The complex nature of Christian communion with a personal God requires a nuanced expression. Since its inception, the early church affirmed God’s unknowable nature and also participation in God through Christ. The church fathers employed the language of theosis in talking about union with God and human transformation in the likeness of God. However, the term theosis or deification is a broad category and requires precise explanation to avoid human dissolution into the divine in the mystical union it attempts to describe. In Triadosis, Eduard Borysov offers a new approach to the conundrum of the imparticipable divine nature and the prospect of personal union between human and the Trinity. Most significantly, he proposes that if God is Trinity, then we are created and restored in the image of the same tri-personal God.
Outline and Sources
Potential Hermeneutical Objections
Limitations of This Project
Recent Scholarship on Theosis in Paul
2. Early Approaches to Theosis
3. Reformers and Triadosis
Traditional Lutheran and Calvinist Interpretations
Luther and Deification
Calvin and Deification
4. Contemporary Eastern Orthodox Retrieval of Triadosis
Zizioulas’s Critiques of Apotheosis and Energeosis
Zizioulas’s View of Personhood
5. Recent Retrievals of Theosis in Paul
M. David Litwa
Ben C. Blackwell
Michael J. Gorman
Summary of Argument
Subject and Author Index
Endorsements and Reviews
Borysov’s book adeptly summarizes recent work on patristics, Reformation studies, and modern Eastern Orthodoxy in order to provide guidance for our understanding of Paul’s concept of theosis or deification. His fresh analysis and his new term, triadosis, beautifully capture the most fruitful strand of thought on deification: human beings are meant to share in the relational life that characterizes the Father, Son, and Spirit. I recommend this book enthusiastically.
Donald Fairbairn, Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Borysov’s study does a marvellous job in exploring the Trinitarian dimensions of theosis in Pauline interpretation in church history. The strength of this monograph lies in its probing survey of the fathers, the reformers, and modern theologians, orienting the reader to a multi-faceted treatment of the topic through Trinitarian lenses. Borysov’s work is an important contribution in the re-appropriation of theosis as interpersonal communion with the triune God, who transforms the faithful into the likeness of the tri-personal divine community through grace.
Ashish J. Naidu, Associate Professor of Theology, Talbot School of Theology
A rich study that rewards the reader over and over by its clear engagement of vast theological and historical themes. Eduard Borysov offers us a compelling account of the summum bonum of our transformation and union with God that is robustly Trinitarian, biblically faithful and wise in the present currents of Pauline scholarship.
Mark R. Saucy, Professor of Theology, Talbot School of Theology