Drawing on many traditions: an ecumenical kenotic christology

Thomas Senor

in The Metaphysics of the Incarnation

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199583164
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725647 | DOI:
Drawing on many traditions: an ecumenical kenotic christology

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The doctrine of the incarnation is the second most puzzling doctrine in ecumenical traditional Christianity (coming in just behind the doctrine of the Trinity). In order to construct a philosophical account of the incarnation one must be able to explain how one and the same being can count as both divine and human. One general approach to solving the metaphysical problems of the doctrine of the incarnation is kenoticism—the idea that God the Son set aside certain aspects of divinity in order to take on humanity. However, this general model faces some daunting challenges of its own. It must explain how God the Son can divest himself of divine properties during the incarnation while maintaining his divinity. It must allow for an acceptable doctrine of immutability. And it must be combined with a kind of Trinitarian view that leaves someone to mind the store. This chapter sketches an account of the incarnation that is able to satisfy the incarnational desiderata and the requirements of an adequate kenotic view. The price to be paid for this is that the divine kind essence cannot be equated with the exemplification of the standard ‘omni properties’ that are generally thought to compose the divine nature. Along the way the chapter discusses the views of Thomas Morris, Brian Leftow, Eleonore Stump, Stephen Davis, and Ronald Feenstra.

Keywords: kenoticism; compositionalism; Thomas Morris; two-minds; Aquinas; Brian Leftow; natural kinds; Nestorianism; embeddedness

Chapter.  12342 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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