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: