This collection examines the writings of one of Christianity’s most important theologians, St. Maximus the Confessor. You’ll be introduced to Maximus’ overall world-view, dig deeply into his insights on the body and Christology, and examine his thought in the light of other early Christian thinkers. Learn more about this important period in historical and systematic theology, and how St. Maximus has influenced theology as we know it today.
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Contemporary scholarship recognizes in Maximus the Confessor a theologian of towering intellectual importance. In this book Adam G. Cooper asks a question which from the origins of Christian thought has constituted an interpretative crux for catholic Christianity: what is the place of the material order and, specifically, of the human body, in God’s creative, redemptive, and perfective economies? While the study builds upon the insights of other efforts in Maximian scholarship, it primarily presents an engagement with the full vista of Maximus’ own writings, providing a unique contribution towards an intelligent apprehension of this erudite but often impenetrable theological mind.
Cooper’s study will likely impress expert readers of Maximus for its synthetic power but will also attract students seeking an exciting introduction.
—Journal of Religion
Adam G. Cooper is a pastor of the Lutheran Church of Australia and an honorary fellow of the classics department at the University of Melbourne.
The Byzantine Christ: Person, Nature, and Will in the Christology of Saint Maximus the Confessor
St. Maximus the Confessor is one of the giants of Christian theology. His doctrine of two wills gave the final shape to ancient Christology and was ratified by the Sixth Ecumenical Council in AD 681. This study throws new light upon one of the most interesting periods of historical and systematic theology. Its focus is the seventh century, the 100 years that saw the rapid expansion of Islam, and the Empire’s failed attempt to retain many of its south-eastern provinces by inventing and promoting the heresy of Monothelitism (only one will in Christ) as a bridge between the Byzantine Church and the anti-Chalcedonian Churches which prevailed in some of these areas.
For anyone unfamiliar with the new social history of the religions of this period, [this] book is a lively and engaging introduction . . . I would strongly recommend this book as an introduction to nonspecialists or for use in upper-level undergraduate or introductory graduate-level courses . . . [A] great resource for scholars in need of a fine-toothed chronicle of Byzantine Christology in the fifth through seventh centuries.
—Journal of Religion
Demetrios Bathrellos is priest in the Greek Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom, London.
The Christocentric Cosmology of St. Maximus the Confessor
St. Maximus the Confessor (580–662), was a major Byzantine thinker, a theologian and philosopher. He developed a philosophical theology in which the doctrine of God, creation, the cosmic order, and salvation is integrated in a unified conception of reality. Christ, the divine Logos, is the center of the principles (the logoi) according to which the cosmos is created, and in accordance with which it shall convert to its divine source.
Torstein Tollefsen treats Maximus’ thought from a philosophical point of view, and discusses similar thought patterns in pagan Neoplatonism. The study focuses on Maximus’ doctrine of creation, in which he denies the possibility of eternal coexistence of uncreated divinity and created and limited being. Tollefsen shows that by the logoi God institutes an ordered cosmos in which separate entities of different species are ontologically interrelated, with man as the center of the created world. The book also investigates Maximus’ teaching of God’s activities or energies, and shows how participation in these energies is conceived according to the divine principles of the logoi. An extensive discussion of the complex topic of participation is provided.
Torstein Tollefsen is professor of philosophy at the University of Olso, and a painter of icons. He holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Olso. He is the author of several books, including Activity and Participation in Late Antique and Early Christian Thought and an illustrated volume on icons.
Union and Distinction in the Thought of St. Maximus the Confessor
Union and Distinction in the Thought of St. Maximus the Confessor presents the writings of a key figure in Byzantine theology in the light of the themes of unity and diversity. The principle of simultaneous union and distinction forms the core of Maximus’ thought, pervading every area of his theology. It can be summarized as: things united remain distinct and without confusion in an inseparable union. As Melchisedec Törönen shows, this master theme also resonates in contemporary theological and philosophical discussions.
Melchisedec Törönen is a monk in the Community of St. John the Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights, Essex.