Thursday, 30 April 2015

Jonathan Bieler: Maximus the Confessor's Concept of Analogy: The Presence of the Word of God in Creation

For 70 years, scholars of Maximus the Confessor have repeatedly called for a closer investigation of the influence of Dionysius the Areopagite on Maximus the Confessor's thought. Much work has been done and is being done on the subject of participation, which is of crucial importance for both Maximus and Dionysius, although scholars have also disputed its importance for the Confessor. By exploring the role analogical thought plays in his system, we can better assess the importance of the concept of participation for Maximus. Participation means the downward movement of the Creator, who is imparting the gift of being to creatures, while analogy leads the rational creature back up to the origin of being in virtue of the similitude of all things with the Word of God. In the end, the revelatory aspect of creation itself rests on its analogy to God the Word, so that every logos a particular being possesses, expresses in some form the fullness of the Word of God, through whom all things were made. This paradox of total divine presence in finite creatures constitutes a crucial point of reference for Maximus's synthesis of the Patristic tradition, particularly the thought of Dionysius. This can be shown from the collection of the Ambigua as a whole, in particular his famous Ambigua 7 and 10, but also from the lesser known Ambiguum 35 and other texts. Disregarding this paradox of divine presence would have implications for any account of Maximian ontology, exegesis, anthropology and theology.

No comments:

Post a Comment