Reading the Church Fathers discussion

Maximos the Confessor > The introduction

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message 1: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 415 comments For those of us who actually read introductions :-) I thought I'd make a topic for that too.

I just came across a sentence that I find promising: Georges Florovsky quite appropriately described the theological achievement of Maximus the Confessor in terms of a grand “symphony of experience” rather than a perfectly contoured and self-enclosed doctrinal system.

I like that, because I an always a bit wary of systems. I wonder if we will be able to find evidence for the statement above, when reading the actual text.

message 2: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 415 comments This idea (from the introduction, p. 28) is totally new to me. Worth pondering, I think.

One other important text setting forth the ethical exigencies of Maximus’s cosmic theology is Ad Thalassium 64, a short commentary on the book of Jonah, toward the end of which he describes the three universal laws operative in the economy of salvation and deification: the natural law, the scriptural law, and the law of grace. This is a familiar theme in Maximus, and has clear antecedents in Paul, Origen, and Augustine. The three laws represent God’s gracious and benevolent (yet also punitive) plan for the world, with the natural law and scriptural law subservient to the transcending spiritual law of the grace of the incarnate Christ.
The natural law trains us in the basic solidarity and single-mindedness appropriate to individual human beings who share a common nature; it is enshrined in Jesus’s Golden Rule (Mt 7:12; Lk 6:31). The scriptural law leads to a higher discipline wherein human beings are motivated no longer by the mere fear of divine punishment but by a deep-seated embrace of the principle of mutual love. “For the law of nature,” writes Maximus, “consists in natural reason assuming control of the senses, while the scriptural law, or the fulfillment of the scriptural law, consists in the natural reason acquiring a spiritual desire conducive to a relation of mutuality ith others of the same human nature.”44 The essence of the scriptural law is thus summarized in Jesus’s dictum Love your neighbor as yourself (Lev 19:18; Mt 5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mk 12:31). Finally, the spiritual law, or law of grace, leads humanity to the ultimate imitation of the love of Christ demonstrated in the incarnation, a love which raises us to the level of loving others even above ourselves, a sure sign of the radical grace of deification. It is enshrined in Jesus’s teaching that There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend (Jn 15:13).

message 3: by John Angerer (new)

John Angerer | 58 comments Ruth, the “symphony of experience” imagery will be a worthy quest. Thank you for pointing it out from the intro. With that in the back of my mind, it will help me to continue to look beyond for the images of the senses within the theology.

message 4: by John Angerer (new)

John Angerer | 58 comments “Three universal laws in the economy of salvation” is new to me also, and is another perspective to Maximus’s theology I would not been aware of. Very nice post!

message 5: by Clark (new)

Clark Wilson | 549 comments As for system/symphony, we can pay attention to what degree in "Ambiguum 7" (and the following ambigua) Maximus acts like a systematizer. Is he attempting to cover an area exhaustively according to some method, or is he doing something else? How does he choose which topics to cover within an ambiguum treatment; how does he tell that he's done, that the ambiguum treatment is complete?

message 6: by Ruth (last edited Jan 26, 2020 10:43AM) (new)

Ruth | 415 comments John Angerer wrote: "Ruth, the “symphony of experience” imagery will be a worthy quest. Thank you for pointing it out from the intro. With that in the back of my mind, it will help me to continue to look beyond for the..."

I think I just found a sentence referring to this on page 50: It belongs to creatures to be moved toward that end which is without beginning, and to come to rest in the perfect end that is without end, and to experience that which is without definition, but not to be such or to become such in essence.

And just below that are the three stages: being, well-being and eternal well-being.

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