The metaphysics of Christian ethics: Radical orthodoxy and theosis

Heythrop Journal 52 (4):659-671 (2011)
Abstract
Western theology struggles with the rise of secularism and postmodernism. The Radical Orthodoxy sensibility asserts that the ancient principles of methexis (participation) and theosis (deification) presents an alternative metaphysical narrative to the narrative of secularism and the onto-theological tradition. This article addresses the problems of the onto-theological metaphysical tradition in Western theology by analyzing Radical Orthodoxy's rediscovery of the philosophical and theological principles of participation and theosis as articulated in the patristic tradition and in the thought of Thomas Aquinas. Using historical and analytical methods, this article will survey the biblical and patristic literature on theosis, as well as John Milbank's understanding of methexis and theosis in Thomas Aquinas. The result of this study will be to offer theosis, rooted in participation in God, as not only a soteriological model to reclaim for the West, but also a core metaphysical principle for Christian ethics that contravenes both onto-theology and the materialistic reduction of ontology in secularism
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