Mike Aquilina

Cyril on Divinization

Tuesday August 07th 2007, 3:05 am

From Oxford University Press I received a gem: The Appropriation of Divine Life in Cyril of Alexandria, by Daniel A. Keating. The author, an American theologian at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, examines the classic texts on divinization in Cyril of Alexandria (fifth century). One of history’s greatest biblical theologians, Cyril presented salvation in terms of sanctification and divinization, the appropriation of divine life. Keating develops these ideas, for the most part, as they appear in Cyril’s volumes of biblical interpretation. Keating pays close attention to Cyril’s exegeses of the accounts of Jesus’ baptism and resurrection as well as the institution of the Eucharist. Among the key scriptures considered is 2 Peter 1:4: “that you may become partakers of the divine nature.” Cyril’s biblical approach can be especially helpful for Protestants who wish to understand Orthodox and Catholic doctrines of salvation. Keating also applies Cyril’s thought effectively to “perceived east-west differences.” This is an important book for ecumenically minded Christians. The writing is extraordinarily lucid, making difficult ideas accessible even to us non-professionals.