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Looking for source material on theosis


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#1 Rob Bergen

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 12:31 AM

Greetings,

I am looking to do some further reading and research into the Orthodox notion of Theosis, Deification, and Unity with God. I have read through a few posts, and searched through the Patristics areas of the website, but have not found very much. Can anyone point me in the direction of Patristic source material, or perhaps a book or two?

Thanks be to God!

Rob

#2 Timothy Mulligan

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 12:47 AM

You might find St. Seraphim of Sarov's Conversation with Motovilov to be a good beginning.

#3 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 12:55 AM

Rob,

There are many books on the topic, but I'm not familiar with most of them. I have read a short book called The Deification as the Purpose of Man's Life by Archim. George from St. Gregorios on Athos. It looks like you can find a translation of that book here. St. Athanasius is a good place to start in the Fathers. His book On the Incarnation is wonderful and fully situates theosis within the context of the Incarnation. St. Gregory Palamas is also said to be a wonderful source on the topic, but I'm not personally familiar with his writings.

Jeremy

#4 Ben Johnson

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 01:51 AM

Patristic Theology by Protopresbyter John S. Romanides has some stuff about Theosis in it.

#5 Anna Stickles

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 07:10 PM

St Herman press put out an issue of the Orthodox Word called "Created in Incorruption" (#258-9 )this provides a good basis for understanding the Orthodox basis of Theosis. The also have a collection of St Symeon the Theologian's homilies called "The First Created Man"

#6 Rob Bergen

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 07:52 PM

Thank you!
It has been explained to me that, while there is no patristic document treating theosis on its own, many documents do allude to it and incorporate it within a larger context. I was hoping to find something written early on, second or third century, explicitly on theosis, but, as with many other doctrines, I must look within the broader context of patristic writings.

God bless you all!

Rob

#7 Anna Stickles

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 12:46 AM

For early sources, you might try St Ireneaus' Against Heresies, particularly books 3-5, or St Gregory of Nyssa's Great Catechism. The only bummer is that there is not a better translation of these ( I am not a fan of the Eerdman series). St Gregory of Nyssa's Ascetical works also includes a number of helpful essays including "On the Soul and the Resurrection" and especially, "On the Christian Mode of Life."

If you are looking for a comprehensive collection of quotes from various Fathers across the centuries already organized and with some explanations to help modern readers you might try Genesis, Creation and Early Man put out by St. Herman's Press. This book is geared toward giving an Orthodox answer to evolutionists, but it includes the whole of the Orthodox Word article I linked above, along with additional information from a commentary on Genesis put together by Fr. Seraphim, which has a lot of additional quotes on man's state in paradise (which is where we need to start if we want to understand theosis) that are not included in the Orthodox Word issue.

Here is a partial glimpse of the table of contents for the Orthodox word article -
Original state of the cosmos before the fall,
The state of man before the fall,
The effects of the fall on man,
The effects of the fall on the cosmos,
The devil's role
The redemption and deification of man and the cosmos.

#8 Anna Stickles

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 11:45 AM

Thank you!
It has been explained to me that, while there is no patristic document treating theosis on its own, many documents do allude to it and incorporate it within a larger context. I was hoping to find something written early on, second or third century, explicitly on theosis, but, as with many other doctrines, I must look within the broader context of patristic writings.

God bless you all!

Rob


I realize this is an old thread but I recently found a beautiful quote by Clement of Alexandria in his "Pedagogue" (written about 190 AD) The translation is by Simon p. Wood from CUA press's Father of the Church series, vol 23 "Clement of Alexandria, Christ the Educator" ch 12

"It seems to me that the reason that He formed man from dust with his own hands, gave him a second birth through water (baptism), increase through the Spirit, education by the Word, thereby guiding him surely to the adoption of sons and to salvation with holy precepts, was precisely that He might transform an earth-born man into a holy and heavenly creature by His coming, and accomplish the original divine command: "Let us make mankind in our image and likeness". It is Christ, in fact who is, in all its perfection, what God then commanded; other men are so only by a certain image.

As for us, O children of a good Father, flock of a good Educator, let us fulfill the will of the Father, let us obey the Word, and let us be truly molded by the saving life of the Savior. Then since we shall already be living the life of heaven which makes us divine, let us anoint ourselves with the never-failing oil of gladness, the incorruptible oil of good odor. We possess an unmistakable model of incorruptibility in the life of the Lord and are following in the footsteps of God."



#9 Owen Jones

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 02:02 PM

I would start, not with theological treatises, but with Patristic sermons. Don't know how many very early ones are extant. I don't know of an anthology either. Erdman's ante-Nicene Fathers is great, but it's a 19th Century translation. But that's where the rubber meets the road -- in their sermons.

#10 IoanC

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 04:25 PM

http://orthodoxwayoflife.blogspot.ro/search/label/Orthodox Spirituality
or PDF: http://www.stgeorgegreenville.org/OurFaith/Orthodox Spirituality/Orthodox Spirituality - Commentary.pdf

Basically a manual for purification, illumination and theosis in the beautiful and powerful theology of Fr. Dumitru Staniloae with quotes from The Fathers, Saints, etc.

#11 Aidan Kimel

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:49 PM

Rob, a good place for you to begin are the Festal Orations of St Gregory the Theologian, especially Orations 38-40. In these you will see how St Gregory weaves theosis into the narrative of salvation. I also recommend St Nicholas Cabasilas's The Life in Christ. The secondary literature is vast, but here are two good books with which to begin: Fellow Workers with God by Norman Russell and The Deification of Man by Georgios Mantzaridis.

#12 Owen Jones

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 12:21 PM

Though somewhat of a controversialist, Fr. John Romanides has an excellent piece on the web on theosis. Just google John Romanides and theosis.




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