Talk:Theosis (Eastern Orthodox theology)

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Speedy deletion[edit]

The current Theosis article is overly complex due to the effort to include material from multiple religious traditions into a single article. And at least one editor over there has suggested that the Eastern Orthodox concept of theosis is so unique to Eastern Orthodoxy, and so different from anything taught or practised in other religious traditions, that the EO concept needs to be in an article by itself. Richardshusr will presumably have more to say on this, but I want to make sure he gets a chance to make his case before someone follows through on the speedy-delete request. Richwales (talk · contribs) 08:37, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Thank you, Richwales. That is, in fact, why I created this article as a first step to moving Theosis to Deification (Christianity). I think I just got tired last night and stopped halfway through the process. These moves have been discussed without any major objection at Talk:Theosis --Richard S (talk) 16:16, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
Well I second the creation of this article and post I support its creation and notability. LoveMonkey (talk) 02:50, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Multiple articles covering Palamism[edit]

NB: I am NOT, at this time, proposing a merger of any articles. However, I do think we should look at the inadequacy of coverage of Palamism in multiple articles.

Palamism used to redirect to Tabor Light (which was, in my opinion, the wrong place for it to redirect)

In addition to the article on Gregory Palamas, we also have articles on Theosis (Eastern Orthodox theology), Hesychasm,Essence-Energies distinction and Tabor Light.

It seems to me that all of these articles (except for the biographical one on Palamas himself) are just parts of the overall doctrine known as Palamism. We could either merge all of these articles into one big one titled Palamism or we could at least construct an article titled Palamism that introduces each of the subtopics in summary style and then links to the main article on each subtopic.

I think that having so many articles gives the reader a fragmented view of Palamism and requires him to find and read several articles in order to construct an integrated and complete picture. It is much like the four blind men describing different parts of the elephant.

To address this problem, I've created an article titled Palamism. At the moment, it is not much more than a collection of lead sections plus the section titled "Development of the Doctrine" that I originally assembled for this article from Hesychasm and Gregory Palamas. I hope this new article can serve as an "umbrella" summary article for all these detailed articles that describe different parts of the elephant.

--Richard S (talk) 21:49, 27 December 2010 (UTC)


Hello, I'm afraid you are lacking the background to understand the crucial issues involved here, so please stop misleading people.. Your mistake in capitalizing the word 'god' shows that you neither read Greek nor have a suitable background in the theology involved. This has made you responsible for a glaring and very damaging mistake on the Wikipedia page on theosis here :

The Eastern Orthodox tradition scrupulously stipulates that the word God - reflecting not only the original Greek (Αὐτὸς γὰρ ἐνηνθρώπησεν, ἵνα ἡμεῖς θεοποιηθῶμεν·) but the very crucial theological meaning involved - is always spelled with a lower case "g". This custom is uncontested. "God" is never, ever spelled with a capital "G" in this quotation. "θεοποιηθῶμεν" is written in the original text with a small θ.

Your mistake is a gross disservice to anyone who will believe the implied catastrophic mistake about the doctrines of Orthodox theology. Further down the article itself contradicts the implication of the capital letter "God". The ultimate responsibility unfortunately will be yours..

In another mistake I left uncorrected, someone has written the word 'trinity' with a small t, which in this case should have been capitalized. (I did not correct it as the statement itself is not appropriately phrased, not wishing to lend credence to a statement written by someone clearly not in command of the expressive tradition of Eastern Orthodox theology.) Since you are presuming to teach Orthodox theology, you should delete this entire statement. Orthodox theologians do not speak this way.

I am a Greek Orthodox nun. I read patristic Greek fluently, and have studied the issues involved for many years. Please ask someone you trust who is equipped to answer you on this issue before changing this section again..

Many thanks. sr Joanna — Preceding unsigned comment added by Srjoanna (talkcontribs) 18:39, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Αιδεσιμότατη Sister Joanna, it isn't I who am capitalizing the word. Wikipedia requires being faithful to the sources cited. And the source given for the English translation of that passage does use a capital. It is too late in the day now for me to search for a source that uses a lower-case g but, if you live west of Greece, perhaps you can. I will try tomorrow and may even be successful. But until someone does find such a source, we must, in Wikipedia, keep to what the cited source says. I notice that in your version you cite no source. That is not allowed on Wikipedia. See WP:OR. Your statement about what "the Eastern Orthodox tradition scrupulously stipulates" requires to be supported by a reliable source if it is to be accepted in Wikipedia. I am not questioning it. I am only pointing out what has to be done if you want to edit Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a forum for posting unsourced views, no matter how correct they are. I'm sorry I don't have time now to develop these ideas further tonight, but I am posting some guidance on your talk page. Esoglou (talk) 20:06, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
Esoglou has described an important policy for Wikipedia: The importance of basing what we write on reliable sources. Sister Joanna, would you be able to provide a source for the use of lower case spelling of god? I did a search, but haven't yet turned up a source for the usage. Sunray (talk) 07:20, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
For the time being (while we are waiting for a citation to a reliable source), I have placed sr Joanna's comments about god in the article into a note, which appears in a "Notes" section at the bottom of the article.Sunray (talk) 07:38, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
Since Sunray has searched in vain, I hope I may be excused for postponing any searching by me. It will also give Sister Joanna time to study WP:OR and the other indications of how to edit Wikipedia, so that we can all then benefit by edits she will make in accordance with Wikipedia rules. Unfortunately, those made until now cannot stay. Esoglou (talk) 07:46, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
I've added a "commented out" note to explain the temporary nature of the situation. Sunray (talk) 08:27, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

Hello Esoglou and Sunray, Please forgive me for presuming that correct translations were easily found. By the way, I am no expert. The fact that I even noticed this mistake simply shows how elemental it is, that even someone who has nothing but practical knowledge of Orthodox spirituality and practice could notice it. Subsequently, I was shocked to see how prevalent the erroneous English translations are. I had no idea inaccurate translation was the rule, although should not be surprised as am presently working on a book which deals quite a bit with the innumerable mistakenly translated texts into English of the New Testament itself. The authoritative source you requested was provided us by Priestmonk Justin who is the (American) librarian in charge of the second largest manuscript collection in the world at St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mt. Sinai, a respected scholar who regularly presents papers in academic conferences. This is a newly published translation of "On the Incarnation" by the noted patristic scholar Fr John Behr who is the dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, perhaps the foremost Eastern Orthodox seminary in the U.S. This book is found on Google Books and Amazon, but not searchable. Fr. Behr does use the small ‘g’. His translation:

“For he was incarnate that we might be made god; and he manifested himself through a body that we might receive an idea of the invisible Father; and he endured the insults of human beings, that we might inherit incorruptibility.” Saint Athanasius, On the Incarnation, translated by Father John Behr. Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Yonkers, New York, 2011, page 167.

I e mailed Sunray a scan of the title page of this book as well as the pages with the original quote in greek lower case - which does matter by the way - and the english translation on the facing page.

Further confirmation that this is the accepted Orthodox stance is provided by retired Oxford professor Metr. Kallistos Ware (who is possibly the pre-eminent Orthodox theologian in the world today) in "The Orthodox Church" who repeatedly uses the lower case 'g' in this instance:

 on page 21:

"If humans are to share in God's glory, they argued, if they are to be ‘perfectly one’ with God, this means in effect that humans must be ‘deified’: they are called to become by grace what God is by nature. Accordingly St Athanasius summed up the purpose of the Incarnation by saying, ‘God became human that we might be made god.’ "

 and again on page 231: 

"Basil described the human person as a creature who has received the order to become a god; and Athanasius, as we know, said that God became human that we humans might become god. ‘In My kingdom, said Christ, I shall be God with you as gods.’ 2 Such, according to the teaching of the Orthodox Church, is the final goal at which every Christian must aim: to become god …” (Footnote 2 is from one of the Orthodox service books).

Lastly, from Fr Justin's reply to a question I had asked him on the original manuscript practice, if it helps clarify matters:

"In English, we capitalize words to give them a special significance. When we say, “our church,” we mean the local church building, community, etc. When we say “our Church,” we mean our identification in the universal Church, transcending local boundaries, etc. It’s treacherous to project that onto other languages. German solves the problem of what to capitalize by capitalizing all nouns. Thee Apples and two Oranges. So you’re right, that before the tenth century, Greek was written in all capital letters. But you can’t draw implications from that as you could in English usage. This question eventually goes back to John 10:34, "Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" Which in turn is a quotation of Psalm 82:6, "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” both verses and translations in the King James Version. Notice the lower case in both instances. It’s also a way of keeping the distinction that we become by grace what God is by nature. We are not incorporated into God in a pantheist sense."

Thank you for your work in trying to bring this situation to the correct resolution. To conclude, I raised this issue moved by conscience to point out something that was not only a poor representation of the facts on the part of an encyclopedia whose mission is to present correct information, but damaging to readers who would be misled as a result to their own detriment. I have provided everything I possibly could to cooperate with the Wikipedia system to correct the mistake. Please know I have no wish to dispute or insist on my correction past this point. I wanted to share what I knew for the good of all, not to project my own opinions or wishes. If I receive any further information you might be interested in I'll try to add it here for your consideration. Thank you for you patience in my lack of expertise in the Wikipedia system of editing. I hope you can use what I provided. If not, I will not try to interfere with your choices. With best wishes, sr Joanna PS Excuse me if I'm not using this Talk page correctly. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Srjoanna (talkcontribs) 11:11, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for this source, Sr Joana. Esoglou, what would you see as the best way to incorporate this into the article? Sunray (talk) 16:48, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
Sr Joana is to be warmly congratulated. She has provided not just one source but several. I have inserted in the article the first of those she listed, perhaps the most authoritative, since it is a translation of the whole treatise and very recent. If she prefers another sourced translation, she is of course free to put that in place of the Behr translation. Renewed congratulations, and I look forward to further valuable contributions. Esoglou (talk) 17:53, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

May thanks, Esoglou for your support and guidance in how to solve this. Best wishes, srJ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:14, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Since you were not logged in when you corrected my omission of the word "be", the Wikipedia "thank" function was not available to me. I am therefore thanking you here for your correction. Esoglou (talk) 06:32, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Very welcome. For some reason I've been unable to log in to Wikipedia, so that's why wasn't logged in. I have to create a new account, or maybe just check the password. Thanks again for all your help, srJ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:02, 8 May 2014 (UTC)