Scholars of the patristic era have paid more attention to the dogmatic tradition in their period than to the development of Christian mystical theology. Andrew Louth aims to redress the balance. Recognizing that the intellectual form of this tradition was decisively influenced by Platonic ideas of the soul's relationship to God, Louth begins with an examination of Plato and Platonism. The discussion of the Fathers which follows shows how the mystical tradition is at the heart of their thought and how the dogmatic tradition both moulds and is the reflection of mystical insights and concerns. This new edition of a classic study of the diverse influences upon Christian spirituality includes a new Epilogue which brings the text completely up to date.
Denys the Areopagite
Author: Andrew Louth
Publisher: A&C Black
Andrew Louth examines all the traditions on which Denys' work draws: the Fourth Century Greek theologians, pagan philosophy and Syrian Christian thought. The corpus of Denys the Areopagite appeared in the sixth century and have since been deeply influential on Christian thinking both in East and West. Who their author was remains a mystery but in this book Professor Louth documents and comments on his compelling vision of the beauty of God's world and his revelation, together with his profound awareness of the ultimate mystery of the unknowable God who utterly transcends all being.
The Divine Sense
Author: A. N. Williams
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
A. N. Williams examines the conception of the intellect in patristic theology from its beginnings in the work of the Apostolic Fathers to Augustine and Cassian in the early fifth century. The patristic notion of intellect emerges from its systematic relations to other components of theology: the relation of human mind to the body and the will; the relation of the human to the divine intellect; of human reason to divine revelation and secular philosophy; and from the use of the intellect in both theological reflection and spiritual contemplation. The patristic conception of that intellect is therefore important for the way it signals the character of early Christian theology as both systematic and contemplative and as such, distinctive in its approach from secular philosophies of its time and modern Christian theology.
Author: Brendan Cook
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
This book offers an original account of an ancient, alternative form of ‘negative’ reason which stands in antithesis to its modern instrumental form which has dominated thinking about the pursuit of human development since the Enlightenment. It advances arguments for the recovery of such reason as a spiritual and therapeutic way of life and demonstrates that it is impossible to fully appreciate the Christian apophatic tradition without investigating the intricacies of its philosophical heritage. The aim of this discussion is the retrieval and rediscovery of invaluable insights from ancient philosophy in the universal pursuit of happiness. The book’s re-appropriation of the ‘negative’ philosophical and theological articulation of the pursuit of eudaimonia offers to redirect those living in the twenty-first century towards the significance of the Christian apophatic ascent and in so doing to assist them in uncapping the wellsprings of human passion, desire and happiness.
St. John Damascene
Author: Andrew Louth
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
John Damascene, one-time senior civil servant in the Umayyad Arab Empire, became a monk near Jerusalem in the early years of the eighth century. He never set foot in the Byzantine Empire, yet his influence on Byzantine theology was ultimately determinative, and beyond that his theological work became a key resource for Western theology from Scholasticism to Romanticism. His searching criticism of Imperial Byzantine iconoclasm earned him harsh condemnation from the Byzantine iconoclasts. This is the first book to present an overall account of John's life and work; it makes use of recent scholarship about the transformation of the former Byzantine territories of the Middle East after the seventh-century Arab Conquest, and the new critical edition of the Damascene's prose works. It sets John's theological work in the context of the process of preserving, defining, defending, and also celebrating the Christian faith of the early synods of the Church that took place in the Palestinian monasteries during the first century of Arab rule. John's own contribution is explored in detail: his amazing three-part Fountain Head of Knowledge, which provided the logical tools for arguing theologically, outlined the multifarious forms of heresy, and set out with clarity and learning the fundamental doctrines of Orthodox Christianity; as well as his treatises against iconoclasm, his preaching, for which he was famous in his lifetime, and, the work for which he is most renowned in theOrthodox world, his sacred poetry that still graces the liturgy of the Orthodox Church. The life and thought of this subject of the Arab Caliphs, a Christian monk who thought of himself as a Byzantine, poses intriguing questions about identity in a rapidly changing world, and the deeply traditional nature of his presentation of Christian theology calls for reflection about the relationship between tradition and originality in theology.
Philosophy of Mysticism
Author: Richard H. Jones
Publisher: SUNY Press
A comprehensive exploration of the philosophical issues raised by mysticism. This work is a comprehensive study of the philosophical issues raised by mysticism. Mystics claim to experience reality in a way not available in normal life, a claim which makes this phenomenon interesting from a philosophical perspective. Richard H. Jones’s inquiry focuses on the skeleton of beliefs and values of mysticism: knowledge claims made about the nature of reality and of human beings; value claims about what is significant and what is ethical; and mystical goals and ways of life. Jones engages language, epistemology, metaphysics, science, and the philosophy of mind. Methodological issues in the study of mysticism are also addressed. Examples of mystical experience are drawn chiefly from Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, but also from Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Daoism. “This is a significant extension of the seminal work by Walter Stace, Mysticism and Philosophy. That work has stimulated much literature, all of which Jones manages to review here. He critically extends Stace’s universal core and embeds it in a sophisticated discussion of the extent, range, and metaphysical implications of mysticism.” — Ralph W. Hood, Jr., coauthor of The Psychology of Religion: An Empirical Approach
Augustine's vision at Ostia is one of the most influential accounts of mystical experience in the Western tradition, and a subject of persistent interest to Christians, philosophers and historians. This book explores Augustine's account of his experience as set down in the Confessions and considers his mysticism in relation to his classical Platonist philosophy. John Peter Kenney argues that while the Christian contemplative mysticism created by Augustine is in many ways founded on Platonic thought, Platonism ultimately fails Augustine in that it cannot retain the truths that it anticipates. The Confessions offer a response to this impasse by generating two critical ideas in medieval and modern religious thought: firstly, the conception of contemplation as a purely epistemic event, in contrast to classical Platonism; secondly, the tenet that salvation is absolutely distinct from enlightenment.
Greek East and Latin West
Author: Andrew Louth
Publisher: St Vladimir's Seminary Press
Andrew Louth, one of the most respected authorities on Orthodoxy, introduces us to twenty key thinkers from the last two centuries. He begins with the Philokalia, the influential Orthodox collection published in 1782 which marked so many subsequent writers. The colorful characters, poets and thinkers who populate this book range from Romania, Serbia, Greece, England, France and also include exiles from Communist Russia. Louth offers historical and biographical sketches that help us understand the thought and impact of these men and women. Only some of them belong to the ranks of professional theologians. Many were neither priests nor bishops, but influential laymen. The book concludes with an illuminating chapter on Metropolitan Kallistos and the theological vision of the Philokalia.
’Mystical theology’ has developed through a range of meanings, from the hidden dimensions of divine significance in the community’s interpretation of its scriptures to the much later ’science’ of the soul’s ascent into communion with God. The thinkers and questions addressed in this book draws us into the heart of a complicated, beautiful, and often tantalisingly unfinished conversation, continuing over centuries and often brushing allusively into parallel concerns in other religions. Raising fundamental matters of epistemology, representation, metaphysics, and divine reality, contributors approach the mystical from postmodern, feminist, sociological and historical perspectives through thinkers such as Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Ignatius of Loyola, William James, Evelyn Underhill, Ernst Troeltsch, Rudolf Otto, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Marion and Jean-Louis Chrétien. Medieval and early modern radical prophetic approaches are also explored. This book includes new essays by Sarah Apetrei, Tina Beattie, Raphel Cadenhead, Oliver Davies, Philip Endean, Brian FitzGerald, Ann Loades, George Pattison, Simon D. Podmore, Joel D.S. Rasmussen, and Johannes Zachhuber.
The Wilderness of God
Author: Andrew Louth
Publisher: Darton Longman & Todd Limited
From the Desert Fathers to T. S. Eliot, the desert has occupied a special place in the Christian tradition. "The Wilderness of God is a classic exploration of desert spirituality by one of Europe's most distinguished theologians, showing that the desert can be experienced as a place of real inspiration as well as of torture and desolation.
Author: Eolene M. Boyd-MacMillan
Publisher: Peter Lang
Transformation is a desired outcome of Christian spirituality. Christians pray, trust, and hope that their responsive embrace of God will transform them. Interdisciplinary study of this process, as journey and as significant movements, hits upon key philosophical, theological, and psychological debates. Are all spiritualities the same core with an overlay of traditional practices and beliefs? How is the Holy Spirit involved in human life as the potential for this transformation process unfolds from birth? Can psychological theories of transformation that do not affirm divine reality have explanatory and descriptive power for Christian understandings of transformation? These areas of focus and related questions encompass broad landscapes. This book places a magnifying glass on one piece of the terrain by engaging the work of philosopher, theologian, and psychologist James Loder, mystical spirituality scholars Andrew Louth, Bernard McGinn, Denys Turner, and Mark McIntosh, and archetypal movement founder James Hillman. Without denying differences, this work is the first analysis to identify connections among these thinkers. The significance of the connections is both substantive and methodological for intra- and inter-faith (broadly understood) spirituality discussion, as well as for the engagement of the Christian church with the culture of the twenty-first century.
The Handbook contains eighty-nine articles by leading experts on all significant aspects of the diverse and fast-growing field of Byzantine Studies, which deals with the history and culture of the Byzantine Empire, the eastern half of the Late Roman Empire, from the fourth to the fourteenth century.
Author: William K. Riordan
Publisher: Ignatius Press
In his missionary journeys, St. Paul spoke in a number of cities in the Greek peninsula including Athens, renowned for its philosophical heritage. He addressed to them the message of the One, Unknown God (Acts 17:22ff). Among those present in the Areopagus (the open city center of Athens) on that day was a certain Denys (Dionysios) who eventually became a disciple of Paul. Centuries later, a corpus of writings appeared bearing the name of the Denys the Areopagite. These texts were considered to be the writings of the first century disciple of the Apostle Paul and thus achieved almost immediate prominence, strongly influencing the lives of St. Maximus the Confessor (d. 662) and St. John Damascene (d.749) in the East and Eriugena (d. 877), St. Bede (d. 735), St. Bernard (d.1153) St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1272) Nicholas of Cusa (d. 1464), St. John of the Cross (d. 1591), and many other great minds in the West. Later historical studies of Denys' texts, especially during the 19th century, showed conclusively that the writings are of a later date (5th century) than had generally been thought. Hence, the appending of "Pseudo-" before the name of Denys (Pseudo-Denys, Pseudo-Dionysius) became common place. The extraordinary brilliance of the texts themselves, however, has been in no way dimmed. The late Holy Father John Paul II in his monumental encyclical Fides et Ratio warns insistently against an approach to Revelation that shuns metaphysics. The texts of Denys provide a majestic and profound metaphysical perspective. Deeply formed by the Divine Liturgy and the Sacred Scriptures, this mysterious author uses the great insights of Plato and his later disciples, expressing the deepest profundities of the faith in stunningly beautiful writings. In Denys, readers past, present, and future find a penetrating contemplative vision into the Mystery of the Trinity and its creation. This book is a focused exposition of Denys' theological understanding with particular attention to the illuminating metaphysical depth of his insight. Care has been taken to prepare a text that is readable for the serious laymen accompanied with footnotes to provide a more detailed background for the scholar.