Explore ancient and modern manifestations of deification with Becoming Divine: An Introduction to Deification in Western Culture. From the ancient pharaohs to modern transhumanists, people have sought divinity. They include megalomaniacs, mystics, sages, apostles, prophets, magicians, bishops, philosophers, atheists, and monks. Some aim for independent deity, others seek eternal union with God. Some anticipate godhood in heaven, others sought to walk as gods on earth. M. David Litwa identifies and analyzes some common themes in deification philosophies, including immortality, superhuman power, and supernatural knowledge or love, and how they inform how we view deification today.
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
This engaging and informative study explores a neglected but fascinating theme, demonstrating through diverse historical and cultural permutations, from antiquity to the present, a perennial human aspiration not merely to self-transcendence but to divinity itself. There is much here to interest students of antiquity, of Christianity, and of the history of ideas.
—Harry Gamble, professor of religious studies, University of Virginia
The earliest religious texts in the West ascribe to humankind both a prehistory and a destiny among the gods. M. David Litwa presents a striking survey of the varieties the latter of these beliefs has had, both within and outside the Christian tradition. Becoming Divine reconstructs an accessible and fascinating mosaic of this too-long neglected idea, utilizing figures as disparate as Orphic cultists, Augustine, and Nietzsche.
—Terryl L. Givens, professor of literature and religion, University of Richmond
Deification is a fascinating but strangely neglected topic in the history of religions. Bizarre though it might seem at first sight, the idea that human beings can become divine is a recurring one from antiquity to the present, not only in ‘pagan’ Hellenistic contexts but in Christian and Islamic ones as well. M. David Litwa’s very well-researched and eminently readable overview fills an important gap.
—W.J. Hanegraaff, professor of history of hermetic philosophy, University of Amsterdam
M. David Litwa (PhD) is currently an instructor in Greek at the University of Virginia. He is author of We Are Being Transformed: Deification in Paul’s Soteriology and Iesus Deus: The Depiction of Jesus as a Mediterranean God.