Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Anthony Thiselton on Theosis

As mentioned in the previous post, Anthony Thiselton has an interview with Dan Reid in the latest Academic Alert from IVP. Nijay points to the section I'm about to refer to in this post, but it bears repeating.

Reid: I am hearing more about Paul and theosis these days. In general, do you think theosis is a fruitful way into understanding Paul's soteriology?

Thiselton: I think that there are two quite separate questions here. The emphasis on transformation and participation is wholly right and useful, provided that this is no more then complementary to the traditional notion of a right status before God. Being in a right relation with God involves not just looking on as a spectator, but also personal participation and transformation, and this is cross-centered.

However, on the second question I am not entirely sure what theosis might mean. But if it means divinization, this is used in a very special sense in the Greek fathers and the Orthodox Church, and I would hesitate to try to transplant it into Pauline thought (2; emphasis mine).

Although I have yet to get Michael Gorman's latest offering Inhabiting the Cruciform God, I will say that Michael tackles many of the points Thiselton makes above, especially in his post "Fear of Theosis".

It would be really great to get these two to have a discussion about this important subject.