Friday, 17 May 2019
Elga Kanaeva: The Patristic sources of Barlaam’s «Against Latins» (with a comparison to the St. Gregory Palamas’ «Apodictic Treatises»)
In my paper, I intend to show how Barlaam the Calabrian deals with Holy Fathers’ texts while speaking in anti-Latin context. To make his attitude more clear, I propose a comparison between Barlaam’s and St. Gregory Palamas’ approaches. Both authors have written texts on the same topic, in the same context, of the same size but not of the same structure. I analyze first versions (available only in church-Slavonic) of «Against Latins» by Barlaam and «Apodictic Treatises» by Palamas. The latest version of Barlaam’s treatise (Tractatus B, in Greek) is also considered. Some numeric comparative data (total amount of quotations, quantity of involved authors and works, etc.) is proposed. This analysis indicates a very low level of overlap in Barlaam’s and Palamas’ basis and more broad use of Holy Fathers by Barlaam. While Palamas uses tradition almost only for polemic and rhetoric purposes, Barlaam claims that his methodology is also based in tradition. At the same time Barlaam appears to use almost no texts from Holy Scripture in his work. The most favorite Father of Barlaam, the source of his methodological inspiration, is St. Gregory the Theologian. Barlaam’s treatise is the imitation of St. Gregory’s Antieunomian Orations by form and content. He presents Thomas Aquinas as Eunomius and refute his rational theological program using St. Gregory’s argumentation without mentioning his source. Although the main emphasis in «Against Latins» is made on the unknowability of God, Barlaam incorporates some features of St.Gregory’s positive theology.