The Patristic Basis of Symeon’s Anthropology

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:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

The Patristic Basis of Symeon’s Anthropology

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Before surveying Symeon the New Theologian's doctrine of the nature and destiny of man in its relation to the traditional teaching, this chapter notes that the anthropology of the church Fathers has its roots in both the Bible and Greek philosophy. In particular, the patristic doctrines of the creation of man, of man's fall and redemption are totally based on biblical revelation. On the other hand, such concepts as that of man as microcosm, of the four elements of the human body, or of the three parts of the soul, are all borrowed from ancient Greek philosophy and medicine. Some features of patristic anthropology have joint roots, deriving from both sources: for example, the notion of the image and likeness of God in man. In Symeon's anthropology, we also find concepts deriving from Greek philosophy side by side with biblical ones. Those concepts of ancient philosophers that Symeon employed must have been borrowed by him either from earlier Fathers or from his educational background, but not directly from primary sources.

Keywords: Symeon the New Theologian; man; destiny; dual nature; anthropology; Bible; Greek philosophy; revelation; God

Chapter.  7143 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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