- CHALAMET Christophe - Avant-propos
- ATTRIDGE Harold W. - La christologie kénotique et l’Épître aux Hébreux
- SCHULTHESS Sara - Philippiens et Hébreux : proximité et dissonances. Réponse à Harold W. Attridge
- LAW David R. - Le kénotisme luthérien et anglican : les christologies de Gottfried Thomasius et Frank Weston
- HASSENFRATZ-COFFINET Mathias - Les conséquences de l’incarnation : écueils de la métaphysique et enjeux théologiques. Réponse à David R. Law
- CHALAMET Christophe - « Évidement » ou « voilement » ? Perspectives kénotiques, de Frédéric Godet à divers théologiens contemporains
- ANDRONICOS Dimitri - La kénose du Fils, fécondité d’un paradoxe. Réponse à Christophe Chalamet
- CUVILLIER Élian - Abaissement et exaltation en Philippiens 2,5-11 : une poétique de la foi
- RÖDER Jörg - Poétique de la foi ou poétique de l’éthique ? Réponse à Élian Cuvillier
Is there a kenotic Christology in the Epistle to the Hebrews ? The answer to that question depends of course on what is meant by « kenotic Christology ». After presenting the main characteristics of kenosis in the New Testament, and especially in the hymn found in Philippians 2, Harold W. Attridge surveys several key passages in the Epistle to the Hebrews which correspond to Christological kenoticism, even if one may not affirm the presence of kenosis, stricto sensu, in Hebrews.
In her answer to Harold W. Attridge, Saea Schulthess underlines the discontinuity, rather than the continuity, between the hymn to the Philippians and Hebrews. The author evokes the parenetic function of the hymn and Christ’s humility, not only towards God but also towards men, since he takes the form of a human and a slave.
This article presents and contrasts two major figures in kenotic Christology, a Lutheran (Thomasius) and an Anglican (Weston). Both sought to understand how a divine Person could become flesh without renouncing his divine characteristics. Thomasius begins with God’s « personality », whereas Weston begins with the human person of the one who became incarnate. Both theories, despite being interesting, raise questions : Thomasius’ doctrine of God is problematic, whereas Weston does not explain how « omnipresence », « omniscience » and « omnipotence » can become limited in the incarnate one.
Contrary to David R. Law, Mathias Hassenfratz-Coffinet considers that Thomasius’ approach is more promising than Weston’s. The latter’s dualistic anthropology (body/soul), the question of the meaning of incarnation for God and the risk of docetism are problematic, and metaphysics seems to overrule theology in his system. With Thomasius, a perfectly « self-determined » vision of God is problematic, yet the humanity of Christ as well as Jesus’ human development are treated in the better way.
The theological tradition, for the most part, has preferred talking of the « assumption » of the flesh rather than the « emptying » of certain divine qualities or attributes in the incarnation. Protestant theology, since the 16th century, has taken sides on this question and has talked at times about a « concealing », at other times about an « emptying » of these divine qualities. In the 19th century, the New Testament scholar Frédéric Godet, a Reformed theologian, followed Wolfgang Friedrich Gess, who was also Reformed, in order to interpret certain New Testament texts. Christophe Chalamet presents and evaluates Godet’s kenotic Christology, drawing on more recent proposals.
How may God lose himself without losing anything of God’s ? This is how Dimitri Andronicos expresses the central question of kenotic christology. The great theological tradition, essentially of the « crypsis » school, reaches an impasse while many radicalisations of the reflection about kenosis contain a promise, particularly an existential promise, which deserve consideration, since they tackle what God, in his humanizing process, has to strip himself of. The risk of these radical interpretations, like that of Godet’s, is the inability to maintain the paradox of incarnation.
The Christ-hymn in Philippians is here analysed from the starting point of a specific question: why does Paul choose to use a poetic language when he starts to write the parenetic section of his letter? May poetic language be a form of discourse which allows the expression of what is inexpressible and impossible to represent? É. Cuvillier suggests that it is possible to understand this hymn as a « theopoetic » discourse, which implies a demythologisation – in Bultmann’s understanding – of religious discourse. With this key, the author interprets two crux interpretum of the hymn and wishes to show that the lowering-exalting pattern does structure, not only the hymn itself, but the whole of the letter. By virtue of its place at the very opening of the parenetic section of the letter, the hymn transforms an ethical exhortation into a poetics of faith.
Jörg Röder agrees with Élian Cuvillier’s approach, especially about the « poetics of faith ». Yet he would like to underline the ethical effects of these poetics : faith is translated into and lived through acts, as we see in Philippians. Therefore, we have to grasp the ethical function of the hymn of Philippians 2 in the whole of the epistle.