Thursday, 5 February 2015

Adam Cooper: When Action Gives Way to Passion: The Paradoxical Structure of the Human Person according to Maximus the Confessor

 In his Dispute with Pyrrhus, Maximus the Confessor expressly rejected the commonly held notion that, in contrast with the divine nature, which is all act, human nature is characterised by passivity. On the other hand, Maximus also held that the act that finally deifies human beings is not their own, but divine. Human nature has its own proper activity, but this activity has its limit in ‘rest', or the attainment of the object of desire, at which point deification is received or ‘suffered'. This tension between human activity and passivity in the path towards fulfilment suggests a paradoxical structure of the human person, according to which ‘natural activity' plays only a partial role. Rather the human person is only complete within an interpersonal, theandric dynamic marked by both giving and receiving, self-determination and ecstatic self-surrender, action and passion.

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