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Kelsey’s christocentric anthropology

I will soon (finally) begin posting some thoughts on Kelsey’s Eccentric Existence. To get the ball rolling, I thought I’d post a few excerpts that will help you get a feel for his project.

Kelsey consistently emphasizes that a theological anthropology must be centered on Jesus Christ: “the way Christians understand these matters is shaped in some way by their beliefs about Jesus Christ and God’s relation to him. That is ultimately what qualifies theological answers proposed to anthropological questions as authentically Christian theological anthropology” (9).

But, he also wants to be clear that he doesn’t think this christocentric approach minimizes the importance of the Trinity or subsumes anthropology ontologically or epistemologically into Christology.

[W]hat we say will be christocentric, albeit only indirectly so. That most empatically does not mean that everything we may say theologicall about human persons must be derived from an analysis of the metaphysics of the incarnation. The argument…does not warrant an ontological christocentrism, as though the very being of human persons is constituted by and revealed in the being of the Son of God incarnate.

Indeed, so far as I can see, it is not necessary for most of the material content of Christian theological claims about human personhoodto have any privileged sources such as revelation, whether in Jesus Christ or elsewhere – though, of course, some of it may do so. Having a religiously privileged source for its content is not what makes an anthropology ‘theological’.

Rather, what makes anthropological claims Christianly theological is that the selection of their contents, and the way that they are framed, are normed by claims about God relating to us, when God is understood in a Trinitarian way. And such Trinitarian understandings of God are cognitively christocentric. (65-66)

The precise way in which he unpacks and utilizes this christological methodology will be the focus of some of my more expanded comments later.