A. N. Williams

in The Ground of Union

Published in print September 1999 | ISBN: 9780195124361
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853502 | DOI:

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This chapter assesses the theologies of Aquinas and Palamas in light of the charges rehearsed in Chapter 1. To review, the recriminations of East and West over the deification concern: the West's departure from the model of sanctification dominant in the Fathers; the particular lack of a doctrine of deification in Aquinas; Aquinas' espousal of created grace; Palamas' espousal of the essence-energies distinction; Palamas' departure from the theology of the Fathers; the uses of philosophy and logic by both figures; and the role of spiritual experience, especially in Palamas. The first two of these questions, regarding the persistence of deification in the theology of the West, and in particular, in the theology of Aquinas, has been answered by Chapters 2 and 3. The question remaining is not whether Aquinas has a doctrine of deification, but whether it represents a legitimate development of the patristic doctrine and whether it is compatible with that of Palamas.

Keywords: deification; Thomas Aquinas; Gregory Palamas; sanctification; essence-energies distinction; theology

Chapter.  11070 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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