Skip to main content
  • 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'.
Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity
  • Online ISBN: 9781139095464
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *
Allen, Pauline and Neil, Bronwen (2002) Maximus the Confessor and His Companions: Documents from Exile. Oxford.
Andia, Ysabel (1996) ‘Transfiguration et théologie négative chez Maxime de Confesseur et Denys l’Aréopagite’, in idem, (ed.), Denys l’Aréopagite et sa posterérité en Orient et en Occident. Paris.
Balthasar, Hans Urs von (1940) ‘Das Scholien-werk des Johannes von Scythopolis’, Scholastik 15:
Balthasar, Hans Urs von (2003) Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe according to Maximus the Confessor. San Francisco, CA.
Bathrellos, Demetrios (2004) The Byzantine Christ: Person, Nature, and Will in the Christology of Saint Maximus the Confessor. Oxford.
Berthold, G. C. (1982) ‘Did Maximus the Confessor Know Augustine?’, Studia Patristica 17:
Berthold, G. C. (1982) ‘Did Maximus the Confessor Know Augustine?’, Studia Patristica 17:
Blowers, Paul (1992) ‘Maximus the Confessor, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Concept of “Perpetual Progress”’, Vigiliae Christianae 46:
Blowers, Paul (1996) ‘Gentiles of the Soul: Maximus the Confessor on the Substructure and Transformation of the Human Passions’, Journal of Early Christian Studies 4:
Bornert, R. (1966) Les Commentaires byzantins de la divine liturgie du VIIe au XVe s. Paris.
Bradshaw, David (2004) Aristotle East and West: Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom. Cambridge.
Bradshaw, David (2006) ‘Time and Eternity in the Greek Fathers’, The Thomist 70:
Brock, Sebastian (1973) ‘An Early Syriac Life of Maximus the Confessor’, Analecta Bollandianda 91:
Capitoli sulla carità, ed. Cesera-Gastaldo, A. (1963). Rome.
Dekkers, Dom (1985) ‘Maxime le Confesseur dans la tradition latine’, in Laga, Carl et al. (eds.), After Chalcedon: Studies in Theology and Church History offered to Professor Albert Van Roey for his Seventieth Birthday. Louvain.
Dondaine, H. F. (1953) Le Corpus Dionysien de L’Université de Paris au XIIIe siècle. Rome.
Frede, Michael (2002) ‘John of Damascus on Human Action, the Will, and Human Freedom’, in Ierodiakonou, Katerina (ed.), Byzantine Philosophy and its Ancient Sources. Oxford.
Gauthier, R.-A. (1954) ‘Saint Maxime le Confesseur et la psychologie de l’acte humain’, Recherches de théologie anciennne et médiévale 21:
Gauthier, R.-A. and Jolif, J. Y. (1970) ‘La thème de la volonté (thelēsis): Saint Maxime’, in edem, (eds.), L’éthique à Nicomaque: Introduction, traduction et commentaire, 2 vols., vol. I, part 1. Paris.
Geanakoplos, Deno (1976) ‘Maximos the Confessor and His Influence on Eastern and Western Theology and Mysticism’, in idem, (ed.), Interaction of the ‘Sibling’ Byzantine and Western Cultures in the Middle Ages and Italian Renaissance. New Haven–London.
Harrington, Michael (2001) ‘Anastasius the Librarian’s Readings of the Greek Scholia on the Pseudo-Dionysian Corpus’, Studia Patristica 36:
Jeauneau, Edouard (1987) études érigéniennes. Paris.
Karayiannis, Vasilios (1993) Maxime le Confesseur: essence et energies de Dieu. Paris.
Lévy, Antoine (2006) Le créé et l’incréé: Maxime Le Confesseur et Thomas d’Aquin. Paris.
La Mystagogie de saint Maxime le Confesseur: Introduction, texte critique, traduction française et grecque, ed. Sotiropoulos, Charalampos (2001). Athens.
Larchet, Jean-Claude (1996) La divinization de l’homme selon sainte Maxime Le Confesseur. Paris.
Lebreton, J. (1906) ‘Le traité de l’âme de sainte Grégoire le Thaumaturge’, Bulletin de Litérature ecclésiastique 8:
Maximi Confessoris Ambigua ad Iohannem: iuxta Iohannis Scotti Eriugenae Latinam Interpretationem, ed. Jeauneau, Edouard (1988). CCSG.
Maximi Confessoris Ambigua ad Thomam una cum Epistula secunda ad eundem, ed. Jansenns, Bart (2002). CCSG.
Maximi Confessoris Liber asceticus, ed. Deun, Peter (2000). CCSG.
Maximi Confessoris Opera exegetica duo, ed. Deun, Peter (1991). CCSG.
Maximi confessoris Quaestiones ad Thalassium, ed. Laga, Carl and Steel, Carlos (1980, 1990). CCSG and 22 (includes translation by Eriugena).
Maximi Confessoris Quaestiones et dubia, ed. DeClerck, José (1982). CCSG.
Maximus Confessor: Selected Writings, trans. Berthold, George (1985). New York.
Maximus the Confessor, trans. Louth, Andrew (1998). London and New York.
Meyendorff, John (1989) Imperial Unity and Christian Divisions: The Church 450–680 A.D. Crestwood, NY.
Mueller-Jourdan, Pascal (2005) Typologie spatio-temporelle de l’Ecclesia byzantine: La Mystagogie de Maxime le Confesseur dans la culture philosophique de l’Antiquité tardive. Leiden–Boston, MA.
Neil, Bronwen and Allen, Pauline (2003) The Life of Maximus the Confessor, Recension 3. Strathfield.
Nellas, Panayiotis (1987) Deification in Christ: Orthodox Perspectives on the Nature of the Human Person. Crestwood, NY.
On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ: Selected Writings from St. Maximus the Confessor, trans. Blowers, Paul and Wilken, Robert Louis (2003). Crestwood, NY.
Patrologia Graeca, vol. 4, 90 and 91, ed. Migne, J.-P. (1860). Scripta saeculi VII Vitam Maximi Confessoris illustrantia, eds. Allen, P. and Neil, B. (1999). CCSG
Renczes, Philipp Gabriel (2003) Agir de Dieu et liberté de l’homme: recherches sur l’anthropologie théologique de saint Maxime le Confesseur. Paris.
Rorem, Paul and Lamoreaux, John C. (1998) John of Scythopolis and the Dionysian Corpus: Annotating the Areopagite. Oxford.
Roueché, Mossman (1974) ‘Byzantine Philosophical Texts of the Seventh Century’, Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik 23:
Roueché, Mossman (1980) ‘A Middle Byzantine Handbook of Logic Terminology’, Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik 29:
Roueché, Mossman (1990) ‘The Definitions of Philosophy and a New Fragment of Stephanus the Philosopher’, Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik 40:
Russell, Norman (2004) The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition. Oxford.
Savvidis, K. (1997) Die Lehre von der Vergöttlichung des Menschen bei Maximus dem Bekenner und ihre Rezeption bei Gregor Palamas. S. Ottilien.
Sherwood, Polycarp (1952) An Annotated Date-List of the Works of Maximus the Confessor. Rome.
Sorabji, Richard (2000) Emotion and Peace of Mind: From Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation. Oxford.
St. Maximus the Confessor’s Questions and Doubts, trans. Prassas, Despina (2010). Dekalb, IL.
St. Maximus the Confessor: The Ascetic Life, The Four Centuries on Charity, trans. Sherwood, Polycarp (1955). Westminster, MD.
Suchla, Beate Regina (1980) ‘Die sogenannten Maximus-Scholien des Corpus Dionysiacum Areopagiticum’, Nachrichten von der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen 3:
Suchla, Beate Regina (1984) ‘Die überlieferung des Prologs des Johannes von Skythopolis zum griechischen Corpus Dionysiacum Areopagiticum’, Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen 4:
Suchla, Beate Regina (1985) ‘Eine Redaktion des griechischen Corpus Dionysiacum Areopagiticum im Umkreis des Johannes von Skythopolis, des Verfassers von Prolog und Scholien’, Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen 4:
Törönen, Melchisedec (2007) Union and Distinction in the Thought of St. Maximus the Confessor. Oxford.
The Church, the Liturgy, and the Soul of Man: The Mystagogia of St. Maximus the Confessor, trans. Stead, Julian (1982). Still River, MA.
The Disputation with Pyrrhus of Our Father among the Saints Maximus the Confessor, trans. Farrell, Joseph (1990). South Canaan, PA.
The Philokalia: The Complete Text, vol. II, trans. Palmer, G. E. H., Sherrard, Philip and Ware, Kallistos (1981). London and Boston, MA.
Thunberg, Lars (1965) Microcosm and Mediator: The Theological Anthropology of Maximus the Confessor. Lund.
Wilken, Robert (1995) ‘Maximus the Confessor on the Affections in Historical Perspective’, in Wimbush, V. L. and Valantasis, R. (eds.), Ascetism. Oxford.
Zhivov, V.M. (1987) ‘The Mystagogia of Maximus the Confessor and the Development of the Byzantine Theory of the Image’, St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 31: