ST VLADIMIR'S THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY
alone among Western commentators, evenwell disposed ones, in describing the Palamite distinction as"real" or "ontological." It is clear that, in this, Westerntheologians are succumbing to a fault characteristic of theWest,
of trying to impose its own constructions on Easterntheology in order to judge it, either well or ill, by its ownstandards.In this study, therefore, we shall be at pains not to repeatthis mistake. If we are able to present a new perspective onPalamas's doctrine of God, we shall not be suggesting that thisis what Palamas really meant. Rather, we shall be mindful of André de Halleux's admonition that "the Eastern traditionconstitutes a fundamentally harmonious ensemble whose
ferent aspects and parts find their ultimate intelligibility andsurrender all their richness only at the interior of the pleromaand in relation to it."
Accordingly, from within the systemof the Catholic West, of which much the same could be said,we shall be offering what we shall show to be an approximation of Palamas's thought, thereby at the same time demonstrating that his preoccupations are shared in the West, and,I hope, arousing a more sympathetic reaction to his dogmaticsolution where this remains to be done.Accordingly, we shall proceed in the following way. First,we shall offer a brief account of what Palamas hoped toachieve by his distinction. Secondly, we shall give a summary, together with a critique, of the reasons for the rejectionof the Palamite doctrine by some Catholic theologians. Thirdly,we shall indicate the more positive response emanating fromcertain other Catholic theologians. And finally, we shall presentour new perspective, which, we claim, goes beyond this, evenapproaching in some respects the thought of Palamas.IIt needs to borne in mind above all that Palamas was a
thinker. He was suspicious of all attempts to order
A. de Halleux, "Palamisme et Tradition,"
48 (1975) 492-3.