August 2007

On the surface the terms seem to be identical translations: theosis (θέωσις, Greek), deification (Latin). However, as Norman Russel’s book carefully shows, theosis was only first used in 363 with Gregory of Nazianzus. However, the cognate term theopoieo (θεοποιἐω) was used as early as Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.215) and Hippolytus of Rome (d.235). Theosis was not used regularly until byzantine times, with Ps. Dionysius and Maximus the Confessor laying the foundation for its popularity.

On the other hand, deification was not as popular in the Latin church (Russell only mentions Tertullian, Hilary of Poitiers, and Augustine), so there was not a comparable evolution of terminology surrounding the theology as with the Greek writers. Divinization is also a Latin term that carries a similar significance but has not been used as often. As to the distinction between divinization and deification, it seems there is a former debate over divinization (theosis) by Energy [good] vs. deification (apotheosis) by Essence [bad]. However, many use deification (e.g., Andrew Louth) and understand it as deification by energy.

Conclusion: 1) As we speak about the development of the doctrine it best to use ‘deification’ as a more generic term. Specifically, it does not employ an anachronistic, byzantine term–theosis–for the early development of the doctrine in the Greek fathers. This is exactly how Russell treats the terminology in his analysis of the Greek tradition. 2) However, if we are speaking of the concept from a systematic theological point of view, it seems to me that theosis or deification would be virtually equivalent (like, for example, kavod [Heb.] and doxa [Gk.]).

I recently had a very helpful email exchange with Carl Mosser, who also promoted conclusion #1 but not #2. He made a distinction between ‘deification’ as the proper Christian view of salvation and ‘theosis’ which is a later (inappropriate) mystical turn influenced by philosophical thought (e.g., Ps. Dionysius and Maximus). I would lean more towards a thesis recently promoted by Donald Fairbairn in the recent version of JETS on “Patristic Soteriology: Three Trajectories?”, where the mystical has roots much earlier in Clement and Origen and so is not technically a ‘later’ turn. I, however, have many more primary sources to read to develop my own informed opinion.


I had a meeting today with John Barclay to get his thoughts on my BNTS paper on ‘glory’ in Romans. He had some good comments about methodology the difference between doing a ‘concept’ study vs. a ‘word’ study. See, James Barr’s, The Semantics of Biblical Language (who is critical of Kittel’s naive biblical theology in TDNT)–he argues that meanings are more tied up in sentences rather than words themselves. The distinction then for me was that the section of my paper that deals with the generic concept of giving glory to God really falls under a larger concept heading of giving honor to God, praising God, etc., which is not that unique. The unique piece is the more loaded aspects where there is an ontological status that is tied up. For example, in Rom 3.23: ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ So that just means that I rearrange the sections a little and set up the distinction, but otherwise the content will stay the same.

The more important aspect is that he only asked for clarification of some of my language and that I convinced him that immortality is closely linked to glory. After seeing his critique of others when they have weaker arguments, I was expecting something like that, but the case does seem fairly straight forward. Once I clean it up some more, I’ll post sections for your feedback.

I’ve come across this link before, but I found a booklet by Oscar Cullmann on resurrection recently that reminded me about this site: Religion Online

I’ve got a page listing (almost) all the UK New Testament postgrad programs and their lecturers, along with tuition costs. I got a helpful note about corrections to the St. Andrew’s faculty, so I went through and updated a handful of links and lecturers at different universities. However, I didn’t have time to check all of them. If you see any places for corrections, please pass them along. Thanks.

Mark Bonnington, a Durham local who is associated with a local church–King’s Church–and also St. John’s College, pointed me to a very helpful post he did on Resurrection and Atonement in Paul. It helps clarify some of the questions I had with my Resurrection and Justification post and offers some good thought on the role of resurrection in Paul’s thought. The two goat, one living and one dead–in levitical atonement is an analogy well worth further thought. Definitely check it out.

Mark asked if I knew any resources. I’ve just started thinking about this, so haven’t done much reading. I just picked up David Michael Stanley’s Christ’s Resurrection in Pauline Soteriology, 1961, but I haven’t read it yet. I’m sure there’s got to be something more recent. Anybody else got good biblical or sytematic theology books that develop these connections?

We officially made it to England 1 year ago on 1 August. We flew into Dublin, connected to Edinburgh, and then drove down to Durham. A long and tiring trip, but it could have been much more difficult. We beat the liquid bomb plot by a week or so, so we didn’t have to deal with all that stuff.

We love it here. I would say that we’ve all settled in very well. The people in Durham are very nice and as welcoming as the people in the South ever are. We love our house and we’ve got plenty of neighborhood kids for the boys. The boys love school and the fact that it’s never too hot to be outside. We needed a break from big city life, and Durham is a great place to find it. We drove through Newcastle (~1 mil pop), and were reminded of how nice it is to be in a smaller town. My studies are going well, and it feels like I’m making slow but sure progress–just got to finish this BNTS paper… I’ve got some good study mates–Kristian and Nijay, and I’m looking forward to the new people coming in the autumn. Church is different but the people are friendly.

I’d say that very few things are negatives here. The difference of expectation in customer service type stuff takes an adjustment. The ever decreasing value of the dollar requires a little more financial juggling. Being away from family for so long does take some work. But, none of those things are deal breakers.

In the end we’re all happy and healthy. We thank God for a very enjoyable adventure in the UK.

I just saw that Sky will give £30 gift cards to new subscribers and referers. If you are moving to the UK and are interested in Sky, give me a shout and I’ll refer you. (fyi, there is no cable here in Durham like in other parts of the UK, so Sky is pretty much the only way to go, at least as far as I know.)

Also, I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me talk about Vonage, but we both get discounts (currently 2 months free each) through them if I refer you as well.

With both, I just need an email address.

DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary), my alma mater, has developed a Seminary Comparison website. It includes comparisons of up to 26 schools by 1) living factors (city info and living costs), 2) school data, and 3) degree costs (by masters and doctorate levels).

Their description:

The following information provides a synthesis of various factors through recognized, public organizations. Cost of living and city analysis is provided through and is updated annually. Educational costs are provided through each institution’s public site. School data is provided by the Association of Theological School’s public site and reflects the most recent “census” data published by ATS (currently Sept 2006).

It’s a helpful comparison. I’m a little surprised that a school would have it, but since Dallas is in a lower cost of living area vs. the US average, I suppose they come out better than most on costs.

I was a little surprised to see that Wheaton is missing, but I suppose it isn’t technically a seminary. Ross at Triforce notes that you should look closely at enrollment numbers because it groups part-time and full-time students, but if you click on ‘source’ you get a breakout of details.

HT: Triforce of Wisdom

Here’s a verse I inadvertantly left out of my Resurrection and Justification post:

8.10 ‘If Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.’

Here is part 1 of my post.

School Timing
At St. Hild’s the daily schedule is 9:00pm-3:20pm for a full-day. Nursery times run from 9:00am-12:00pm or 12:15pm-3:15pm.
The term time generally runs from the first week in September until mid-July, so that means they get about six weeks for summer holidays. There are three main terms–Autumn, Spring, and Summer–with a two week break between each, except for the Christmas break, which was about 3 weeks. Also, there is also half-term break of a week in each term. We like the regular breaks and the short summer–the kids don’t seem to get as stir crazy.

Administration of Schools
As in the States there are public and private schools; however, the terms are different: ‘state’ (= ‘public’ in US) vs. ‘public’/’private’ (both = ‘private’ in US-speak). You’re not reading it wrong, ‘public’ in the UK means a private, non-state school. For private schools you pay tuition like in the states.

State Schools
States schools are fully funded by the gov’t, but they can be administered by different groups. Beyond the normal non-religious schools, there are mostly Anglican and Catholic state schools, which are termed officially ‘voluntary aided’ schools. Our sons go to a Anglican admistered school, and it feels little like a private Christian school in the states (though we’ve never been a part of one, so not really sure). They have religious education (but then again all schools do–no separation of church and state here); however, they are openly welcoming to students of different faiths. There are several primary schools within a mile of our house–an Anglican, a Catholic, and 2 secular schools. With the number of schools each is smaller (it seems) than typical state schools in the US–there is only one class per ‘year’ in the Anglican and Catholic schools (I’m not sure about the others).

(see the Durham County site about admissions)
Normal Process: When it’s time to start a new school or if you want to change schools, there is an application process with the county council. The deadline for the forms are in the October for the following year beginning in September. You put down your top three choices or so, and they allocate your kid to a school based on each school’s criteria and demand for places. If there is more demand for a school than room, then the selection criteria kick in. While proximity is a primary criteria for the secular schools, being participants in the religion seems to be the primary one for Anglican and Catholic. If I remember St. Hild’s there were about 12 ranked criteria.
Special Process: Obviously, if you move after the October deadline, you have to follow a different process. I’m not sure what people do for immediate entry since we didn’t face that issue, but I’m sure it is still directed by the council. We moved in the summer and were told by the council that it was too late for them to help us, so we needed to contact the school(s) directly that we were interested in. We live right near St. Hild’s, and another Durham student’s kids were already attending there and they liked it, so that was our first choice. The problem was that during August, no one is at schools–no admin staff, teachers, anybody. So we just mailed a letter in hope that someone would come in and reply, instead of us just hearing something just 6 days before school started. We did get a call about 2 weeks before term started and were told that we had a ‘tentative’ spot, but they couldn’t be sure until the week before school started. Later, when the typical in-service days started for the teachers, the head teacher (~principal) called us to come see the school. She showed us around like we had been accepted, and that was that.

There is no school bus system, so generally it is up to you to figure out how to get your kid to school. However, I think I’ve seen one of the public (i.e., private) schools that had their own school bus. If it is not convenient to walk or get dropped off, taxis are used quite frequently. In fact, it is very difficult to get a taxi around 8:30-9:30am and 3:00-4:00pm. The county does provide some help if there are issues, see here.

Other random information
Just about all schools have a uniform policy, which we like because it makes getting out the door in the morning that much easier. Languages are introduced earlier than the states, but not at a more intensive level until about year 6, but I think it all depends on the school.  St. Hild’s has tons of free afterschool ‘clubs’ that tend to run for a term or half a term, e.g., football (~soccer), dance, lacrosse, etc.

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