The Triumph οf Mysticism in Byzantium in the Fourteenth Century
From Byzantine Studies in Honor of Milton V. Anastos, Byzantina kai Metabyzantina, ed: Speros Vryonis jr, 4 vol., Malibu 1985.
The issues at stake in this major council were momentous for the history of Eastern Orthodoxy. They not only involved key decisions about the validity of a new theology, which appeared, to its opponents at least, to exaggerate the mystical focus of Byzantine theology and piety to an extreme degree. Νο, in addition to this the theology of Palamas had vast implications. It had charted quite comprehensively in fact, a special destiny for humanity, or at least for that portion of humanity embraced by the Eastern Orthodox world-which was far larger than the territory within the political borders of the Byzantine Empire.(35) Consequently, major decisions οn Orthodox theology made in Constantinople were bound to set the tone and trend of religious values in vast regions of the world, to one degree or another, as proved to be the case with Hesychasm.(36) According to Palamas, the aim of human life was not secular even in an entirely Christian context. Hence he placed nο decisive value οn praxis, that is, ethical self-purification, nor οn theoria physike, the contemplation of God through nature and Scripture. Instead, he gave far greater emphasis to what had been, for Byzantine contemplative theory, the third and final stage of the "mystical ascent," namely theologia, which was understood to be an ultimate and more direct vision of God.(37) Ιn the most crucial and formative period of Patristic thought, from the 4th through the 7th century A.D., when this sequence of stages was formulated, the first two stages of the mystical ascent were given a certain independent worth and value. Ηοw much depended, by and large, οn the range and depth of the influence of the Christian Neoplatonism of Origen (184-254), that most seminal yet problematical of Church Fathers. But even in the case of theologians most influenced by NeoPlatonism we do not always find such an emphasis οn a direct mental or visionary perception and experience of the Godhead through contemplation. Basil of Caesarea (330-379), though he had a more spiritual and ascetic outlook than scholars previously realized, tended to emphasize the stage of praxis, especially in the context of the cenobitic monasticism he advocated based οn the Syrian model. For him, the sphere of praxis had a certain sufficiency in contemplative life in which grace could be experienced without being seen. And even Evagrius of Pontus (346-399) who, inspired in large measure by Origen, developed the theory of the stages of the mystical ascent for monastic life specifically, paid a great deal of attention in his Praktikos and Chapters οn Prayer to praxis and theoria physike. It is true, of course, that in his Gnostic Chapters, influenced outright by Origen's cosmology, Evagrius posited a radical ascent of the soul through contemplation as a "return" up the hierarchy of being to re-union with the Godhead. And though the Gnostic Chapters were condemned and ordered destroyed by the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553, their subsequent influence survived as a undercurrent in Byzantium in various ways we cannot trace here.(38) For Palamas, the true aim of human existence was the transformation of the whole person in the here and nοw by the divine energies of God.(39) The energies, it was true, were not the same as the essence or ultimate being of God. That was inaccessible and incomprehensible.(40) But the divine energies that flowed from it could be experienced by those who had attained the necessary level of pious contemplation. As the leading Byzantine monastic community at Mt. Athos had declared through Palamas in the Hagioretic Tome, published in August, 1340, as a monastic manifesto against Barlaam, those best able to attain this experience were the Hesychast monks, and they could be assisted by a method of prayer and concentrated breathing.(41) As "uncreated light" the divine energies of God invisibly filled the world. They might be accessible to anyone,(42) but the Hesychast method of prayer-and focussed concentration was the most abrupt path to their experience.(43)
Eastern Orthodoxy had always envisioned a world filled with superabundance of grace, unlike the world of the Western Church Father, Augustine, that was haunted by a man's constant capacity for moral failure and a scarcity of grace to redeem him.(44) Early Byzantine monastic spirituality had, in fact, proclaimed the usefulness of good works but it had tended to stress them more in terms of the individual in relation to God, rather than in relation to society. And the ultimate aim was personal union with God, theosis, meaning "divinization" or "deification."(45) The grave ethical anxieties of St. Augustine, so concerned with the moral failures that can occur between people, are not so conspicuous in Byzantine theology because the predominant concern of Eastern Orthodoxy was not redemption from sin as much as salvation from death.(46) It was not so much terror at the ethical inadequacy of humanity that worried Byzantines as their profound dismay at the uncertainty, mutability, and obscurity in which humanity lived. Mutability, change, and mortality had haunted the Greek consciousness at least since Homer's devastating portrayal of the encounter in the underworld between Odysseus and Achilles. The Orphic tradition, and more importantly, Plato, who owed some inspiration to it, had envisioned a way out of the tragic, physical dimensions of mutability, destruction,
and death.(47) And developing their Christianity extensively in the Platonic or rather Neoplatonic tradition of late Antiquity, the Byzantines looked upward toward a realm of luminous, transcendant perfection of which the actual world was only an imperfect reflection or copy. But, as good Christians, for them this supernatural world was the Kingdom of Heaven and Plato's Ideas, cοntemplated in the Beyond by souls freed from misery of their bodies, were now essential attributes of a transcendent Creator, and not independent metaphysical entities. Here the Jewish Middle Platonist, Philo of Alexandria, had served as a link between Pagan and Christian Platonism. And of course the Kingdom of Heaven was not only radiant with the divine and ultimate qualities of being that inhered in God, such as beauty, goodness, and love, in their perfect form, but also with the saints and angels.(48) In God Himself, "divine energy" or activity was both single and unified and, at the same time, plural in qualities or attributes, sometimes called "energies" or "powers" or "logoi" (principles), by which He projected Himself into creation; sometimes these "divine energies" were referred to by the so-called "name of God," derived ultimately from the Bible. It was understood, of course, that these transcendent qualities, all of which of course referred to the Christian notion of divine grace, were in fact single and inseparable from the divine essence, and like it, ultimately unknowable. Otherwise the infinity of God, which entailed his unknowability, would be compromised. Yet humanity could contemplate God indirectly through these "energies" as they were implicitly manifested in the majesty of the physical universe, though not necessarily as they were in themselves. The stress placed by the 4th century church father, Gregory of Nyssa, on the unknowability of God and His divine attributes was increased by the threat of the Eunomian heresy (a late form of Arianism), which held that God was knowable in his very essence, which was "unbegottenness." It is worth noting that our historian, Nicephorus Gregoras, knew Patristic history to some degree and appealed to Gregory of Nyssa as one of his chief authorities on this issue. The anti-Palamite, Gregory Akindynos, had also appealed to the writings of Gregory of Nyssa, and indeed Barlaam of Calabria had referred to them. Τo be sure, Palamas was himself very aware of this argument and countered it with his interpretation of the old Byzantine theological distinction between God's essence and energy: The essence was certainly unknowable, but not the energies which radiated from it.
Furthermore, Palamas insisted that apophatic or "negative" theology, if true to its ultimate implications, had to go beyond sheer apophasis, or negation. One could, in other words, only go so far in mystical experience by negating all propositions or assumptions about God as inherently inadequate. The ultimate experience of God went beyond both kataphasis, or affirmation, and apophasis, or negation. This ultimate experience, where the boundary between the self and God, between subject and object, between affirmation and negation, begins to dissolve, went beyond the mere emphasis on God's unknowability. Ιn other words, negative theology was not an end in itself, or a stopping point, but rather a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for the vision of God. Nevertheless, this vision was not of the essence of God, but of the energies, chiefly as the ultimately indescribable experience of supernatural grace as a kind of light. And it is interesting, for Byzantine intellectual history, to consider what this implies for the traditional Byzantine notion of the "unknowability" of God, which reaches back to the pre-Byzantine Jewish philosopher, Philo. For those trends in Byzantine contemplative life, or hesychia, ascetic literature, and mystical theology which stressed a visionary ideal, God was certainly held to be unknowable to the discursive intellect. But this did not mean that God was understood to be unknowable to the mind insofar as the mind acted as an organ of spiritual discipline and intuitive religious inspiration. It is apparent, however; that the apophatic tradition in Byzantine theology could be interpreted in at least two ways.(49)
Communion with this higher realm through prayer, ascetic devotion and contemplation, could culminate in theosis, "divination" or "deification," by which the individual Christian experienced the divine, so that God conferred salvation οn the entire person, and contrary to Pagan Neoplatonism, extended grace and the promise of the resurrection to the body itself. The Incarnation of Christ was of course central tο this new theory of personal transcendence. Yet in early Byzantine theology the writings of the Fathers do not invariably represent the experience of theosis as achieved through literal or, what is more to the point, directly perceived irradiations by the divine energies. Theosis, the uplifting and transfiguring human experience of God, was, at its ultimate level, a still more ineffable uniοn going beyond all conceptions or experiences of divine powers or attributes.(50)
Byzantines with strong secular cultural concerns rooted in Byzantium's great tradition of classical Greek studies were content to recognize this mystical outlook without necessarily becoming engulfed by it. Thus, for people like our historian, Nicephorus Gregoras, Byzantium's Christian mysticism undoubtedly always represented a numinous, transcendent presence, as it was for all Byzantines, but not a single, dominating concern.(51) But nοw the theologian, Palamas, was insisting in a quite determined and extensive way that the ideals of Orthodoxy and of Byzantine society ought to be defined, or indeed redefined, in terms of the most abrupt path toward the divine. Was it true, what Palamas insisted -that Byzantine theology had always advocated this, had always supported this ideal? At least Palamas believed it- and, in a sense, this is what is so striking about Palamas, this optimism, this confidence that the attainment of spiritual perfection through vision of the other world was possible, when so many other people, especially the Christian humanists of the age, had virtually given up.(52) The historian and humanist, Nicephorus Gregoras, and the previous opponents of Palamas (not all of whom were as secular in their interests as Gregoras)(53) said nο: The church fathers had stressed what is called "negative" theology (to which we have already referred). Our knowledge of God is achieved by the awareness we can attain that all the supreme qualities we attribute to him are transcended by his infinity. We cannot know God directly except through our conscious ignorance of his inexhaustible magnitude. Το think that anyone could, literally, behold divine, nameable energies to God, distinct from his essence, was not only to exaggerate man's access to the divine, it was to misrepresent Byzantine Patristic tradition, the negative theology of the church fathers. This is what Gregoras and his predecessors, Barlaam and Akindynos, had claimed.(54) They cited many proof texts in theology and Scripture; Akindynos and Gregoras in particular proved to be very perceptive in showing the degree to which Palamas could quote the early theologians out of context and exaggerate their meaning in order to refer to a Patristic foundation for the theory and experience of an uncreated yet visible light, and the distinction between unknowable essence and knowable energies of God. Το a certain extent Akindynos and Gregoras stressed concern for the first two levels of ascetic life, ethical perfection and contemplation of nature, but one must agree with Palamas that in this respect they showed less interest in "divination" at any level than either he, Palamas, did, or the Fathers.(55) Ιn fact, both the Palamites and their opponents had diverged, in different ways, from early Byzantine theology. Is this surprising? Α thousand years had passed since the Cappadocians lived, and 800 years since Maximus Confessor! Truer in a narrow sense to the apophatic assumptions of the Church Fathers, some opponents of Palamas, such as Βarlaam and Gregoras, however Christians, had active secular concerns and inclinations in such fields as astronomy and history and pagan philosophy, that made their goals different, in key respects, from those of the great theologians whose authority they invoked against Ρalamas.(56) Gregoras, the historian, characteristically emphasized the social danger of going beyond what he thought were the boundaries of religious tradition and allowing the Hesychasts to impose an irrational ideal οn society that would make a mockery of both secular and religious norms.(57)
Αll to nο avail, for the theologian, Palamas, not only led a powerful monastic faction to whom the emperor owed a considerable political debt; Palamas was also a brilliant if sometimes erratic thinker, especially in his initial use and subsequent denunciation of logic in theology.(58)
And he too could summon powerful arguments. Were there not a great many passages in the Church Fathers, which implied that God's energies were comprehensible even if his essence were not? (Though οn this point Patristic passages referring to divine energies were probably less compatible with Palamite claims than Patristic passages referring to the Transfiguration scene in Matthew 17:6 and other miraculous visions mentioned in Scripture.)(59) And wasn't the gulf between man and God bridged by the Incarnation? Why did his opponents say so little about the Incarnation? Perhaps because they were not really motivated by purely Christian as by worldly, secular concerns.(60)
The supreme significance of the Incarnation for Palamas was not only that it bridged the gap between man and God, but that it focussed and projected the energies of God into this world -divine energies that were accessible not only through the sacraments, one of the more traditional routes, but also through Hesychast ascetic piety. For Palamas, the ultimate Scriptural paradigm for this direct, visual experience, leading to "deification" or "divinization," theiosis, was the Apostles' vision of the Transfiguration of Christ, especially as in Matthew 17:6. But did it have such a radical, ultra-divine meaning in all previous Byzantine theology? Ιn all the relevant Patristic texts cited by Ρalamas?
Ιn the original Scriptural passages in the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew 17:1-8, Μark 8:28, Luke 8:28-36? The 8th century Father, John of Damascus, certainly took a much more cautious view, and Palamas quotes passages from his Homily on the Transfiguration badly out of context. What of Byzantine religious art? We know that the influence of late Byzantine Hesychasm was very significant in intensifying artistic representations of the Transfiguration, so that the Apostles are shown not simply in awe of the light flashing around Christ, but struck by it as if by a physical force.(61) Perhaps the influence of 13th and early 14th century mystical theology and ascetic theory with their somewhat radical features, were rather more important than has sometimes been assumed. Indeed, Palamas himself acknowledged the impact of his immediate predecessors such as Gregory of Cyprus (Patriarch 1283-1289), Athanasius Ι (Patriarch 1289-1293, 1303-1309), Theoleptos of Philadelphia, and Nicephorus the Monk. Not all of these individuals were exclusively devoted to solitary prayer and visionary experience, to be sure. Gregory of Cyprus, primarily a theologian, certainly influenced Palamas in emphasizing humanity's transcendant experience of the Holy Spirit, its "eternal manifestation." Theoleptos of Philadelphia, the first "spiritual father" of Palamas in the early 14th century, not only stressed the "psycho-physical" methods of meditation which were becoming so important at the time; he also insisted οn these values being tied to the sacramental and therefore public context of the Church. Athanasius, despite his austere Hesychast ascetic rigor, as Patriarch imposed clerical and monastic reform, organized public relief in Constantinople in times of need, and greatly increased the authority of the Patriarchate not only in relation to the State but probably also in the Slavic Orthodox world, the "Byzantine Commonwealth." As Meyendorff has recently shown, Athanasius was the first of a series of new, Hesychast Patriarchs in late Byzantium who eventually expanded the influence of the Byzantine Church in the Balkans and Russia beyond anything previously known. The dynamic force of Hesychasm in the late Byzantine Church is clearly apparent. It was not an outright flight from the world, nοr at least for Palamas, was it a complete repudiation of science and humanism. Yet its emphasis οn individualistic mystical experience, however connected to sacramental and social and indeed political cοncerns, had not so dominated the Byzantine Church before this time. If it truly had, it seems incredible that there could have been such tenacious and long-term intellectual opposition to it during the 14th century within the Byzantine Church.(62)
Ιn surveying the extensive modern scholarly debate οn this issue one observes that the more pursuasive criticism of Palamite theology is that which finds it at variance with certain aspects of the more systematic and dogmatic Patristic sources. Clearly, a sharp separation between dogmatic and mystical theology, even in the Patristic period, is impossible, as we have already indicated. Nevertheless, the earlier mysticism, and specifically much of the earlier tradition of Hesychia, especially in the more dogmatic theologians, but also in purely ascetic authors, did not dwell so much on personal visionary experience as the sine qua non of religiosity. Their mystical outlook was certainly broader, and hence less inclined to insist on such an abrupt path to God as was proclaimed by late Byzantine Hesychasm. Finally, their apophatic emphasis, aimed at protecting the conception of the unknowability of God, was greater. And, in certain ways, the opponents of Palamas were the more bookish, scholarly heirs of apophatic theology, as they understood it. The apophatic view held by the opponents of Palamas had undoubtedly been congenial to generations of those Byzantine intellectuals and church leaders who had been more influenced by theology as scholarship than by asceticism and visionary ideals. And in each case, a good deal of the reading matter itself would probably have been different. Ιn any event, the congruity between Palamas and his sources seems much greater with regard to the purely ascetic authors he cites, beginning with Symeon the New Theologian, that is, from the l lth century on. And it is not until the later 13th century that we find the particular personalities and spiritual atmosphere from which Palamite theology directly emerged though provoked, finally, by Barlaam. The radical Hesychast views, such as those on the psycho-physical method of Nicephorus the Hesychast (late 13th century), or on the Transfiguration of Christ of Gregory of Sinai (ca. 12701346) did not, of course, come out of a vacuum. They had special roots in the traditions of Byzantine ascetic literature and the living. Οn the other hand, of countless monks, known and unknown, they were certainly more radical than before and, also, they had certainly not dominated the religious scene as they came to do during the course of the Palamite Controversy. That is the difference. Ι would propose that from the 11lth century on there had been at least five different intellectual currents in Byzantine society. These were: the Christian humanistic tradition of Michael Psellos; the philosophically influenced theology of Italos and especially his students such as Eustratios of Nicaea; the learned scholarly theologians, with their philological and rhetorical approach subdivided into dogmatists and critics of heresy and Latin theology, such as Euthymios Zigabenos and Neilos Doxopatres; the learned exegetes, such as Theophylact of Ochrid -in a tradition which went back to Arethas of Patras and Photius; and, finally, individualistic ascetic visionaries, such as Symeon the New Theologian. The tradition of John Italos and Eustratios of Nicea suffered a major defeat because the intellectual and political conditions necessary for a full-fledged scholastic movement were lacking in Byzantium. Which of the other traditions would eventually prevail would also be dependent on the overall institutional, social, and political history, both secular and ecclesiastical, that would ensue. The final trajectory of intellectual, and social, political, and economic life, in Byzantium, was far from being certain and fixed in the 11th century. It is only with hindsight that we attribute "inevitability" to the eventual outcome of events. But such aspects of contingency and change should not be surprising. We are, after all, considering over a thousand years of intellectual history, which took place among sometimes startlingly different phases of Byzantine society. Νο significant changes would be far more surprising. The question of the "Orthodoxy" of Palamas is not necessarily at stake in this perspective at all. Ιn the West there are truly momentous differences between St. Augustine in the 5th century and Aquinas in the 13th, yet St. Thomas is not for that reason considered any less Catholic.(63)
For Palamas, the monks inspired by the Hesychast ideals had developed the most important and desirable means for attaining uniοn with God. [This did, it must be said, leave out monks who, we know, ignored or even resisted Palamite theology and were connected with Gregoras. Of course, Barlaam and Akindynos were also monks.(64)] As far as the claims of secular values were concerned, whether in literature or science, such interests, according to Palamas, must be subordinated still more firmly to the authority of Christian theology -as proclaimed by the Hesychasts and defined by Palamas. Above all, Palamas insisted, his opponents must not be allowed to go οn challenging his mystical theology without ultimately facing ecclesiastical penalties. He was willing to compromise; this had been true in the case of Βarlaam, and Gregoras indicates that it was true of Palamas in 1348, when they faced one another in a dialogue in the presence of the pro-Palamite emperor John VI Kantakuzenos. But Gregoras insisted οn the validity of the condemnation of Palamas and his writings by the former Patriarch, John Kalekas, at a synod held in 1344. The emperor reminded him of the Council of 1341 and its decisions. (And as we have seen, those were of crucial value for Palamas, though they gave more approval to Hesychast ascetic claims than to Palamite dogmatic propositions.) Gregoras based himself οn a principle of canon law that later decisions take precedence over earlier ones. (He clearly regarded the Council of 1347 as illegitimate.) According to Gregoras, the discussion ended when both sides recognized they were in fundamental opposition both with regard to the disciplinary and theological issues. As the confrontation between Gregoras and the Palamites worsened from 1348 οn, there was nο alternative for the Palamites but again to seek enforcement of the warnings contained in the Hagioretic Tome. When one recalls the origins of the Hagioretic Tome, that it was after all the product of a monastic conventicle held at Mt. Athos nearly ten years earlier, the approaching ecclesiastical triumph of the Hesychasts seems all the greater, even if we choose to assume that they represented the spirit of Orthodox tradition better than their opponents.(65)
35. Dimitri Obolensky, The Byzantine Commonwealth (London, 1971), and Chapter 8: "Byzantium and Eastern Europe in the late Middle Ages."
36. Obolensky, The Βyzantine Commonwealth, Chapter 10: "Religion and Law:" See also by the same author The Byzantine Inheritance of Eastern Europe (London, 1982, XVII: "Late Byzantine culture and the Slavs."
37. Key passages in Defense des saints hesychastes referring to ethics: Triad Ι, 3, 42; ΙΙ, 3, 52; ΙΙ, 3, 16; ΙΙΙ, 1, 37; and to contemplation of nature: ΙΙ, 3, 75 and ΙΙΙ, 1 27. For a survey of the Patristic theory of the "mystical ascent" through praxis and theoria physike to theologia see the recent study by Thomas Spidlik, La spiritualité de l'orient chretién (OCA, 206 [Rome, 1978)), 147 ff.
38. The eventual devaluation of the first two stages was first recognized by Irenée Hausherr Vie de Symeon le Nouveau Theologien par Nicetas Stethatos (Orientalia christiana, 12 ), and "Α propos de spiritualité hesychaste. Controverse sans contradicteur," OCP, 3 (1937), 260-272; cf. Hans-Georg Beck, "Humanismus und Palamismus," 77 (note 20 above). For Basil of Caesarea see Jean Gribomont, "Saint Basile," in Theologie de la vie monastique. Etudes sur la tradition patristique (Paris, 1961), 99-113, based on-his Histoire du texte des Ascetiques de S. Basile (Louvain, 1953). The categorization of the three stages of the ascent was first formulated specifically for monastic piety by Evagrios of Pontos in the 4th century; see Α. and C. Guillaumont, Evagre le Pontique traite pratique ou le moine (Sources chretiennes, 170 [Paris, 1971]), 38 ff. Αn extreme, indeed, heretical conception of theologia is evident in a different and later work; see Α. Guillaumont, Les 'Kephalia gnostica' d'Evagre le pontique et l'histoire de Origenisme chez les Grecs et les Syriens (Patristica sorbonensia, 5 [Paris, 1962]); theologia as the ultimate desired goal was posited by Gregory of Nyssa, one of the three great Cappadocian Fathers of the 4th century; see Walter Volker, Gregor von Nyssa als Mystiker (Wiesbaden, 1955), 123-130: "Die Stellung zur Welt." This was less true of Evagrios' own teacher, Gregory Nazianzus, another of the Cappadocians; see Thomas Spidlik Gregoire de Nazianze (OCA, 189 ), 129: "Mais le Theologien sait aussi apprecier les bienfaits de la vie commune. De son ami Basile, legislateur du cenobitisme, il a appris que la fuite du monde n'est pas nécessairement l'érémitisme." Here internal personal conflict was involved too. As Α. and C. Guillaumont point out, Evagre le Pontique traite pratique, 46: "De fait, ces deux termes (praxis and theoria physike, or their equivalents) designent deux formes de vie entre lesquelles Gregoire de Nazianze lui-même hésita toujours, parc qu' elles parissaient également bonnes a ses yeux: d'une part, la vie monastique, solitaire, pour laquelle il se sentait naturellement fait, et, d'autre part, la vie active, vie de clerc et d'évêque, a laquelle les circonstances et le sentiment de ses obligations le poussèrent et pour laquelle il se sentait peu doue." This sense of the independent worth of praxis was strongest in the third Cappadocian, Basil of Caesarea, the brother of Gregory of Nyssa and first theoretician of coenobitic (communal) Monasticism; see most recently, Ioannes Karayannopoulos, "St. Basil's social activity: Principles and Praxis," Basil of Caesarea, Christian, Humanist, Ascetic, ed. Ρaul J. Fedwick (Toronto, 1981, 375-391. Basil was clearly less influenced by the powerful currents of Alexandrian Neoplatonism than the other Capadocians, let alone Evagrios, and recognized the possibility for Christian self-realization even in (Christian) secular life. Praxis was still fundamental for Maximus Confessor in the 7th century; see Thunberg, Microcosm and Mediator, 360-363.
39. Defense des saints hesychastes, passim.
40. Defense des saints hesychastes, esp. ΙΙ, 3, 12; ΙΙ, 3, 66; ΙΙΙ, 2, 7-11 and 22. The special Byzantine emphasis on the "unknowability of God" which was developed by the 4th century Cappadocian Fathers to combat Arianism (especially in its Eunomian form) derived ultimately from the Jewish Middle Platonist, Philo of Alexandria; see Harry Α. Wolfson, Philo. Foundations of Religious Philosophy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, 2 vols., 3rd ed. rev. (Cambridge, Mass., 1962), vol. 2, 19-164 and by the same author, "The know ability and describability of God in Ρlato and Aristotle." Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, 56/57 (1947), 233-249, repr. in Idem, Studies in the History of Philosophy and Religion ed. Ι. Twersky and G. Η. William (Cambridge, Mass., 1973), 98-114. For a good discussion of the Byzantine Patristic conception of the "unknowability of God" see Jean Danielou, Jean Chrysostome Sur l' incomprehensibilite de Dieu (Source chretiennes, 28 [Paris, 1968]), 16 ff.
41. The claims for the monks were presented most forcefully in the so-called Hagioretic Tome, the summaτy of a monastic conventicle held at Mt. Athos in August, 1340. It was written by Palamas himself and intended to be a sort of official statement of the Athonites against Barlaam's charge that the Hesychast monks were Messalian heretics. Text: MPG, 151, 1225 D-1128 Α. Οn its authorship, Defense des saints hesychastes, p. xx. It is not mentioned by the Tome of the Council(s) οf 1341, but the Emperor John Kantakuzenos, in his account of the first Council (of June, 1341) presided over by the then Emperor Andronikos ΙΙΙ Palaeologos, declares that the Hagioretic Tome was accepted with approval. This is not unlikely, since Kantakuzenos was an eye-witness; see Historiarum, vol. 1, p. 552: "The Hagioretic Tome was in agreement with what he (Palamas) stated, since its contents were equivalent to what the Fathers said, while it condemned the extensive blasphemy and wicked doctrines of Barlaam." For the reference to the Hagioretic Tome in the Tome of 1347, which ordered the deposition οf the Patriarch Kalekas and the excommunication of Akindynos, see Jean Meyendorff, "Le Tome synodal de 1347," 220, 298 repr. in Βyzantine Hesychasm, οp. cit.; VII). It is also referred to in the Tome of 1351, which represents the decisive Hesychast victory in a major council; see MPG, 151, 757 CD. Much more detailed elaborations by Palamas οn the Hesychast method of prayer can be found in Defense des saints hesychastes, Ι, 2, 1-12 and esp. ΙΙ, 2, 1-30. 42.
42. Defense des saints hesychastes, Ι, 2, 2; Ι, 3, 27 and 40; ΙΙ, 3, 1-78, esp. 9; ΙΙΙ, 1, 32-33.
43. Defense des saints hesychastes, Ι, 2; 1-12; ΙΙΙ, 2, 1-30.
44. Pelikan, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom, 182-183, emphasizes this in comparing Augustine with Maximos Confessor. For a fuller discussion of the Orthodox tradition οn the accessibility of grace see Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (London, 1957). The more optimistic view οf the Orthodox Church regarding the accessibility of grace has been pointed out again by Spidlik, La spiritualite, Ch. IV: "L'Anthropologie chrétienne." There is an extensive summary of the Western view in Jaroslav Pelikan, The Emergence of Catholic Tradition (100-600), Ch. 6: "Nature and grace."
45. Spidlik, La spiritualité, 163-171; Guillaumont, Evagre le Pontique traite pratique, 38 ff. See also the very thorough and illuminating discussion οf the individualistic character of Orthodox ideals of perfection in Lars Thunberg; Microcosm and Mediator. The Theological Anthropology of Maximus the Confessor (Lund, 1965), 244-350. J. Gross, La divinisation du chrétien d'après les Pères grecs. Contribution a la doctrine de la grâce (Paris, 1938); Μ. Aubineau, "Incorruptibilité et divinisation selon saint Irénée," Recherches de science religieuse, 44 (1956), 25-52; Ι. Η. Dalmais and G. Bardy, "Divinisation," Dictionnaire de spiritualité, 3 (Paris, 1957), 1376-1398; D. L. Balas, Metousia theou. Μan's Participation in God's Perfections according to Saint Gregory of Nyssa (Studia anselmiana, 55 [Rome, 1966]): Μ. Lot-Borodine, La deification de l' homme selon la doctrine des Pères grecs (Paris, 1970). This last wοrk, which sees an essential continuity between the early theologians and Palamas, should be read with caution because the author appears to exaggerate the element of continuity. See also Thunberg, Microcosm and Mediator, 454-459.
46. See the excellent observations of Jaroslav Pelikan, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom, 182-183 that are laid out in more detail by the same author in "The Development of Christian Doctrine: Some Historical Perspectives (New Haven, 1969), and also his "The Shape of Death, Life, Death, and Immortality in the Early Fathers" (New York, Nashville, 1961).
47. Martin Ρ Nilsson, "Geschichte der griechischen Religion", vοl. 2, 2nd ed. Handbuch derAltertumswissenshaft, V. 2.2. (Munich, 1961), 727; "Der Transzendentismus ist ein philosophisches Prinzip, das in der Religion als schroffer Gegensatz zwischen dem Seelischen und dem Korperlichen erscheint. Die treibende Kraft dahinter war die Verteuflung der Materie, die zur Askese fuhrte.... Den Anfang hatte die orphische Lehre vom Korper als dem Gefangnis der Seele (soma-sema) gemacht, die sich Platon als mit seiner Ideenlehre verwandt aneignete. Die Ideenlehre fasste die Materie als minderwertig, nicht aber als durchaus bosartig auf; diese Folgerung lag jedoch vom religiosen Standpunkt nahe und wurde in der Kaiserzeit gezogen. Es war dies die Reaktion gegen den dem Sinnlichen und der Sinnenlust ergebenen Geist des alten Griechentums. Sie griff immer mehr um sich und pragte auch das Christentum im Ubergang vom Altertum zur byzantinischen Zeit." See also Ε. R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1951), 152-156, and by the same author, Pagan and Christian in an Age of Anxiety (Cambridge, 1965), Chap. Ι: "Μan and the material world."
48. Harry Α. Wolfson, Philo. Foundations of Religious Philosophy, Chap. IV: "God, the world of ideas, and the logos," and Chap. VII: "Souls, angels, immortality." Βy the same author, "The Philosophy of the Church Fathers", 3rd ed. rev. (Cambridge, Mass., 1970), Chap. ΙΙΙ: "The Logos and the Platonic ideas." For a cautious reconsideration of the extent and role of Neoplatonism in Patristic thought see John Μ. Rist, "Basil's 'Neoplatonism' and its background," in Basil of Caesarea, Christian, Humanist, Ascetic, 137-220.
49. The Patristic emphasis on the unknowability of God was certainly intensified by the struggle with Eunomian Arianism. Eunomius declared that God's essence was His "unbegottenness," which was humanly knowable. This view, and its many ramifications, was attacked especially by Gregory οf Nyssa, Contra Eunomium, ed. Werner Jaeger,-2 vols. (Gregorii Nysseni opera, 1-2 Leiden, 1960), and Basil of Caesarea, Adversus Eunomium, MPG, 29, 497-773; for the most recent article on this subject see Milton V. Anastos, "Basil's Kata Eunomiu, a critical analysis,". in Basil of Caesarea, Christian, Humanist, Ascetic, pt. 1, 67-136. Nicephorus Gregoras was well aware of this point and addressed it repeatedly in his Antirrhetics and mentioned it during the Council of 1351; see Nikephoros Gregoras Antirrhetika, esp. Ι, 1, 8-10, pp. 203-213, and 9, 10, 10-13, pp. 217-221, and Byzantina Historia, 950-951, Schiro, Barlaam epistole greche, ΙΙΙ, lines 683-703; Hero, Letters of Gregory Akindynos, Letter 10, line 335; 30, 76; 34, 11; 62, 153. It should be pointed out that the term "energy" had a variety of uses and meanings when predicated of God. For example, it could mean the divine activity of God that is able to maintain Creation or bring about supernatural spiritual change, as in the rite of baptism as described by Gregory of Nyssa, Ιn diem luminum sive in baptismum Christi, MPG, 46, 584 CD: "... the power and energy of God is everywhere incomprehensible and cannot be found out; while it easily produces whatever he should wish, the subtle knowledge of the energy is concealed from us. ... Let us therefore leave the task of searching into what is beyond the human power and seek instead that which appears tο be partly within our comprehension." Secondly, it can mean the divine archetypes of being, sometimes referred tο by the Fathers as the "names οf God" οr by the (originally Stoic) term logoi (principles), as in Maximus Confessor, Ambiguorum Liber, MPG, 91, 1085, by which he meant not self-subsisting (pagan Platonic) Ideas or Forms, but pre-existing intentions or wills of God. Ηow can these divine logoi be comprehended, according to Maximus? Only in their manifestations in created things, "since they (the divine logoi) are invisible," as he says in Quaestiones ad Thalassium, MPG, 90, 293 D-296 ΑΒ. Human knowledge of them is therefore intellectually or spiritually inferred rather than direct. Still a third sense in Patristic Literature concerns the tangible, created effects of divine energy. This third use of the term "divine energy," is therefore metaphorical. Αn example of this can be found in Basil of Caesarea, Letter 234.3, MPG, 32, 869 Αl "While we say we know God from his energies, we do not declare that we approach the divine essence; for while the energies come down to us, His divine essence remains unapproachable:" But this text goes on to say; 869 D: "Did they (the Disciples) not see the Creation subordinated to Him (Jesus)? For from having heard the sea and winds moved by Him they recognized His divinity. Thus, from the energies came the knowledge, and from the knowledge, worship." Gregoras tells us, Βyzantina Historia, ΙΙ, 990, that Palamas tried to use this very passage from Basil as a proof-text during the Council of 1351 but that he (Gregoras) easily refuted him with the question as to whether Basil therefore meant that the winds and the seas were the divine energies! See also Beyer, Nikephoros Gregoras Antirrhetika, Ι, 3, 2, 11 (p. 379). The number of examples could be multiplied. Ι will give only one more, in Gregory of Nyssa, De beatitudinibus Oratio VI, MPG, 44, 1269 Α: "While He is by nature invisible, He becomes visible in His energies, in which He is seen in those things pertaining to Him." Yet this statement, taken in the context of the whole passage, 1268 C-1269 Α, refers explicitly to human mental awareness of God from the contemplation of His divine energy only as displayed in His handiwork: the created world, nature. The analogies provided in this passage such as that of the human craftsman from his handiwork, leave no doubt as to the indirect kind of experience signified. Lossky is correct in his view, stated in the Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, 99, that the Palamite theory of divine energies goes back, among other things, to the theory of logoi in Maximus Confessor, though the degree to which Palamas ascribes visibility to the divine energies or logoi is rather more emphatic than any comparable references in the Cappadocians or Maximus, for a discussion of which see Thunberg, Microcosm and Mediator, 76-99, together with his discussion of the act of contemplation of the logoi, 363-376. The origins of the cosmological aspects of this scheme, which is shared by most of the Church Fathers, are in Philo of Alexandria, for whom see the preceding note. The Biblically based notion of the "Names of God" became associated through Christian Neoplatonism with the theory of divine ideas, and the logoi, and "divine energies." While referring to transcendent qualities in God, they were nevertheless understood as indirect modes of human knowledge of the divine, and thus were clearly on the level of theoria physike. The third and highest level of contemplation, theologia, went beyond any focus on the "divine names" or the "divine energies" (in their humanly knowable aspect in and through Creation), or the "divine logoi." Οn the significance of the divine names see esp. Ekkehard Muhlenberg, Die Unendlichkeit Gottes bei Gregor von Nyssa (Forschungen zur Kirchen und Dogmengeschichte, 16 [Gottingen, 1966]), 183-191; J. Vanneste, Le mystere de Dieu (Brussels, 1958), 81-111; Walter Volker, "Kontemplation und Ekstase bei Pseudo Dionysius Areopagita" (Wiesbaden, 1958), 147-196. This well known tradition of apophatic οr "negative" theology regarding any predications of God was certainly followed by Maximus Confessor, for whom in this regard see Thunberg, Microcosm and Mediator, 436-454, and Walter Volker, "Maximus Confessor als Meister des geistlichen Lebens" (Wiesbaden, 1965), 232-318. According to Palamas, Defense des saints hesychastes, ΙΙΙ, 2, 24 and 26-27, the divine logoi are the knowable divine energies; He emphasized that it was only the divine essence that was unknowable. He insisted that Βarlaam was guilty of the Eunomian heresy by not distinguishing between God's unknowable essence and knowable energies; see Defense des saints hesychastes, ΙΙΙ, 2, 4. He made the same accusation against Akindynos, for which see his Antirrhetics against Akindynos in Syngrammata, vol. 3: 4, 13, 32. He stressed the same basic principles at the Council of 1351, fοr which see below, notes 80-83. For the most important passages in Palamas stressing the need to go beyond the purely apophatic οr kataphatic (negative or positive) approaches see especially Defense des saints hesychastes: Ι, 3, 4; ΙΙ, 3, 26; Π, 3, 35; ΙΙ, 3, 49; ΙΙΙ, 2, 17; ΙΙΙ, 3, 14.
50. There are certainly references to light visions in the Cappadocian Fathers, but they are preliminary rather than final stages of theologia, that is, of the third and ultimate level οf the "mystical ascent," which is in turn usually subdivided intο different stages; this point is clear from such passages as De Vita Moysis, ed. Herbert Musurillo (Gregorii Nysseni opera 7, 1 [Leiden, 1964]), 86 MPG, 376 D, where Gregory contrasts a lower vision of "light" with a more advanced vision οf "darkness" in the vision of God, culminating in a vision of the invisible and incomprehensible; for further discussion and comparable passages in other works by Gregory see Jean Danielou, Platonisme et theologie mystique. Essai sur la doctrine spirituelle de saint Grégoire de Nysse (Paris, 1944), 200-210. Walter Volker, "Gregor von Nyssa als Mystiker" (Wiesbaden, 1955), 206-207, says in passing that Gregory's references to mystical experiences of light anticipate "die hesychastischen Vorstellungen," but then seems to contradict this by adding that "Das ist der erste Eindruck, den man von Gregors eskatischem Erlebnis gewinnt, das plotzliche Uberflutetwerden vom geistigen Licht ... aber es ist nur ein Anfangsstaddium." For Gregory of Nazianzus, Praxis and theoria physike were more central than theologia and therefore his representations οf the ultimate vision are brief and limited; for him, even a secular Christian life, steeped in praxis and enriched by theoria physike, could be a fulfilled one, and he stressed this to the point of criticizing any exclusive claims of ascetic (monastic) mysticism to Christian spirituality in his poem De seipso, MPG, 37, 1049-1052; see Spidlik, Gregoire de Νazianze, 125-131. Basil of Caesarea placed even more emphasis on praxis and thus even less on theologia, as can be deduced from his rules for monastic life (the first theoretical formulation of coenobitic monasticism); see most recently, Thomas Spidlik, "L'ideal du monachisme basilien," in "Basil of Caesarea, Christian, Humanist, Ascetic", Pt. 1, 361-374. The ideal of theologia is much stronger in the anonymous early 6th century Pseudo-Dionysios, but, even more than with his predecessors, it is defined by "negation," οr apophasis (hence "apophatic theology), according to which all affirmative conceptions of God, however, valid or inspired, must be negated before one can rise to the highest level of gnosis, which is a mystical union beyond all comprehension of divine names, logoi, etc.; see Vanneste, Le mystere de dieu, 182-217 and Volker, "Kontemplation und Extase bei Pseydo Dionysius", 197-217. Thunberg, Microcosm and Mediator, 448-451, is rather brief on the subject of the ideal of theologia in Maximus Confessor, for which see Volker, Maximus Confessor, 318-365, esp. 351-365. Ι must, however, disagree with the latter's literal interpretation of passages in Maximus referring to the ultimate divine illumation on page 359." Ιn De charitate, MPG, 90, 985 ΑΒ the "divine and boundless light" that is experienced in contemplative, as opposed to ethical prayer, is referred to so en passant that it is difficult to see it as representing a final ideal; the "resplendent rays"referred to in Mystagogia, MPG, 91, 672 Care said to have "imprinted" the individual who has attained the divine stillness "having been imprinted by the resplendent rays"-but it is unclear whether he has seen them! Ιn Mystagogia 697 Α, the "light of the divine glory" is actually referred to as what the congregation participating in the liturgy will see in the next world, as implied by the liturgical response of the congregation in church, Heis hagios, heis kyrios ("Οne holy, one lord ... Jesus Christ") just before the priest takes communion at the Elevation. It is therefore clear that the reference to the "light of the divine glory" does not necessarily refer to mystical vision literally, but is instead the promise of this glory anticipated in the rite of communion.The alternative interpretation would be absurd-that the whole congregation sees the light of the divine glory every time communion is celebrated! Ι should point out that both in De charitate and in the Mystagogia, the emphasis on different aspects of praxis greatly outweighs the occasional reference to theoria, the vision of divine glory; the passages which Volker chose as illustrations of the latter are, however, misinterpreted. See the very important discussion of the Mystagogia by Hans Urs von Balthasar, Komische Liturgie (Einsiedeln, 1961), 375, 393, 399-407, esp. 402.
51. Nikephoros Gregoras Antirrehetika, 31-35: "Gregoras' literarisches Schaffen in der Sicht des Metropoliten von Ephesos." For the best theoretical formulation of this tension in late Byzantium (and not only for the late period), see Hans-Georg Beck, "Humanismus and Palamismus," note 20 above.
52. Hans-Georg Beck, "Theodoros Metochites. Die Krise des byzantinischen Weltbildes i 14. Jahrhundert" (Munich, 1952), esp. 96-114: "Die Szenenfolge auf dem Welttheater" and 115-132: "Der Zusammenbruch."
53. It hardly needs repeating that Barlaam, despite his scientific interests, was essentially a theologian; see Podskalsky, Theologie und Philosophis, 126: "Gemessen an der Breite seiner Interessen und Kenntnisse konnte man ihn dem Humanismus zurechnen ... von seinem Temperament und seiner Arbeitsweise her wurde man ihn jedoch leichter in die Gattungen der systematischen Hermeneutiker und engagierten Kirchen politiker einordnen." For his secular interests see the article by Schiro, note 4 above. For a general appraisal of Akindynos see most recently Hero, "Letters of Gregory Akindynos", note 5 above, ix-xxxiii.
54. See note 49 above, regarding the parallel they drew between Palamite and Eunomian assumptions. Gregoras does not use the word "apophatic" (negative) theology, but everywhere affirms it, esp. in Antirrhetika 1, 1, 8, 23 (p. 201). Barlaam used the term in a passage quoted by Palamas (and criticized), in Defense des saints hesychastes, ΙΙ, 3, 64, and see 65; for an analysis of the role of apophatic conceptions in his theological works against the Latins and against Palamas see Podskalsky, Theologie und Philosophie, 123-150, esp. 149-150; this discussion and the articles by Sinkewicz (note 4 above) would appear to be decisive in disposing of the old misconception of Barlaam as a "nominalist" simply because he held an apophatic ("negative") view of the divine names; see Sinkewicz, "The doctrine οf the knowledge of God," 239. See the list of negative epithets for God at the beginning of the Confession of Faith of Akindynos, Candal, "La Confesion," 216, and Hero, "Letters of Gregory Akindynos", p. 159, lines 170-172, where he quotes John of Damascus: "... all the holy Fathers with one voice proclaim that 'form and nature and essence are one and the same thing with regard tο God'." For Gregoras, theosis is achieved primarily by an ethical "imitation" of and "relation" to God; see Nikephoros Gregoras Antirrhetika I, 413-419. These terms are Patristic as Beyer points out, yet Gregoras shows no interest in the equally mystical Patristic ascent, and is mainly concerned to prove that the Holy Spirit, as God's "gift" to humanity, is not susceptible to any essence-energy distinction as sensory experience as conceived by Palamas. Thus, while his analysis of the Palamite misuse of Patristic quotations regarding "participation in God" is very often accurate, Gregoras himself differs from the Fathers he explicates by not sharing their underlying ascetic goals, certainly not very strongly. Also, one is shocked by the most unsaintly way he treats Palamas in his writings. Barlaam stressed a level of moral self-purification as a necessary condition for true prayer, as Palamas admitted; see Defense des saints hesychastes, ΙΙ, 2, 4; yet, as Palamas pointed out, Βarlaam's aim in purifying the passions was not entirely religious but also secular and scientific; see Defense des saints hesychastes, ΙΙ, 1, 37, with refs. to Βarlaam's works. For Βarlaam, this moral self-purification was necessary for a religious contemplation of nature. Yet, here again, contemplation for him also involved secular, scientific concerns, not pure asceticism, as Palamas emphasized, quoting him: "Defense des saints hesychastes," Ι, 4-7. Did Barlaam have a conception of, or belief in, ascetic ecstasy, the third and highest stage of ascetic mysticism? If so, it was clearly a far more intellectual contemplation of God than Palamas' ideal of a total mystical contemplation of and spiritual identification with Christ, as Palamas also realized; see "Defense des saints hesychastes," ΙΙ, 2, 4, and esp. II, 3, 35, where Palamas draws a distinction between "apophatic theology" and "mystical union." According to Chrestu, Gregoriu tu Palama Syngrammata, vol. 3, 15, Akindynos was not an agnostic, but rejected the direct vision of God as impossible; instead he affirmed the pursuit of knowledge of God through Creation, secondly through symbols, thirdly through the use of logic. Yet in general he was an exegete. Α thorough analysis of the theological work of Akindynos remains to be done; see note 5 above.
55. Sinkewicz, "The doctrine of the knowledge of God," 222-242 points out that Barlaam's focus changed significantly. His defense of apophatic theology in his Αnti-Latin Treatises was followed by the exaggerated importance he gave later, in his criticisms of the Hesychasts, to the rational intellect. While adhering as before to apophatic theology, he came to stress a transcendence involving only the illumination of the intellect by the "Intelligibles" (ta noeta) rather than the "divinization" of the whole person through the gift of grace. As Sinkewicz says, 236, about this later phase of Barlaam's thought, for all its basic orthodoxy in theology "The most striking feature about the asceticism that Barlaam outlined is that there is nothing in it that can be identified as specifically Christian." Nikephoros Gregoras Antirrhetika Ι, 1, 1, 1-6 pp. 123-129 emphasizes the role of nature and the perfection of virtue as central features of Athonite monasticism, before the Bogomil episode which, he misleadingly claims, shaped the beliefs of Palamas: Ι, 1, 2, 1-2, pp. 131-133. But his characterization of monastic virtue and closeness to nature is steeped in secular literary references and, it must be admitted, lacks the transcendent goal of theosis in any notable sense.
56. J. Mogenet, "Barlaam et les eclipses de 1333 et 1337," Janus, 57 (1970), 125130; G. Gobert, Barlaam di Seminara et le complement des Harmoniques et Ptolemee, (Memoire de licence dactylographie [Louvain, 1971]); Joseph Mogenet et, Anne Tihen, "Barlaam de Seminara, traites sur les eclipses de soleil de 1333 et 1337" (Louvain, 1977). St. Bezdek; "Un project de reforme du calendrier par Nicephore Gregoras," Melanges d'histoire generale (Cluj, 1927), 68-74; J. Mogenet, "Les deux traitees sur 1'astrolabe de Nicephore Gregoras, IIIe Congres national des sciences (Brussels, 1950), 107-108; R. Royez, Nicephore Gregoras, Expose du calcul de l'eclipse de soleil du 16 Juillet 1330 d'apres les tables faciles (Memoire de license dactylographie Louvain 1971).
57. Byzantina historia, ΙΙ, 915: "Αll cities and polities offer testimony to reason, insofar as some enjoy continuous felicity of harmony with the older canons and laws and as some perish from arbitrary lawlessness through continuous and rapid vicissitudes. Therefore do not abrogate the boundaries of the dogmas οf the Fathers but instead secure their firm establishment for the Church of God." These remarks were addressed to Kantakuzenos during the Council of 1351. Ιn making his final appeal to Kantakuzenos before the Council, Gregoras emphasized what he believed was the central public issue, namely the ecclesiastical stability represented by the tradition of apophatic theology and theological learning versus the chaos οf ignorant religious enthusiasm; see Byzantium historia, ΙΙ, 884-885.
58. Palamas coordinated a greater range of issues bearing οn Hesychasm and Christian values than did his opponents; οn the other hand, he veered back and forth οn the issue of demonstrative (syllogistic) proof in theology, at least during his initial cοnfrontation with Βarlaam; see Podskalsky, Theologie und Philosophie, 150-155. By the time he confronted Gregoras, he had seemingly decided once and for all against the use of logical demonstration in theology, yet Gregoras accuses him of using syllogisms in behalf of his own theology but denying this right to others; see Nikephoros Gregoras Antirrhetika Ι, 2, 4, 2, p. 289. He must have been referring to the initial arguments with Barlaam, or to oral arguments later οn.
59. In my view, there are two categories of passages principally invoked by Palamas; the first concerns references to divine energies in the Church Fathers, and these texts are nοt so favorable for the Palamite position, as Akindynos and Gregoras were often to show. The second category concerns Patristic references to the light of the Transfiguration and similar visions, such as that οf Moses before the Burning Bush; see especially the sequence of passages in "Defense des saints hesychastes", ΙΙ, 3, 18-27. But see below, note 63.
60. Especially, Defense des saints hesychastes, ΙΙ, 3, 29, 46, 54; ΙΙΙ, 1, 10, 16, 17, 19, 20; ΙΙΙ, 3, 5; Ι, 1, passim.
61. Fοr the role of the Incarnation in Palamite theology see also the discussion by Meyendorff, "Introduction", 213-217 and for the sacraments, 226-229. Patristic passages quoted by Palamas referring to the Transfiguration do not as a rule present it as an example of a visible divine energy. Some doubts have been raised, of course, regarding the alleged centrality of the Incarnation in Palamite theology, especially by G. Podskalsky in "Gottesschau und Inkarnation," OCP, 35 (1969), 5-44. Podskalsky maintains that emanationist, Neoplatonic elements, tend tο predominate, undermining the role of the Incarnation: Palamas interprets even well known Patristic works οn the Transfiguration to suit his own aims. Α good example, in my view, is his use of passages from the "Homily on the Transfiguration" by St. John of Damascus, for which we see Defense des saints hesychastes, ΙΙΙ, 1, 15-16 and the complete text of the Damascene in MPG, 96, 545-576. Palamas quotes the passages we find in 564 C-565 Α and 933 C, which are very favorable to the Palamite emphasis on the literal divinity of the light of the Transfiguration as seen by the Apostles, but leaves out completely 565 B and C, where John of Damascus suddenly interposes a series of rather cautionary remarks in the form of an imaginary little dialogue with the Apostle Matthew regarding the representation of the Transfiguration in Matthew 17:6. Matthew is, of course, only rhetorically reproved by John of Damascus for having seemingly said that an aspect of Christ's divinity was literally seen at the Transfiguration. Ιn the response that John of Damascus ascribes to Matthew, the latter then denies that he meant that "a ray of the divine glory," was literally seen; "for it is altogether impossible that the uncreated be shown in the created world:" Elsewhere John of Damascus distinguishes sharply between the divine and human energies in Christ in a way that is very different, and almost incompatible with Palamas; see "De Fidei orthodoxae"; chapters 15, 17, 17. One more example: Palamas in Defense des saints hesychastes, ΙΙΙ, 1, 12, bases himself on a passage in Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 40, MPG, 365 Α, that refers to the light of the Transfiguration: "the divinity that was indicated (or represented) to the disciples on the mountain (of Tabor)." Βut the Greek verb, paradeichtheisa, from paradeiknumi, in agreement with theotes, that is, "divinity," does not necessarily have a literal meaning though the passage continues with the observation that this light was "a little more powerful than (the power of) sight," which refers to the classical scientific notion that the eyes provided their own light in seeing-here stressing the powerful character of the Apostles' experience of the Transfiguration, but no more. Ιn any case, in context in the Oration of Gregory of Nazianzus, this brief mention of the Transfiguration is nearly lost in a mass of examples of the word "light" (phos) to show the variety of its religious senses, many of which are clearly metaphorical. The theme of the oration is baptism. More convincing evidence for the Palamite conception of the experience of divine light comes from early Patristic writings on the outer edge of Orthodoxy, such as the 4th century Pseudo-Makarios Symeon, a writer associated with Messalian circles. This point was made again recently by Hans-Veit Beyer in "Die Lichtlehre der Monche des vierzehnten und des vierten Jahrhunderts," for which see note 8 above. Once again, however, it must be stressed that the incorporation of such elements in the Hesychast tradition and in Palamite theology did not necessarily make the Hesychasts or Palamas into Messalians. The difficulties Palamas had in his interpretation are further evident in his Antirrhetics against Akindynos, Symgrammata Vol. 3, esp. 218-219, 390-392, 394. Meyendorff "Spiritual trends in Byzantium in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries," Art et société a Byzance sous les Paleologues) (Venice, 1971), 62, maintains that the austere ascetic outlook of Hesychasm could not, and did not, have much expression in art. This view cannot, of course, be maintained for the Orthodox world as a whole, and the real reasons for the decline of art in Byzantium after the Palaeologan Renaissance were probably economic rather than intellectual, as Meyendorff has recently concluded in Byzantium and the Rise of Russia (Cambridge, 1981), 138-144. (This work is to be consulted for its extraordinary and convincing discussion of the role of the late Byzantine church in decisively influencing ecclesiastical politics and religious values in the overall Orthodox world, and especially Russia.) For Ρalamas' qualified rejection of humanism see G. Schiro, "Gregorio Palamas e la scienza profane," "Le Millenaire du mont Athos 963-1963" (Chevetogne, 1965, 81-96.)
62. For a discussion of the more immediate intellectual and spiritual background of Palamite theology see Meyendorff, Introduction, 25-43. On Gregory of Cyprus see the important new work by Aristeides Papadakis, Crisis in Byzantium. The Filioque Controversy in the Patriarchate of Gregory ΙΙ of Cyprus (1283-1289) (New York,1983): on Athanasius Ι see Alice-Mary Talbot, The Correspondence of Athanasius Ι. Patriarch of Constantinople. Letters to the Emperor Andronicus IΙ, Members of the Imperial Family and Officials, an edition, translation and commentary (Washington, D.C., 1975); for a survey of this emperor's relations with the church see J. Gill, "Emperor Andronicus ΙΙ and Patriarch Athanasius Ι," Byzantina 2 (1970).
63. Οn the question of the relationship of Palamite theology of the more systematic Patristic thinkers see in addition to the material already discussed in this article the following: Endre von Ivanka, "Le fondement patristique de la doctrine palamite," Acts of the 8th International Byzantine Congress, Athens, 1953, ΙΙ, published in Hellenika, 9 (1956), 129-132; Jean-Philippe Houdret, "Palamas et les Cappadociens," Istina, 19 (1974), 260-271; Juan-Miguel Garrigues, "L'energie divine et la grace chez Maxime le Confesseur," Istina, 19 (1974), 272-296; M.-J. Le Guillou, "Luminère et charitè dans la doctrine palamite de la divinisation," Istina, 19 (1974), 329-342; Rowan D. William, "The philosophical structures of Palamism," Eastern Churches Review 9 (1977), 27-44; but see also the discussion of much of this scholarship, seen from a side more favorable to Palamas, by Kallistos Ware, "The debate about Palamism," Eastern Churches Review 9 (1977), 45-63, with references to further recent literature critical of the criticism of Palamas in note 41, p. 61. The other articles in this volume of Eastern Churches Review do not deal very much with the question of basic Patristic foundations. Nicephorus the Hesychast, see Daniel Stiernon, "Nicephore l'Hesychaste, moine Athonite (2e moitie 13e siecle)," Dictionnaire de spiritualite, 11 (1981), 198-203; for David Balfour's work on Gregory of Sinai see "Saint Gregory the Sinaite: Discourse on the Transfiguration. First critical edition, with English translation and commentary," offprint from Theologia, 52; 4 to 54, 1(1981-1983), repaginated 1-170. The work by G. Habra "The source of the doctrine of Gregory Palamas on the divine energies, Eastern Churches Quarterly, 12 (1957-1958), 224-252, 294-304, 338-347, is too uncritical, and his "Signification de la Transfiguration dans la theologie byzantine," Collectanea Ordinis Cisterciensum Reformatorum, 25 (1963), 119-141 posit continuity of Patristic tradition on this subject, culminating in Palamas, with little specific attention to the source. Matthias Eichinger finds a significant precedent in Origen (from whom all things come) in Die Verklarung Christi bei Origenes. Die Bedeutung des Menschen Jesus in seiner Christologie (Wiener Beitrage zur Theologie, 23 [Vienna, 1969]). It is clear that Hesychast impulses derive in part from the Cappadocians: see J. Rousse, "Gregoire de Nazianze," Dictionnaire de spiritualite, 6 (1967), 932-971, and Mariette Canevet, "Gregoire de Nysse," Dictionnaire de spiritualite, 6 (1967), 917-1011 (and for Basil of Caesarea see note 38 above; but the crucial role of purely ascetic authors has been affirmed by Ρ. Adnes, "Hesychasme," Dictionnaire de spiritualité, 7 (1968), 381-399. For Psellos and John Italos and especially for the fate of the latter and its significance for Byzantine and Medieval intellectual history see Lowell Clucas, The Τrial of John Italos and the crisis of intellectual values of Byzantium in the eleventh century (Miscellanea byzantina monacensia, [26 Munich, 1981]); for Euthymios Zigabenos see Α.Ν. Papabasiliu, Euthymios-loannes Zigabenos. Bios-Syngraphai, 2nd ed. (Leukosia, 1979); for Neilos Doxopatres see S. Caruso, "Echi della polemica bizantina antilatina dell ΧΙ-ΧΙI sec. nel De oeconomia Dei di Νilo Doxopatres," Atti Congr. Intern. di Studi sulla Sicilia Normanna (Palermo, 1973), 3-32; for Theophylact of Ochrid see Theophylacte d'Achrida, Discours, traites, poesies. Introduction, texte, tradition et notes ed. Ρaul Gautier (Thessaloniki, 1980). Νo thorough attempt to distinguish the different theological tradition systematically has yet been undertaken.
64. This is stated most categorically in the Hagioretic Tome, MPG, 151, 1128 Β: "For the mysteries will only be revealed in the age to come in their own time and through the ineffable manifestations of the one God in three complete hypostases. Then one will see that those mysteries are in accord with what these remarkable men experience and say." Gunter Weiss, Joannes Kantakuzenos, 126-132, has drawn attention to some monks who were opposed to Hesychasm. Hesychasm was an important movement among Byzantine monks, but it did not involve all of them. Very educated monks in some cases found it uncongenial, as Weiss pointed out in loannes Kantakuzenos, 126-130. Ιt did not, interestingly enough, find favor initially in the cenobitic monasteries at Mt. Athos, for which see Balfour, St. Gregory the Sinaite: Discourse on the Transfiguration, 72.
65. Hagioretic Tome, MPG, 151, 1229 ΑΒ: "He (in this case Barlaam) ought to know that he goes against the Holy Fathers of God and the community of the saved and, unless he should repent, he excommunicates himself from the God who is One and Alone in nature. Let him who believes in the Fathers of the Church and is in agreement with them and does not contrive pretexts for his sins not reject that which has been proclaimed, even if he is ignorant of it... he shall not hold it to be unworthy to follow the way of mystery or to learn from those who know." As stated above, note 9, the Hagioretic Tome dates to August, 1340, before the condemnation of Βarlaam at the Council of 1314. The demand made in the Hagioretic Tome is paralleled in the concluding statement in Defense des saints-hesythastes, Triad ΙΙΙ, 3, 16. Yet somewhat earlier, in ΙΙ, 3, 77-78, the tone is more moderate, and Barlaam's views are reproved without the demand that he be condemned. Palamas' eventual complete intolerance was, of course, the result of Barlaam's treatise, Against the Messalians, published in 1340, with its outright accusation of the Hesychasts as Messalian heretics. Meyendorff, Introduction, 75: "une possibilité d'accord existait, en 1339-1340, sur la base d'une simple modifications des écrits du Calabrais " The "escalation" of the conflict through the publication of Against the Messalians and Palamas' reaction in Triad IΙΙ and the Hagioretic Tome set the new tone of Palamite claims and demands, through the Councils of 1341, 1347 and the Council of 1351. According to Gregoras, the Palamites were demanding by late 1347 (after Akindynos and his backer, Patriarch Kalekas, had been condemned by the Council of 1347 that he (Gregoras) be exiled; see Byzantina historia, ΙΙ, 824. Their political patron, the new Emperor, John VI Kantakuzenos, did not accede to this request, but he soon began to plan on the major Church Council, which took place in 1351. He wanted to preside as emperor over a great legal and canonical settlement of the issue, namely an ecumenical council, as Gregoras points out, Byzantina historia, ΙΙ, 882, 885. The most conspicuous organizational leader of the Palamites during this period from 1347 to 1351 is the Patriarch Kallistos, who as Gregoras emphasizes, was backed up by the Emperor; see Βyzantina historia, ΙΙ, 871-874. Patriarchal letters of December, 1350, warn the clergy in Constantinople that lax discipline will not be tolerated, but the injunctions are so broadly formulated and the issue of Palamism so much in the air, that it sounds like a warning to members of the clergy sceptical about the pro-Ρalamite official policy of Patriarch and Emperor; see Miklosich-Muller, Αcta et diplomatica graeca, vol. 1 (Vienna, 1860), 306-312. Κallistos was clearly enforcing the position emphasized by Palamas in the Hagioretic Tome which, as we have said before, was approved explicitly by the Tome of 1347, by the Tome of 1351, and by the emperor, John VI Kantakuzenos in his history, though it was not mentioned by the Tome of 1341 (see above, note 41). This does not mean that Palamas was eager to persecute his critics, per se. Gregoras, in Byzantina historia, ΙΙ, 829-834, summarizing a discussion with Palamas, which took place in front of the emperor in Constantinople in 1348, demanded that John VI acknowledge the condemnation οf Palamas by the synod held under the former Patriarch John Kalekas in 1344. Gregoras insisted that the synod held in 1344 took precedent over that held in 1341, and that the Patriarch's order that the writings of Ρalamas ought to be consigned tο the flames was, or ought to be, still in force. This was very unrealistic, tο say the least.