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Incarnation (of the Logos)


Subject Religion

Key-Topics doctrine, mysticism, orthodoxy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405185394.2011.x


The term denotes the concept of the eternal Word of God (the divine Logos) “becoming flesh” within history for the salvation of the human race. It derives from the Latin in carne and hence “incarnation,” or enfleshment. In Orthodoxy the preferred term is significantly different, deriving from the Greek of St. Athanasius of Alexandria (as set out in his masterful 4th-century treatise Peri Enanthropeseos tou Theou Logon): the “En-Manment” or “Inhomination” of the Logos ( Enanthropesis ). In Orthodox understanding, incarnation does not simply refer to the act itself (such as the conception of Jesus in the womb of the Virgin, or the event of Christmas); it stands more generically for the whole nexus of events of the life, teachings, sufferings, and glorification of the Lord, considered as the earthly, embodied activity of the Word of God. As such the theological concept of incarnation is a profoundly soteriological term: it always has reference to the dynamic effects of God's involvement in the cosmos. It is also an obviously Christocentric way of approaching the concept of salvation. As was always true in Christian history, when one approaches a theology of salvation through the medium of the incarnation of the Logos, one soon finds the argument turns into the profoundly related areas of the trinitarian doctrine of God and transfigured anthropology. If we strictly applied the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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