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Title: Perichoresis and participation : union between the persons of God and between God and humanity
Author: Cress, Graydon
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 219X
Awarding Body: University of St Andrews
Current Institution: University of St Andrews
Date of Award: 2019
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There exists a lack of clarity concerning the concept of perichoresis in contemporary theology. Although most theologians hold a similar formal definition of this term which attempts to describe the union of the persons of the Trinity, the variety of ways with which it is being used as a tool renders it potentially unhelpful. The most serious area of theology which is affected by these differences of usage for perichoresis is that of human participation with the divine. In order to seek clarity and logical consistency between these two concepts, this thesis first provides a brief overview of trinitarian theology as it stands today and expresses why these concepts are of importance at this time. Secondly, it explores the origins of perichoresis, categorizes the different ways modern theologians utilize the concept, and provides a definition which may be useful when moving forward. Thirdly, the thesis examines the concept of human participation with God, starting with an overview of the Eastern concept of theosis, followed by a categorization of the different ways the concept of human participation is expressed today, and ending with a brief definition which may be helpful in future conversations about the topic. Finally, the thesis explores the theological movements which are logically allowable when one takes his or her doctrine of perichoresis to bear on the concept of human participation with God. I argue that there are ways of using perichoresis which logically necessitate certain understandings of participation and logically prohibit others. The twofold goals of this thesis are, first, to provide clarity of language when discussing the concept of perichoresis by categorizing the thoughts of theologians into an understandable framework, and second, to encourage scholars to examine carefully the ways in which their understanding of perichoresis affects their understanding of human participation with the divine.
Supervisor: Holmes, Stephen R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Trinity ; Trinitarian ; Perichoresis ; Participation ; Theosis ; Theology ; Systematic theology