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Title: Homo theurgos : freedom according to John Zizioulas and Nikolai Berdyaev
Author: Knežević, Romilo
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 7807
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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For both John Zizioulas (1931), prominent Greek theologian, and Nikolai Berdyaev (1874-1948), renowned Russian religious philosopher, freedom is the question of ontology, i.e., freedom is about absolute otherness. Since to be is to act, and because to act means to create, we are only as long as we are capable of creating a radically unique reality. Being unique, our creation appears to every other person, including God, as a new reality. However, theistic theology claims that God added nothing to Himself by the creation of the world. Since according to this scenario human person cannot add anything to Being, we cannot speak about her ontological freedom. The doctrine of the divine image seems to be incompatible with the theistic concept of the divine omnipotence. Inquiry into the human freedom is therefore inevitably intertwined with the question of how God is God. Zizioulas's concept of the divine omnipotence does not envisage a space of freedom that God provides for human person from which she could create surplus in being. The French philosopher Etienne Gilson is therefore right when he writes that 'homo faber can never become homo creator because, having only a received being he cannot produce what he himself is not.' Berdyaev on the other hand locates the origin of our being in the Bottomless freedom or the Ungrund. The Bottomless freedom is Godhead from which both freedom of the divine Persons and that of the human person originate. Berdyaev explains that person can never create another person (something that is possible only for God). However, because person in spite of being created is not causally determined by the Creator, she can create her radically unique reality and thus realize her ontological freedom. Clearly, homo faber can never become homo creator (creator of other personalities), but this does not preclude person's power to create surplus in being and to be homo theurgos.
Supervisor: Pattison, George ; Zachhuber, Johannes Sponsor: Balliol College
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Liberty--Religious aspects ; Theological anthropology