Maximus the Confessor

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Maximus the Confessor

 

Born circa 580 in Constantinople; died Aug. 13, 662, in Lazica. Byzantine thinker and theologian.

Active in government in his youth, Maximus became a monk in 613 or 614. In 642 he became known as a leading opponent of the Monothelites, who were supported by the government. He was victorious in a dispute with the Monothelites in Carthage in 645; in 653 he was arrested; in 662 his tongue and right hand were cut off. He died in exile.

The philosophical views of Maximus the Confessor are colored by the strong influence of Aristotle, Neoplatonism, and, above all, the Areopagite, in the dissemination of whose works Maximus played a decisive role. The problem of man is at the center of Maximus the Confessor’s philosophical and theological thought. He divided the history of the world into two periods— the preparation for the incarnation of god, which ended with the birth of Christ, and the preparation for the deification of man. If man overcomes his self-alienation—brought on by original sin and the division into masculine and feminine and spiritual and animal—then the cosmos will be saved and creation will be reunited with the creator. For this reason, the main events in the life of Christ are at the same time symbols of cosmic processes. The ethics of Maximus are based on an original doctrine about the transformation of the energy of evil emotions into good emotions and includes subtle psychological observations. His ideas exerted a strong influence on Johannes Scotus Erigena and medieval mysticism.

WORKS

In J. P. Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus ser. graeca, vols. 90-91. Paris, 1860.

REFERENCES

Epifanovich, S. L. Prepodobnyi Maksim Ispovednik i vizantiiskoe bogoslovie. Kiev, 1915.
Epifanovich, S. L. Materialy k izucheniiu zhizni i tvorenii prepodobnogo Maksima Ispovednika. Kiev, 1917.
Balthasar, H. U. von. Kosmische Liturgie: Das Weltbild Maximus des Bekenners, 2nd ed. Einsiedeln, 1961.
Thunberg, L. Microcosm and Mediator: The Theological Anthropology of Maximus the Confessor. Copenhagen, 1965.

S. S. AVERINTSEV

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The great seventh-century theologian Maximos the Confessor said that we must not fight nature, which God created, but the disorderly and unnatural movements and energies that come from our inner being.
Maximos the Confessor, On Difficulties in the Church Fathers: The Ambigua, Volume I (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, 28), ed.
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DIVINE CONTINGENCY: THEOLOGIES OF DIVINE EMBODIMENT IN MAXIMOS THE CONFESSOR AND TSONG KHA PA.
A more or less recent convert to Orthodoxy, Knight draws particularly from the Logos-theology of Byzantine theologian and saint, Maximos the Confessor, focusing on the latter's notion of the Logos as constituting the inner essence or telos of all things, and connects that with the inclusivistic pluralism (or pluralistic inclusivism, depending on one's point of view) of the twentieth-century Orthodox spiritual writer, Philip Sherrard.
According to St Maximos the Confessor, a seventh century monk, the Legos of God is continually willing to become incarnate and become embodied, not just once but three times: in the creation of the world (as Logos), in the holy scripture (as logos or word of scripture), and, finally and most perfectly, as a human being (Logos as Jesus Christ).
Fr Staniloe's great love for the hesychastic period, and in particular St Gregory Palamas on the "uncreated energies" and Maximos the Confessor on the micro-cosmos and macro-anthropos, led him to deal also with the translations of the entire collection of Philokalia of the fathers and ascetics of the desert.
First, one would think that in a volume concerning patristic ethics that the thought of Maximos the Confessor, John Climacus, or Evagrius Ponticus would be included.
Another tactic adopted by Follieri is to venture into even more treacherous waters, and to try to demonstrate from the letters of Maximos the Confessor that Sophronios belonged to the [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] which she seeks to identify with the monastery of Chrysopolis where Maximos began (or continued(12)) his monastic life (pp.
A chapter is devoted to the teachings of Maximos the Confessor (580-662), an original thinker and the object of new interest in his theology.
Relying on the theological vision of Maximos the Confessor, Knight suggests that what natural scientists have determined to be the laws of nature are only the "low-level" manifestation of the law-like workings of Divine Providence in creation.