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Double Knowledge According to Gregory Palamas

Από: Π. Κ. Χρήστου, Θεολογικά Μελετήµατα, τ. 3 (Νηπτικά και Ησυχαστικά), Θεσσαλονίκη 1977.

1. Philosophy and Theology

2. The Two Ways of Knowing God

3. Theology and Vision of God

4.

The Teaching of Gregory Palamas on Man

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During his sojourn in Byzantium Barlaam of Calabria, a distinguished theologian and philosopher of the 14th century, took an active part in the discussions corcerning two great problems, namely those of the procession of the Holy Spirit and of the monastic hesychia. As regards the former he opposed the Roman Catholic view and as regards the latter opposed the Hesychasts. Since in both cases he employed gnostic criteria, equating philosophy with theology, he provoked strong oposition from Gregory Palamas. Palamas’ argumentation in this controversy included a series of dual distinctions, among which theory of double knowledge holds a notable place. In this theory we may note three aspects: the distinction between philisophy and theology; the distinction within theology of two ways of knowing God; and finally the distinction between theology and the vision of God or theoptia.

1. Philosophy and Theology The first distinction is a result of the conflict between Christianity and Greek philosophy, of which the beginnings go back to apostolic times. This conflict reappaers from time to time and during the years of the Renaissance dominated the entire intellectual field. The further humanistic studies advanced, the greater was the importance given to the human factor for the knowledge divine; consequently philosophy was appreciated the more. Barlaam, one of the pioneers of the Renaissance, reached the point of identifying the objects, the method and the achievements of

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however. like Plato and Dionysios the Areopagite. Indeed. it is found through diligence and purity. by futher elaboration of this thoughts he reaches conclusions that approach agnosticism. Philosophical studies naturally contribute to the truth given to the apostles by God and assist greatly in reaching out to the first immaterial principles»[ii] In maintaining ths argument Barlaam should not be considered as a rationalistic philosopher. by ourselves. Aristotle and other sages to the iconographical cicle of Greek Orthodox Churches. Philisophy and theology. Palamas draws a sharp distinction between philosophy and theology. [iii] It is a matter of controversy nowadays what position was reached by the Averroists. supporting his endavour with arguments to the effect that every human good is a gift of God and therefore all are of high quality. the Greek philosophers were raised to the same level as Moses and the prophets. and this tendency was later extended to the point of introducing such persons as Socrates. On this analogy. This truth was given to the apostles at the beginning by God. The Averroists of the West were accused and condamned in 1277 because among other teachings they maintained that things may be true according to philosophy and erroneous according to catholic faith. there are not two kinds of health-the one provided by God and the other secured by physicians. Plato. Certainly this division is not a unique phenomenon during those times. he points out the complete inability of man in his natural state to understand the divine and. as if there were two contradictory truths. But it is obvious that they at last had a definite predeliction for such a distinction which appears again in Ockham’s philosophy. there are not two kinds of knowledge-the human and the divine-but only one. in the distinction they made between the two wisdoms and truths. and especially by Siger of Brabant. on the contrary. he used to say. Barlaam maintained that «Both the sayings of the divine men with the wisdom that is within them and profane philosophy aim at a unique object and therefore have a common purpose. In complete constrast to these. as gifts of God.philosophy and theology. -in the same way. [iv] 3 . for truth existing in all these is but one. the finding of truth. are of equal worth. [i] Just as. seeks for purification and escape from the material body in other to achieve the vision of God in a condition of ecstasy.

while theology has to do with things. -some people prefer the names. i. He perceived that the initial truth was one. Paul.It is extremely unlikely that Palamas had any knowledge of the views of these western theologians. [v] Similarly. who came from a different background and acted under different circumstances. e. while the things are investigated by us. the wisdom of the world which as foolishness was abolished and that wisdom of God which is eternal and brings salvation. [viii] Borrowing from Philo. the outward cover. St. the scribes and the debaters of the agemarked the chasm between the two philosophies. i. did not allow a distinction between two kinds of knowledge. both of whom in turn gave Abraham lovable children but of unequal worth. and that coming from above he calls full of virtue and pure. while philosophy itself serves theology as its mistress. Although several schools maintain that they posses the whole truth. but that the difference between it and theology is fundamental because philosophy has to do with names. [x] To Sarah burning with jealousy Abraham says. «Thus. viz. Some of the apologists. James described worldly wisdom as sensual and Satanic. e. the Greek philosophers. Our attention is especially called to the position which Clement of Alexandria took towards the problem. he says. in reality they posess only a part of it. [vi] The attitude of these two apostles. His presuppositions and purposes were entirely different from theirs. he had recourse to Greek theology before his time and found satisfactory support for his position. e. -one of names and the other of things. [ix]he employs as representative types Agar the slave and Sarah her mistress. For about a century no attention whatever was paid to the foolish wisdom of the world. addressing himself primarily to the intellectuals of Athens and Corinth-the sages. Those that are engaged in the beauty of speech. but later dismebered by philosophical schools as that unfortunate Pentheus was dismembered by Bacchae. since there are two kinds of truth. because it entirely rejected the value of worldly wisdom. »although I 4 . with essentials. the barbarians». When he was obliged to undertake work on this subject. From this last observation it already appears that philosophy is not entirely valueless. [vii] Nevertheless knowledge constitutes a chain in which the elementary lessons serve philosophy as their mistress. i. adopted a different attitude. Naturally this manner of dealing with the matter had serious consequences for the evolution of theological thought up to the end of the second century and also influenced it in some degree in later times. dictated by missionary needs of the time.

whereas the philosophical systems possess a part of the truth. on the other hand I honour and respect your science as a perfect lady»[xi]. or philosophy according to Christ. it is «a dissertation of truth». as it were. because it belongs to theology. [xv] So long as the gifts of God are divided into natural and spiritual. [xiii] Not being contradictory to each other. Philosophy aims on the one hand at the exploration of the nature and movement of beings. It is obvious that. since this knowledge cannot be indentified with or accounted equal to the divine wisdom. By his fall man «was divided in the doubleness of knowledge»[xii] Basil the Great links the two kinds of knowledge with the conditions of life which they serve. philosophy is a natural gift[xvi] and as such under the influance of evil it has gone astray and changed and in some cases turned to foolishness. This examination shows that according to Palamas’ teaching worldly knowledge and theological knowledge are clearly distinguished and 5 . theology possesses the whole of it. though its abuse should be strongly critized. [xix] For the same reason devotion to philosophy should not be hindered. the conclusions of both may be true. useless and dangerous occupation. But. [xvii] Of course. If it moves within these boundaries. a tree in which the one provides the leaves and the other the fruits. it becomes an absurd.embrace the worldly paideia both as younger and as your handmaid on one hand. they form. nor knowledge always good. Worldly wisdom provides understanding of the present transitory life and facilitates a successful passage through it. [xiv] Coming back to Gregory Palamas. [xx] The objects of the two disciplines are clearly distinguished. we observe that he does not disagree with Barlaam’s contention that everything that is good is a gift of God and every gift of His is perfect. examining this dismemberment from a different point of view. [xxi] Now. Diadochos of Photiκe. since the objects of the two disciplines are distinct.if it looks for something beyond them. and on the other hand at the definition of principles of social life. according to Clement. under certain conditions philosophy adds to the knowledge of beings. attributes it to the fall of man and considers it as a division between truth and error. Divine wisdom provides the weapons for the attainment of the blessed life of the future. [xviii]it becomes obvions that neither is ignorance always something bad. to aim at the invisible and the eternal. but he also remarks that every gift is not necessarily completely perfect.

Bohner. 2. 3. [v] I Cor. .2ème éd. [iv] Sent. cit. διπλή γνώσις or διπλόη . Siger de Brabant et l’ averoisme latin au XIIIe s. DES PLACES. II. [vii] Stromata 6. 6 . The one intended for this transient life is a useful handmaid.proceed on parallel paths. 1. [viii] Op. [xv] Defensio hesychastarum. Cit.5.5. [xii] Capita 88. 2. [x] Stromata 1. The destination of each determines its value. 13-17. [xi] Ibid. cit.11.1. [i] Defensio Hesychastarum 2. PG 29. [ii] Op. the other intended for the eternal life is more precious and is absolutely indispensable for spiritual perfection and salvation. but is not indispensable for salvation.18-31. 175. E.II Cor. 1. σ. MANDONNET. 14. .4. I. 2.256. [xiv] Ad juniores.71ff.12. p. ed. P.2.1. 2.V.28. [xxii] This is the only distinction for which Palamas firmy uses the term «double knowledge».17. [ix] De congr.5. 1.1. prol.17. . [vi] Jac. 2.Louvain 1911. 13-15. [iii] P. 14. 148. 6-10. [xiii] In Psalmos. [xvi] Op.

i. viz. 98. as an adherent of the unity of the knowledge of God and of the way of knowledge. we find another distinction. Cod. Cit.5. to what was liable to change.2. [xix] Op. intellect and opinion. á wide meaning for what could not be demonstrated and á narrow one for faith amenable to demonstration. e. The theory of α double way of knowledge goes back to Plato and Aristotle.1. It was given to them after they were cleansed of all impurity by intensive spiritual effort. denied that syllogism could prove the common notions.19. Barlaam took faith. as the basis for knowledge through illumination.1. In dividing the four forces of knowing. was the only means of knowing God. 6.[xvii] Op. 1.3. 2. science. Aristotle maintained that the forces of the first group provide demonstrable knowledge. sensation. Barlaam. 2. [xviii] Op. 2. the first principles and God [xxiii]. e. but as in this case the object of the search remains one and the same. [xxi] Contra Acindynum. Gr. science through primary premises.149/149v. Cit. with its very wide connotation. sensation through sensible objects. while those of the second group provide knowledge which 7 . on the other hand. [xx] Op. Cit. Palamas. cit. but gave it two meanings. Barlaam held that demonstration was applicable only to what was perishable. 1. He considered that illumination which was granted to all perfect men of ancient times prophets or apostles or even philosophers. into two groups. Palamas also put it as the basis. quoting the Aristotelian dictum: "for the perishable demonstration does not exist" [xxv]. Illumination made all of them God-seers (Θεόπτες)[xxiv].1. [xxii] Defensio Hesychastarum.1. The Two Ways of Knowing God When we abandon the philosophy of this world and follow Christian truth.1.7. Coisl. 2. denied to these very things any possibility of demonstration. the point in question concerns two ways of knowledge rather than the double knowledge.14. i.

one as scientific and the other as opinionative. In essence the four forces may be narrowed to two: that. and this is faith which according to the wellknown passage is defined as follows: "Faith is a concise knowledge of what is indispensable. life. he had no difficulty in resorting to this tradition about the two ways of knowing God. As we see. one of an exact nature and the other of a deficient nature"[xxviii]. habitual and operative knowledge [xxxii]. of θεογνωσία. On this point also it is unlikely that he had any immediate acquaintance with the teaching of the scholastics of the West. it does not matter if demonstration is also characterised as double. about the positive and negative ways of approaching God is not very different from this theory. In both these forces á confirmatory function is involved. he says. of science and that of opinion. while Maximus the Confessor gives them various names according to circumstances: reason and spiritual sensation [xxxi]. though he may have had some indirect information about them.is doubtful and cannot be demonstrated [xxvi]. the one applying to science and the other applying to opinion. but in many cases he makes it clear that positive demonstration may be effected even independently of the Scriptures. other Fathers repeat in a simpler form. 8 . while scientific demonstration gets support by quoting the Scriptures. "So long as faith is double. When Palamas confronted Barlaam's argument. a power dominates in both cases. of them is intellectual and helps in arranging things in the present. Clement of Alexandria reproduces the theory of double knowledge and double faith. while knowledge itself is a strong and certain demonstration of what has been received through faith" [xxix]. The teaching of Dionysios. for knowledge and foreknowledge are also characterised as being double. relative and true knowledge [xxxiii]. Clement explains that opinionative demonstration is human. The first. What Clement formulates according to the methods of the schools. the second is active and scientific and ensures deification in the future [xxxiv]. the faith. In this way Maximus uses within theology that distinction which Basil made between theology and philosophy. Theodore Sabaites calls the two ways of knowledge natural and supernatural[xxx]. which according to Aristotle is consciousness of certainty about the truth of knowledge [xxvii].

others are searched for some can still be demonstrated. What then is known about God? First His creatures and the presence of His power in them. This is the knowledge which is obtained through the natural intellectual functions of man. but the demonstrable 9 . accidentals in every thing should be discriminated from their essence" [xxxvi]. Palamas' position is summarised in one of his letters [xxxv]. As it has been said. acknowledge the power. though he overestimates the value of Greek philosophy. Palamas maintains that there are natural and spiritual gifts of God. In general. the wisdom and the presence of God [xxxix]. which merely leads to simple probabilities. Clement of Alexandria expressed a similar thought. and the syllogism concerning it they described as demonstrable. It is an undemonstrable and limited knowledge which can be acquired even by men who are imperfect in character and in spiritual experience. giving it this characteristic with the meaning of universal authority. for those who examine the causes of things. that can be used. Palamas. but a personality that has manifold manifestations. finally denies both philosophical and theological knowledge. "The event about God is not one but infinite. Barlaam's contradiction is removed by his taking refuge from bodily ties in the immediate vision of God in a state of ecstasy. His uncreated operation and His creatures. This happens because God is not an abstract substance. The natural gifts are not contemptible. Barlaam. But the Fathers have bidden us reason about the divine. The question here is of a kind of syllogism different from that of dialectics. The divine lies above dialectics and demonstrations. for they can lead to a faint knowledge of God. while that of Palamas is removed by limitations of application. there is a difference between seeking for God and demanding information concerning God. The knowledge of them restored the human race to the knowledge of God even before the law and the prophets. Thus also Palamas discerns the essence of God. and it leads it there even today [xxxviii]. accepts the value of natural theognosia. In problems concerning the divine it is not the dialectical syllogism. though he underrates the value of Greek philosophy. it is not subject to sensation nor is it subject to syllogism.On the problem of the theognosia there are apparent contradictions on both sides. on this basis he could say that "some things of God become known. while others are entirely inconceivable and unexplorable" [xxxvii]. Beyond it there is the demonstrable knowledge.

man's capacity for knowing becomes godlike [xli] and may come to a position to understand sufficiently what is beyond creatures. SCHIRO 243.29. e. 4. Poster. Elenchi4. but one and it joins together the two ways.syllogism which deals with everlasting and permanent and true things [xl]. Cit.17. the uncreated operations of God. 1960. [xxvi] De anima. 31 [xxxii] Op. The demonstration is based on the one hand on common notions and principles and on the other on revealed selfdemonstrated premises. 1. 4. [xxix] Op.4. faith is not double as it is in Aristotle and Clement. The use of demonstrable syllogism is effective. of which the joining elements are faith and love.3. [xxxi] Capita varia. ed. According to Palamas. [xxxiv] Capita varia. ed. Cit 7. [xxiv] Epistola I at Barlaam. Γ.22. 33 10 . 3. [xxxiii] Capita theologica. 1. 1. because.165b.Φιλοκαλία. cit. as we have seen.428a. [xxiii] Epistola I ad Palaman. 29.262α [xxviii] Stomata 2. Transformed through it. there are aspects of the theological problem that admit of demonstration. i. [xxv] Anal. [xxx] Theoreticum. ed.Physica Θ8. [xxxv] Epistola I ad Barlaam. Of Oxford Γ. 8. 22.sof. Thus we find here a combination of natural and spiritual gifts.10. This second way of theognosia is pre-eminently called "theology". 427b/428b. 326. [xxvii] Op.

[xxxvi] Stomata 6. 9 3. the practical. viz. The new distinction appears in the field of man's struggle to find God. Theology is a discourse about God. 13. Evagrios preserves both the names and the meaning of these terms [xliii]. 3. we find ourselves faced with a new ramification. and follow now the demonstrable and theological way. came to the conclusion that the achievements realised in the second way are far more notable than those realised in the first. [xxxviii] Defensio Hesychastarum. wisdom and theology [xliv]. the natural way. Isaac Syrus. 1. the one for seeing the wisdom of God and the other for seeing the glory of his nature [xlvi]. These were derived from Origen who held that the believer "through the practical way possesses Christ as his Lord. a way that leads to immensely more precious benefits: the way to the vision of God. while theoptia is in some way á conversation with God. 44 [xxxix] Op. Palamas. cit. . [xli] Defensio Hesychastarum 1. 3. expresses with an image what Palamas describes analytically. According to Palamas. But in the end he sees that another way opens up. while Diadochos of Photice modifies in some degree the terminology by using the words knowledge. 8. for He did not say. speaking about two psychical eyes. through the natural theory possesses Him as a King and again through theology as God" [xlii]. 15/16 [xl] Epistola I ad Acindinum.17 [xxxvii] Epistola I ad Acindinum. Theology and Vision of God If we put aside the first way of theognosia. 2. to θεοπτία. after he had reflected much on natural and theological theognosia. «I am the 11 . Ancient ascetic writes distinguished three conditions in the progress of approaching God. "God is not substance so that we may only speak about Him. as there is between knowledge of a thing and possession of it [xlv]. There is a great difference between the two. the natural and the theological. 2.

66. [xlvi] Sermo 72. The being does not spring from substance. Therefore. cit. 9. 3.3. 281.14 [xlviii] Defensium Hesychasterum 1.1. 67 [xlv] Defensio Hesychastarum. His operations become accessible to us. [xlvii] Ex. 12 . «I am that I am» [xlvii]. it is a natural one and does not exist apart from God. 1 [xliv] Capita. 3. If the substance of God remains inaccessible. ed.42. [xlii] In psalmos 126 [xliii] Practicus. Thus through his vision of God man rises without a bodily ecstasy to a personality that can speak with God and is able to become an associate οf God. but substance results from the being [xlviii]. in other words. SPETSIERIS. 2. and c. 3. prol. 12. [xlix] Op. but He said.14. And though this light is called a symbol.substance». God is a personality that invites us. This vision constitutes the beginning of a meeting which ends in the participation in the operations of God. it is an uncreated operation of His [xlix]. The purified can by virtue of an excellent spiritual gift see the light of God just as the disciples had done in Thabor. the personality whose presence we feel and to meet whom we press forward.

belongs to the category of material creatures. And it is just this state that becomes man since he is not only a recapitulation and an ornament of the whole creation [i]. but also image of the Triune God for whom the uncreated kingdom was prepared since the foundation of the world [ii]. the created and the uncreated. He follows man in his striving between the worldly and the divine. seems to prefer the opinion of . as a spiritual . The main powers of the soul: nous. whereas the soul of animals is a simple operation which does not exist in itself but dies together with the body. it is immortal. His entire system aims at nothing else than the description and definition of the relations among men and of each individual man’s relation with God.Gregory of Nyssa.[viii] he evidently means the soul itself.[v] A variety of opinions is found among the fathers as to the manner in which the soul is linked to the body.The anthropology of Saint Gregory Palamas is the nerve centre of his theology. expressing it as a unique whole. consisting of matter. contains its providential powers and vivifies it [vi]. The human body. logos. Gregory. consisting of ultramundane elements. and pneuma (intellect. differs from the soul of animals in that it is firstly essence and then energy.essence even though created. but lives by itself after the separation. His use of Macarian terms seems to influence some of his anthropological formulations and such an influence [ix]a may explain his insistence 13 . and shows the way by which he may reach the state of the uncreated.[iv] As an independent essence the human soul is not dissolved with the body. All physical life and existence is a created result of the divine energy. Whenever Gregory speaks of the intellect as an essence. reason. in spite of his repeated reference to the Macarian opinion that it seats in the heart. and spirit) are simple functions. The human soul. elements of the ultramundane were added and finally the divine uncreated breath [iii] was given. according to which the soul is dispersed throughout the whole body as a dynamic element which holds the body together. In man.[vii] They are not essences. But the fact that even man is likewise such a created result does not equate him with the other animals.

Reason. and the Pneuma precedes as the eros of the Nous towards the Logos. and pneuma (Intellect. 15.[x] Reason is closely connected with the intellect. i.on the opinion that the main fleshly organ of the intellect is the heart. seems some kind of technical enterprise. corresponding to the unity of the persons of the divine Trinity. since he has been created by the energy of the whole Trinity and may receive the divine light emitted from the whole Trinity. ` the intellect bears the reason. It is the eros of the intellect towards the reason which vivifies the body[xii].e. In interpreting Psalm 32. Logos. Nous. He finds image in the whole existence of man and refers it to the Trinity. And as the Holy Spirit vivifies the world. and is sometimes identified with it [xi]. One could call this image microtheos rather than microcosmos. including the body. Gregory gives a broad and dynamic character to the much discussed expression "according to the image". he says. Man is a creature according to the image not vaguely of God. as are the rest of man’s elements. Moreover the first man had received another gift: the divine spirit which is not a created thing. and the spirit is projected as the eros of the intellect towards the reason. Lastly. "let us take here the expression 'heart created by Him' as meaning the inner man. Gregory's occasional use of the word 'heart' in a broader sense must not be overlooked. so the human spirit vivifies the body[xiii]. In any case. from which it is derived. as an image and symbol of the personality of God. This is the natural state of man. But of course this formulation also served other aims. so within man. and Spirit). As within divinity the Nous begets the Logos. Such an emphasis serves to avoiding the predomination of scholastic intellectualism in theology. The real meaning of Gregory’s teaching on this point is: the capability of man to be elevated into a genuine spiritual personality.[xv] so that he may be called "another God"[xvi] Now this destination could be achieved only through that infusion of the 14 . His intellect. The final destination of man is to be assimilated with the divine archetype[xiv] and united with God in one substance. reason and spirit constitute an inherent unity. Thus the image is extended to the whole man. It emphasises the close connection between the two elements of the human organism since the bodily element is biologically nourished by the heart. so that to distinguish one from the other. as Gregory does. the spirit comes forth from both intellect and the reason. but concretely of the Triune God. but an ineffable uncreated divine energy. and exists within both.

just as the abandonment of the body by the vivifying human spirit causes its physical death. But life is worthless leas. appears now somewhat dim is due 15 . in his will. moved away from God. Whether man abides near or far from God depends.[xxi] Man received from the beginning the gift and the duty to live eternally in both soul and body. Turning towards evil means moving away from God. Abiding in goodness means preservation of the divine spirit and of participation in God.[xxiii] The soul. having first. only technically preserves its immortality[xxiv]' The devil. This is the supernatural state of man.[xxii] Life to the body is granted by the human spirit and real life to the soul is granted by the divine spirit. and may turn towards either[xviii]. except when it springs from participation in the life of God .divine spirit. as it does for the rest of the reasonable beings. The fall withdrew from man the divine spirit which was infused in him and consequently his likeness to God. or collective responsibility. and such a movement is equal to the death of the soul [xix] God neither created nor caused the death of the soul and of the body[xx] Death is the fruit of sin which was produced by the will of man. because the whole of mankind submitted itself to sin. by which man was clothed with the divine glory and became a participant of the divine splendour. And he succeded in seducing man to disobedience therefore to spiritual death. when removed from God. goodness and evil. which aims at cancelling the perpetuation of evil and sin.[xxvi] All descendants of Adam are subject to death. That is why the abandonment of the soul by the vivifying divine spirit causes its spiritual death. But the image of God remained untouched[xxvii] . the natural as well as the supernatural. It ended his participation in the glory of the life of God. not a natural condition [xvii] He is receptive of contrary spiritual qualities. We must not read into the fall as formation of inheritable guilt. which is extended to the human spirit: the power which vivifies the body.[xxv] The death of the body is an inevitable consequence of the spiritual death of the soul. was also the first to be subjected to spiritual death.The fact that it. which means that it is a voluntary. And this is the reason why the fall of first man becomes the fall of all men. The fact of the fall has effected the whole structure and state of man. But while this death seems natural under these conditions it is at the same time a beneficial concession of God to man.

but cannot serve himself spiritually. which proceeds not from Christ alone but from the whole Trinity. operated incidentally and apocalyptically. but that of an individual which did not exist by itself previously. Only a renovation and a restoration of human nature according to its archetype [xxxi] could bring the necessary radical change in the course of mankind. This good is granted only by the uncreated light [xxviii]which is unapproachable to the fallen man. Meyendorff [xxix]connects the teaching of Gregory on the operation of grace with the incarnation of the Logos. as the classical example of Moses proves Certainly. In Old Testament times grace. "The most excellent of all. if he receives the divine spirit anew. It did not however become a possession of fallen man until after the incarnation of Logos. The transubstantiation of the human nature of Christ is 16 . But. which once rendered it completely clear and gave to it its full meaning. existed and operated at all times. The untreated light is divine grace. could not participate in it permanently. Since the incarnation grace operates permanently and becomes subject to participation by man. Romanides[xxx] refutes this thesis and maintains that grace operated even in Old Testament times. So a new root was created. Fallen man having already lost the divine spirit. the entire human nature. capable of imparting life to its offshoots. and especially its last episodes: the salutary passion and the resurrection"[xxxii]. And this change was realised through an unprecedented event : the incarnation of God. Gregory. he is unable to know God completely and to meet Him. which is the final object of his life. considers them as limited. but took existence in the hypostasis of the Logos and was united to Him in one hypostasis.[xxxiii] It was only this individual nature which contained the fullness of divinity [xxxiv]. without being pessimistic about the abilities of the fallen man. Man can serve himself in respect to his worldly needs. He has the will to perform the commandments of God and can know Him partially through the observation of creation through his intellectual reflection.to that loss of likeness. This is the non-natural state of man. grace. And it was transubstantiated and deified as a first fruit of our kind [xxxv]. or rather the incomparably excellent event is the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.e. i. Gregory says. The nature which was assumed by Christ is not that of the species.

and to the reasonable. but the connection of men to that root is not physical as is the connection with the old root of Adam.[xliv] 17 . place of God. They gave to each function whatever is proper to it: to the sensitive. deification.The body is not something worthless. but now the human nature assumed by Christ was seated on the throne of God and thence attracts men to Itself. so that the intellect could be devoted to ecstatic prayer and communion with God. then the god-like life of man is a participation in the divine energy itself[xxxix] a participation which leads to theosis. This was the only way to attain the true light. The change brought about in man by the renovation is also physical. the Virgin Mary[xxxviii]. If physical life is a result of the divine energy according to Gregory. on the contrary. Here lies one of the main points around which the acute polemics between Gregory Palamas and Barlaam Calabros was concentrated. love. as dweller? Such are the presuppositions with which the Hesychasts cast out the law of sin and introduced the power of the intellect into man. The connection to the new root is secured by willing participation in the renovation. The archetype of males is now John the Forerunner. put forth a strictly neoplatinic thesis concerning prayer. temperance. The latter. should not be worthy of having the intellect. Why that which may becomes a dwelling . caracterizes this opinion as the source of all error.[xxxvi] Thus we find ourselves before a new state of man.or rather inside man as a whole. Barlaam considers such an ecstatic condition as well as the grace of deification as thoroughly natural[xli] Gregory. both philosophical and theological [xlii]. Man before the fall certainly possessed the enlightenment of the divine light. though not a thoroughgoing platonist in all his anthropology. sobriety. to the passive. since the attachment of the intellect to the common operation of the body and the passive part of the soul fills it with darkness instead of light[xl]. for it constitutes a transference to heaven [xxxvii]. The first of the basic factors which determine the course of theosis is the concentration of the intellect. and that of females. -He called for removal of the intellect from the body and mortification of the passive part of the soul.He calls for concentration of the operation of the intellect inside the body[xliii]. a state which supersedes the simple restoration to the conditions before the fall.physical.

the light which is seen now by the Hesychasts. 18 . Indeed just as God condescends to man. theology is an insufficient means for approaching God. the uncreated light of the divine glory which is eternally emitted from the Trinity. because it is "word" or "reason" about. Here a second factor is introduced: unceasing mental prayer. in order that their meeting might be achieved[xlvii]. so man ascends to God. It possesses the power to elevate man from earth to heaven and to bring him before God[xlviii]. In either form it must be superseded. while the whole man participates in the divine gifts. In this sense. no matter how much one reflects on God. Gregory does not altogether reject ecstasy but gives to it its appropriate content. ecstasy is an operation by wich the hõçéáç powers are elevated above their standard and which proceeds to the divine condescension. A man may think of gold all the time but he will never possess gold. one can not acquire the divine treasures. Nor in its apophatic form as submersion in the divine darkens should it be the only path for a Christian to pursue. as knowledge and understanding of God. during which the human powers continue to function. The question is here not one of mere emotion. Prayer is the condition of ecstasy. he cannot refuse to give to the body a place in the spiritual experience. This is a thesis of eastern spirituality which may be traced back to Diadochos and Macarios. To Gregory. A man may think of a city as much as he likes. and the substance of the blessings of the life to come are three phases of one and the same spiritual event composed in a timeless reality [xlix]. Gregory sees the exaltation of man to be brought about by an intense effort of the intellect. Likewise. unless he takes it in his hands. The light of mount Tabor. The peak of this exaltation is communion with God. cannot be the goal of the movement of the intellect towards God. unless he visits it. Theology in its positive and scholastic form. Since he considers even material things as gifts of God.The concentration of the aims neither at acquisition of learning nor at mere theologizing. One can acquire these only by experiencing the divine realities[xlv] by reaching the vision of Godthe theoptia-which surpasses theology just as the possession of an object surpasses the mere knowledge [xlvi]of it. The whole man is seized by abundant light. God. while he himself seeks for contemplation of God above "word" and "reason". but he will never acquire an exact picture of its structure.

The intellect. then the functions of these two men are identified. Progress is endless[lii]. in the words of Gregory [lv]. while the divine essence as a simple entity is indivisible. Man has the soul as an essence. If we now posit that a man participates in the intellect. he is transferred from the category of creatures to another position. he acquires supernatural qualities and. How does this become possible? Gregory. we may use a comparison. and this sense is the light itself. But whenever he participates in divinizing grace. the latter as a vessel of grace . anarchos and ateleutetos. when it is seized by the divine light and enters into it. God and man have then life as a common uncreated energy.The uncreated light is not an object which can be sensually perceived. becomes itself light. Therefore in reality it is the light that sees the light [li]. he remains a created result of the creative energy of God. the intellect. Although the element of the endless includes in itself the notion of imperfection. imperfect gods. therefore. In this new condition there is beginning and progress but no end. Whenever man does not participate actively in uncreated divinizing grace. the reason and the spirit. Thus on a higher level the spiritual man attains to the energies of God. he enters into the untreated kingdom which is the glory of God [lvi] 19 . It exceeds both sense and understanding. as we said before.which go back to Maximos the Homologetes. both soul and body participate in its vision. and ones not identified or assimilated with the one God in essence [liii] That which is participated in is not His essence. following of Photius [l]. but remains alienated from his unapproachable essence. In order to understand Gregory’s thought correctly.So each man becomes a being without beginning and. however. the former as the natural source. 'Thus man surpasses the state of ecstasy and reaches union with God and theosis. end. Any thing which is participated in is divided. since they participate in God. that which is here participated in is God's divisible energy [liv]. But in spite of this.. but this does not bring about as well an identification of the essence of the souls of the two men. whose functions are. Such a thing is impossible. the reason and the spirit of another man. His sole relation with God is that of a creature to the creator. expounds a theory according to which the intellect in its elevation acquires a new spiritual sense. They are. without ceasing to be a created being by nature. just and pure men may be called "gods".

51f. Physical death was for the human race a beneficial concession of God which aimed at cancelling the perpetuation of the evil. is also a part of the restoration of the creation but from an opposite point of view. 3. 397. this participation will be completed only after the second coming. 45. This is an actual experience which makes man a member of the kingdom of God.ΕΠΕ 10.1. Whatever happened to God-Man may be repeated in man. Chrestou I. 9.Chrestou V.p.152. However.V 48. Defense of Hesychasts. Chrestou I. Cit. 1t. p.Chrestou . The body will be raised in order that man might be renovated wholly[lviii] and assumed into heaven. The resurrection of the sinners consequently has a different meaning. [iii] Op. 22. [vi] Cap.The establishment of the kingdom has already begun in this world. 2. 24. 61. 5. Now this gift is taken away. [i] Hom. [v] Cap. 26. The connection of the new man with God remains indissoluble even after the separation of the soul from the body. having been raised by the acquisition of the divine spirit anew.[lvii] which will abolish the death of the body. as the divinity of Christ remained inseparable from his humanity even in his death. The soul of man. Chrestou V61. tastes the experience of participation in the divine light and glory. Chrestou I . and the resurrection of the sinners becomes their torment. This is the view of Gregory of Nyssa and Dionysius Areopagita. 20 . 673.[lix] It is the assumption and not the resurrection that is the divinizing gift par excellence to the just. [vii] Apodicticos 2.P. [iv] Cap. [viii] Defense of Hesychasts 1. 85. [ii] Cap. 2. 31.

85. 3. [xvii] Cap.p.V 56f. Chrestou.p. Chrestou V 53-57. 33. Chrestou.V 48.7. Cap. 9. [xxiii] Hom. [xxiv] To Xene. 595. 47. 15. [x] Defense of Hesychasts 2. 62.Paris 1959. 3. p.20. 16. [xxviii] Defence of Hesychasts 2. [xxvi] On Divine Participation 8.432. Chrestou II. [xiv] Defense of Hesychasts 1. 432. Chrestou.144.V 56.V 65. [xxii] Antirreticos against Acindynos 2. 38. CHRESTOU I p. p.[ix] Cf. [xviii] Cap. 21 .197.598. 144. MAKARIUS. CHRESTOU I p. 2. Chrestou. Chrestou I. 35-39. Chrestou V. Chrestou. V52. Chrestou I. 51. [xvi] Apodicticos 2. 33. Chrestou. [xi] Cf.ΕΠΕ 9.213 ff.18. Introduction à l’ étude de Grégoire Palamas. 39.V65. [xxvii] Cap. 66. 589 B.386. 24. MEYENDORFF. 3. 7 ΕΠΕ 9. Chrestou I . Also Defense of Hesychasts 1. Chrestou II. V 62. Patristica Sorbonensia 3. p. 51. 1. [xix] On Divine Participation 8. [xv] Cap. V 52: «the reasonable and intellectual soul has life as essence». PG 29.p. [xiii] Cap. Chrestou.Chrestou. [xxix] J. [xxv] Hom. [xx] Cap. [xxi] Cap. Hom. Chrestou III. 22. 9. 16.396. [xii] Cap.18. 7.

[xxxvi] Hom. 2. p. [xxxiii] Hom. Dionysius Areopagita. 15. [xxxviii] Defense of Hesychasts. 43.422-481.[xxx] J. Cit.49. Cit. 9.p. 15. Chrestou I. 5. 1. 15. p. ROMANIDES. Chrestou I. 3.365. Cit. p. p. 2. Epist. V67. 3. OECONOMOS P. Gnostica 40. [xli] Op. 1. [xxxix] On Divine Participation 19. 455. ΕΠΕ 9. Chrestou I. [l] Cap.Basil the Great. 419 22 . Chrestou I. 3. 154. Cit. [xl] Defense of Hesychasts 2. 705. PG. 54. Cit. 144. p. 394. 1. 524-525. 26. Crestou I. [xxxv] Op. 3. PG 3. «Notes on Palamite Controversly» Greek Orthodox Theological Review 9 (1963-1964) 236 ff. Chrestou II. [xlviii] Hom. 364. [xxxi] Defensw of Hesychasts 1. 1. Chrestou I. Cit. 5. p. p. 1.228A.57. [li] Defense of Hesychasts 1. Crestou I. Chrestou I. 1. p. Chrestou. 1. [xxxii] Hom. p.p. [xlix] Defense of Hesychasts 1. 32.445. 1. [xliv] Defense of Hesychasts 1. 2. 17.Hom. 1. p.9. p. 2.397. De Nom. [xxxvii] Cap. ΕΠΕ. 453. [xxxiv] Defense of Hesychasts 3.170. 41.2. 47. 4. [xliii] Cf.638. επε 10. 9. 2. [xlvii] Op. 42. 1. [xlv] Op.II. Cf. 4. ΕΠΕ 9. Chrestou I. 16. 4. 458. 3. Chrestou I. 53. 2. [xlii] Op. [xlvi] Op. 629. 3. 3.646. 3. Chrestou I. Chrestou I. Chrestou I.

596. ΕΠΕ 10. 23 . Cit. p. 22. 8. [lvii] Hom. Chrestou I. 154. Capita de charitate 3. [lix] Hom. 3. [lv] Defense of Hesychsts 3. Chrestou V 199. p. 247. p. 241. 686. 21. 3. 26. 12. 166. Cit. Chrestou I. 35. ΕΠΕ10-16. Chrestou II.[lii] Op. 2. 25. PG 90. Chrestou II. 15-16. Chrestou II. [lviii] To Xene 14. p. p. [lvi] On Divine Participation 20.MAXIMOS. [liv] Op. 1024 C. [liii] Theophanes 16.

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