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Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul's Narrative Soteriology [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   194
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2009
Publisher   Eerdmans Pub Co
ISBN  0802862659  
EAN  9780802862655  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A groundbreaking study on Paul's doctrine of salvation. Building on his influential Cruciformity: Paul's Narrative Spirituality of the Cross, Gorman argues that Jesus' cruciformity is at the heart of his participation in the Godhead. His fresh examination of key Pauline texts especially stresses the covenantal, participatory, and transformative character of theosis and its relationship to justice. 200 pages, softcover from Eerdmans.

Publishers Description
This richly synthetic reading of Paul offers a compelling argument that the heart of Pauls soteriology lies in theosis the incorporation of Gods people into the life and character of the God revealed in the cross. Michael Gorman deftly integrates the results of recent debates about Pauline theology into a powerful constructive account that overcomes unfruitful dichotomies and transcends recent controversies between the New Perspective on Paul and its traditionalist critics. Gormans important book points the way forward for understanding the nonviolent, world-transforming character of Pauls gospel. Richard B. Hays / Duke Divinity School / Provides an important corrective to segmentalized approaches to Paul. Michael Gorman lucidly connects justification to spiritual transformation. Faith, love, and action come together as theosis the taking on of the character of Christ and, so, of God. Though constantly in conversation with other scholars, Gorman has a refreshingly original approach, illuminating the lively theology of Paul. Inhabiting the Cruciform God clearly advances the field of Pauline studies. Stephen Finlan / Fordham University / In this pioneering work Michael Gorman offers a fresh way to view Pauls understanding of justification and holiness. Cutting a new path through old territory, Gorman leads us to a vision of holiness and justification rooted in the transforming power of nonviolence and the cross. His work will provide pastors with new insights for preaching and scholars with new ways to address old questions. Frank J. Matera / Catholic University of America

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More About Michael J. Gorman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Michael J. Gorman (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore. He formerly served as dean of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary's.

Michael J. Gorman was born in 1955.

Michael J. Gorman has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Cascade Companions
  2. Gospel and Our Culture Series (Gocs)

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Soteriology   [0  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
An insightful treatment of Paul's theology  Apr 29, 2010
I really like this book. It stands alone but is surely best understood when read in conjunction with others of Gorman's books, especially Cruciformity: Paul's Narrative Spirituality of the Cross (Eerdmans, 2001). Gorman writes with clarity and economy. He's well-versed in current Pauline scholarship and the broader theological world, yet this book is also quite accessible.

He sees Philippians 2 and its affirmation of the centrality of Jesus' self-giving in its view of God's involvement in the world as a key element "Paul's master story." And at the heart of this story we find a view of God that sees the best understanding of God being one wherein God is self-giving-not simply Jesus. Along with seeing God as self-giving and vulnerable, Gorman argues strongly for an understanding of Christian faith where the believer identifies so closely with Jesus (and God) that it is most meaningful to think not so much in terms of belief or even following so much as participation, sharing life with-even to the point of sharing in Jesus' crucifixion (hence, the term "cruciform").

When we share in God's self-giving, we share in the life of God ("theosis"). And this takes the form of self-giving love. Gorman's understanding of God is determined in large part by his understanding of Jesus. And his understanding of Jesus centers on Jesus' self-giving love described in Philippians 2 and manifested most fundamentally in Jesus' way of life that led to his crucifixion.

Gorman takes the social and political implications of Paul's theology quite seriously. The central "political" message Gorman sees in Paul is the message of nonviolence. His fourth chapter, "`While We Were Enemies': Paul, the Resurrection, and the End of Violence," is a tour de force. Better than anyone I have read, Gorman helps us understand Paul's own journey from sacred violence as a persecutor of Jesus' followers to a powerful advocate of the way of peace.

Along with his forceful argument for Paul as a pacifist, Gorman helps us understand Paul's integration of theology and practice more generally. Paul's pacifism links inextricably with Paul's affirmation of Jesus' divinity--and with Paul's portrayal of God's own cruciformity (that is, God's own nonviolence).

My only hesitation with this book is Gorman's use of key terms such as "cruciform" and "theosis." Before reading this book (and his others) I would have more often associated these words with apolitical and even otherworldly piety and spirituality. Gorman goes a long way toward redeeming this language, but I still wonder if he makes his presentation a little too jargonish and insiderish and less accessible to those who don't know these words. If one follows Gorman's own use of his key terms, though, one will be left with a clear sense of a gospel that fully engages this world we live in, and engages it with a transformative message of peace.
The Cross and Divinity  Feb 16, 2010
Gorman is one of the few theological writers I have encountered who can combine high theology with understandable language, a remarkable feat in itself. In this seminal work - I believe that this work is truly a seed that will grow into a larger body of work - Gorman explores in a new and profound way the nature of the God revealed in the cross and resurrection of Jesus. In approaching this work the reader must be prepared to encounter a God who has has been stripped of any vestige of triumphalism. What emerges from this work is a fresh vision of Jesus' God, a God far removed from the vengeful God of childhood Christianity, a God who makes us like unto him. Gorman has revealed in a clear and concise language the salvation found in the cross.
what does it mean to be "in Christ"?  Jan 18, 2010
This is a solid book. As an Eastern Orthodox Christian, and as a former Lutheran (LCMS), I have seen two poles of Pauline soteriology expounded from the scriptures, one focusing upon the ontological union of `in Christ' and his Church through his victory over death (which is another way of saying `theosis') and the other `Christ for us' as the ransom from sin death and the devil. While not mutually exclusive by any means, one could argue that Western theology, and Protestant theology in particular, has been a bit myopic when it comes to reading St. Paul, a reading that often has more to do with Augustine, Luther and Calvin and less to do with St. Paul and the liturgy of the faithful. This book serves as a useful corrective by showing that Paul's understanding of God in Christ is ontological, kenotic and plurotic: In God's self-emptying in Christ we are raised into his life (which is what Orthodox mean by grace). In the words of St. Athanasius, that great defender of Christ's person and natures, "God became man that man might become God." Of course this is shocking language to many, but understood scripturally the concept gives full value to the incarnation, which is the center not only of our own personal histories but of History itself, and written in the heart of God before the foundation of the world.

Karl Barth wrote in his Dogmatics that all the dubious features of Calvinism come from the fact that, in the end, he separated God from Jesus Christ. I believe this to be very true of most `theology', if the term can even apply. It begins with unrecognized philosophical presuppositions that are read into the text of scripture rather than being read as it is within the context of the liturgical community, which I would argue is the most accurate method of exegesis.

Other books of interest may include: Fellow Workers With God: Orthodox Thinking on Theosis (Foundations), The Ground of Union: Deification in Aquinas and Palamas, The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford Early Christian Studies), One with God: Salvation As Deification and Justification (Unitas Books), Partakers of the Divine Nature: The History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions, On The Incarnation, Christ Present In Faith: Luther's View Of Justification, Problems With Atonement: The Origins Of, And Controversy About, The Atonement Doctrine and Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement. John Behr's The Mystery of Christ: Life in Death is essential reading in understanding history and theology "in the crucified Lord of glory". Of course, a reading/praying of the liturgical texts of the Christian tradition make very plain that Gorman is more than onto something- he is rediscovering for the West what was at the heart of the early church's experience of God in Christ and the Spirit.
Life in God through new life with Christ  Nov 1, 2009
In this study of Pauline soteriology, Gorman focuses on Paul's "grand narrative" of kenosis, justification, and theosis as key themes for understanding Paul's view of salvation in Christ. The key text for explicating the narrative is Phil 2:5-11, where the kenosis and exaltation of Christ form the key movements in the description of Christ's incarnation. For Gorman, this narrative is key to understanding Christ, and salvation, and even more, it is key to understanding God. He sets as one of the book's key agendas the claim that "cruciformity is theoformity, or theosis," built on the foundational claim that "kenosis (self-emptying) reveals the character of God" (2). This key element of the thesis is worked out in the first chapter of the book, with a careful study of Philippians 2 and it's implications for Paul's master story. He then turns to an extended study of justification as co-crucifixion, a participation in the life and death of Christ, and specifically in Christ's covenant fulfillment. (Thus, the pistis christou debate features prominently in the chapter, as the subjective genitive reading there is an important element in the argument, though it doesn't stand or fall solely on that point.) He then turns to holiness as the actualization of justification (not some subsequent and separate movement) and closes with an argument for nonviolence as an essential part of Paul's entire viewpoint.

I greatly enjoyed Gorman's important work. It is well written and clearly argued throughout, and he demonstrates a thorough familiarity with Paul and his letters. I am extremely sympathetic to the core theological argument of the book, that kenosis not only pertains to Christ but also reveals something of the character and manner of working of God the Father as well. His chapter on justification is likewise illuminating, and I think he is convincing that theosis (as he carefully defines it) is an element in Paul's soteriology, one that is often neglected in the Western tradition. Whether "justification by co-crucifixion leading to theosis" is the one soteriological model for Paul is most certainly a more difficult argument to pull off, but at the least Gorman has demonstrated how the "crucified with Christ" language and thought patter is an important one for Paul. His chapters on holiness and nonviolence are similarly thought-provoking and challenging, and I have no doubt that this work overall provides an argument to be reckoned with. Gorman constantly brought me back to the text of Paul's letters to notice details I had previously missed while at the same time making a synthetic argument for an overarching framework that is helpful in thinking like Paul thought. So while I may not agree with him in all particulars, this is clearly a great work, and I am glad to recommend it.

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