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‘Rooted in Detachment’: Transfiguration as Narrative, Worship and Community of Faith

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The Transfiguration is recorded in all three synoptic gospels, and points the onlookers towards the cross. The article looks at these narratives, with their variations, and then examines the way in which expositors and preachers, patristic, medieval and modern, have applied the Transfiguration to Christian living. Important are the two quite distinct ways in which the narrative has been used liturgically, in the Latin West, originally as a feature of Lenten preaching, and in the East as a festival in its own right on August 6th. Drawing the two traditions of interpretation and worship together, it is possible to see fresh ways of understanding the impact of the Transfiguration on the Church’s self-understanding: the tension between continuity and discontinuity; the transformation of the three uncomprehending apostles; and the hidden but mobile character of the community of faith. The Transfiguration emerges as a truth that illuminates Christian discipleship at its most profound.


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