THO 3306 Theosis-Deification Course Syllabus, Fall 2013

 

 

THO 3306: Theosis: Deification

 

Prof. Andriy Chirovsky

Autumn 2013

 

 

 

A Statement of Purpose

This course ideally follows on Eastern Christian Doctrine I, which looks at the understanding of who God is, how to approach the understanding of the Holy Triad, the Divine Humanity of Christ and the Holy Spirit as well as Eastern Christian Doctrine II, which studies the Eastern Christian doctrine of who human beings are, what salvation entails, what the end is toward which we all are tending, and how the reality of the Church embodies all of these things.  However, it is also possible to take this course first, since all theological thought really begins from inadequate starting points in dealing with the awesome mysteries of the Divine. It is just a bit more difficult to do so in such an order. This course examines the human being before God, and what happens to the human being when union with God becomes a reality: theosis, i.e. Deification or divinization. Ancient and modern approaches to the issues will be undertaken, in dialogue with a variety of Christian traditions, and in dialogue with the thought of other religious systems and  the secular world as well. The centrality of Theosis for Eastern Christian Theology and Eastern Christian Spirituality will be another focus.

 

General Information

Class time – Classes are scheduled on Thursdays from 1:30-4:30PM.   Class will break at a convenient time somewhere near the mid-point.

 

Attendance – Please be reminded that students are required to:

a. Attend the lectures in all the courses of their program and must also participate in all class activities. A student who is shown to have been absent from more than 20% of the lectures in a course will not be allowed to take the final examination.

b. complete all assignments of a course before being allowed to take the final examination.

If you need to be absent for more than 20% of the classes, please contact both the professor and the Faculty of Theology.

Office hours – If you wish to discuss matters or content related to the course, please contact me at 613- 216-2435. This number will automatically forward to my cellphone.  You can also call me directly at 480-217-8505 (this is an Arizona number). My email address is amchirovsky@ustpaul.ca.  Because I do not have limitless trust in technology, please also send email to achirovsky@gmail.com.  The chances of both email systems failing is somewhat smaller.  If you really want to be safe, also send emails to amchirovsky@mac.com

 

Course Load and Assignments

The required reading for this course is one online booklet and two books.  We will be reading them progressively, of course.  Very early on in the course you should begin doing research for your final project, which is usually a research paper, but can conceivably be a different project accommodated to your learning style. Either way, the final project must be formulated in a preliminary proposal in written form, sent in by 1:30 PM Thursday, October 10, 2013.

 

Term Papers – Term papers of 12-15 pages are due 1:30 PM Thursday, November 21, 2013.  Papers comprise 40% of your final grade.  Please note that late papers will not normally be accepted. Students who have not submitted term papers are not eligible to take the final exam. Papers may be done as extended treatments of subjects presented upon during one’s class presentations.  That helps the student to focus on a particular area in greater depth.

Some other possible ideas for term papers:

Theosis in one of the Church Fathers

A comparison of the teachings of two Church Fathers on Theosis

Theosis East and West

Theosis and the Sanctification teachings of the Wesley brothers and contemporary Wesleyan emphases

A comparison of Eastern Christian teaching on Theosis with Mormon teachings

Objections to Theosis from a specific tradition

A comparison of the doctrine of salvation and ultimate human destiny from an Eastern Christian point of view with the viewpoint of another world religion

Another topic approved by the professor

 

 

Fraud/Plagiarism – Students are reminded that plagiarism is not tolerated at Saint Paul University.  Please see the plagiarism handouts found in various places throughout the university. A student found guilty of fraud, attempted fraud or complicity of fraud in any examination or academic work will be liable to one or several of the following sanctions:

a. loss of all or part of the marks assignable to the course to which the examination or academic work is related;

b. loss of the right to a supplemental examination;

c. loss of credits attached to the course to which the examination or academic work is related;

d. loss of all credits for the current term or year;

e. expulsion from the Faculty;

f. expulsion from the University.

 

Style sheet – The research paper should conform to the Turabian or Chicago Manual of Style.  It is to be 12-15 pages in length.  Further instructions will be given as to the structure and composition of the research paper.

 

Class presentations – All students will be required to make class presentations, using PowerPoint, accompanied by written handouts. These will be based on a particular chapter of one of the required readings. The PowerPoint presentation and handout must be received by the professor via email at least 24 hours before the presentation date. It is acceptable to choose to do a class presentation on a particular theme, basing oneself on one of the chapters to be discussed in class that day (according to the syllabus) and then to expand on that treatment in a research paper. The class presentation and handout together count for 10% of the final grade. Participation in class discussions is graded and counts for 10% of the final grade.

 

Final Examination – The final examination for the course will be an oral exam of some 20 minutes worth 40% of your grade.  The date of the exam will be set by the Faculty of Theology somewhere between December 5 and 18, and confirmed at a later date. Those wishing a written examination are asked to notify me by November 21.  A written exam is a dead exam, in which I can only mark errors as wrong.  An oral exam is a live interchange between the professor and student, in which the professor can ask the student to clarify statements. I therefore prefer oral exams. However, in light of the appeal procedure of the Faculty, students are always to be given the opportunity to take a written final examination.  Again, only those students who have submitted their term paper may take the final examination.

 

Weekly Topics and Readings

 

Week I:                                                            Introduction                               5 September 2013

Goals: (i) Introduction to the course, to each other, and to working in the context of distance education and video conferencing. Filling out information forms. (ii) Explanation of syllabus, including student responsibilities and evaluation. (iii) Introductory lecture: Gen Intro to the Concept of Theosis: Definition and Scriptural Basis

 

Week II:                                                                                                              12 September 2013

Content:  Theology and spirituality. Theologia and oikonomia. The “rule of faith,” the “Canon of Truth.” The articulation of Christian faith in a Judeao-Hellenistic-Gnostic context. Apophatic theology: antinomy as a way of thinking and speaking about divine realities.

 

Required Readings:

Archimandrite George, Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life. Mount Athos: Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios, 2006.

 

Week III:                                                                                                             19 September 2013

Content: The Context of Theosis in Christianity

Required Readings:

Michael J. Christensen, “The Promise, Process, and Problem of Theosis” in Michael J. Christensen, and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp.23-31.

 

Andrew Louth, “The Place of Theosis in Orthodox Theology” in Michael J. Christensen, and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 32-44.

Presenter: Tobias Underwood

 

Week IV:                                                                                                               26 September 2013

Content: Theosis in Classical and Late Antiquity

 

Required Readings:

John R. Lenz, “Deification of the Philosopher in Classical Greece,” in Michael J. Christensen, and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 47-67.

Presenter: James Hoffman

 

Stephen Finlan “Can We Speak of Theosis in Paul?” in Michael J. Christensen, and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 68-80.

Presenter: Andrij Nykyforuk

 

James Starr, “Does 2 Peter 1:4 Speak of Deification?” in Michael J. Christensen, and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 81-92.

Presenter: Tobias Underwood

 

 

Week V:                                                                                                                   3 October 2013

Content: Theosis in Patristic Thought I

Required Readings:

John A. McGuckin, “The strategic Adaptation of Deification in the Cappadocians” in Michael J. Christensen, and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 95-114.

Presenter: Michael Bombak

 

Vladimir Kharalamov, “Rhetorical Application of Theosis in Greek Patristic Theology,” in Michael J. Christensen, and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp.115-131.

Presenter: Thomas Hrywna

Week VI:                                                                                                                  10 October 2013

Content: Theosis in Patristic Thought II

 

 

 

 

 

 

Required Readings:

Elena Vishnevskaya, “Divinization as Perichoretic Embrace in Maximus the Confessor,” in Michael J. Christensen, and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp.132-145.

Presenter: Justin Gaudet

Thomas Buchan,“Paradise as the Landscape of Salvation in Ephrem the Syrian,” in Michael J. Christensen, and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 146-159.

Presenter: Ihab Ghoubrial

 

 

Week VII:                                                                                                                 24 October 2013

Content: Theosis in Medieval Thought

 

Required Readings:

Stephen J. Davis, “The Copto-Arabic tradition of Theosis: A Eucharistic Reading of John 3:51-57 in Būluṣ al-Būshī’s  Treatise On the Incarnation,” in Michael J. Christensen, and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp.163-174.

Presenter: Ihab Ghoubrial

 

Nathan R. Kerr, “St. Anselm and the Doctrinal Logic of Perfection,” in Michael J. Christensen, and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 175-188.

Presenter: Michael Bombak

 

Week VIII:                                                                                                             31 October 2013

Content: Theosis in Reformation Thought

 

Required Readings:

Jonathan Linman,”Martin Luther: ‘Little Christs for the World’: Faith and Sacraments as means to Theosis” in Michael J. Christensen, and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp.189-199.

Presenter: Sophia Nahachewsky

J. Todd Billings, “John Calvin: United to God Through Christ,” in Michael J. Christensen,. and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp.200-218.

Presenter: Sophia Nahachewsky

Michael J. Christensen, “John Wesley: Christian Perfection as faith Filled with the Energy of Love,” in Michael J. Christensen,. and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp.219-229.

Presenter: Mykhailo Ozorovych

 

Week IX:                                                                                                                7 November 2013

Content: Theosis in Modern Thought

 

Required Readings:

Jeffrey D. Finch, “Neo-Palamism, Divinizing Grace, and the Breach between East and West,” in Michael J. Christensen,. and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 233-249.

Presenter: Thomas Hrywna

Boris Jakim, “Sergius Bulgakov: Russian Theosis” in Michael J. Christensen,. and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 250-258.

Presenter: Andrij Nykyforuk

Francis J. Caponi, OSA, “Karl Rahner: Divinization in Roman Catholicism,” in Michael J. Christensen,. and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 259-280.

Presenter: Mykhailo Ozorovych

Gösta Hallonsten, “Theosis in Recent Research: A renewal of Interest and a Need for Clarity,” in Michael J. Christensen,. and Jeffrey A. Wittung, Partakers of the Divine Nature: the History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 281-293.

Presenter: James Hoffman

 

 

 

 

 

Week X:                                                                                                               14 November 2013

Content: Trinitarian Anthropology and Theological method

 

Required Readings:

Daniel M. Rogich, Becoming Uncreated: The Journey to Human Authenticity: Updating the Spiritual Christology of Gregory Palamas. Minneapolis, MN: Light and Life, 1997, pp. 1-84.

Presenter: Liza Tanczyk

 

 

Week XI:                                                                                                              21 November 2013

Content: Spiritual Path Christology

 

 

 

 

Required Readings:

Daniel M. Rogich, Becoming Uncreated: The Journey to Human Authenticity: Updating the Spiritual Christology of Gregory Palamas. Minneapolis, MN: Light and Life, 1997, pp.85-178.

Presenter: Justin Gaudet

 

 

 

 

Week XII:                                                                   )                                        28 November 2013

Content: Divine Energy and Ongoing Dialogue. Summary of course and preparation for exam.

 

Required Readings: Daniel M. Rogich, Becoming Uncreated: The Journey to Human Authenticity: Updating the Spiritual Christology of Gregory Palamas. Minneapolis, MN: Light and Life, 1997, pp.179-223.

Presenter: Liza Tanczyk

Comment is closed.