22.26

or
 
   
Trade in Yours
For a 2.36 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 

The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford Early Christian Studies) [Paperback]

Norman Russell

Price: 25.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it Tuesday, 22 April? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 21.45  
Hardcover 141.00  
Paperback 25.00  
Trade In this Item for up to 2.36
Trade in The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford Early Christian Studies) for an Amazon.co.uk gift card of up to 2.36, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Book Description

16 Nov 2006 Oxford Early Christian Studies
Deification in the Greek patristic tradition was the fulfilment of the destiny for which humanity was created - not merely salvation from sin but entry into the fullness of the divine life of the Trinity. This book, the first on the subject for over sixty years, traces the history of deification from its birth as a second-century metaphor with biblical roots to its maturity as a doctrine central to the spiritual life of the Byzantine Church. Drawing attention to the richness and diversity of the patristic approaches from Irenaeus to Maximus the Confessor, Norman Russell offers a full discussion of the background and context of the doctrine, at the same time highlighting its distinctively Christian character.


Product details


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

Norman Russell presents his subject with the assurance of a master... He displays not just understanding of the material, but also a clear awareness of the field of patristic studies... this is a masterpiece of what historical discussion of Christian doctrine should be: historically acute and theologically perceptive. (Andrew Louth, The Times Higher Education Supplement)

The scope and precision of this book are beyond praise...the work is an admirable resource and could hardly be bettered. (Anthony Meredith, The Journal of Theological Studies)

About the Author

Norman Russell was formerly Vice-Provost of the London Oratory and is now an independent scholar.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
All the earlier patristic writers who refer to deification, although sometimes conscious of the boldness of their language, took it for granted that their readers understood what they meant. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon.co.uk.
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great and important work 6 Jun 2005
By Dr. Richard M. Price - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
'Deification' may seem a rather esoteric theme, but all it means is the way in which, according to Christian belief, the grace of God transforms human beings. What this book offers is a survey of most of the important Greek Fathers of the first five centuries, concentrating on how they treat this central theme. The result is the best general treatment of the Greek Fathers we have had for almost fifty years. Structure and sequence are clear, strong and cogent; the clarity of exposition is outstanding. Any reader who has some prior knowledge of the field (e.g. from reading Kelly's Early Christian Doctrines) will be able to follow the argument. The book deserves wide readership and a lasting influence.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars implications of the incarnation and resurrection 26 July 2007
By matt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As far as I know, this book is the best one stop read on this central Christian doctrine. All of theology, in its relation to humanity, is really a footnote to the reality of deification. But what does that really mean? Are we absorbed into God? Are we just made like him by decree? Or do we participate in the very life of God and yet remain distinct in our nature and personhood? How this was experienced and worked out in the early church is the subject of this most detailed book.

Based largely on Jules Gross' work (La Divination du chrétien d'après les Pères grecs), Russell begins by tracing the main points of Gross, adding the criticism that Gross failed to explain, and take into account, the content in which the Greek Fathers wrote and discussed theosis. He notes that although deification talk was common in many pre-Dionysian (6th century) theologians, they were not doctrinally consistent in their usage and meaning. It is finally with St Maximus the Confessor that the theology of deification is worked out systematically.

I am leaving tons of content out, but rest assured that if you have an interest in the topic from the Greek perspective, this is the book to get. But it is not a book for beginners. For that, you may find uncreated energy a useful primer.

Although Russell's focus is Greek theology, he does offer an appendix of Syrian and Latin Fathers on the topic, along with a brief discussion of modern authors on the subject, such as Rahner, Zizioulas and Mascall.

I would strongly recommend the writings of Valdimir Lossky, especially The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church and Orthodox Theology: An Introductionon this subject. For a great East-West discussion, See A. Williams' The Ground of Union: Deification in Aquinas and Palamas. As well, please see Deification in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition: A Biblical Perspective, Being With God: Trinity, Apophaticism, And Divine-Human Communion, Theosis: Deification in Christian Theology (Princeton Theological Monograph) and Deification in Christ: Orthodox Perspectives on the Nature of the Human Person (Contemporary Greek Theologians, Vol 5).

My other reviews are often on this topic, and you can find some gems there to further your exploration of the implications of the incarnation, death and resurrection of our Lord.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Complete Overview of Theosis 2 Jun 2007
By N N Taleb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I initially bought this book as I was curious about the differences between Eastern & Western traditions, particularly with the notion of theosis --the deification of man. This book goes far deeper, and covers pre-Christian practices (like Stoic thoughts, the deifications of Kings, Roman Emperors, that of private citizens who committed symbolic acts --such as Antinous, Hadrian's obsession, who drowned to "save" mankind and other sotirologies).
The book was initially Russell's doctoral thesis, which, as far as I can guess from the dates, had to have been completed when he was in late middle age. But he made it very readable, free of the theophilosophical jargon of similar texts. He still has quotes in the original language and it is a true piece of scholarship.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Attaining of likeness to God through Kenosis Theognosis 6 Oct 2007
By John Philoponus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"The great Antiochene fathers never use the term 'diefication' at all. That is to say... we are gods only in a titular sense. ... Without the Alexandrian sotereological perspective, deification can only be presented as a remote eschatological event." Norman Russell, (pp. 237)

"I no longer desire to be myself, but to find myself transformed in You, so that there is no 'myself' but only Yourself. That is when I will be what You have willed to make me from all eternity: not myself, but Love." Thomas Merton

Deification, as participation:
"Far from implying a heretical notion of man's absorption into God, as Western writers sometimes assume, the term encapsulates a number of widely differing approaches to the doctrine of salvation. Among the Greek Fathers deification is expressed variously as filial adoption through baptism, as the attaining of likeness to God through gnosis and dispassion, as the ascent of the soul to God, as the participation of the soul in the divine attributes of immortality and incorruption, as the transformation of human nature by divine action, as the eschatological glorification of both soul and body, and as union with God through participation in the divine energies." Norman Russell

Deification, Biblical Foundation:
The two classic biblical texts quoted in support of deification are Psalm 82:6 ('I said, you are gods and all of you sons of the Most High') and 2 Peter 1:4 ('precious and very great promises have been granted to us, that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature'). The first of these texts (also quoted in John 10:34) was never a cause of controversy. There already existed a Jewish exegesis which applied the words, 'you are gods', originally to Adam and Eve, and then to those who kept the Torah, when Justin Martyr -the first Christian Father to quote them- used them as a gloss on the Johannine 'children of God' (1 Jn 3:1). If baptism makes us sons of God and the Psalm addresses us as gods and sons of the Most High, then baptism must make us gods. Divine sonship through baptism therefore brings with it the divine qualities of immortality and freedom from passion. The text is often appealed to by later Fathers to express how baptism incorporates us into Christ, making us gods by grace in contrast to Christ, who is God by nature. N. Russell, "Partakers of the Divine Nature" in the Byzantine Tradition

Russell's Masterful Thesis:
So far, I could not but quote the eminent patristic scholar whose mother nurtured in him a love of the Fathers, and his fellowship and scholarship kept the fire inflaming. This book is unique, while exploring the diversity of the patristic approaches from Irenaeus to Maximus the Confessor, Norman Russell offers an unparalleled and compelling study of the roots and the development of the doctrine, while expounding its genuine Alexandrine texts and themes, in two chapters: The Alexandrian Tradition I & II, masterfully linking its schools led by Clement, Origen, and Didymus with the champions of its Orthodoxy Athanasius and Cyril.
He then masterfully traces Origen's heritage of Divine transcendence and Soul ascent in his great Cappadocian students who accommodated them to Athanasius thesis of mediation of the divine Logos through deification of the logos flesh assumed from Mary.
In the historical culmination of his extensive study, Norman Russell reveals the eminence of his patristic scholarship, in 'The Monastic Synthesis,' delving gracefully from Evagrius Ponticus, The Macarian writings, Dionysius the Aereopagite, to Maximus Confessor.

Partakers of the Divine Nature: The History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions

Gnosis, Theophany, Theosis: Studies in Clement of Alexandria's Appropriation of His Background (Patristic Studies (Peter Lang Publishing), Vol. 5.)
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of what Historical Discussion of Christian Doctrine should be 17 Jun 2007
By Didaskalex - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"I say,'You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you;" Psalm 82:6

"Those who partake of the divine nature do so through the promises of Christ who is God. Although the expression is different from Paul's, the content is not: participation in Christ wins incorruption and immortality." N. Russell

Deification in Essense:
Among the Eastern Church Fathers deification is expressed as filial adoption through baptism, and it is iterated that Abba Kyrillos VI (Coptic Patriarch, 1959-71) identified 'the light of baptism,' spotting any non baptized who reported for Eucharistic communion! His mystical company of the Desert Fathers taught that attaining likeness to God comes through Theo-gnosis (knowing God) and kenosis (self emptying). Catholic Mystics describe it as the ascent of the soul to God, the participation of the soul in the divine attributes of immortality. In Summa, it is the transformation of human nature by divine grace.
Although the first mention of deification as a concept was in Irenaeus' infamous exchange formula (God became man that man might become god), it was in Alexandria that the doctrine of deification was fully elaborated and extensively utilized in the defense of its Orthodoxy. Since J. Gross wrote his most comprehensive study of deification, "La divinisation du chrétien d'apres les Peres Grecs," in 1938, discussions of deification often suffer from insufficient historical context and from an obscurity about what deification precisely means and what process does it involve. This attitude has been recently amended by the outstanding Patristic scholar who wrote books about the Desert Fathers, Theophilus and Cyril.

Deification, Divinization, and Theosis:
Why did the terms, Deification, Divinization, and Theosis, based on the biblical expression 'partakers of the divine nature' present such difficulty, for most Protestants and Catholics? Why is the Eastern Orthodox doctrine of Theosis presently engaging the Coptic Orthodox Church, theologians and Clergy in a hot debate? Even when this Church, whose Alexandrine fathers Origen, Athanasius* and Cyril** respectively have initiated, developed and utilized it to defend Orthodoxy against heresies starting with Arianism, all the way to Nestorianism? While Athanasius declares, "The Word became flesh in order, both, to offer this sacrifice and that we, participating in His Spirit, might be deified," Cyril made it the over-riding motif of his Christological defense against the Diophysites. The Alexandrine Church doctrine that by the incarnation, human nature is deified and become participant in the divine nature was Cyril's favorite theme, that he iterated over forty times. Why was Divinization avoided by Apophatic mystics and Diophysite Theologians?
Russell compellingly distinguishes two of the Divinization opponents, "two kinds of writers: those who distinguished in an apophatic way between the essence of God and his operations or energies, and those who employed a Logos-anthropos Christology, which did not depend upon the concept of participation. It is noteworthy that writers of the Antiochene school do not quote '2 Peter 1:4'." Conversely, adds Russell, "the text was used by those who operated with a Logos-sarx Christology (Alexandrine Fathers) and with a doctrine (deriving ultimately from Origen) of a dynamic participation in God. Such a doctrine presupposed a theology which was personalist rather than essentialist, and an understanding of 'nature' which included the attributes of the living God."

Partakers of Divine Nature:
The above verse, quoted from 2 Peter 1:4, was altogether problematic. Used initially by Origen, whose initiatives formed the Alexandrian school, then by Athanasius few times, and later by Cyril repeatedly, but never used again until Maximus the Confessor, quoted only twice. Russell furthers his great book themes, expounding the history of Eastern Church Theology, asking himself, "Why was 2 Peter 1:4 popular with Cyril but not with Maximus (a student of Origen)?
Once he had embarked on his controversy with Nestorius, Cyril needed an alternative way of speaking about deification. Following in the tradition of Origen and Athanasius, he had such an alternative way to hand in the expression 'partakers of the divine nature'. His Christology is one in which the participation of the assumed humanity in the divinity of the Logos, is a key concept. He compares it with the participation of the faithful in Christ; 'corporeally' through the Eucharistic communion, and spiritually through kenotic life. Maximus, with a Capadocian / Dionysian (ps-Areopagite) background, did not participate in the 'Divine Partaking' tradition. While, his Neo-Chalcedonian Christology, revised, was still based on the concept of duality of natures, but in reciprocal communion, had no real appeal for the Petrine text. On the contrary, Cyril's anthropology is analogous to his Christology. Man attains the divinely graced life, not by participation in God as much as by synergy, a mutual reactive relationship between the Lord through Christ and those of the faithful.

Norman Russell on Divinization:
Norman Russell, wrote recently, in an enlightening essay entitled, 'Partakers of the Divine Nature' in the Byzantine Tradition, explaining and defending the Alexandrine based Biblical theology from Origen's First Principles, comparing to Maximus the confessor. He explains, "Among the Greek (speaking) Fathers deification is expressed variously as filial adoption through baptism, as the attaining of likeness to God through gnosis and dispassion, as the ascent of the soul to God, as the participation of the soul in the divine attributes of immortality and incorruption, as the transformation of human nature by divine action, as the eschatological glorification of both soul and body, and as union with God through participation in the divine energies. In Byzantine writers the emphasis falls on the Pauline aspect of filial adoption and incorporation into Christ, the sacraments becoming all-important as the means by which divine life is communicated to the believer."

In Appreciation:
In my long career as a Catechist and Commentator, it is my first time to be urged to write a review of a theology book without the book being at hand. In a telecom with the Nottingham Patristic, and Cambridge 'Coptic Orthodox' theologian, I proposed this great unbiased scholarly work as a reference for both debating Coptic parties on the subject. Dr. George Bebawi, then praised the Oxford scholar, associating him with the eminent Syriac scholar Dr. Sebastian Brock, and evaluated the book as a 'Doctorate Thesis', carefully reviewed for the benefit of intellectual Christians. His colleague Dr. Andrew Louth, has rightly wrote, "Norman Russell presents his subject with the assurance of a master ... He displays not just understanding of the material, but also a clear awareness of the field of patristic studies ... this is a masterpiece of what historical discussion of Christian doctrine should be: historically acute and theologically perceptive."

A Qualified Review:
"Norman Russell has given us a rigorous account of the historical development of the doctrine of deification and its technical terminology, and at the same time he has offered us clear conceptual categories for distinguishing different approaches to deification in the Christian tradition. The stated subject of this book is "Christian deification from its birth as a metaphor to its maturity as a spiritual doctrine" Daniel Keating

* On the Incarnation (De Incarnatione Verbi Dei)
** The Appropriation of Divine Life in Cyril of Alexandria (Oxford Theological Monographs)
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
ARRAY(0xbb201678)

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback