Full Text



Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631198963.2005.x


Incarnation is a central Christian doctrine, according to which the Son or Word of God, the second Person of the divine Trinity, assumed a fleshly human body in Jesus Christ and lived a historical existence on this planet, subject to all the constraints and limitations of such an existence. As will be explained, this is a highly complex belief and its full elaboration is peculiar to Christianity. However, it should be noted that in other religions too there has been belief that divine beings have appeared on Barth as human beings; for instance, in Hinduism Krishna is claimed to have been an avatar or descent of the high god Vishnu. The non-Christian parallels differ in various respects from what Christians understand by incarnation, but there is enough resemblance to make it clear that something like incarnation is a widespread and radical idea in the history of religion. This is not surprising, for if the goal of religion is some form of union between the human and the divine, then incarnation would seem to instantiate such a union in the most intimate way conceivable. Because of the difficulties and complexities of the belief, it took a long time to formulate in a satisfactory manner. It was already taking shape in the New Testament, but it continued to be the subject of controversies and conciliar pronouncements for three or four centuries. The solutions worked out during that ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top