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Maximus the Confessor & the Trinity - The Early Works

LOPEZ, ERIC,LEIGH (2014) Maximus the Confessor & the Trinity - The Early Works. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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In this study, I will argue that Maximus the Confessor’s (580-662 CE) engagement with the ascetic concerns and the theological controversies of the sixth and seventh century helped develop his early works toward a unique and distinctively Trinitarian articulation of Christian life and post-Chalcedonian theology. In the Liber asceticus, Maximus illustrates the Trinity as the beginning, means and end of Christian life, highlighting baptism, the Spirit’s appropriation of Son’s activities to the baptized, how the incarnate Son serves as the example of love and interweaves Trinitarian prayer into the dialogue’s appeal for mercy. Using the Liber as a baseline (Ch. 1), Chapter 2 places his Trinitarian grammar for Christian life in its ascetic context demonstrating areas of continuity but also its unique contribution.
The subsequent chapters then track this grammar’s development by analyzing the increased complexity, sparked by his engagement with various concerns and controversies, displayed in Capita caritate (Ch. 3), Quaestiones et dubia and Epistula 2 (Ch.4). The last section of Ch.4 provides a context for his engagement of pro-Chalcedonian theology and its development in Opusculum 13.
In the Capita, Maximus’ engagement with Origenism underscores the irreducible difference between God and creation yet also how they are sustained, preserved and deified through participation. His engagement with demonstrates the necessity of joining θεωρία and πρᾶξις, giving an early glimpse of union and distinction in his Trinitarian theology. Finally, what was only illustrated in the Liber, is made explicit through a robust explanation of contemplation and prayer.
In Quaestiones, Maximus begins to fix his terminology for the stages of ascent. Additionally, while continuing to engage with Origenism, he introduces more technical language for the incarnation, utilizes the Logos/λόγοι doctrine for ascent and applies the λόγος/τρόπος distinction for the Trinity. Then, in Ep. 2, he integrates these new features from Quaestiones into his description of ascent and the incarnation. Finally, in Op. 13, Maximus departs from his earlier concern for ascent yet, like his other early works, reveals engagement with a specific controversy – miaphysitism.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:"Maximus the Confessor","Trinity"
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Jul 2015 12:50

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