Chapter

Symeon’s Theology as Based on that of the Church Fathers

Hilarion Alfeyev

in St. Symeon the New Theologian and Orthodox Tradition

Published in print June 2000 | ISBN: 9780198270096
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683893 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198270096.003.0008

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Symeon’s Theology as Based on that of the Church Fathers

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Ascetical and mystical themes predominate in the literary heritage of Symeon the New Theologian, but he also discusses many theological themes. This chapter points out the most indicative items of similarity between Symeon's teaching about God and that of preceding Fathers, with the goal of defining his place among Eastern Christian theologians. Symeon quoted Gregory Nazianzen much more often than any other church writer. For Symeon, as for Orthodox tradition in general, Gregory was ‘the theologian’ in the proper sense, true Christian theology personified. By assigning the name of ‘New Theologian’ to Symeon, Orthodox tradition suggested the continuity of theological approach between him and Gregory Nazianzen. Symeon's indebtedness to Gregory is particularly clear in his teaching on God within Himself and in His revelation to humankind, which, for all its vividness, might well be expounded as based on Gregory's theological doctrine, and, through the latter, on Orthodox tradition. This chapter also looks at the views of Gregory and Symeon with regards to divine names, the incomprehensibility of God, and apophaticism.

Keywords: Symeon the New Theologian; Gregory Nazianzen; God; Orthodox tradition; Christian theology; incomprehensibility; apophaticism; divine names

Chapter.  8407 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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