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Activity and Participation in Late Antique and Early Christian Thought$
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Torstein Theodor Tollefsen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605965

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605965.001.0001

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The Road to Salvation

The Road to Salvation

(p.159) 6 The Road to Salvation
Activity and Participation in Late Antique and Early Christian Thought

Torstein Theodor Tollefsen

Oxford University Press

The chapter investigates the doctrine of deification in Gregory of Nyssa and Maximus the Confessor. Gregory understands virtue as a mimetic activity. He considers deification as an act of participation in divine activity present within the recipient, not in a created gift of grace. Maximus the Confessor teaches spiritual development in three stages that culminates in deification, of which Maximus has a rather strong or radical view. Participation is distinctly understood as the presence of divine activity in the recipient, in such a way that human activities may be executed in a divine mode. According to Maximus, man transcends the natural limits of his being because of the active presence of God’s transforming grace.

Keywords:   deification, divine activity, divine mode, grace, Gregory of Nyssa, human activity, Maximus the Confessor, mimetic activity, participation, spiritual development, virtue

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