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Author(s): Ian A. McFarland
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Most theologians believe that in the human life of Jesus of Nazareth, we encounter God. Yet how the divine and human come together in the life of Jesus still remains a question needing exploring.
The Council of Chalcedon sought to answer the question by speaking of one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in divinity and also perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly a human being. But ever since Chalcedon, the theological conversation on Christology has implicitly put Christs divinity and humanity in competition.
While ancient (and not-so-ancient) Christologies from above focus on Christs divinity at the expense of his humanity, modern Christologies from below subsume his divinity into his humanity. What is needed, says Ian A. McFarland, is a Chalcedonianism without reserve, which not only affirms the humanity and divinity of Christ but also treats them as equal in theological significance. To do so, he draws on the ancient christological language that points to Christs nature, on the one hand, and his hypostasis, or personhood, on the other.
And with this, McFarland begins one of the most creative and groundbreaking theological explorations into the mystery of the incarnation undertaken in recent memory.
Ian A. McFarland is Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs and Professor of Theology at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He is the author of several books, including In Adam's Fall: A Meditation on the Christian Doctrine of Original Sin and The Divine Image: Envisioning the Invisible God.
"How to regard Christ Jesus as the God who saves? In this fine study, Ian McFarland offers a contemporary answer to this question by way of learned and hugely instructive pursuit of what he styles a Chalcedonianism without reserve. Refusing to cleave thinking about Christian from thinking about salvation and anchoring the doctrine of the person of Christ in a trinitarian account of creation, McFarlands vibrant dogmatic argument for the continued viability of theological thinking in Chalcedonian tradition is a compelling and much needed intervention in contemporary Christological debates." -- Rev. Professor Philip G. Ziegler, University of Aberdeen
"Ian McFarland's The Word Made Flesh: A Theology of the Incarnation proposes a Chalcedonianism without reserve that develops the best of Orthodox, Catholic, and Reformation christological traditions in lively conversation with contemporary biblical scholars and theologians (as well as philosophers and natural scientists). McFarland's book is a clear headed, imaginatively written, bold re-thinking of how Jesus Christ informs and upholds a clear distinction between Creator and creature, as one hypostasis in two natures whose resurrection, ascension, and return are less further episodes in Jesus humanity than Gods complete vindication of this crucified Lord a humanity glimpsed in Scripture, baptism and eucharist, and most comprehensively our embodied logoi (as Maximus the Confessor puts it) participating in Gods logos become flesh. This is, in short, a veritable theological summa that will be central in future conversations and arguments about the Word made flesh."-- James J. Buckley, Professor Emeritus, Loyola University in Maryland