On Irenaeus. Christ ‘the concentric feedback loop of Israel’ or Recapitulation

Jesus is the recapitulation of Israel; or in fact of God’s life itself in the kameronvia historia, according to Patristic theologian Irenaeus. I want to share what Duke Divinity School theologian J Kameron Carter has to say about this in his book Race. I will want to revisit the substance of this at a later date, until then, here is what Carter has written in regard to Irenaeus’ view of how God in Christ “re-does” “re-lives” “re-capitulates” creation, Israel-Mary, and Godself in his lived life for the nations:

In arguing this way, it is as if Irenaeus is saying that the recapitulation of all things in Christ occurs in a concentric feedback loop. Creation itself is a concentrated expression of the love the Father has for the eternal Son through the Holy Spirit. That is, it is a condensed narrative that captures without diluting the rhetorical plotline of the depths of God’s love for the Son, a love that embraces within itself even that which is not God (i.e. creation). In this sense, creation in its own way recapitulates the divine life as the “structure of supreme love.” But then as if even this condensed story were still too prolix, YHWH presents the story of Israel, beginning with the call of Abram-become-Abraham to create ex nihilo a people who before did not exist, as a compendium of the story of creation, which too came into being. And so to grasp the story of Israel is to grasp the story of creation. And finally again, in an effort to contain what yet appears to be too elongated a narrative filled with plot twists, reversals, and surprises, Christ himself “cuts short” the story of Israel into the résumé of his own material body and historical life, only then to have this loop back to the story of creation, but now under the aspect of the second Eve. He is the biography of creation. But in so being, he proves to be God’s own autobiography, God’s writing of Godself.[1]

Rich. Too rich for me to try and engage with at the moment (due to time constraints), but hopefully you grasp some of the point, and see what is going on in the theology of Irenaeus, at least as mediated through Carter’s wit.

[1] J Kameron Carter, Race: A Theological Account, kindle loc. 851.

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One Response to On Irenaeus. Christ ‘the concentric feedback loop of Israel’ or Recapitulation

  1. Jerome says:

    It is rich! Colossians 3:11? Good to see the discussion continues, Bobby – I’ve been so busy…

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