A report on a paper given by Dr. Scott Hafemann (Reader in New Testament, University of St. Andrews) at the New College Biblical Studies Research Seminar, 17 February 2012, University of Edinburgh.
Dr. Hafemann’s paper argued for a new reading of 2 Peter 1:4’s famous ινα δια τουτων γενησθε θειας κοινωνοι φυσεως, which has served as a prooftext for the concept of apotheosis in Christian theology since the time of the Church Fathers. Through a close reading of the text and a study of the classical use of the word φυσις, Hafemann argued against the typical understanding of this phrase as communicating a concept of an altered ontology, though what he wants to replace it with is not entirely clear.
Following the lead of ancient Christian theologians, modern commentators and translations of the New Testament encourage an understanding of φυσις which is essentially synonymous with ουσια, that is, a static non-physical quality or being. Read the rest of this entry »