from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Christianity The relinquishment of the form of God by Jesus in becoming man and suffering death.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Christ's voluntary divestment of his divine powers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In theology, the self-limitation and self-renunciation of the Son of God in the incarnation.


Late Greek kenōsis, from Greek, an emptying, from kenoun, to empty, from kenos, empty.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek κένωσις ("emptying"), from κενόειν ("to empty") (with reference to Philippians 2.vii, "But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are" – New Jerusalem Version). (Wiktionary)


  • Philippians 2:7-8 The concept of self-emptying, known in Christian history by the Greek name kenosis, is common to many of the world's religions.

    Rev. Dr. Paul Bradley: Step Four: Letting Go to Let in God's Light and Love

  • The concept of kenosis is usually applied to the incarnation of Christ.

    Combinatorial Dependencies

  • In some theistic monism thought the principal of kenosis is in play where God is self-limiting with respect to life.

    Courting the Theists

  • If we take care to see this, if we are canny enough to attend to it and faithful enough to lean into it, then the particular ache of that waking can initiate a response that the Greeks were wont to call kenosis -- an emptying.

    Scott Cairns: Moments That Wake Us Up

  • Chapter 11 is the last in part 3, and applies the notion of kenosis to creation.

    Archive 2009-05-01

  • This is combined with the notion of kenosis from the Christian tradition, i.e. the idea that God emptied himself in the incarnation, taking a humble human form with all the implied limitations.

    Archive 2007-11-01

  • Thus, the idea of kenosis which in the minds of all men is intimately linked with the notion of sacrifice, and which we have given above as our third condition, is wanting in the theory of Suarez.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10: Mass Music-Newman

  • All the major religious traditions have the concept of "kenosis" (self limitation) relating to God's presence in the world.

    Combinatorial Dependencies

  • And so, after focusing on the amazing mystery of Christ's humiliation or self-emptying ( "kenosis" in Greek), this hymn goes on joyously to celebrate Christ's exaltation after death.

    Latest Articles

  • The hymn found in his Letter to the Philippians (Phil 2: 6-11) contrasts Christ's pre-existence "in the form of God" and his subsequent "kenosis" or self-emptying, "even to death, death on a Cross".

    Latest Articles


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  • Sort of like ketosis the relinquishment of carbs.

    May 12, 2008

  • The relinquishment of the form of God by Jesus in becoming man.

    May 12, 2008