Article

Byzantine Theology

Andrew Louth

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199252466.013.0066

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Byzantine Theology

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Byzantine theology owes a great deal to the Christian Scriptures. Among the ideas learned by Byzantine theologians from the Scriptures was the existence of a sovereign God who created the world and rules it through his providence, and who created the cosmos out of nothing. The writings of Dionysios the Areopagite that made their appearance in Byzantine intellectual history in the first third of the sixth century present a view of God and the created order that was hugely influential among the Byzantines. Dionysios introduced into Byzantine theology the term (of Neoplatonic inspiration) "apophatic theology", or theology of negation. Opposed to apophatic theology is "kataphatic theology", the theology of affirmation, which is characteristic of God's revelation of himself in the oikonomia. This article examines the theology of the Byzantine Empire, focusing on debates about Christology, the concept of God and the cosmos, and monastic asceticism.

Keywords: theology; Byzantine Empire; Scriptures; God; cosmos; Dionysios the Areopagite; apophatic theology; kataphatic theology; Christology; asceticism

Article.  5759 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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