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Theosis Defined

Gorman offers the following definition of theosis as it applies to the thought of St. Paul:

Theosis is transformative participation in the kenotic, cruciform character and life of God through Spirit-enabled conformity to the incarnate, crucified, and resurrected/glorified Christ, who is the image of God. (p. 125)

The only thing I might tweak here would be to replace “Spirit-enabled” with “Spirit-actualized” or something of that nature. Other than that this seems to be a good definition of theosis, which makes clear that theosis is not about having our human nature changed into divine nature or something like that. Rather it is transformative participation that results in conformitas Christi.


  1. Adrian Woods wrote:

    I’m thinking the definition is sweet, I’m thinking the concise nature of it doesn’t really tell me much though. I can only speak intellegently about St. Symeon the New Theologian who seems to put a great emphasis on the acquisition of virtues in conjunction with the following of the commandments which work to recover perception of God. I have no idea how that relates to Gorman’s definition as you put it.

    Friday, May 8, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
  2. Ethan wrote:


    Sorry to be a bit off subject here. Do you think Gorman’s book could work in a freshman level class if one were to work through it with the students?



    Monday, May 11, 2009 at 12:46 pm | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    Freshmen? No. Check out his other book with Cascade though, Reading Paul. It would be perfect for undergrads.

    Monday, May 11, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
  4. Ethan wrote:


    Monday, May 11, 2009 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

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