Becoming divine : authentic human being
This thesis examines the major thoughts on anthropology and selfhood from Plotinus in the third century and the Cappadocians in the fourth, situating the anthropology of the Cappadocians in the much broader context of their culture and their major works. It argues that: i) The inherent unity of all things, intelligible and material, provides the basis for radically intuitive categories such as synchronity, telepathy, and even love. ii) The ontological essence of expressed particularity in the divine or the human is an ekstatic relationship, i.e., it involves the transcending of the boundaries of self, a self identified as hypostasis or person. iii)Truth consists in apprehending that true being alone possesses existence in its own nature, participated in by all without being lessened and knowable only as and in relationship. Human being is participation in existence by an experience of communion. iv) The most essential activity of historical self is to use one's inherent capacity to form one's own identity in relation to the other -- both external and within -- as incarnational and dialogic beings. The findings of this thesis are that the relational notion of authentic human being grounded in open-ended divinity provides both a useful framework and the distinctive characteristics of human beingness for rethinking what it means to be a human being in the twenty-first century.
selfhood, anthropology, communion, building community, divinization, Cappadocians, Neoplatonic influence on Christianity, Neoplatonic culture, deification, defining personhood
Master of Arts (M.A.)