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John Meyendorff 

Theology in the Thirteenth Century: Methodological Contrasts* 

From: The 17th lnternational Byzantine Congress: Μajor Papers, ed. A.D. Caratzas, New Rochelle, Ν.Y. 1986. Reprinted by permission.  


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*  First published by A.D. Caratzas in The 17th lnternational Byzantine Congress: Μajor Papers (New Rochelle, Ν.Y., 1986). Reprinted by permission.

1. Cf. on this issue, A. Κarpozilos, The Ecclesiastical controversy between the Kingdom of Nicea and the Principality of Epirus (1217-1233) (Thessaloniki, 1973); and my discussion of the events at the Byzantine Congress in Athens in 1976 ('Ideological Crises in Byzantium 1071 to 1261', (repr. in The Byzantine Legacy in the Orthodox Church (Crestwood, ΝY, 1982), pp. 67-85).

2. La philosophίe au moyen-âge, des origines patristiques à la fin du XIV(e)  siècle (Paris, 1952), p. 395.

3. Quoted by Gilson, ibid.

4. Cf. texts quoted in Gilson, La philosophie, p. 396.

5. Cf. R. Βrowning, 'The Patriarchal School at Constantinople in the Twelfth Century', Β, 32(1962), 167-202; 33 (1963), 11-40.

6. The best recent review of these debates, whose results were enshrined in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, is by J. Gouillard, 'Le Sinodikon de l'orthodoxie. Edition et commentaire', ΤΜ, 2(1967), 1-316.

7. Apology I, in G. Μercati, Notizie di Procoro e Demetrio Cidone (ST 56, Città del Vaticano, 1931), p. 366; also F. Κianka, 'The Apology of Demetrius Cydones', Byzantine Studies, 8(1980), 57-71.

8. Cf. Νicephorus Βlemmydes, Curriculum vitae et carmina, ed. A. Heisenberg (Leipzig, 1896), pp. 2-18; new ed. by J.A. Μunitiz, Autobiographia sive curriculum vitae, (CCGS,13, Turnhout and Louvain, 1984), pp. 4-15; English translation with full commentary by J.A. Μunitiz, Nikephoros Βlemmydes. A partial Account (Louvain, 1988) (= Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense 48), pp. 43-57. On secular studies in the Nicean empire, see particularly Μ.A. Andeeva, Ocherki no kul'ture vizantiiskago dνora v XIII veke (Τraνaux de la société royale des sciences de Bohême. Classe des lettres. Nouvelle série, VIII, 3), Prague, 1927, pp. 128-160; also Μ. Angold, A Byzantine Government in Exile. Government and Society under the Laskarids of Nicaea (1204-1261) (Oxford, 1975), pp. 174-81.

9. Ed. W. Lameere, with French tr. (La tradition manuscrite de la correspondence de Grégoire de Chypre [Βrussels-Paris, 1937], pp. 176-91); Russian tτ. by I.Ε. Τroitsky in Khristianskoe Chtenie (St. Petersburg, 1870), I, pp. 164-177.

10. It has been suggested that the Augustinian "psychological images" of the Trinity,

learned from the translations of Planudes had inspired one passage of the Capita of Gregory Palamas. But the parallelism is in fact quite supeficial (cf. Μ.E.Hussey, 'The Palamite Trinitarian Models', St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, 16(1972), 83-9.

11. On the period, see Κ.Μ. Setton, The Papacy and the Levant (1204-1571), I (Philadelphia, Pa., 1976).

12. Cf. for instance the disputations of Nicholas Masarites in Constantinople in 1206 (Ed. A. Heisenberg, 'Aus der Geschichte und Literatur der Palaiologenzeit', in Sitzungsberichte der bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philos. Philolog. und hist. Klasse, 1922, 5; repr. Variorum, London, 1973), and a curious letter by the Greek clergy of Constantinople to Innocent III, accepting to commemorate the pope, as a secular ruler, but not as an ecclesiastical authority (PG 140, col. 297 C; cf. P. L'Huilliert, 'La nature des relations ecclésiastiques grécolatines après la prise de Constantinople par les Croisés', Akten da XI. Internationalen Byzantinisten-Kongress, 1958, Munich, 1960, pp. 317-8).

13. Cf. my old article 'St. Peter in Byzantine Theology', in The Primacy of Peter in the Orthodox Church, ed. J. Μeyendorff (London, 1963), pp. 7-29.

14. For basic bibliography, see V.I. Βarvinok, Nikifor Vlemmid i ego sochineniya (Kiev, 1911) - a very careful study deserving a reprint; I.E. Τroitsky, 'Κ istorii spora ob iskhozhdenii Sv. Dukha', Khristianskoe Chtenie, 1889, I, pp. 338-77; 581-605; II, pp. 280-352, 520-70; D.J. Geanakoplos, Emperor Michael Palaeologus and the West: A Study in Byzantine-Latin Relations (Cambridge, 1959); J.Gill, Byzantium and the Papacy, 1198-1400) (New Brunswick, NJ, 1979); A. Papadakis, Crisis in Byzantium. The Filioque Controversy in the Patriarchate of Gregory II of Cyprus (I283-1289) (New York, 1983); D.M. Νicol, several articles reprinted in Byzantium: Its Ecclesiastical History and Relations with the Western World (London, Variorum, 1972); J.M. Hussey, The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire (Oxford, 1986), pp. 211-9

15. The report of the Friars to the pope has been published by G. Golubovich in Archivium Franciscanum Historicum, 12(1919), 428-65; cf. an older edition in Μansi, Collectio Conciliorum XXIII, cols. 279-320D.

16. "Latin philosophy considers the nature in itself and proceeds to the agent; Greek philosophy considers the agent first and passes through it to find the nature. The Latins think of personality as a mode of nature; the Greeks think of nature as the content of the person", Τh. de Régnon, Études de théologie positive sur la Sainte Trinité, Paris, 1892, p. 433; cf. also Μeyendorff, Byzantine Theology. Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes (New York, second edition, 1983), pp. 180-189.

17. Treatise to Jacob, PG 142, cols. 553-65; Τo Theodore Lascaris, ibid., cols. 565-84. The treatises were private reports, not designed for wide circulation. According to Nicephorus Gregoras he wrote them "secretly" (λάθρα, Byz. Hist., V, 6, PG 148, col. 269A). The life and thought of Blemmydes have been controversial in his lifetime, in the following generation (Pachymeres, Gregoras) and among later historians. L.Allatius considered him a crypto-Latin (cf. Ecclesiae Occidentalis abque Orientali perpetua consensione, Cologne, 1648, p. 712ff). For E.Voulgaris (Aνάκρισις περί Νικηφόρου τoυ Βλεμμίδoυ in Iωσήφ Βρυεννίου τα Πapaλειπόμενa, III, Leipzig, 1784, pp. 307-400) and A. Dimitrakopoulos (Εκκλnσιaστική Βιβλιoθήκn Ι, [Leipzig, 1866], pp. 25-34) see him as a staunch Orthodox. For modern judgements on his treatises to Jacob and the Emperor Theodore, see Βarvinok, Nikifor Vlemmid, pp. 109-145 and Gill, Byzantium, pp. 152-7.

18. Τo Jacob, PG 142, col. 560 Β.

19. He expressed it forcefully in his treatise On the Faith ερί πίστεως), which was a sort of testament left to his monastic community before his death (PG 142, cols. 585-605). It seems quite unnecessary to suppose that he "modified his views certainly once, possibly twice" (Gill, Byzantium, p. 152).

20. Text of the Confession in H. Denzinger, Enchiridion Symbolorum, ed. Κ. Rahner (Freiburg, 1952), pp. 214-5. It seems that the first mention of the Purgatory, as a problem between the churches, occurred in 1235-6, when a Franciscan, Fra. Bartholomew, began to interrogate a Greek ambassador, the metropolitan of Corfu, George Bardanes, on this subject at Orvieto (cf. Μ. Roncaglia, George Bardanès et Barthélemy (Rome, 1953) (= Studi e Testi Francescani, 4); cf. also J.M. Hoeck and R.J. Loenertz, Nikolaos-Nectaτios von Otranto (Ettal, 1965), p.155.

21. The last very well-documented study is by A. Papadakis, Crisis, where previous publications are studied in detail.

22. Pachymeres, De Michaele et Andronico Palaeologis, ed. Βekker (Βonn, 1835), I, p. 381.

23. Blemmydes did not establish any distinction between the Spirit as person, and the charismata. Neither did Beccos (cf. Papadakis, Crisis, p. 98, note 33). The distinction is the principal contribution of Gregory of Cypros.

24. Cf. many texts are gathered in V. Laurent and J. Darrouzès, eds., Dossier Grec de l'Union de Lyon, I273-I277 (Paris, 1976).

25. The text of the Tomos is in PG 142, cols. 233-46; English tr., in Papadakis, Crisis, appendix I, pp. 155-165.

26. Cf. my article 'Ιs Hesychasm the right word?' in Okeanos. Essays presented to Ihor ,Sevcenko, 1983) (= Harvard Ukrainian Studies VII), pp. 447-57.

27. Tr. I, 2, 12; II, 2, 3, in J. Μeyendorff, ed., Palamas, Défense des saints hesychastes (Louvain, 1973, seconde edition) (= Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense, 30-31), pp. 99, 323-24.

28. Contra Gregoram Antirrh., VI, PG 151, col. 915CD; cf. another palamite theologian, Joseph Calothetos, Life of Athanasius. ed. D. Τsames,  Iωσήφ Κaλoθέτου συγγράμμaτa (Thessaloniki, 1980), p. 482. The antipalamite Akindynos is understandably a critic of Gregory of Cyprus (cf. J. Μeyendorff, Introduction à l'étude de Gregoire Palamas [Paris, 1959], English tr. 2nd ed., Crestwood, ΝY, 1974, p. 24).

29. The interesting personality of Theoleptus deserves further study, as can be seen from preliminary investigations, such as those of S. Salaville (cf. particularly two articles in the REB, 5(1947), 101-15, 116-36; also 'Un directeur spirituel à Byzance au début du XIVe siècle: Théolepte de Philadelphie, Mélanges J. de Ghellinck, II Gembloux, 1951, pp. 877-87), V. Laurent, ('Les crises réligieuses à Byzance: Le schisme anti-arsénite du métropolite Théolepte de Philadelphie', REB, 18(1960), 45-54), and D. Constantelos ('Mysticism and social involvement in the Later Byzantine Church. Theoleptus of Philadelphia: a Case Study', Byzantines Studies, 6(1979), 49-60).

30. The personality and works of Athanasius became much better known after the partial publication of his writings by A.Μ. Talbot, The Correspondence of Athanasius I Patriarch of Constantinople (trans., text and commentary, Washington, DC, 1975 = CFHB, VII). Cf. also J.L. Βoojamra, Church Reform in the Late Byzantine Empire (Thessaloniki, 1982).

31. Cf. J. Darrouzès, Documents inédits d'ecclesiologie byzantine, (Paris, 1966), pp. 86-106, 340-413.

32. Cf. Heisenberg, 'Aus der Geschichte', pp. 46-52.

33. Κ. Weitzmann, 'Icon painting in the Crusader Kingdom', DOP, 22(1966), 81-3.

34. Cf. A. Dondaine, 'Contra Graecos. Premiers écrits polémiques des Dominicains d'Orient', Archivium Fratrum Praedicatorum 21 (1951), 320-446; 'Nicholas de Cotrone et les sources du "Contra errores Graecorum" de Saint Thomas', Divus Thomas 28 (1950), 313-40.

35. Cf. R.J. Loenertz, Byzantina et Franco-Graeca (Storia e Letteratura: Raccolta di Studi e Testi, Rome, 1970) (articles on the Dominicans, published between 1935 and 1966); D.J. Geanakoplos, 'Bonaventura, the two mendicant orders, and the Greeks at the Council of Lyons (1274)', in D. Βaker, ed., Studies in Church History, 13 (Oxford, 1976), pp. 183-211; Β.Μ. Βolton, 'A Mission to the Orthodox? The Cistercians in Romania', ibid., pp. 169-181.

36. Cf. J.M. Hussey's observations, leading to similar conclusions in her brilliant book The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empiτe (Oxford, 1986), pp. 248-9.