Thursday, 30 June 2011

Adrian Guiu - Eriugena's Reception of Maximus Confessor's Anthropology

This paper looks at the way John Scotus Eriugena  appropriates and constructively employs Maximus  Confessor’s anthropology.  It claimes that the fivefold division of being, appropriated from Maximus Confessor’s Ambiguum 37,  constitutes the framework of the Periphyseon: in my understanding,  Maximus Confessors’s understanding of the human being as the ‘workshop of creation,’ as the synthesis of all aspects of creation, as the agent of unification,  provides the anthropological premise for Eriugena’s own dialectical division of the genus of nature. It is within the framework of Maximus’s ontology centered on ‘man as the workshop of creation,’ that Eriugena has recourse to the tradition of the liberal arts. Therefore, the division of the genus of nature, as an exercise of dialectic, has to be understood within the framework of Eriugena’s appropriation of Maximus Confessor’s fivefold division of being and its corollary, the anthropology of the ‘officina omnium.’ The project of the Periphyseon is driven by the possibility that through dialectics humans could become the officina omnium and thus return all creation to the unity of the intelligible human being and ultimately to God. Thus, Maximus Confessor along with Gregory of Nyssa, are not just two Greek sources which Eriugena struggles to integrate with Augustine and Boethius; rather, Maximus Confessor’s anthropology and cosmology provide the framework for the entire work. 

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