Gregory Palamas and the Latin West

Marcus Plested

in Orthodox Readings of Aquinas

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199650651
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745225 | DOI:

Series: Changing Paradigms in Historical and Systematic Theology

Gregory Palamas and the Latin West

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This chapter deals with Gregory Palamas' reception of the Latin West. Taking his evident use of Augustine as a starting point, it argues for the existence of an Orthodox interpretation of procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son in Gregory — and not only in respect of temporal procession. This constructive approach to the filioque question reveals an instinctive solidarity between Gregory and the Latin theological tradition, as also evidenced by his understanding of the divine wisdom. Palamas' deep roots in the Byzantine scholastic tradition underpin his defence of the place of rightly-ordered reason on theology, an approach that aligns him far more closely with Thomas than with the anti-rational discourse of many of his opponents. Attention is also given to Palamas' connections with and irenic approach to the Latins of his own time — an approach analogous to that of Aquinas. The chapter questions the prevalent assumption in modern theology (Eastern and Western alike) that Palamas and Aquinas may be taken as opposing archetypes of their respective traditions. In fact, the commonalities between these two theologians are more evident that their differences and this helps explain the capacity of so many committed Palamites to welcome and make use of Aquinas in the last years of the Byzantine Empire.

Keywords: Gregory Palamas; Augustine of Hippo; Thomas Aquinas; filioque; wisdom; essence-energies distinction

Chapter.  14677 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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