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Summary Christianity claims that God, or more precisely the second of the three persons that constitute God, made himself to be a man for a few years and that Jesus Christ was this man. The texts in this category discuss whether and how this is possible.
Key works Davis 1992 is a collection of recent investigations of the incarnation. Swinburne 1994 contains an account of the incarnation.
Introductions Davis et al 2002
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Siblings:See also:History/traditions: Incarnation
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  1. Marilyn McCord Adams (2004). Cur Deus Homo?: Priorities Among the Reasons? Faith and Philosophy 21 (2):141-158.
    From some philosophical points of view, the Incarnation is difficult to motivate. From others, a host of reasons appear, raising the problem of how to choose among and/or prioritize them. In this paper I examine how different substantive commitments and starting points combine with contrasting understandings of method in philosophical theology, to generate different analyses and answers to Christianity’s crucial question: cur Deus homo?
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  2. Marilyn McCord Adams (1985). The Metaphysics of the Incarnation in Some Fourteenth-Century Franciscans. In Allan Bernard Wolter, William A. Frank & Girard J. Etzkorn (eds.), Essays Honoring Allan B. Wolter. Franciscan Institute.
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  3. Marilyn McCord Adams (1982). Relations, Inherence and Subsistence: Or, Was Ockham a Nestorian in Christology? Noûs 16 (1):62-75.
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  4. Diogenes Allen (1989). Incarnation In the Gospels and the Bhagavad Gita. Faith and Philosophy 6 (3):241-259.
    This article is a venture into a Christian Theology of Other Faiths. In contrast to History of Religions, which seeks to understand a religion from its own point of view, a Christian Theology of Other Faiths seeks to understand another religion from the perspective of the Christian revelation.Here I present Simone Weil’s claim that the Word of God is manifest in human form in other faiths, and that the Gospels are written from the point of view of a victim, and (...)
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  5. Pamela Sue Anderson (2006). Divinity, Incarnation and Intersubjectivity: On Ethical Formation and Spiritual Practice. Philosophy Compass 1 (3):335-356.
    In what sense, if any, does the dominant conception of the traditional theistic God as disembodied inform our embodied experiences? Feminist philosophers of religion have been either explicitly or implicitly preoccupied by a philosophical failure to address such questions concerning embodiment and its relationship to the divine. To redress this failure, certain feminist philosophers have sought to appropriate Luce Irigaray’s argument that embodied divinity depends upon women themselves becoming divine. This article assesses weaknesses in the Irigarayan position, notably the problematic (...)
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  6. Maria Rosa Antognazza (2001). The Defence of the Mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation: An Example of Leibniz's 'Other' Reason. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 9 (2):283 – 309.
    In this paper I will discuss certain aspects of Leibniz's theory and practice of 'soft reasoning' as exemplified by his defence of two central mysteries of the Christian revelation: the Trinity and the Incarnation. By theory and practice of 'soft' or 'broad' reasoning, I mean the development of rational strategies which can successefully be applied to the many areas of human understanding which escape strict demonstration, that is, the 'hard' or 'narrow' reasoning typical of mathematical argumentation. These strategies disclose an (...)
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  7. Ma Christina Astorga (2004). Constructive Christology in Roger Haight's Jesus, Symbol of God: A Continuing Critical Christological Discourse. Budhi: A Journal of Ideas and Culture 4 (2 & 3):187-219.
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  8. Allan Bäck (1998). Scotus on the Consistency of the Incarnation and the Trinity. Vivarium 36 (1):83-107.
    Medieval theologians discussed the logical structure of reduplicative propositions in the midst of their discussions of the Incarnation and the Trinity. Aquinas has the usual medieval analyzes of reduplicative propositions: the specificative and the strictly reduplicative. But neither analysis resolves successfully the problems of the consistency of the statements about God while avoiding making the Trinity or the Incarnation a merely accidental feature of Him. However, Scotus introduces another analysis: abstractive. I shall conclude that Scotus’s view of reduplication, one, if (...)
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  9. Allan Bäck (1982). Aquinas on the Incarnation. New Scholasticism 56 (2):127-145.
    IN THIS PAPER THE AUTHOR DEALS WITH AQUINAS’ SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM, WHETHER THE DOCTRINE OF THE INCARNATION IS CONSISTENT. HE FIRST SHOWS WHY THERE IS A PROBLEM OF CONSISTENCY WITH THIS DOCTRINE, GIVEN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN BELIEFS. HE THEN CLAIMS THAT AQUINAS HAS TWO SOLUTIONS, AND THAT BOTH FAIL: THE FIRST SOLUTION, AS SCOTUS ALSO OBSERVES, DOES NOT RESOLVE THE APPARENT INCONSISTENCY, AND THE OTHER DEPENDS ON MAKING HUMANITY ACCIDENTAL TO CHRIST, AND HENCE ON ABANDONING THE ORTHODOX POSITION.
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  10. Tim Bayne (2003). Inclusion and Incarnation: A Reply to Sturch. Religious Studies 39 (1):107-109.
    I make three points in response to Richard Sturch's comments on my paper: I defend my interpretation of the Morris–Swinburne (M–S) account of the Incarnation; I argue that the M–S model appears to undercut the view that the unity of consciousness can be explained in terms of the self; and third, I argue that M–S model seems to entail that God has false beliefs.
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  11. Timothy J. Bayne (2001). The Inclusion Model of the Incarnation: Problems and Prospects. Religious Studies 37 (2):125-141.
    Thomas Morris and Richard Swinburne have recently defended what they call the ‘two-minds’ model of the Incarnation. This model, which I refer to as the ‘inclusion model’ or ‘inclusionism’, claims that Christ had two consciousnesses, a human and a divine consciousness, with the former consciousness contained within the latter one. I begin by exploring the motivation for, and structure of, inclusionism. I then develop a variety of objections to it: some philosophical, others theological in nature. Finally, I sketch a variant (...)
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  12. Renato Nunes Bittencourt (2011). Nietzsche and the Divine Idiocy of Jesus. Kriterion 52 (123):105-119.
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  13. C. Clifton Black (forthcoming). Book Review: God's Final Envoy: Early Christology and Jesus' Own View of His Mission. [REVIEW] Interpretation 54 (1):88-90.
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  14. Hendrikus Boers (1972). Where Christology Is Real A Survey of Recent Research on New Testament Christology. Interpretation 26 (3):300-327.
    The one way to overcome the dilemma confronting New Testament Christology is to understand the christological titles as ways in which primitive Christianity tried to express who Jesus was as a response to the claim which was already implicit in his message and activity.
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  15. Graham Brown (1981). Identity Statements and the Incarnation. Heythrop Journal 22 (3):261–277.
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  16. Ronald P. Byars (forthcoming). Book Review: Christmas: Festival of Incarnation. [REVIEW] Interpretation 65 (4):433-433.
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  17. John D. Caputo (1991). Incarnation and Essentialization. Philosophy Today 35 (1):32-42.
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  18. Thomas Cattoi (2008). What Has Chalcedon to Do with Lhasa?: John Keenan's and Lai Pai-Chiu's Reflections on Classical Christology and the Possible Shape of a Tibetan Theology of Incarnation. Buddhist-Christian Studies 28 (1):13-25.
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  19. Gary Chartier (2008). The Incarnation and the Problem of Evil. Heythrop Journal 49 (1):110–127.
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  20. Marcia L. Colish (1996). Christological Nihilianism in the Second Half of the Twelfth Century. Recherches de Theologie Et Philosophie Medievales 63:146-155.
    In the 1170s, John of Cornwall and Walter of St. Victor both attacked Peter Lombard's Christology, charging that he taught that Christ, insofar as He was a man, was nothing, or Christological nihilianism. At the time, this position had two corrolaries: the view that if the incarnate Christ lacked a human person His humanity was not an aliquid, and the view that His humanity once assumed was accidental and partible from His divinity, like a garment or habitus that could be (...)
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  21. Oliver D. Crisp (2008). On the 'Fittingness' of the Virgin Birth. Heythrop Journal 49 (2):197–221.
    In modern theology the doctrine of the Virgin Birth of Christ, including the doctrine of his Virginal Conception, has been the subject of considerable scepticism. One line of criticism has been that the traditional doctrine of the Virgin Birth seems unnecessary to the Incarnation. In this essay I lay out one construal of the traditional argument for the doctrine and show that, although one can offer an account of the Incarnation without the Virgin Birth which, in other respects, is perfectly (...)
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  22. Richard Cross (2011). Vehicle Externalism and the Metaphysics of the Incarnation: A Medieval Contribution. In Anna Marmodoro & Jonathan Hill (eds.), The Metaphysics of the Incarnation. Oup Oxford.
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  23. Richard Cross (2011). Disability, Impairment, and Some Medieval Accounts of the Incarnation: Suggestions for a Theology of Personhood. Modern Theology 27 (4):639 - 658.
    Drawing on insights from the medieval theologians Duns Scotus and Hervaeus Natalis, I argue that medieval views of the Incarnation require that there is a sense in which the divine person depends on his human nature for his human personhood, and thus that the paradigmatic pattern of human personhood is in some way dependent existence. I relate this to a modern distinction between impairment and disability to show that impairment -- understood as dependence -- is normative for human personhood. I (...)
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  24. Richard Cross (2008). The Incarnation. In Thomas P. Flint & Michael C. Rea (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology. Oxford University Press.
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  25. Richard Cross (2003). Incarnation, Omnipresence, and Action at a Distance. Neue Zeitschrift Für Systematische Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 45 (3):293-312.
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  26. Richard Cross (1999). Incarnation, Indwelling, and the Vision of God: Henry of Ghent and Some Franciscans. Franciscan Studies 57 (1):79 - 130.
    According to Henry of Ghent (d. 1293), it is impossible for the second person of the Trinity to assume into unity of person an irrational nature (e.g., a stone nature), or to assume a rational nature that does not enjoy the beatific vision. He argues that the assumption of a nature to a divine person entails both that the nature has the sort of powers that could exercise supernatural activities and that these powers are exercised. Henry’s Franciscan opponents argue against (...)
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  27. Richard Cross (1996). Aquinas on Nature, Hypostasis, and the Metaphysics of the Incarnation. The Thomist 60 (2):171 - 202.
    Aquinas distinguishes four types of part included in a hypostasis (’suppositum’): (1) kind-nature; (2) individuating feature(s); (3) accidents; (4) concrete parts. (1) - (3) in some sense contribute ’esse’ to the ’suppositum’. Usually Aquinas holds that Christ’s human nature does not contribute ’esse’ to its divine ’suppositum’, since it is analogous to a concrete part of its ’suppositum’. This effectively commits Aquinas to the Monophysite heresy. In ’De Unione’ Aquinas argues instead that Christ’s human nature contributes ’secondary ’esse‘ to its (...)
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  28. Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall & Gerald O'Collins (eds.) (2002). The Incarnation. Oxford Up.
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  29. Donald G. Dawe (1972). Christology in Contemporary Systematic Theology. Interpretation 26 (3):259-277.
    The indigenization of Christ to non-Western cultures is becoming a fact that may reshape Christology far more radically than any alternative now at work in academic circles.
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  30. Nicolas De Warren (2009). Imagination Et Incarnation. Methodos 9:1-16.
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  31. J. Andrew Dearman (2002). Theophany, Anthropomorphism, and the Imago Dei: Some Observations About the Incarnation in the Light of the Old Testament. In Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall & Gerald O'Collins (eds.), The Incarnation. Oxford Up. 31--46.
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  32. Paul Dehart (forthcoming). Book Review: Who Is Jesus Christ for Us Today? Pathways to Contemporary Christology. [REVIEW] Interpretation 64 (3):320-321.
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  33. Peter S. Dillard (2013). The Logic of Incarnation: James K. A. Smith's Critique of Postmodern Religion. Edited by Neal DeRoo and Brian Lightbody . Pp. Xxvii, 223. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publishers, 2009, $28.00. [REVIEW] Heythrop Journal 54 (2):334-335.
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  34. Iv-Fille du Père (1989). La Mystique Trinitaire de Marie de l'Incarnation. Nouvelle Revue Théologique 111:728.
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  35. Howard M. Ducharme (1991). The Vatican's Dilemma: On the Morality of Ivf and the Incarnation. Bioethics 5 (1):57–66.
    The Vatican’s position on in vitro fertilization (IVG), found in the ’Instruction on Bioethics’ (1987), is that all IVF is immoral, for it violates the normative procreative act of married spouses. The dilemma created is, if all instances of IVF are immoral, then God’s act in the Incarnation (granting the traditional doctrine) must also have been immoral. Conversely, if God’s act in the Incarnation was not immoral, then at least some cases of human IVF are not immoral either. A resolution (...)
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  36. James D. G. Dunn (1997). He Will Come Again. Interpretation 51 (1):42-56.
    Biblical descriptions of Christ's second coming are diverse and metaphorical. To read them literally is to diminish the resilient power of Christian hope, which is centered in the revelation of Christ already given.
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  37. Michael Durrant (1993). Transcendence, Instantiation and Incarnation: An Exploration. Religious Studies 29 (3):337 - 352.
    This paper is exploratory. It raises the questions: 1) How is it possible that that which is of its "nature" transcendent should become immanent or incarnate?; 2) How is it possible for one and the same individual to be both "fully" God and "fully" man? As concerns 1) an answer is offered by appeal to Geach’s account of Aquinas’s doctrine of "Form"; as concerns 2) a sketch answer is supplied on the basis of 1) It is held that a paradox (...)
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  38. Michael Durrant (1988). The Logic of God Incarnate: Two Recent Metaphysical Principles Examined. Religious Studies 24 (2):121 - 127.
    THE PURPOSE OF THE PAPER IS TO CRITICALLY EXAMINE TWO METAPHYSICAL PRINCIPLES ADVOCATED BY PROFESSOR MORRIS IN HIS BOOK "THE LOGIC OF GOD INCARNATE", NAMELY (I) THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN "COMMON" HUMAN PROPERTIES AND "ESSENTIAL" HUMAN PROPERTIES; (II) THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN BEING "MERELY" X AND "FULLY" X. THE FIRST DISTINCTION IS BOTH DEFENDED AND EXPANDED ON; THE SECOND IS REJECTED ON THE GROUNDS THAT IT INVOKES AN IMPOSSIBLE COMPARISON; A COMPARISON BETWEEN A QUANTITATIVE ASSESSMENT ON THE ONE HAND AND THE QUALITATIVE (...)
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  39. Peter Eglin (2012). Intellectual Citizenship and the Problem of Incarnation. University Press of America.
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  40. Marie T. Farrell (1999). Ancient Marian Piety: Testimony to the Doctrine of the Incarnation. Australasian Catholic Record 76 (4):449.
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  41. Rl Fastiggi (1993). The Incarnation: Muslim Objections and the Christian Response. The Thomist 57 (3):457-493.
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  42. T. Fitzgerald (1991). Krishnamurti and the Myth of God Incarnate. Asian Philosophy 1 (2):109 – 126.
    The argument is offered as a challenge to ecumenical theologians such as John Hick. A consideration of the life and teaching of Krishnamurti gives rise to the following argument: (1) that the statement "K spoke from Unconditioned Insight" is a reasonable formulaic expression of K’s authority in soteriological matters; (2) that the statement is as intelligible as comparable statements about Jesus or Buddha; (3) that it is more reasonable to believe the statement about K; (4) that believing the truth of (...)
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  43. Thomas Flint (2011). Should Concretists Part with Mereological Models of the Incarnation? In Anna Marmodoro & Jonathan Hill (eds.), The Metaphysics of the Incarnation. Oup Oxford.
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  44. Thomas P. Flint (2004). Risky Business: Open Theism and the Incarnation. Philosophia Christi 6 (2):213 - 233.
    The debate within the Christian academic community over open theism, or "openism", has been quite intense of late. Progress in this debate depends upon our examining how openism and its rivals fare when applied to particular Christian doctrines, beliefs, and practices. I hope to further the debate by raising a question regarding the Incarnation: ’Was Jesus Christ free in a morally significant way?’ After arguing that the two principal alternatives to openism (Thomism and Molinism) can offer internally plausible answers to (...)
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  45. Thomas P. Flint (2001). 'A Death He Freely Accepted': Molinist Reflections on the Incarnation. Faith and Philosophy 18 (1):3-20.
    Traditional Christians face a puzzle concerning the freedom and perfection of Christ. Jesus the man, it seems, must have possessed significant freedom forhim to serve as a moral example for us and for his death to have been truly meritorious. Yet Jesus the Son of God must be incapable of sinning if he is trulydivine. So if Jesus is both human and divine, one of these two attributes - significant freedom or moral perfection - apparently needs to be surrendered. In (...)
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  46. Thomas P. Flint (2001). The Possibilities of Incarnation: Some Radical Molinist Suggestions. Religious Studies 37 (3):307-320.
    The traditional doctrine of the Incarnation maintains that God became man. But was it necessary that God become the particular man He in fact became? Could some man or woman other than the man born in Bethlehem roughly two thousand years ago have been assumed by the Son to effect our salvation? This essay addresses such questions from the perspective of one embracing Molina's picture of divine providence. After showing how Molina thought his theory of middle knowledge helps alleviate a (...)
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  47. Lewis S. Ford (1972). The Incarnation as a Contingent Reality: A Reply to Dr. Pailin. Religious Studies 8 (2):169 - 173.
    IN "THE INCARNATION AS A CONTINUING REALITY," RELIGIOUS STUDIES 6,303-27 (DECEMBER 1970), DAVID PAILIN CLAIMS THAT THE INCARNATION REVEALS THE NECESSARY, EMPIRICALLY NON-FALSIFIABLE CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD’S "ACTIVE ACTUALITY". GOD’S "PASSIVE ACTUALITY," THE WAY HE EXPERIENCES THE WORLD, IS METAPHYSICALLY KNOWN, BUT NOT HIS "ACTIVE ACTUALITY," THE WAY IN WHICH HE RESPONDS TO THE WORLD, FOR HE COULD HAVE RESPONDED OTHERWISE. NEVERTHELESS GOD’S CONCRETE RESPONSE IS EMPIRICALLY NON-FALSIFIABLE, FOR EVERYTHING THAT CAN POSSIBLY HAPPEN IN THE ACTUAL WORLD WILL REFLECT THAT RESPONSE. (...)
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  48. Peter Forrest (2000). The Incarnation: A Philosophical Case for Kenosis. Religious Studies 36 (2):127-140.
    As a preliminary, I shall clarify the kenotic position by arguing that a position which is often called kenotic is actually a quasi-kenotic version of the classical account, according to which Jesus had normal divine powers but chose not to exercise them. After this preliminary, I discuss three problems with the strict kenotic account. The first is that kenosis conflicts with the standard list of attributes considered essential to God. The second problem is posed by the Exaltation, namely the resumption (...)
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  49. Robert Tomson Fortna (1973). From Christology to Soteriology From Christology to Soteriology. Interpretation 27 (1):31-47.
    John's most characteristic word for salvation, then, is life, and ultimately it is not a quality, a state, to which Jesus brings men, but Jesus himself.
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  50. Alfred Freddoso (1986). Human Nature, Potency and the Incarnation. Faith and Philosophy 3 (1):27-53.
    According to the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation, the Son of God is truly but only contingently a human being. But is it also the case that Christ’s individual human nature is only contingently united to a divine person? The affirmative answer to this question, explicitly espoused by Duns Scotus and William of Ockham, turns out to be philosophically untenable, while the negative answer, which is arguably implicit in St. Thomas Aquinas, explication of the Incarnation, has some surprising and significant (...)
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