A Celtic Christology: The Incarnation According to John Scottus Eriugena

By John F. Gavin

An insightful reassessment of the great 9th century scholar John Scottus Eriugena, setting out the deeply Christocentric vision at the heart of his theology.

ISBN: 9780227174784
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John Scottus Eriugena, the brilliant and controversial Irishman in the court of Charles the Bald (823-877), grandson of Charlemagne, drew upon both the Latin and Greek patristic traditions in order to present a bold and original Christian vision. A philosopher, theologian, translator, poet, and mystic, he may be considered the ideal Carolingian Renaissance man. This volume examines his understanding of the Incarnation, the enfleshment of the Word. On the one hand, Eriugena’s Christology creatively appropriates traditional categories in order to explain God’s philanthropia in creating, sustaining, and restoring the cosmos. On the other hand, it also provides a guide for the believer’s mystical participation in the life of Jesus and return to divine union. This brilliant intellectual from the so-called “Dark Ages” offers much to inspire, and perhaps even to startle, contemporary theologians, philosophers, and believers who ponder the mystery of the God-made-flesh.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 178

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

John F. Gavin SJ is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies of the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.


Foreword by John Panteleimon Manoussakis


1. Being Human, Being Flesh
2. Jesus Christ: God and Man
3. Cur Deus Homo?
4. The Foundations of Participatory Christology
5. The Mystical Appropriation of the Life of Jesus


Subject/Name Index
Scripture Index


Endorsements and Reviews

A scholarly gem that conveys the treasures of Eriugena’s complex ninth-century Irish mind with competence and flair. Gavin’s scholarship is thorough, his writing is a model of lucidity, and the manner in which he plans and executes this work serves his project of presenting Eriugena’s theology of the incarnation perfectly. I highly recommend A Celtic Christology.
James Corkery, Professor of Theology, Milltown Institute, Ireland

In this brilliantly lucid and profoundly insightful book, Gavin successfully demonstrates the pervasive Christocentrism of Eriugena’s vision, as well as his indebtedness to the Greek patristic tradition, especially Maximus the Confessor. The result is not only a groundbreaking revisionist achievement in the scholarly assessment of Eriugena, but the retrieval of a richly creative, and hitherto underappreciated, voice in the Christian tradition.
Khaled Anatolios, Professor of Historical Theology, Boston College, MA

John F. Gavin’s study is a brilliantly lucid exploration of Eriugena’s theology and its relevance to our times – especially in its treatment of the incarnation, participative Christology (i.e., theosis or deification), and in setting out a thrilling environmental theology that reveals Christ and Creation’s heart … Gavin notes that ‘poetry has a greater power to inspire reflection than a theological treatise’. His own treatise reveals poetic skill in weaving a weft of many colours of the meadow flowers to the long and deep warp.
Alastair McIntosh, in Third Way, Vol 39, Issue 4