Chapter

<i>Kenosis</i>: Empty, Emptied

Douglas E. Christie

in The Blue Sapphire of the Mind

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199812325
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979745 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812325.003.0008
Kenosis: Empty, Emptied

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This chapter explores the notion of kenosis or self-emptying. In Christianity, this idea is understood as manifested principally in God's radical gesture of kenosis (the relinquishment of divinity) in becoming human in Christ. But in terms of the questions being raised in this book, this gesture of self-emptying can be seen as having wider meaning, leading to an understanding of what it might mean to become so small, to enter so deeply into the fragile places of existence that the very life of the world seems to have receded beyond the point where we can see or feel or imagine it. Simone Weil names this abyss affliction (malheur) and suggests that we are called not to flee from it but to embrace it and learn to dwell within it. In this way, the affliction of others, and of the world itself becomes our own; we do not observe it from afar, but participate in it. This emptiness, this dark place, this desert—utterly desolate and seemingly bereft of hope—becomes a kind of home, a place in which to dwell and apprehend the mystery of the world.

Keywords: self-emptying; Christianity; divinity; human; Christ; life; affliction

Chapter.  20444 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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