Чернецов С.Б.

Эфиопская литургия как источник национального чувства

Вестник ПСТГУ
III: Филология
2007. Вып. 1 (7). С. 123–137

EVAGRIUS PONTICUS: NATURAL CONTEMPLATION VERSUS
KNOWLEDGE OF THE DIVINE ESSENCE –
*
A CAPPADOCIAN SOLUTION?

SR. SERAPHIMA (KONSTANTINOVSKY)
(Oriel College Oxford)

The paper will address only one part of Evagrius’s unions and distinctions:
the question of how God bridges the gap between himself and the world by
revealing himself in the universe and teaching the soul natural contemplation.
Natural contemplation will be then compared and contrasted with what
Evagrius terms the knowledge of God’s essence.

Throughout the discussion the role of Christ will be revealed. It will become
apparent how Christ is the key that unlocks the mystery of natural
contemplation but plays no apparent role in the knowledge of God’s essence.
In the second part of the paper attention will be given to the problem
of Cappadocian influence. Scholars have suggested that Evagrius’s tea-
ching on this matter has its roots in the thought of the Cappadocians.
This paper will investigate this claim. If it succeeds in its attempt to show
that Evagrius’s dependence in this matter is not so much «Cappadocian»
as eclectic, it will be possible to present a more accurate picture than
hitherto of Evagrius as a theologian and philosopher.

(i) Qewriva fusikh/: the deutevra and the prw/th
Natural contemplation in Evagrius consists in the spiritual
contemplation of the created order, both material and immaterial, as
distinguished from its purely sensory perception. As in all spiritual knowledge,
natural contemplation leads to the knowledge of the Holy Trinity. Evagrius
divides natural contemplation into the lower and secondary contemplation,
the deute/ra, and the higher and primary contemplation, the prw/th.

* Данный текст представляет собой доклад, подготовленный автором для
выступления на Ежегодной Богословской конференции ПСТГУ в 2005 г., и
печатается в авторском варианте.

123

Also.. Evagre le Pontique.. 1 Les ‘Képhalaia Gnostica’ d’Évagre le Pontique.g. Evagrios Pontikos und die Theologie der Wüste // Logos. and in Stoic milieu. P. P.. A. 6 Ibid. 1962. 4 Spanneut M. In Stoic terminology. P. Louvain. In Stoic writings (e. P. the terms logos and physis often are synonymous and expressive of the inner identity of a thing4. Philo. one can find ideas about the logoi of things in Clement. 345–354 3 On the Stoic background to Evagrius doctrine see: Stewart C. 285. 384–401. 5 Ibid. Kühneweg U. (ii) The lo/goi as the inner identities of created things The knowledge acquired from the logoi immanent in the created things is that profound knowledge which reveals the very natures of the things whose logoi they are. Bien- ert W. B. which fertilised both the thought of Philo and that of Christian Apologists. O’Laughlin M. This is the same as to live in accordance with one’s nature. 1993. et l’histoire de l’origénisme chez les Grecs et chez les Syriens. Y. 22. the background for the idea of the logoi as expressive of the identities of things has a precedent in Stoic theories3 of the logos as physis. while primary natural contemplation. Исследования The secondary natural contemplation comprises the logoi of material creation.A. Le Stoïcisme des Pères de l’Église. operating by the five spiritual senses of the intellect. In particular. Imageless Prayer and the Theological Vision of Evagrius Ponticus. However. focuses upon «the immaterial natures»1. Guillaumont offers the following systematisation: secondary natural contemplation has as its object «the bodies formed of the four elements» . Un philo- sophe au désert. P. 1999. Closing the Gap between Anthony and Evagrius // Origeniana Septima / Ed. 1995. Paris. Guillaumont A. in Cleanthes)5 one comes across the principle that one must live according to one’s inner logos6. 241. 124 . Festshrift für Luise Abramowski. Paris. N. 2 That there are closer affinities between Abba Anthony and Evagrius than hith- erto assumed see: Rubenson S. 2004. while the primary natural contemplation has as its object the logoi of the incorporeal beings. The origins of Evagrius’s doctrine of the logoi are eclectic and difficult to trace back to definite sources or specific authors. Thus we read in Practicus 92 that Abba Anthony considered the contemplation of creation (evidently in its logoi an exercise in learning the very «nature of beings» (h( fuv s ij t ^ w n gegono/twn)2. Paris.

11 Cf. The object of this latter kind of contemplation is the bodiless creation (ta\ a)sw/mata) or the intelligible creation (ta\ nohta/). constitutes at once the knowledge of inner identities of these things and some kind of knowledge of divine action. It contemplation stems from the right use of sensory perception and begins from the external observation of the bodies. Evagrius Ponticus: Natural contemplation. I. Thérapeutique des Maladies Spirituelles. Natural contemplation has as its object not the things viewed as crudely material but what the things are as their immaterial logoi reveal them. Paris. 1. Sin is both the soul’s «passion against nature»8 and disobedience to its logos9. their spiritual essence. This Evagrian principle that the invisible divine action is discernible through visible material things is rooted in a tradition that goes back to Scripture. therefore. In Clement one finds the expression about acting «h(qhk^wj te kai\ fusik^wj kai\ logik^wj»7. 1. 1. P. I.. 1–2 . P. The knowledge of the logoi of things. Their knowledge is also the knowledge of God’s imprint upon them10. 10 Cf. 3. 2000. even his eternal power and Godhead» (Rom.-Cl. and their destiny in God. which are «clearly seen being understood by the things that are made. Seraphima (Konstantinovsky). 6. 125 . their cause. 57: 7 Strom. Thus KG V. Larchet J. but their immaterial logoi 11. 163.Sr. Un philosophe au désert. 102. Thus the «invisible things of [God]». Thus Evagrius theory of the knowledge of the logoi of things amounts to a very strong epistemological claim. (iv) The prw/th The second natural contemplation is a necessary stage in order for the soul to ascend to the first natural contemplation. in the first natural contemplation too it is not the created beings as they appear to an unskilled observer that are the object of contemplation. (iii) The deute/ra Bearing all this in mind we can assess Evagrius’s teaching about second natural contemplation. 101. The contemplation of the logoi of things is the knowledge of their hidden spiritual principles. 8 Paed. 19–20) is what the logoi of creation reveal and what in some respect they are. Just as it is the case with secondary natural contemplation... Guillaumont A.. The knowledge of the logoi is an in-depth knowledge of what things are in themselves. 290. their raison-d-être. IV. 768.. 9 Ibid.

it appears that these are the logoi that concern both the material and immaterial creation. in the dispositions (tro/poij) that lead us up from evil and ignorance toward virtue or knowledge». Evagrius also envisages a third kind of natural contemplation: that of the logoi of God’s providence and judgement. after which it is possible to know the Holy Trinity itself»12. 5. while those about providence. 24 asserts that the first natural contemplation is the activity in which God was engaged when creating the immaterial beings: «The knowledge of primary nature is the spiritual contemplation which the Creator [here meaning God] made use of in making the intellects». By contrast. having been purified. on the one hand. However. 126 . so we shall first see the things (pra/gmata) themselves and. 229-233. on the other. 26 draw a clear distinction between. we also know their logoi. It is difficult to define precisely the ideas of Evagrius concerning providence and judgement in terms of conventional loci of theology. then. There is an important Christological angle to the subject of the two natural contemplations. KG III. (v) Providence and judgement Beside second and first contemplation. Исследования «As now by the means of the senses we perceive the sensible objects and then. Gnosticus 48 gives a definition of these: «Exercise yourself within yourself at all times (kata\ sauto\n a)ei` gu/ m naze) the logoi about providence and judgement (tou\ j peri\ pronoi/aj kai\ kri/sewj… lo/gouj)… And you will find the logoi about judgement in the diversity of the bodies and the worlds. P. we shall know also the contemplation concerning them. The « things» . KG III. inasmuch as the entire creation is fallen and is 12 For the Greek text see: Hausherr I. the creative activities of God and Christ. KG III. 13 Emphasis mine in both. having been more purified. and. Nouveaux fragments greсs d’ Evagre le Pontique // OCP 1939. 26 tells us. «the knowledge that concerns secondary nature is the spiritual contemplation Christ made use of in creating the nature of bodies and the worlds»13. 24 and III. are the incorporeal natures and the contemplation concerning them is the contemplation of their logoi. primary and secondary contemplations.

These principles reveal both the hidden realities beneath all created beings and some of God’s properties and names discernible in his activity with regard to creation. (vi) The Creative Wisdom of God and Christ The theme of creation as God’s book is inextricably linked with that of the creative wisdom of God as manifested in creatures. This very dense passage expresses Evagrius’s entire theology of natural contemplation. 127 . (a) Creation as God’s book The celebrated Scholion 8 on Ps. The wisdom that is seen in creation is the « manifold wisdom» of Eph. [He is] creator on account of the things that have come from non-being into being. through which book God is known as creator (dhmiourgo/j) and wise (sofo/j) and provident (pronohth/j) and judge (krith/j). Thus we read: « He is 14 Sch. Evagrius Ponticus: Natural contemplation. These are the logoi of divine providence and judgement concerning creation.. 16 (8). Ps. 3. Seraphima (Konstantinovsky). need of God’s restoration. And in this book both the logoi of providence and of judgement are written (oi( peri\ pronoi/aj kai\ kri/ s ewj lo/ g oi).10. 138. Evagrius approaches the broader theme of God’s providence and judgement as encoded within material creation as within God’s sacred book.Sr. visible and invi- sible. «The contemplation of the bodies and of the incorporeal [beings] is the book of God. wise through the logoi hidden in them (dia\ tou\j a) p okeime/ n ouj lo/ g ouj e) n au) t o ^ i j).. The purpose of this contemplation is to be able to «read» within creation the divine principles encoded in it. 16 uses a potent image of creation as a source of spiritual knowledge on a par with Scripture. 138. and moreover judge through differing bodies of reasonable beings and through the diversified worlds. in which the pure intellect (no^uj kaqaro/j) comes to be written through knowledge. God’s creative wisdom manifests itself in the material creation. nurture. The focal idea is that the entire creation. and restoration of the fallen creation. exists for the sake of being contemplated by the purified intellect. Their particular emphasis is upon the divine plan of creation. provident through the things contributing toward our virtue and knowledge (dia\ ta\ suntelo^unta pro\j a)reth`n h(m^in kai\ gn^wsin). and the ages that comprise them (dia\ ta\ dia/fora sw/mata t^wn logik^wn kai\ tou\j poiki/louj ko/smouj kai\ tou\j perie/xontaj tou/touj ai)^wnaj)»14 . because God made all things «in wisdom» (Ps 103. 24).

43). 13. which is a unifying wisdom and is informed by first natural contemplation. proclaims the manifold wisdom of God16. I. in pure prayer the mind communicates with God « without any intermediary» (mhdeno\ j mesiteu/ontoj)15. However. Yet of all beings there is none that teaches about his nature». 3. The «manifold wisdom» refers to Christ rather than God. Eph. 15 On Prayer. 21: «Everything that is. 128 . As Evagrius puts it. 10. Nous and Noesis in Plato. or God’s operations. while providing an insight into God’s operation known as wisdom. Aristotle and Eva- grius of Pontus // Diotima. Vol. it is important to note that Evagrius forcefully asserts the possibility of a knowledge of God that is different and higher than natural contemplation. Cited in: Ware K. 21 declares that. and beauty of material creation as formed by second natural contemplation. 43 needs elucidation as here one is presented with an important technical distinction that appears to be original to Evagrius. which is responsible for the diversity. creatures cannot be the source for revealing God himself. as opposed to God’s creative wisdom. The manifold wisdom is the property of Christ and thus it is inextricable from the theme of Christ’s revelation of himself. multiformity. and on the other hand. Evagrius specifically designates the idea of encountering «God himself» as seeing or knowing God’s «nature». (viii) God’s Essence versus God’s Wisdom To designate this unmediated knowledge of God Evagrius uses the term «the essence» or «nature» of God. variety. Evagrius distinguishes technically between the creative wisdom of God. 16 Cf. Thus we have: II. 158–163. 3. Thus II. the manifold wisdom of Christ. A number of striking passages in the Kephalaia Gnostica express this distinction. on the one hand. P. This kind of knowledge is obtainable through pure prayer alone. Исследования everywhere…because in all that he has made he is present by [his] manifold wisdom…» (KG I. (vii) Direct and Unmediated Knowledge of God Having said all this.

III. 81: «The one who knows God knows either his nature or his wisdom. (ix) The Meaning of the Unmediated Knowledge of God What does Evagrius mean by the «unmediated knowledge of God»? This is not a complete grasp of God’s entire being. The totality of all creation that becomes transparent to the eye of the intellect is encoded in the cosmos as God’s sacred book. Seraphima (Konstantinovsky). Likewise. Evagrius Ponticus: Natural contemplation. This is what a passage from «On the Seraphim» says: «For the rule of spiritual contemplation is not only that we admire but also that we dare not search out everything…». Far from reviling materiality.. not through any created being but directly. perceived. because the apophatic safeguarding mechanism is always present in his system.Sr. involves a much stron- ger experience of God. The second way of knowing God. of God himself. and by induction. The role of Christ is fundamental in natural contemplation. Evagrius sees it as God-filled and trans- figured. with the process of induction much curtailed. however. which he used when he created all things».. then. which in the pro- cess undergoes refinement and transforms into spiritual perception. Evagrius calls this the knowledge of « God’s essence» and an «unmediated» experience. Evagrius distinguishes two different kinds of the knowl- edge of God. Such language means that this strong ex- perience is not obtained through the mind’s focussing upon any created thing but through pure prayer alone. We shall see below that «pure» or «immaterial» prayer is performed during the hours of night. What Evagrius means is not the knowledge of God’s entire being but the knowl- edge of God’s action upon the soul. The first kind is the knowledge that the intellect attains through contemplating the spiritual identities of created things. (x) Summary To sum up. These include both the material and immaterial creation. This way of knowing God involves bodily sense perception. however. These three are all revelatory of God’s creative and economic power. when ordinary sense perception is reduced to a minimum and the mind is not stamped by any concepts whatsoever. in which 129 .

Kopecek Th. 3–6. 1994. P. Theirs was a theologising that lay hold of a syllogistic style of rhetoric20. 20 Cf. 1987 xiii. his potentiality. 1985. 19 Golitsin A. This simple statement was accessible to anyone. 323. A. 373-384. 1979. is veiled. Gregory the Theologian. HE IV. exactly how much Evagrius is indebted to the Cappadocians in this question is worth investigating in some detail. Eunomius: The Extant Works. Cappadocian Elements in the Mystical Theology of Evagrius Pon- ticus // Studia Patristica. His role in the acquisition of knowledge of God’s essence. In 1994 Golitsin followed Gendle claiming that Evagrius indeed uses the Cappadocian distinction between the essence and energies. Et Introibo. l. and his actuality. Oxford. Vol. In view of these claims. Anyone could 18 Gendle N. At least in the eyes of his shocked enemies. 7 (PG 67. «which he chooses to call the Divine Wisdom (sofi/a)»19. Berlin. In 1985 Gendle claimed that Evagrius’s ideas and terminology about the knowledge of God is based on the Cappadocian distinction between God’s unknowable essence or nature and God’s energies18. All that there was to it was to know that God was an unbegotten substance.P. Let us therefore take a quick glance at the context of the debate. however. 313 ff. Vaggione R. Ad Altare Dei: the Mystagogy of Dionysius Areopagi- ta. 2 Vol. 130 . Fragment 2. P. S.. A History of Neo-Arianism. Исследования he performs the mediating role between God and the soul. PART 2: EVAGRIUS’S CONTEXT THE CAPPADOCIANS It has been suggested over the past few decades that Evagrius’s distinction between God’s wisdom manifested in nature and God’s essence is directly indebted to the essence/energies distinction worked out by the three Cappadocian theologians in the course of the anti-Arian polemic. Philadelphia. the particular way of distinguishing between these concepts that was formulated by Basil the Great. Eunomius claimed to know the essence of God as fully as God knows it itself21. While theologians of many different strands in the fourth century distinguished between God’s essence. found in Socrates. simple and eternal22. (a) The Anomeian polemic The Anomeian polemic of Aetius and Eunomius was an exercise in the logics of theology. 473 b-c). 16:2. P. 21 Eunomius. 22 Cf. and Gregory of Nyssa took shape in the context of their anti-Anomeian polemic.

like Basil and the other Cappadocians. 25 Ibid.. Brill. 239. displays signs of operating within Aristotle’s conceptual framework of essences (ou)si/ai). Human Nature in Gregory of Nyssa: Philosophical Background and Theological Significance. powers/potentialities (duna/meij). the Aristotelian distinction between the potentiality and actuality is often obliterated. 22. and energies (e)ne/rgeiai). III. 24 Eunomius. 2000. Vaggione R. 23 Cf. These formulations are born in the context of a coup of propaganda and as such may not be expressive of all the complexity of the Anomeian position. Liber Apologeticus. The difference is the most radical: the Son is unlike the Father with respect to the essence. That the essences of things are known appears to be Eunomius’s premise that requires no demonstration23. Eunomius. however. 15. The Father alone is God.P. L. Eunomius of Cyzicus and the Nicene Revolution. Nevertheless it can with reasonable confidence be asserted that their tactics was governed by logical assessment of scriptural texts. 1. P. A. Evagrius Ponticus: Natural contemplation. 252. Vaggione R. 2000. Besides this. who claimed to possess the knowledge of essences. P.Sr. Eunomius of Cyzicus. Epiphanius declares about Aetius: «He dared to say that the Son is un-like (a)no/moioj) the Father and that he is not identical to the Father according to divinity» (Panarion. 29 For Eunomius’s use of the Categories see: Zachhuber J.. For him the terms used in scripture fully and completely convey the realities they stand for. Seraphima (Konstantinovsky). P. 26 Liber Apologeticus. 321. while the Son is a creature (ktisqe^ij)26. Oxford. P. P. especially that of Alcinous on the knowledge of essences 28. 3–4. cit. although he is like God’s potential and energy. although he is like the Father with regard to the Father’s activity 25. Therein he was a follower of Asterius the Sophist. Op. As in Basil. 250–251. The difference in names shows the difference in essence between them24. P. The Son by contrast has an origin. 28 Kopecek Th. have a complete knowledge of God’s essence. the Middle Platonic theory of language. 131 . The Son is unlike God’s essence. P. The tool that Eunomius uses to allow anyone to know the essences is their names. Leiden. 30 Cf. 46–48. cit. 27 Vaggione R. so that power is often used synonymously with «energy»30. Aristotle’s theory of the syllogism. 12. and his theory of predication as expounded in the Categories29. The sources of the Anomeians were probably Plato’s Cratylus27. The Father is alone the Unoriginate. as Scripture testified. Op. Nothing that has an origin of some sort is God. 76). № 260.

properties. In his theory about the essences as distinct from their potentialities/ energies and in his idea of «energetic» or contextualised knowledge Basil appears to be dependent on Aristotle’s theory of secondary essences and his distinction of potentiality and actuality (On the Soul. I. 132 . Basil argues31 that all human knowledge is based on epinoia. This is not at all a process of invention but that of reflection. Yet epinoia does not allow the knowledge of essences of things. Therefore. Basil. remains inaccessible to senses and therefore unknowable.C. № 1. departs from Aristotle in laying an especial emphasis upon the incompleteness and mystery of the «energetic» knowledge. 6–7. Op. Through it we come to know that God is ungenerated. Vol. one can only know its external manifestations. P. The manifestations provide an insight into the identity of the thing whose manifestations they were. P. which in Basil is termed «essence». what the thing is in itself. 33 For Aristotle’s First Essence and Secondary Essence see: Stead G. cit. The Concept of Divine Substance // Vigiliae chistianae. Исследования (b) Basil of Caesarea In response to Eunomius. His key point is that all knowledge is «energetic» and incomplete. Evagrius differs from Basil’s epistemology even with regard to the knowledge at the level of natural contemplation. God’s essence is incomprehensible32. 32 Kopecek Th. Basil thus follows Aristotle in proclaiming an «energetic» theory of knowledge. far from being fully expressive of an object’s essence. knowledge on the level of manifestations and operations rather than knowledge on the level of «what a thing is in itself». that is. It is Basil’s fundamental tenet is that to know an object. At the same time. Nonetheless. Categories. Basil’s theory of knowledge is «energetic». A. Nikomachean Ethics)33. Epinoia operates by seizing upon the manifestations of things and discovering that they are varied rather than simple and unified. 1975. 29. In his teaching about the knowledge of the logoi of things. however. 1–14. Therefore the term «ungenerated» is not indicative of God’s essence. 376. and energies. Evagrius is not very far from claiming knowledge of what things 31 Against Eunomius. which he identifies with the natures of things. One comes to know a material object by forming a concept of its manifestations to the organs of senses. its essence. its manifestations fall short of even approximating it. the knowledge that the manifestations and energies provide is a true knowledge.

1. I. The unknowable about God is «beyond examination of any kind» (a)peri/apton panti/)35. Basil cites Gen. his essence (ou)si/a) remains utterly beyond scrutiny. Against Eunomius I. are in themselves rather than what they are in their manifestations. which he expresses in terms of knowing «God’s essence». human nature is cleansed and restored. composed in Constantinople in 380-81.14. This is what enables him to draw with such ease parallels between the created and the divine. None of these. however. As with created things. qualifies the earth with respect to its substance. heaviness. as is any ignorance regarding creation. Whoever wrote down the account of creation «refused to examine by curiosity the question of the substance of the earth»34. How God is in himself. I. Evagrius’s divergence from Basil becomes very noticeable at the level of the knowledge of the divine. and density. This he is able to do in virtue of his unified concept of knowledge: provided. makes no use of the conception of knowledge through the logoi. 133 . Guillaumont goes as far as to 34 Against Eunomius. lightness. 13. it is God’s manifestations and powers in the created world that are known. both with regard to the natural and the supernatural. Here Evagrius is interested in asserting the reality of contact with God himself. however. there is a bridge between natural sense perception and spiritual experiencing of the divine. who proclaims only partial knowledge with regard to both creation and God. Basil insists. To illustrate his epistemological theory. On the analogy with sensible knowledge. Evagrius Ponticus: Natural contemplation.. This is also totally ineffable and is not be subject of human discourse. Basil. Thus Basil professes an «energetic» theory of knowledge. By contrast. 1–2 and declares that what would be knowable about the newly created earth would be its sensible manifestations: colour.Sr.. The knowledge of what things are in themselves appears to be finite. (c) Gregory of Nazianzus Gregory of Nazianzus’s conception of the ineffability and the knowledge of God is formulated in his Five Theological Orations. 35 Ibid. volume. In Letter 235 Basil says that in God there is that which is knowable (to\ gnwsto\n to^u Qeo^u) as well as that which is unknowable. Seraphima (Konstantinovsky).14 asserts that God revealed himself to the spiritual senses of the intellect.

10. theologia. 38 Or. His Christ is the Logos incarnate. and the theory of theological language. Un philosophe au désert. 24–25). Reason cannot comprehend that for which revelation is not given38.3 and citing Ps. 12. I. In Oration 27. Yet the essences and their energies do not have the same meaning and are distinct40. 42 Ibid. for «he takes the name according to each concept that is born in us from [the action of his] energy»41. God is one but is known in a multiplicity of energies. there is none. others are best left out of theological investigation 37. «for we have belived that the divine is everywhere present and gazes (qea/sqai) at all things»42. oiconomia. Gregory asserts the fundamental principle of the knowability of the external manifestations of a thing and of the total transcendence and therefore ineffability of its essence/nature. 338. 585. 41 Against Eunomius. This is the case with God too. The action of these upon the mind forms the basis for the multiplicity of the divine names. As Basil in Against Eunomius. both shields God from and reveals him to the mind to the extent that Evagrius’s system does not. Gregory can afford to be radically negative in his theological method. 8–12. 3–4. there is scope for scrutiny. 40 Ibid.. Исследования suggest that Evagrius may have assisted Gregory in writing them down36. but in matters of God’s inner life. As is the case with Basil. 27. God is simultaneously named by the differences of the energies. I.Using 36 Guillaumont A. 46. 353. Christ’s humanity. 39 Gregory of Nyssa.. The fundamental principle remains that we re- cognise – and therefore define – the essences by their energies or inseparable accidents (ta^ij e)nergei/aij ta\j ou)si/aj gnwri/zomen)39. (d) Gregory of Nyssa Gregory of Nyssa elaborates his brother Basil’s metaphysics. He thus has not just one but many appellations. II. 420. 10 (PG 36. because of the cataphatic potency of his unified Christology. 37 Or. In matters of God’s revelation. Like Basil. Against Eunomius. 27. 420. P. Gregory continues Basil’s line by suggesting that while some things about God are knowable. 8–11. therefore. 134 .4. epi- stemology. The very name qeo/j comes from a divine energy that has to do with seeing. Gregory is Aristotelian in that he professes the theory of knowledge that is «energetic» and thus experiential.

It is this event that enables men even to touch that which is beyond apprehension: the divine nature45. du/namij as a synonym of e)ne/rgeia (though these are distinct in Aristotle). Gregory does not distinguish between the lower and higher creative wisdoms or lower and higher natural contemplations. Thus in Gregory the knowledge of God in the purified soul is overtly Christological. Both men are very clear that this kind of theophany is that of God’s operations and not of God directly. Evagrius Ponticus: Natural contemplation. 27–420. 17–23. 81. God incarnate. to «some ray and warmth flowing from the nature of the Sun». Yet the nature of God remains inconceivable (a)perino/hton to^u qeo^u fu/sin)44. Moreover. which allows one to worship its source43. 419. 135 . a trope. both theologians have a strong Christological dimension to their conception of the knowledge of God’s operations through nature and in the soul. What is the most potent theophany through which the divine salvific powers reach down to men? The Incarnation. 32. Nonetheless. in effect. clearly. inasmuch as this revelation is available. Their conceptions. 30. Evagrius considerably differs from Gregory in a number of respects. Consequently. is intended to cause amazement and is. Seraphima (Konstantinovsky). Evagrius and Gregory agree that the knowledge of the divine operations through creation is fostered by and focussed around Christ. The last statement.Sr. There are undoubtedly similarities between Evagrius and the Nyssen in what concerns the knowledge of God through God’s operations in nature. At the same time. as well as for the theme of the infinity of the knowledge of God. 46 See The Life of Moses for the imagery of divine darkness within which God conceals himself. the emphasis of Gregory’s theological epistemology is undoubtedly upon the Christ-event as the source par excellence of divine knowledge. Gregory emphatically answers.. Every- where else in his writings Gregory is overwhelmingly apophatic when it comes to the divine nature46. Gregory likens the divine power/energy that is visible «through the logoi of foreknowledge and the wonders that are in creation». in Evagrius the revelation of Christ’s 43 Ibid.. both of which make use of the terms «essence» (ou)si/a) and «wisdom» (sofi/a) are overlapping. In Gregory Christ is responsible not for lower stages of spiritual knowledge only but for the whole fullness of God’s revelation to man. 82. it is Christ. he does not ascribe merely the lower wisdom and contemplation to Christ. 44 Ibid. 45 Ibid. who is at the heart of the divine revelation in the soul. As has been seen. Moreover.

Evagrius thus postulates know- ledge of beings. the Cappadocians envisage a knowledge of beings that is based not on the apprehension of their inner-most identities but on their external manifestations. glaring. Evagrius differs from the Cappadocians. Evagrius. then. 136 . This dis- tinction partially corresponds to the Cappadocian contrast between God’s operations. e) Summary of the comparison between Evagrius and the Cappadocians To sum up. Here the divergence between Evagrius and the Cappadocians is. Nonetheless. contrasting it with the term «wisdom». comparison of their two respective lines of thought becomes a near impossibility. Evagrius’s terminology and ideas in some respects overlap with those of the Cappadocians. the «energies». Evagrius affirms that which the Cappadocians abjure: that God’s essence is in some sense knowable. with regard to the knowledge of God’s essence. If with regard to the qewri/a fusikh/ comparing Evagrius with the Cappadocians was a complex task. Regarding the knowledge of created beings themselves. and God’s essence. which are known through creation. Similarly to the Cappadocians Evagrius uses the term «God’s essence» to denote God’s very being. which is knowable through creation. it would be a more economical way of assessing the evidence to suggest that Evagrius is simply different. Исследования manifold wisdom through natural contemplation is qualitatively different from and lower than the knowledge of God. which stands for God’s manifestations in the created universe. has a different conception of creation. rather than maintaining that Evagrius’s thought represents a complete (and possibly rebellious) inversion of that of the Cappadocians. which is not knowable in this way. which is at once both spiritual and finite. This «energetic» knowledge is never complete and in this sense is infinite. which is not «energetic» and is more optimistic than that of the Cappadocians in terms of what man can actually know. By contrast. Evagrius envisages the know- ledge of beings in their logoi. With regard to the knowledge of God through natural contemplation. at first glance. and God’s essence. There are both similarities and dissimilarities between Evagrius and the Cappadocians. which he claims fully reveal the inner iden- tities of the things whose logoi they are. which is unknowable through creation or through any other means. however. Evagrius contrasts God’s creative wisdom.

while «the essence of God» means God’s true being or how God is in himself. Such a diagno- sis. It also opens up avenues for a more complex and nuanced vision of his possible sources. Естественное созерцание противопоставляется тому.Sr. Seraphima (Konstantinovsky).. ЕВАГРИЙ ПОНТИЙСКИЙ: ЕСТЕСТВЕННОЕ СОЗЕРЦАНИЕ VS ЗНАНИЕ БОЖЕСТВЕННОЙ СУЩНОСТИ – КАППАДОКИЙСКОЕ РЕШЕНИЕ ВОПРОСА? СЕСТРА СЕРАФИМА (КОНСТАНТИНОВСКАЯ) Статья затрагивает лишь один аспект проблемы единства и различия в трактовке Евагрия: как Бог через откровение Себя миру и научение души естественному созерцанию преодолевает пропасть между Собой и миром. it does not mean the entirety of God’s being. while undermining the scholarly stereotypes that tend to reduce the diversity of theological thinking in the fourth century to Cappadocian influence. In any case it is no longer tenable that the Cappadocian distinctions served as the parent system for those of Evagrius. the shape that their respective systems eventually took reveals a large degree of independence from one another. In Evagrius. The semantics of his «God’s essence» concept merely overlaps with that of the corresponding Cappadocian concept. 137 . Nonetheless. The co-incidence of terms and ideas in Evagrius and the Cappado- cians stems from the fact that he and they shared the same intellectual universe and were nourished by broadly the same intellectual roots. It is in virtue of this that Evagrius is able to maintain the contrast between the created mind engaged in the knowledge of God’s essence – and God’s essence itself.. Evagrius Ponticus: Natural contemplation. makes Evagrius much more interesting in that it clears space for asserting his own creativity and originality. что Евагрий определяет как знание Божественной сущности.