Some of you know that I have been working on a book project looking at the nature of “kenosis” in Christian identity formation. “Kenosis” is a Greek term taken from Phil. 2:7, where Christ is spoken of as having “emptied himself” (NRSV) as the true mark of what constitutes humanity. There has been much discussion about this entire crucial passage (2:6 – 11), and the scholarship surrounding the exegetical history of the Carmen Christi of Philippians 2 is expansive. While I will be referring to a number of key works, this book primarily explores the philosophical and theological questions that arise from the Kenotic tradition as they inform theological anthropology or the question of ‘being human’. In addition to the many texts that will be cited throughout the book, recent texts that have particularly informed this study are C. Stephen Evans’ recent edited volume Exploring Kenotic Christology: The Self Emptying of God (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), Michael Gorman, Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul’s Soteriology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), and Kevin Cronin Kenosis: Emptying Self and the Path of Christian Service (London: Continuum, 2005). The chapters in the book offer readers new conversation partners from the breadth and width of human reflection on what it means to be human and with these conversations partners I will offer a theological method for kenotic identity formation – a means and discipline to remain aware and open hearted to what the Kenotic life can be reimagined as. The contours of this reimagined life will look at the re-framing of the deeply lived life by both internal (seen in the model of St. Augustine) and external (as seen in the work of Aristotle) concerns, radically decentered in location (as seen in the challenge of French theorist Jacques Derrida), found in the face of the other (seen in the Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas), and ‘given’ rather than taken (as seen in the Catholic theologian Jean Luc Marion).
The challenge of writing a book is more than the research and putting proverbial pen to paper… it is knowing who you are writing for and speaking in a way that can be grabbed onto by the intended reader.
One of the things that has been difficult is finding this perfect pitch given the subject matter. I have called the book “The Kenotic Self” but have found from those who have looked at a draft of the proposal that the jargon may be off-putting.
My latest title:
k(no)w (you)r(self): The Missing Art of Being K(no)wn in Christianity