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From imitatio Christi to imago Dei: Divinization and Relationality in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Lenehan, Kevin A. (2018) From imitatio Christi to imago Dei: Divinization and Relationality in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In: Theosis / Deification: Christian Doctrines of Divinization East and West. BIBLIOTHECA EPHEMERIDUM THEOLOGICARUM LOVANIENSIUM(294), eds. Arblaster, John and Faesen, Robert. Peeters, Leuven, pp. 191-214. ISBN ISBN 978-90-429- 3623-2

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Abstract

This paper examines the significance of divinization in the theological anthropology of the twentieth century Lutheran theologian and pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945). Drawing on both patristic and Reformation sources, Bonhoeffer attempts a theological ressourcement regarding the Christian understanding of the human person created and re-created by God in Christ. Bonhoeffer describes Luther’s teaching on the justification of the sinner in terms of the renewal of the imago dei within human persons. Bonhoeffer understands this imago to consist in humans’ capacity for and orientation towards relationship with the other, a relationality which is disordered by sin. The renewal of created relationality takes place in the humanity of Christ, through the incarnation and passion of the Son, and is made available to all persons through ‘participation in the being of Jesus’. The following of Jesus, a discipleship in imitatio Christi, is the necessary condition of this participation in Christ’s own existence, and the means by which persons are conformed to the paschal Gestalt of Christ in the world. Imitatio thus activates a process of inner transformation or sanctification, and the renewal of human relationality in imago dei.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Repository Version: Published Version
Keywords: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, divinization, theological anthropology, grace, Luther
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950406 Religious Traditions (excl. Structures and Rituals)
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950504 Understanding Europe's Past
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: D - Ecumenical Studies
C - Systematic Theology
College/Association with University of Divinity: CTC: Catholic Theological College
Depositing User: Rev Dr Kevin A. Lenehan
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2019 23:18
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2019 23:18
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/3815

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