the "theonomous self", I

I recently came across a concept that perfectly describes what I’ve been after concerning a sacramental subjectivity: the theonomous self.

The question for me is how, beyond modern autonomous subjects, and the postmodern proliferation of subjectivities (or subject positions), can we conceive of the Christian ‘subject’ in relation to Christ, through the Spirit, to the Glory of the Father. The ‘theonomous’ concept as described by Ron Anderson in Worship and Christian Identity does not answer that question, but it is a wonderful naming of it.

Here are some quotes.

“This self-in-relation I call, following Catherine LaCugna’s use of the term, the theonomous self, a self that is neither self-determined (autonomous) nor completely other-determined (heteronomous), but defined by the character of on’s relationship with God” (p. 114).

“To the extent that our postmodern context permits any language about “self,” it requires us, at the least, to address the multiplicity of the self as well as the unitive sense of the self…The Trinitarian theologies and social-relational psychologies explored…address these concern, offering ways to name the self that are neither reductive (the One) nor fragmentary (the many)” (p. 147).

“It is in the divine perichoresis, the dance of the Trinity, the communion of persons, that we find an adequate way of describing the multiplicity of a self faithed in relation to God. It is here that we discover the impossibility of either a pure hetereonomy, as a “naming of oneself with reference to another,” or a pure autonomy, as a “naming oneself with reference to oneself….It is here in the dance that we find the source and reference for the truly “theonomous” self, a self “named with reference to its origin and destiny in God,” an origin and destiny of relatedness to and with God.”

2 Replies to “the "theonomous self", I”

  1. I don’t want to put my real email out there, but two nights ago I was praying and meditating and this word came in my head over and over.

    I am pretty well-read, but have never heard of this word. I did a google search and found out the term. I am floored by how close it hits home and was just a weird but awakening for me.

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