Episode 120

John Behr on Being Human

Published on: 7th March, 2024

Check out John Behr's new translation of Gregory of Nyssa's On the Human Image of God.

What does it mean to be human? We pay attention to our broken humanity more during Lent. And there's that phrase, when we make a mistake, "I'm only human!" 

True. But what about the glory and promise of being human? What kind of humanity we see in the pattern of Christ? How do we live now, if our destiny is to be, as the saints tell us, "raised with Christ" who is "seated at the right hand of God"?

Today we'll talk with theologian John Behr about St. Gregory of Nyssa's work, On the Human Image of God, and John's new translation of it. We'll listen in as Gregory, like the theological rock star he is, takes a melody from Plato and riffs hard, but with a Christian anthropology, and creates nothing less than an anthem to God's saving work in Jesus.

What is a human? How do humans have a special relationship with death? And how does the gospel, and especially John's gospel, peel back the curtain on what Jesus' humanity is doing for all creatures?

The Rev. Dr. John Behr is Regius Professor of Humanity at the University of Aberdeen. He previously taught at St. Vladmir's Seminary, where he served as dean from 2007-17. John is also the Metropolitan Kallistos Chair of Orthodox Theology at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Center for Orthodox Theology. 

(Finally a quick shout-out: if you're interested in this question, What does it mean to be human?, then save the date, friends! The Living Church is hosting a conference this September 26-28 in Oklahoma City entitled The Human Pilgrimage: A Conference on How to Live. We've got a beautiful slate of speakers, including Katherine Sonderegger, Amy Peeler, Victor Austin, and Graham Tomlin. Watch any Living Church space for registration coming soon.)

Now brush up on your Greek, because there will be a test on the Timaeus at the end of this. (Just kidding.) We hope you enjoy the conversation.

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About the Podcast

The Living Church Podcast
The Living Church Podcast explores ecumenical topics in theology, the arts, ethics, pastoral care, and spiritual growth — all to equip and encourage leaders in the Episcopal Church, Anglican Communion, and beyond. A ministry of the Living Church Institute.