Friday, 17 May 2019

Christiaan Kappes: Homo Liturgicus: Palamas's Utilization of Philosophical and Theological Concepts within Liturgical Texts

Many of Gregory Palamas’ main literary sources have been located in the critical edition of his opera omnia. Understandably a number of studies in secondary literature concentrate on Gregory’s use of celebrated figures in the history of Greek theology, as for example in the works of the Cappadocians. This study plans to highlight more unusual cases where Byzantine liturgical hymnody (with underlying Platonic and Stoic notions), as in the Menaion, is essential to understand certain notions of Palamas’s theoptic and epoptic ideas. The vocabulary and central notions of divine vision and participation in the divine energies are often found in hymns describing such an experience of divine light by the apostles and other saints. In some cases, Palamas’s formulations are closest to literary compositions in the liturgical vs. patristic tradition. Furthermore, certain Palamite values, such as the presumed infallibility of patristic axioms (e.g., Basil the Great’s teaching on the Holy Spirit) build on liturgical assertions of the saint’s authority in doctrinal matters. Finally, even hymnographic material from the Akathist and other commonly celebrated akolouthies formed part of the foundational sources for Palamas’s speculative thought. Uncovering Palamas’s liturgical sources permits a more nuanced read of his use of Neo-Platonic and Stoicizing philosophical concepts, sometimes received via an already Christianized reception. Finally, Palamas’s combination of liturgical sources and logical arguments on behalf of the apodictic syllogism within an Aristotelian typology with be explored.

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