SUGGESTION: A saga of translation ... native tongue to Evangelical English ... and a suggestion

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Mar 10 2020 3:36 PM

Yes, I consider myself multilingual. My native tongue is Catholic English but I am also reasonably fluent in Orthodox English and Stone-Campbell English. I struggle, however, with Evangelical English. This failure to be proficient at EE is a the heart of this saga.

It started innocently enough -- a decent cup of Peet's Major Dickason's Blend coffee, Great-grandfather's rocker, Athanasius' On the Incarnation of the Word of God., a polite request from the county executive to stay home (coronavirus).... Then I reached the most frequent quote:

For he was incarnate that we might be made god; and he manifested himself through a body that we might receive an idea of the invisible Father; and he endured the insults of human beings, that we might inherit incorruptibility.

St Athanasius the Great of Alexandria, On the Incarnation: Translation, ed. and trans. John Behr, vol. 44a, Popular Patristics Series (Yonkers, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011), 167.

Then things veered out of control. I wondered what Logos had on théōsis. A quick run of factbook. Nothing. Think of synonyms. deification. Success! I bring up a Factbook record. I now know that:

  • theosis = topic deification
  • theosis = Catholic topic divinization 
    • Related Catholic topics: sanctification, salvation, new life, sanctifying grace

Armed with these new words I scramble through the underbrush, open the Theology Guide and enter:

  • theosis: nothing as expected
  • deification: nothing
  • divinization: nothing
  • sanctification: only the fourth try and I get a promising entry all be it on a related term not the term itself ... well there are a few mismatches like "conform them to the IMAGE of his son" is a long ways from "makes them God". 

So I think to myself, maybe if I search for the terms I understand (theosis, deification . . .) in the Lexham Survey of Theology, I can verify that "sanctification" is the best fit. So I open the Find box and enter:

  • theosis: multiple hits ... but no sanctification
    • theories of atonement
    • the nature of justification
    • the Spirit's Indwelling

So reading each of the articles, I find this quote:

The ante-Nicene church discussed the specific nature of justification very little. Historically, Eastern Orthodoxy has continued in the trajectory of the ante-Nicene church and paid less attention to the doctrine than Western traditions. Instead, Orthodox theology has largely focused on Christ’s conquest of death and finitude along with his work of sharing the divine life with humans (theosis).

Jack Kilcrease, “The Nature of Justification,” in Lexham Survey of Theology, ed. Mark Ward et al. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018).

BINGO - this is exactly what I was looking for. So where does it work:

  • theology guide: yes
  • topic guide: no, but remember that deification did
  • factbook: no, but remember that deification did
  • sermon starter: no

Thinking that the sermon starter uses fewer topics, I move to more generic forms ... and, yes, justification works for the sermon guide.

So, I go back to my native Catholic English and search the Catholic Topical Index for justification. I find that it has two related topics: 

  • the just
  • sanctification
  • but NOT divinization

So with little damage to my ego, I am out of the forest with complete data for a single concept:

  • theosis = topic deification
  • theosis = Catholic topic divinization
  • theosis = theological topic the nature of justification
  • theosis = preaching theme justification



That Logos provide a translation service with the following behavior:

  • User enters the term they use
  • User enters the form they want: topic, Catholic topic, theological topic, preaching theme
  • If the system recognizes the term, it returns the possible value(s) to the user.
  • If the system does not recognize the term:
    • it reports it does not know the answer
    • it captures the term enters for adding to the system later
    • it prompts the user to try a synonym
  • On a regular, monthly?, basis the terms not recognized be reviewed and added to the system.

The Faithlife Assistant appears to be the natural place for this function to be placed but I'd be perfectly satisfied with a separate tool.


Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 11433
DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 10 2020 3:56 PM

How coincidental can that be. At breakfast, I was reading an evangelical-banned translation (in Romans), and the english matched your Athanasius rabbit trail. I was curious (shocked; being from the Stone-Campbell tribe). And a sinking feeling, I was going to have to re-read the whole thing (new tongue, I guess).

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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