Sunday, 3 May 2015

Smilen Markov: Maximus’ Concept of Will through the Interpretation of Damascene and Photius

In defending the Christological diophysitism Maximus develops a specific model of Christ’s human act of will by differentiating two levels of rational intentionality. On the first level the desired goal is set. The second level is the manifestation of the γνώμη: through the choice a certain way (τρόπος) of realizing the capacity of will is endorsed, according to the personal disposition of the hypostasis acting. In this sense there is no γνώμη in Christ. John Damascene adopts Maximus’ model, but uses different conceptual kits. He distinguishes two separate levels of the will power: θέλησις determines the objects of human rational appetite, whereas βούλησις supplies the process of decision-making with volitional support. This theoretical differentiation enables John to outline two vectors of the cognitive component of the act of will: a discursive and a non-discursive one. Here γνώμη has a much larger scope than a mere personal specification of will: it is an existential gesture. Photius adheres to Damascene’s view on γνώμη. He coins the term “personal will”, denoting the area, in which human will is qualified by its objects, as well as by other persons’ acts of will. Christ’s human will confirms his personal identity, by sharing it with creation and not by constructing it as an individual disposition. He possesses a personal human will, as he interacts with the acts of will of other human-beings, but he does not possess a γνώμη.

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