Life with God - human participation in eternal communion
: the status of the theological anthropology of John D. Zizioulas

  • Kent Warner

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


This thesis considers the high theological anthropology of John Zizioulas and offers the first through examination of his doctrine of humanity. He grounds his theology with pneumatological Christology, so to hear him accurately, we must understand that Jesus Christ does not simply repair humanity’s fallen condition but rather reveals God’s plan for his cosmos. For Zizioulas, theology must be understood eschatologically with the local church standing as the living icon of God’s eternal people. As such, his holistic account of mankind restates in contemporary terms what the catholic Church has agreed on. Simply put, Jesus Christ reveals God’s eternal public which the Church’s worship expectantly displays. So, this thesis critically assesses Zizioulas’ anthropology articulated in terms of relational ontology to demonstrate that his holistic expression is an integrated synthesis of the catholic tradition instead of a theological innovation. Further, the thesis aspires to show that his work brings together the reception’s many contributions and that Jesus Christ preserves God-man koinōnia. In this way, Zizioulas’ anthropology seeks to articulate and offer the Eastern Church’s metaphysical realism to the whole Church because he believes this conceptuality best communicates the life that God offers humankind as created persons. This thesis, then, is an exercise to consider whether Zizioulas’ integrated theology can strengthen humankind’s knowledge of Christ’s metaphysical revolution. As an ecumenist, Zizioulas aims to build unity among the Church’s many traditions and promote God’s good intention towards humankind. Moreover, he sees the present generation’s struggle for identity as resulting from individual attempts to fabricate purpose from pejorative and reductionist theories of mankind. Consequently, Zizioulas’ theological anthropology offers a positive voice to the anthropological discourse by arguing not only that God alone offers human integers lasting communion as the named members of Trinity’s consummate kingdom, but also that the worshipping Church’s many assemblies make this end partially visible today.
Date of Award1 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorOliver Daniel Crisp (Supervisor)

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  • Full text embargoed until
  • 25 November 2026

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