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173 5 The Last Transformation: Demutatio H ilary’s treatment of the third and final transformation in the Christian life, which he terms demutatio, continues to depend on incorporation in the body of Christ. In exploring this theme we are brought back to Hilary ’s proposal with which we began this study. He stated that he would develop three stages of the Christian life and assign each stage a cluster of fifty Psalms. Wild had claimed that Hilary never did apply that proposal throughout his commentary. Since Hilary did outline features of this final stage of demutatio as early as Psalm 2, it might appear that Wild was correct at least in the apparent failure to observe distinct roles for each cluster of fifty Psalms. In exploring this third stage, however, a distinctive feature of Hilary’s thought becomes apparent. There is a pronounced eschatalogical or anticipatory character to each stage of his proposal.1 Features of early stages look forward to completion at later stages. So in the third cluster of Psalms, Hilary speaks at length about the creation of the human person in ways that establish the human components, which ul1 . For a short but insightful account of this theme, see Michael C. McCarthy, “Expectatio Beatitudinis: The Eschatological Frame of Hilary of Poitiers’ Tractatus super Psalmos,” in In the Shadow of the Incarnation: Essays on Jesus Christ in the Early Church in Honor of Brian E. Daly S.J., edited by Peter W. Martens, 50–70 (Notre Dame, Ind.: Notre Dame University Press, 2008). 174 ³ The Last Transformation timately contribute to the final condition of demutatio. This whole process is accomplished specifically within “the glorified body of Christ.” For expressing and developing this theme accomplished within the body of Christ, Hilary once again makes extensive use of a passage in Philippians , which he quotes as early as his comment on Psalm 1: Et transformavit , inquit, corpus humilitatis nostrae conforme corpori gloriae suae [Phil 3.21]. (“And he has transformed,” he says, “the body of our humility conformed to the body of his glory” [Phil 3.21] [1.15]). Hilary cites this passage repeatedly and adapts its language to his discussion of the final transformation.2 His modification of the conventional future to the past tense in this passage is yet another demonstration of the anticipatory or proleptic feature of Hilary’s thought. The standard version of the Pauline text with its future tense presumes that the final state will be accomplished in the ultimate future. Hilary’s modification to the past tense asserts that this ultimate realization has already begun. To determine whether Hilary’s version of this third stage expresses yet another influence from his Greek contacts or represents resources in his Latin background, we need to identify his sources for both the term demutatio and for its development. In this last cluster of fifty Psalms Hilary does continue to use examples from his public culture, but there are noticeable shifts of perspective in which, as we shall see, he includes more examples from experiences within the Christian community. To complete his model of Christian progress from baptismum through resurrectio, Hilary announces his term demutatio for this final stage, as we have seen in chapter 1, in his discussion of Psalm 150.3 The term demutatio means “change.” Within his comments on Tr. Ps. 150 Hilary provides a series of three descriptions about the characteristics of each stage of the three levels of his progressive model. His expressions for the third stage all provide the context for the transformation of the resurrected body. In the first summary he provides an extended description of the third stage after succinct but recognizable notices on stages one and two. 2. For a brief but effective summary of the scriptural foundations of Hilary’s soteriology, consult Gilles Pelland, “Hilaire, exégète de Philipiens 3.21,” in La résurrection chez les Pères, edited by J.-M. Prieur, 215–27, Cahiers de Biblia Patristica 7 (Strasbourg: Université Marc Bloch, 2003). In addition to examples of Phil 3.21 at 1.15, 14.5, 91.7, 124.3–4 and 141.8, he adds the following influential passages for Hilary’s soteriology: Phil 2.6–11; 1 Cor 15.24–28; Jn 17.1–5. 3. [A]c sic omnia, baptismum, resurrectio, demutatio continentur (Hilary, Tr. Ps. 150.1). The Last Transformation ³ 175 [P]ost quae rursum aedificata iam in aeternum [D]ei civitate et omnibus ad gratulationem eius laudemque commonitis...


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