Anthropological and Ecclesiological Perspectives on Imago Dei in the Writings of the Apostolic Fathers

Khomych, Taras (2021) Anthropological and Ecclesiological Perspectives on Imago Dei in the Writings of the Apostolic Fathers. In: Imago Dei. Forscher aus dem Osten und Westen Europas an den Quellen des gemeinsamen Glaubens. Wiener Patristische Tagungen, 43 (9). Tyrolia, Innsbruck - Wien, pp. 29-43.

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Abstract

The aim of this article is to shed light on the concept of imago Dei in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, which have received only cursory scholarly attention in recent research on the image of God. Although these writings lack an elaborate systematic teaching on this subject matter, they testify to the origins of Christian reflection on this issue, embracing views relating to God, to humanity and to the Church. It is possible to distinguish between two different but not mutually exclusive perspectives on imago Dei: an anthropological, found in 1 Clement, Barnabas and Diognetus, and an ecclesiological one, reflected in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch. The former writings use the notion of Divine image and likeness with reference to the creation narrative from the book of Genesis, bringing both humanity and God into an intimate relationship. From this perspective imago Dei is often related to ethics. Ignatius of Antioch, on the other hand, offers mainly a Christological and ecclesiological understanding of the image of God. The difference of perspectives, found in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, does not imply any contradiction in this respect but rather testifies to the breadth and scope of early Christian thought, which is relevant also today. It is hard to overestimate the importance of the anthropological view of the image of God at any period of human history, including our own troubled times. Simultaneously, the eschatological and ecclesiological views of Ignatius, which have received only sporadic attention thus far, may offer fascinating and useful avenues for a renewed understanding of this crucial topic.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Imago Dei, Apostolic Fathers, Anthropology, Ecclesiology
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Theology, Philosophy and Religion
Depositing User: Taras Khomych
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2021 12:29
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2021 12:29
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/3379

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