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Becoming Human: Meditations on Christian Anthropology in Word and Image
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Becoming Human: Meditations on Christian Anthropology in Word and Image

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Hardcover, 136 pages
Published December 31st 2013 by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press (first published September 23rd 2013)
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Average rating 4.59  · 
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 ·  114 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Dan Glover
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is theological anthropology anchored in Christology, creation and eschatology. It is expansive yet compact, precise yet poetic. Behr shows that death has been given a new 'use' through the death and resurrection of Christ (and ascension and out-pouring of the Holy Spirit) such that the death of believers must now be understood as their birth into true and full life as human beings created in the image of their creator and formed into the likeness of Christ by his own shaping and life-breath ...more
Tim Kauffman
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How much do I like this book? Well, I briefly considered reducing all my previous ratings by one star so this one could have its rightful place alone at the top. It's that good. Read it slowly. Take time to meditate and absorb it. Reread it, because there's too much here to take in at once.

It's not necessarily an easy read, but it's accessible if you're willing to engage it. This is a serious work of theology and anthropology, but it's designed to be read as a devotional, not a textbook. It's a
Andres Perez Gonzalez
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I heard Fr. John Behr say that he wrote this book in a couple of weeks but edited it for a couple of years. The words and images found in this little book hold deep and profound meditations that challenge and nurture heart and mind. Theological anthropology at its best.
Philippe Deblois
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful little book. Make sure to buy the hard copy
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: marital-theology
Fr John Behr is a noble successor to the late Fr Alexander Schmemann and provides us, in this beautiful and slim volume, with profound contemplation of key points in the Christian story as well as a fresh way of looking at the big picture.

The power in his approach is that his ideas almost seep into your consciousness like a pleasant aftertaste from a fine meal, so that there is a lingering and new appreciation of the familiar... turning over our ideas about the fall and God's supposed 'rescue o
This is a very short work by Fr John Behr, but don't let that fool you. There is so much to be had here in these short pages that he just didn't need any more.

Every page is packed with a poetic theology of a depth that is sorely lacking in the world today. This is something to be savored over time and meditated upon. Like his 'Mystery of Christ', 'Becoming Human' is a book you read once and then over the years come back to it again and again. Every time you do so you'll come across just one mor
Stephen Lake
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This little gem is, for all intents and purposes, a synopsis in word and image of the course I had with Fr. John Behr at Nashotah House on the anthropology of the eastern church fathers. Rich reflection on what it means to be human--to find life in death, and our true identity in Christ Jesus. This book is a gift and would repay reading regularly (say, in Advent or Lent).
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Stunningly simple, prolific and profound, elegantly designed. Fr. John Behr paints a mysterious and positively haunting picture of what it means to be truly human. The book makes use of a mixture of fonts and art work, quotes and allusions, that bring an abundant and eclectic, holistic, picture into view. Full review to come.
Christina “6 word reviewer” Lake
Stirring theological anthropology. Quick read. Beautiful.
Caleb Watson
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
This volume is presented in a very unique format. Certain passages may have a larger, and divergent font for emphasis, there are numerous images, and quotations throughout, and the prose is almost a stream of consciousness. It is clear that the author intended this to be a very meditative reading experience, given that the concepts are very loosely sketched out, and in some cases may even seem vague. I think that the intention is for the reader to reflect, and contemplate each page, rather than ...more
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Well written, patristic reading of what it means to be human through a willingness to enter into the suffering of the Cross, "using" death to our advantage in becoming truly human through Christ. Great insight, tightly packed and thematically broad, as he draws on scriptural texts and patristic authors with some contemporary application in our context of do-it-ourself individualism. Includes about 50 pieces of art and iconography that fit the theme of each page. ...more
Ian Galey
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A short meditation on what it means for Christians that God became a human. Through his death and an individual's marriage to him, Christ has enabled man to use his own mortality—the ultimate fact of mankind—to destroy the flesh and its sinfulness. Behr draws on the Fathers and explores the humanity of Christ as the glory of God. ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“ Rather than thinking of the Incarnation of Christ as an event restricted to a long-gone past in a far-removed land, we should instead think of it as a possibility that is to be lived as an ever contemporary reality, here and now in those who respond to him.“
A beautiful and thoughtful reflection, presented in images, quotes and narrative, on the Christian journey of becoming human. Highly recommended!
Andrew Talbert
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. A recapturing of the Fathers and especially a rereading of the creation account(s) that is just beautiful.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’m confused. I think I understood what he was saying but it didn’t make sense. Perhaps St Irenaeus is clearer?
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A powerhouse of a small book requiring rereading. Beautiful illustrations and prose. Emphasis placed on the process of death to obtain eternal life. Highly recommend.
D Posey
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
A nutrient dense text in a deceptively small package. This could be alternately titled "Meditations on Death" but the ideas and concepts are a much needed refreshment in a dry and shallow understanding of Christianity. ...more
Dec 18, 2014 added it
In John's Gospel, Jesus says: "Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds" (John 12:24). I brought this book of meditations with me from home to read during a recent Manresa retreat. Although we are "in" this world, we need to somehow "detach" ourselves from the things of this world. We need to, as the Apostle Paul says, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" (Colossians 3:2) ...more
Kristofer Carlson
I've been doing some writing on the subject of Christian Anthropology, but after reading John Behr's slim volume, I don't know that I'm up to the task.

I certainly can do no better than John Behr. "The glory of God is a living human being." This first quote alone, from St Irenaeus of Lyon, contains so much theology that one could spend a lifetime studying it. That simple sentence encompases everything we know and everything we cannot know about ourselves, our relationship with humanity, and the
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a short read, but not necessarily an easy read. The book relies on using different type face and formatting to emphasize different thoughts. That can both draw attention to certain phrases or just be a distraction. Some very profound ideas which are also basic to an Orthodox understanding of Christ. An important teaching of this little book is that the incarnation is not just a past historical event, but is something we live today. The same could be said of the resurrection as well as of ...more
Oct 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I think his view of the role of gender in soteriology problematically ties him to a philosophical system that has been modernized within protestant theology...that of the dialectic. I do not think that Fr. Behr is married to the dialectic but this particular expression of Orthodox soteriology cannot escape it. Otherwise, I think that this underlying theme of "becoming human" can be found in his other work "The Mystery of Christ." ...more
Jesus is the true and first full human. What this means is that we are not human yet and only become human as we become more like Jesus. This little book is an extended meditation on those points. It is concise and profound, drawing on the depth of the church tradition. It is also ascetically pleasing in its presentation, with illustration and attractive fonts to emphasize points. Highly recommended.
Nathan Barton
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fr Berh provides a series of deep, contemplative meditations that centre on the truth that Jesus shows us what it is to be God in the way that He dies as a human on the cross and at the same time demonstrates what it is to be truly human in the way that God dies on the cross.
Bruce Webb
This is a wonderful little book. Read slowly and meditate on the text.
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is profound and worth reading. However, it's way overpriced. You can read it in a day or two. Borrow it from someone or a library and read it. ...more
Alex Stroshine
rated it really liked it
Jun 30, 2019
FrSymeon Najmanje
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Apr 22, 2015
Charles Jordan
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Aug 20, 2015
Mark Schuldt
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Nov 17, 2019
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