In this groundbreaking study of Paul’s soteriology, Michael Gorman builds on his influential Cruciformity: Paul’s Narrative Spirituality of the Cross to argue that cruciformity is, at its heart, theoformity—what the Christian tradition has called theosis or participation in the life of God. This book demonstrates that in God’s self-emptying in Christ, we are raised into his life. Gorman has written an accessible book that serves as a lens through which Paul’s theology can be read and understood, demonstrating that it is through Jesus Christ that we learn what God is really like.
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“[u]ltimately, being united with Christ is salvific because to share his life is to share in the life of God.’9” (Page 4)
“Chapter three argues that for Paul holiness is redefined as participation in and conformity to the cruciform character of the triune God, Father, Son, and Spirit. Holiness is not a supplement to justification but the actualization of justification, and may be more appropriately termed theosis.” (Page 2)
“If that is true, then cruciformity is really theoformity or, as the Christian tradition (especially in the East) has sometimes called it, deification, divinization, or theosis.4 It is conformity to Christ, or holiness, understood as participation in the very life of God—inhabiting the cruciform God. This conclusion is implicit in Cruciformity, but it is not fully developed there.” (Pages 1–2)
“Kenosis, therefore, does not mean Christ’s emptying himself of his divinity (or of anything else), but rather Christ’s exercising his divinity, his equality with God.” (Page 28)
“the cross of Jesus the Messiah stands at the heart of Paul’s vision of the one true God” (Page 1)
Gorman deftly integrates the results of recent debates about Pauline theology into a powerful constructive account that overcomes unfruitful dichotomies and transcends recent controversies between the ‘New Perspective on Paul’ and its traditionalist critics. Gorman’s important book points the way forward for understanding the nonviolent, world-transforming character of Paul’s gospel.
—Richard B. Hays, professor of New Testament, Duke Divinity School
Michael J. Gorman holds the Raymond E. Brown Chair in Biblical Studies and Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary and University, Baltimore, Maryland. A highly regarded New Testament scholar, he has also written Reading Revelation Responsibly: Uncivil Worship and Witness and Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers.
Erich Javier Astudillo Acevedo