What does it mean to be a human being made in the image of God? In this book Nonna Verna Harrison, a respected specialist in early Eastern Christianity, offers a fresh approach to theological anthropology by revealing the thought of leading early church theologians concerning what it means to be human.
Throughout the ages Christians have believed that the image of God in which we are created is at the core of who we are as humans. Theologians and spiritual writers have found the divine image in many different aspects of human identity. Drawing on the wisdom of the desert mothers and fathers and the heritage of Eastern Christianity, Harrison makes the case that the divine image can be seen in not just one or two aspects of human identity but in all of them. Each chapter explores a different facet of the divine image and likeness and maps out a path that can lead toward wholeness and holiness. Harrison challenges the popularized negative view of human nature as inherently bad by proposing an alternative grounded in early Greek Christian sources.
God’s Many-Splendored Image brings Greek patristic theology to students in a readable fashion and will work well in theology, patristics, ministry, missions, and anthropology courses.
Essential for students, scholars, pastors, and laypeople, this informative volume brings fresh perspectives on theological matters. With the Logos Bible Software edition, searching by topic or Scripture references will further help your understanding—you’ll compare, for example, the systematic theologies of various scholars or denominations.
A straightforward account of ancient Greek anthropology and spirituality that shows other, non-Augustinian methods for understanding the human condition before God. This side of patristic theological development deserves to be heard.
—D.H. Williams, professor of religion in patristics and historical theology, Baylor University
Clarity, simplicity, beauty, and depth—these are the gifts offered to the reader in this distillation of all that the Christian tradition has signified by claiming that humanity is created in the image of God and may grow into God-likeness. This book is a model of how to appropriate the church fathers for Christians today.
—Frances M. Young, Emeritus Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology, University of Birmingham, England
This book offers a holistic approach to human formation that is lacking in contemporary scholarship.
—Religious Studies Review
Harrison’s book is a joy to read. Her intimate acquaintance with patristic teaching on theological anthropology is evident throughout. This book, as intended, will be a great resource to non-academics who have questions about the uniqueness and purpose of humanity. Moreover, it is hard to imagine that even the most erudite scholar would not discover at least something new (either materially or spiritually) by reading this splendid work.
This book will help us to become more human, for the image of God is to become more and more obvious in our character and relations. Through Christ, we can become all we were meant to be, for in taking human flesh, Jesus became the perfect manifestation of the image of God. Here, then, is a book that can transform how you think about yourself and how you view others.
Nonna Verna Harrison an experienced patristics scholar, is the author of Grace and Human Freedom according to St. Gregory of Nyssa and numerous articles and translations.