In a sense, the idea of deification, although widespread in ancient Christianity, has for centuries been somewhat of a "lost doctrine" outside of Greek Orthodox circles. In the past few decades, however, there has been resurgence of interest in the idea in the broader Christian and scholarly communities. Despite its importance in early Christian thought, two major recent reference works lack major entries on the topic: A. di Berardino's Encyclopedia of the Early Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) and Everett Ferguson's Encyclopedia of Early Christianity (New York: Garland, 1990). The fact that an article called "Divinization" is found in Ferguson's second edition (2 vols. [New York: Garland, 1997], 338–40) is perhaps indicative of the new interest in this idea among scholars.
As Keith Norman's dissertation, "Deification: The Content of Athanasian Soteriology" (Duke University, 1980) demonstrates, this past neglect is an unjustifiable oversight. Norman examines the significance of the idea of deification in early Christianity, focusing on Athanasius's interpretation of that ancient Christian doctrine and the important role it played in the Christological controversies of the early fourth century.
Norman's dissertation has long been available only through University Microfilms International or private photocopies. Believing that it would be of interest not only to the broader Latter-day Saint community, but to non-LDS scholars of early Christianity, FARMS has decided to publish Norman's unrevised 1980 dissertation as the first Occasional Paper. I would like to give special thanks to Sharon Nielsen, the editorial assistant of the Occasional Papers, who has done the lion's share of the work in preparing this manuscript for publication.
Since Norman finished his dissertation in 1980, a number of important works on deification have been published. The following bibliography includes both new studies that have appeared since 1980 and some pre-1980 studies that remain especially important.
Allchin, A. M. Participation in God: A Forgotten Strand in Anglican Tradition (Wilton, Conn.: Morehouse-Barlow, 1988).
Balas, D. L. Metousia Thou: Man's Participation in God's Perfection according to St. Gregory of Nyssa (Rome: Pontificium Institutum S. Anselmi, 1966).
Benz, Ernst W. "Imago Dei: Man in the Image of God," Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, edited by Truman G. Madsen (Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1978), 201–21.
Bonner, G. "Augustine's Conception of Deification." Journal of Theological Studies n.s., 37 (1986): 369–86.
Chrestou, Panagiotes. Partakers of God (Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox, 1984).
Clendenin, Daniel B. Eastern Orthodox Christianity, A Western Perspective (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1994), 117–37.
De Andia, Y. HOMO VIVENS: Incorruptibilité et divinisation de l'homme selon Irénée de Lyon (Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes, 1986).
Des Place, É., I.-H. Dlamais, and G. Bardy."Divinisation." Dictionnaire de spiritualite (1957): 3:1370–98.
Gross, J. La Divinization du chrétien d'après les Pères grecs (Paris: Gabalda, 1938).
Harris, Murray J. Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1992).
Lossky, Vladimir. In the Image and Likeness of God (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Valdimir's Seminary Press, 1974).
Lot-Borodine, M. La Deification de l'homme selon la doctrine des Pères grecs (Paris: Cerf, 1970).
Louth, A. "Manhood into God: The Oxford Movement, the Fathers and the Deification of Man," in Essays Catholic and Radical, edited by K. Leech and R. Williams (London: Bowerdean Press, 1983), 70–80.
Mantzaridis, Georgios I. The Deification of Man: St. Gregory Palamas and the Orthodox Tradition, translated by Liadain Sherrard (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Valdimir's Seminary Press, 1984).
Nellas, Panayiotis. Deification in Christ (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Valdimir's Seminary Press, 1987).
Peterson, Daniel C., and Stephen D. Ricks. Offenders for a Word: How Anti-Mormons Play Word Games to Attack the Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Aspen Books, 1992), 75–92.
Rakestraw, Robert V. "Becoming Like God: An Evangelical Doctrine of Theosis." Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 40/2 (June 1997): 257–69.
Rius-Camps, J. El dinamismo trinitario en la divinización de los seres racionales según Origenes (Rome: Pontificum Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, 1970).
Stavropoulos, Christoforos. Partakers of Divine Nature (Minneapolis: Light and Life, 1976).
Wild, P. T. The Divinization of Man according to St. Hilary of Poitiers (Mundelein: St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, 1950).
Williams, A. N. The Ground of Union: Deification in Aquinas and Palamas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).
Winslow, D. F. The Dynamics of Salvation: A Study in Gregory of Nazianzus (Cambridge: Philadelphia Patristic Foundation, 1979).
William J. Hamblin
Editor, Occasional Papers