Saturday, 11 April 2015

Mark Frisius: Deification in the Latin Patristic Tradition: Deification in the 'Father of Latin Theology'

This paper examines the presence of the concept of theosis in the theology of Tertullian. It is generally held that Tertullian has abandoned the Irenaean concept of deification and instead focuses on questions of salvation. I argue that, while Tertullian does not have a fully formed doctrine of theosis, he does develop a number of the basic concepts associated with theosis. In making my argument, I look past isolated phrases and scattered terms and suggest that Tertullian's doctrine of the incarnation moves beyond the concept of redemption and embraces restoration and transformation. In particular, Tertullian understands Christ as the sequester between God and man, which leads him to describe divinization as reality, not just for the soul, but for the body as well. In this way, Tertullian's concern for immanent holiness touches the concept of transcendent holiness, which culminates with the transformation of the whole human into the image of God.

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