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Accepted Paper:

On ambivalence, and against purification, in the pursuit of godliness.  
Timothy Carroll (UCL)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the often ambivalent attitudes found in Orthodox Christianity toward technology and its role within the pursuit of theosis.

Paper long abstract:

This paper provides a close (if all too brief) reading of theological attitudes towards the body, its sensorium and various technologies that might aid or hinder the Orthodox Christian’s pursuit of holiness. This theological basis is then used to inflect and help interpret ethnographic data on how Orthodox Christians relate to technology within spaces of worship. Taken together, this paper addresses the ambivalence toward technology seen within a religious tradition that posits theosis as the ideal goal for each of its members. The paper examines how, in juxtaposition against trends towards ‘purification’ seen in Latin and post-Reformation Christianity, Orthodox’s emphasis on material as arising from the energies of God allows for a pragmatic approach toward the ethical valuation of technology as being helpful toward, or a hinderance toward, theosis. Thus, in unpacking the Orthodox axiom that ‘God became man that man might become god’, this paper explores the material dimension of God’s condescension to human weakness and the technological mechanisms of the human ascent to become like God.

Panel P30a
Becoming Gods: Techno-scientific and Other Deifications
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -