Visions of God and Ideas on Deification in Patristic Thought  book cover
1st Edition

Visions of God and Ideas on Deification in Patristic Thought

ISBN 9780367884666
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
254 Pages

USD $48.95

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Book Description

This volume illustrates the complexity and variety of early Christian thought on the subject of the image of God as a theological concept, and the difficulties that arise even in the interpretation of particular authors who gave a cardinal place to the image of God in their expositions of Christian doctrine. The first part illustrates both the presence and the absence of the image of God in the earliest Christian literature; the second examines various studies in deification, both implicit and explicit; the third explores the relation between iconography and the theological notion of the image

Table of Contents



Part I. What is the image of God?

1. Martyrdom of Polycarp, Markus Vinzent

2. Growing like God: Some thoughts on Irenaeus of Lyons, Mark Edwards


Part II. Image and Eschatology. Deification

3. ‘Love never fails, not even in death’. Gregory of Nyssa on theôsis, Elena Ene D-Vasilescu

4. Deification in the Alexandrian tradition, Mark Edwards

5. Not so alien and unnatural after all: the role of deification in Augustine’s sermons, Stanley P. Rosenberg

6. Union with and likeness to God: Deification according to Dionysius the Areopagite, Filip Ivanovic

7. Like a glowing sword. St Maximus on deification, Torstein Theodor Tollefsen


Part III. Image of God and Byzantine/Meta-Byzantine Icon

8. Communion with God and theology of the icon: a study of the Christological iconology of St. John of Damascus, Dimitrios Pallis

9. The vision of God and the deification of man: the visual implications of theôsis, Clemena Antonova




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Mark Edwards is Professor of Early Christian Studies at the University of Oxford, UK.

Elena Ene D- Vasilescu is a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, UK and teaches in the fields of Patristics, History of the Church, and Byzantine Church Art.


This is a very important collection of studies, from a first rate assortment of scholars, which will contribute further to the gradually growing recognition that deification is an issue of central importance for understanding not only Eastern Christian thought but the very nature of the Christian theological enterprise itself.

- Dr Rowan Williams, University of Cambridge, UK