Maximus the Confessor


Also found in: Wikipedia.

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

References in periodicals archive ?
In his writings Maximus the Confessor continued the Platonist doctrine that the sensible world is the realm of becoming, whereas the intelligible world is the realm of being.
The argument draws in Hellenistic and Byzantine aesthetics, Russian Modernism, the theological aesthetics of Jacques Maritain, Maximus the Confessor and the theory of classical Chinese and Zen painting, and quite a lot more.
Maximus the Confessor," Andrew Louth explains the concept of deification or theosis.
Maximus the Confessor, who is considered to be one of the most prolific and synthesizing theologians of the seventh century.
To lay the groundwork, let us begin with an early Christian theologian who thought deeply about participation: Maximus the Confessor.
What he does do, very effectively I think, is evoke a vision of life as sacramental (what he calls "liturgical living"), and in the process he sketches a theological paradigm with which to understand that vision and relate it to strands of the Christian tradition that harmonize with it: Eastern Christian traditions of kenosis (self-emptying) and apophaticism, especially in Maximus the Confessor and Gregory of Nyssa, and the more mystical thinkers of Western Christianity, such as Meister Eckhart, to whom he devotes half of chapter eight.
Maximus the Confessor traveled from Mount Athos to be laid out for veneration in the patriarchal St.
Perhaps the words of Maximus the Confessor, a Christian elder of the seventh century, describe the elders' concern in the very best way: the entire world is a burning bush of God's energies.
Christiansen acknowledges that Maximus the Confessor held a view of theosis as perichoresis (skillfully analyzed by Elena Vishnevskaya, 132-45), which "moves from a spiritual relationship of communion in Christ to a mystical state of union," "which in the end tends to blur, but not collapse, the essential distinction between Creator and creation" (27), a move made by none in the Hebrew tradition.
An important step towards the system of essence and energies of God created by Gregory Palamas was the theological reflection of Maximus the Confessor.
St Maximus the Confessor received an excellent education, studying philosophy, grammar and rhetoric; he was well read in the authors of Antiquity and he also mastered philosophy and theology.
As an example, Hudson tries to show how Maximus the Confessor, and by extension Cusanus, 'avoids the pitfalls of Neoplatonic idealism' (34).