Maximus the Confessor: God and Man as Mutual Paradigms
Maximus the Confessor reflected deeply on Christology as well as the metaphysical question of the relation between God and his creation and shaped his thoughts in a way that takes the Triune God as he is manifested in Christ as the paradigm for all further thought. Over against the compartmentalization of the fields of theology in the name of a political attempt to mediate between all groups within the Church, Maximus was intent on offering a coherent coordination of Trinitarian thought, Christology, and Anthropology. This coordination allowed him to take both Christ’s humanity and his divinity fully into account according to a union that does not compromise either of the two natures of Christ. Only in and through Christ’s complete and perfect actualization of human nature does it become clear who the human being is in truth. In the hypostatic union that Christ is, God manifests himself as the guarantor and safeguard of true humanity and becomes as it were identical with his human nature. The question of this seminar is: How is Christ’s divine nature revealed in and through his humanity, when God fully guarantees and safeguards the human aspect precisely within this divine revelation? This seminar will study the foundational texts of Maximus and trace answers to this question, which will then allow us to grasp how Maximus conceives of the synergetic union of human and divine activity.
Course Texts for Spring 2020
• Maximus Confessor, On Difficulties in the Church Fathers, Vol. 1 and 2: The Ambigua, translated by M. Constas (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library Vol. 28-29), Harvard University Press 2014.
• Maximus Confessor, On Difficulties in Sacred Scripture: The Responses to Thalassios (Fathers of the Church Patristic Series), translated by M. Constas, CUA Press 2018. Also available on JSTOR https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvvnhjf
• Maximus Confessor, On the Ecclesiastical Mystagogy - A Theological Vision of the Liturgy, translated by J. Armstrong (Popular Patristics), St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 2019.
• Maximus Confessor, Disputation with Pyrrhus, translated by J. Farrell, St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press 2014.