Human Perfection in Byzantine Theology
Attaining the Fullness of Christ
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of Pages: 256
Width: 16 cm
Height: 24.5 cm
To what kind of existence does Christ call us? Christian theology has from its inception posited a powerful vision of humanity's ultimate and eternal fulfilment through the person and work of Jesus Christ. How precisely to understand and approach the human perfection to which the Christian is summoned is a question that has vexed the minds of many and diverse theologians. Orthodox Christian theology is notable for its consistent interest in this question, and over the last century has offered to the West a wealth of theological insight on the matter, drawn both from the resources of its Byzantine theological heritage as well as its living interaction with Western theological and philosophical currents. In this regard, the important themes of personhood, deification, epektasis, apophaticism, and divine energies have been elaborated with much success by Orthodox theologians; but not without controversy. Human Perfection in Byzantine Theology addresses the question of human perfection in Orthodox theology via a retrieval of the sources, examining in turn the thought of leading representatives of the Byzantine theological tradition: St Maximus the Confessor, St Theodore the Studite, St Symeon the New Theologian, and St Gregory Palamas. The overarching argument of this study is that in order to present an Orthodox Christian understanding of human perfection which remains true to its Byzantine inheritance, supreme emphasis must be placed on the doctrine of Christ, especially on the significance and import of Christ's humanity. The intention of this work is thus to keep the creative approach to human destiny in Orthodox theology firmly moored to its theological past.