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Document Details :
Title: Is Theosis a Gendered Concept?
Subtitle: Theological Pitfalls and Perspectives for an Inclusive Affirmation of Human Dignity
Author(s): ZORGDRAGER, Heleen
Journal: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies
Volume: 71 Issue: 3-4 Date: 2019
This article analyzes the adoption of the theosis concept through several women theologians of Orthodox and Anglican origin (Myrrha Lot-Borodine, Mariia Skobtsova, Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, Sarah Coakley). 'Asceticism' and 'kenosis' turn out to be key notions in the adaptations of all of them. What further unites the theologians is their shifting of emphasis from exclusively human-divine relations, that can be regarded as characteristic for larger parts of the spiritual tradition of the desert fathers, towards the dimension of inter-human relations, up to the level of visions of social life that would follow from their understanding of theosis. This understanding, divergent as it might be in details, lays the ground for a notion of 'human dignity' that can be derived from a person’s existential directedness towards participation in God. With this, the female theologians share basic views with contemporary concepts of their male fellows; at the same time, their approaches question traditional notions of hierarchy, with gender hierarchy most prominent among them, as derived from – in their eyes – misguided concepts of Trinity. This results in more egalitarian visions, also beyond the gender level, about human dignity and perspectives for deification.