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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: May 2011

44 - Maximus the Confessor

from VII - The third encounter of Christianity with ancient Greek philosophy
The work of Maximus the Confessor presents the philosophical world view of the Greek-speaking Christian tradition in its most fully developed form. Maximus writes as a theologian rather than a philosopher, and many of his most interesting ideas are presented through elaborate allegorical interpretations of Scripture. He was a friend and disciple of Sophronius, and wrote numerous letters and short treatises arguing that Christ had two energies, one human and one divine, and likewise two natural wills. These works are important sources for Maximus' analysis of the will. Maximus sees humanity as capable of uniting within itself the two poles of each of the five divisions of being: uncreated versus created, intelligible versus sensible, heavenly versus earthly, paradisiacal versus worldly, and male versus female. His ontology and his understanding of deification come together in his teaching about time and eternity. Maximus also distinguishes from the natural will what he calls the 'gnomic will'.
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The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity
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