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August 23 , 2008

Jesus Christ, Eternal God: Heavenly Flesh and the Metaphysics of Matter


In this groundbreaking study, Stephen H. Webb offers a new theological understanding of the material and spiritual: that, far from being contradictory, they unite in the very stuff of the eternal Jesus Christ. Accepting matter as a perfection (or predicate) of the divine requires a rethinking of the immateriality of God, the doctrine of creation out of nothing, the Chalcedonian formula of the person of Christ, and the analogical nature of religious language. It also requires a careful reconsideration of Augustines appropriation of the Neo-Platonic understanding of divine incorporeality as well as Origens rejection of anthropomorphism. Webb locates his position in contrast to evolutionary theories of emergent materialism and the popular idea that the world is Gods body. He draws on a little known theological position known as the heavenly flesh Christology, investigates the many misunderstandings of its origins and relation to the Monophysite movement, and supplements it with retrievals of Duns Scotus, Caspar Scwenckfeld and Eastern Orthodox reflections on the transfiguration. Also included in Webbs study are discussions of classical figures like Barth and Aquinas as well as more recent theological proposals from Bruce McCormack, David Hart, and Colin Gunton. Perhaps most provocatively, the book argues that Mormonism provides the most challenging, urgent, and potentially rewarding source for metaphysical renewal today. Webbs concept of Christian materialism challenges traditional Christian common sense, and aims to show the way to a more metaphysically sound orthodoxy.
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