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1. The Early Chapters of the Capita 150

A. Introduction

Gregory Palamas gave to the Capita 150 the full title: «One Hundred and Fifty Chapters on Topics of Natural and Theological Science, the Moral and the Ascetic Life, Intended as a Purge for the Barlaamite Corruption.» The title purports to provide two pieces of information regarding the content of the work. First, the work is divided topically according to the subjects of natural science, theology, the moral and the ascetic life. Second, it is, at least in part, a polemical work written against the Barlaamite heresy. In several manuscripts there is a note attached to chapter 34 telling the reader that the section on natural science has come to an end and that the following section will treat matters relating to theology.9 However, there are no further such notes to signal the subsequent divisions treating the moral and ascetic life, nor does any note indicate a special group of chapters dedicated to a refutation of Barlaam's heresy.

The modern reader who comes to this work hoping to learn more about the nature of Barlaam's heretical views and their refutation by Palamas will be disappointed. Barlaam’s name does not appear until more than one third of the way through the work. Both there and thereafter it appears only in conjunction with the name of Akindynos.10 In fact, chapters 64–150 are directed almost exclusively against the "Barlaamite» teachings of Gregory Akindynos and his followers.

The Capita 150 can be divided into two major sections: chapters 1–63, a general section which treats the divine economy of creation and salvation, and chapters 64–150 which constitute the anti-Akindynist section. The following schema presents an overview of the first section and its major divisions.

The Divine Economy of Creation and Salvation

I.      The Non-Eternity of the Cosmos (1–2)

That the world had a beginning.

That the world will have an end: not a total annihilation but a transformation.

II.      The Celestial Sphere (3–7)

3.      The heaven revolves not by the nature of a World Soul but by its own nature.

Revolution is the proper natural motion of the heaven.

Since by its own nature the heaven is the lightest body, it has no upward motion.

6.      There is no body beyond the heaven.

7. Further details on the natural motion of the heaven.

III.      The Terrestrial Sphere (8–14)

The winds too move by their own nature.

The Hellene theory of four habitable zones of the earth.

There is no habitable zone beyond our own.

The eccentric location of the sphere of water.

Relation of the earth sphere centre to the water sphere centre.

Geometric diagram of the relation of the two spheres.

The rational and irrational animals inhabit only this zone.

IV.      The Natural Human Faculties (15–20)

Sense perception (the five senses).

Imagination (Φαντασία)

Mind (Νοῦς).

Unreliability of sense perception.

A composite knowledge results from the use of the faculties of sense perception, imagination and mind.

This is the source of our knowledge of natural phenomena. Such knowledge cannot be called spiritual.

V.      Spiritual Knowledge (21–29)

About God and creation. {H 6}

About the ordering of creation in six days. {H 6}

About the two bounds of the universe. {H 6}

About the creation of man. {H 6}

Superiority of the true wisdom and saving knowledge to Hellenic philosophy.

True knowledge of God and man's place before him.

All rational beings made in the Image of God.

The errors of Hellenic learning.

29.      Saving knowledge: the mind's acknowledgement of its own weakness and the quest for its healing.

VI.      Rational Nature (30–33)

30.      Human nature possesses life not only essentially but as an activity; angelic nature posseses life only essentially but as capable of opposites (good and evil).

31.      Irrational animals possess life only as an activity.

32. Immortality of the human soul.

33. The rational soul is susceptible of opposites and so does not possess goodness essentially.

VII.      The Divine Nature and its Triadic Image in Man (34–40)

34. The divine nature possesses goodness essentially and transcendently.

35. Transcendent goodness is Mind, from which the Word proceeds by way of generation.

36.      Procession of the Spirit from the Mind together with the Word; Spirit as love of the Begetter for the ineffably begotten Word.

37.      The Triadic Image in man: the mind's relation of love to its own immanent knowledge.

The Triadic Image in angels and men.

Man's corporeity indicates that he is more perfectly in the Image of God than the angels.

40.      Manifestation and preservation of the Triadic Image in the soul by means of grace.

VIII.      Recognition of Human weakness and the Need for Healing (41–63)

41.      The serpent as originator of evil, lowest in the hierarchy of beings through his own arrogance and free will. {H 31}

The serpent and the Fall.

Men and angels: there is no superior being but God to serve as man's counsellor.

Satan's motive – jealousy of man's dominion.

Sin as death of the soul even while the body lives.

The Fall of Adam and Eve. {H 31}

Death was not created by God. {H 31}

Responsibility for the Fall rests with each individual who transgresses God's commandments.

49.      The Tree was forbidden to Adam and Eve because they were not yet mature enough to eat of it.

Beguilement of the senses as the secondary cause of the Fall.

Delay of the sentence of bodily death. {H 31}

Death is an ongoing process of passing away.

God delayed ultimate death in order to give man a second chance.

Felix culpa. {H 16}

We more than Adam bear a greater blame for the Fall {H 31}

Our Tree is the commandment of repentance. {H 31}

Exhortation to repentance {H 31}

Love for God and the virtues.

Worship in Spirit and Truth means worship of the Father through the Son and Holy Spirit. {H 19}

Worship in Spirit and Truth means conceiving the Incorporeal incorporeally. {H 19}

Angels and souls as incorporeal beings. {H 19}

Man is more perfectly in God's Image than the angels not only because he possesses a life-giving power but also because he exercises dominion.

Man is also superior to the angels by the fact of the threefold character of his knowledge.

B. The General Context of the First Section

The first section can be read at several different levels. On the first level, it constitutes a general introduction to the work as a whole, placing the later, more detailed questions, within the wider context of the divine economy of creation and salvation. Starting with the temporal origin of the universe, Palamas treated in turn the material and rational cosmos, discussed their relation to the Creator, and then produced a lengthy exposition of the Fall, its consequences and the process of salvation. Palamas may well have been concerned that the debate about the relation between God's substance and his energies had become too divorced from the rest of theology and from soteriology in particular.

On another, but closely related level, the first section deals with the question of knowledge and the distinction between natural science and theological science. The first twenty chapters cover what can be learned about the world and God through man's own natural powers. Chapters 21 to 63 discuss those truths «about God, about the world, about our own selves»11 which can be known with certainty only through the teaching of the Spirit. The problem of knowledge had been an important one in the period prior to 1341 when Barlaam had raised certain questions about the nature of man's knowledge of God.12 Although Barlaam had long departed from the scene by the time the Capita 150 was written, Palamas still had in mind the dangers posed by the Calabrian's views and their place at the origin of the debate on the divine substance and the energies.

There is one further level where Palamas, in certain chapters at least, envisaged a number of particular problems or problematic tendencies which he felt compelled to address.13 The first fourteen chapters are devoted to the question of whether the world had a beginning, and to an examination of the two great spheres of the heaven and the earth. Behind this there are clearly detectable a number of the τόποι of the traditional Christian polemic against profane or Hellenic learning. The eternity of the world and the existence of a World Soul are two such τόποι and they appear not only here but also in a longer list of Hellenic errors in Palamas» first Triad.14 The implication is not that Barlaam or Akindynos explicitly professed such doctrines; rather, Palamas believed that an inordinate pursuit of secular learning would inevitably lead to these or similar heretical errors. Or alternatively, an unorthodox theological position might have the same result. Thus in the Contra Acindynum Palamas demonstrated how Gregory Akindynos had fallen unwittingly into the Hellene error of an eternal cosmos:

That from creatures we acquire an understanding not of the divine substance but of the divine energies; and Akindynos, in denying this and in thinking creatures arc coeternal with God, is under the same charge as the Hellenes and Eunomius.15

In one sense the first 63 chapters of the Capita 150 have much the same intention as the opening section of the first Triad, namely to demonstrate the superiority of spiritual gnosis and to point out the error arising from an exclusive reliance on natural science for attaining certain knowledge either about God or even about creation. However, in the Capita 150 the treatment of certain areas of Hellenic learning is much more specific and detailed. The fourteenth century witnessed a revival of several areas of study among which were Platonism, astronomy and natural philosophy. Palamas may well have been concerned with the dangers and temptations which this revival posed for the Christian and so wrote a kind of mini-treatise Περὶ Κόσμου (c. 1–14). According to the long established definition of the word, «Cosmos means a system composed of heaven and earth and the natures contained in them.»16 The schema has, of course, its parallel in the Judaeo-Christian worldview described in the Hexaemeron where God is said to have created heaven and earth and all that is in them.

About 1315 Nikephoros Choumnos had written his Refutation of Plotinus On the Soul.17 Unfortunately, the reasons and circumstances of its composition are not known. Sometime before 1335 Nikephoros Gregoras wrote a commentary on the De insomniis of Synesius of Cyrene, a late fourth to early fifth century pagan convert to Christianity.18 The commentary demonstrates Gregoras’ familiarity with some of the mure arcane interests of the Neoplatonists, and in particular, the Chaldean Oracles. Gregoras derived much of his material from Michael Psellos, the great Neoplatonist antiquarian of the eleventh century.19 In fact, the writings of Psellos must have enjoyed considerable popularity in the time of Gregoras, since over one hundred manuscripts of his works date from the late thirteenth and the fourteenth centuries.20 Even Proclus himself was read with some frequency in this period.21

Another area of profane learning which may have attracted Gregory's attention was the renewal of astronomical studies.22 Theodore Metochites and Nikephoros Gregoras were leaders in this enterprise.23 Barlaam, too, had written works on astronomy and his vociferous boasting on the subject was certainly known to Palamas.24

Physics, cosmography and natural phenomena also attracted the attention of fourteenth century intellectuals. Beyond the great Aristotelian compendia of Nikephoros Blemmydes (1197–1272), George Pachymeres (1242–c.1310) and Joseph the Philosopher (c. 1280–c.1330), there were many individual works covering specific topics.25 The emperor Theodore II Laskaris (1254–1258) wrote a work called the Κοσμικ Δήλωσις in which the first two books treat the elements and the heaven.26 Nikephoros Choumnos produced seven minor treatises on physics and natural phenomena.27 Similar topics were covered by Nikephoros Gregoras in a series of solutiones quaestionum addressed to Helena Palaeologina.28 Barlaam, too, touched upon this area in his Solutions.29 In all these instances the discussion is primarily Aristotelian to its sources.

Because of their popularity in this period, two works of antiquity should also be mentioned here. There are 31 manuscripts for the work of Cleomedes De motu circulari corporum caelestium and 19 for Pseudo-Aristotle's De mundo.30 Palamas himself quoted the latter in c. 10. The late fourteenth century manuscript, Paris, bn, ms gr. 2381, contains not only the Capita 150 of Palamas but also the work of Cleomedes, Pseudo-Aristotle's De mundo and several works of the Aratean corpus.31 Their association in a single manuscript suggests that the scholar-owner of the codex appreciated some relevancy of the work of Palamas to these other treatises.

In the context of such an intellectual milieu, therefore, it would have been Palamas’ concern to assure the proper Christian point of view in the scientific questions which were gaining new currency in his days.

The Non-Eternity of the Cosmos (1–2)

To demonstrate that the world had a beginning, Palamas used a twofold argument, from nature and from history. It was the common Byzantine understanding that history begins with the creation story. Moses was the historian par excellence and his account of the world's origin and early history was incorporated into the Byzantine chronicle tradition together with supplementary material from the Book of Jubilees (Λεπτὴ Γένεσις) and from the Jewish Antiquities of Josephus.32 This tradition makes references not only to the creation of the cosmos but also to the founders of the arts, the first lawgivers, the progenitors of the various races and nations, and the founders of cities. Abel was the first shepherd, Cain the first farmer and also the inventor of metrology and geodesy. Iobel established animal husbandry; Ioubal invented the first musical instruments; Thobel founded the art of working in metal; Seth invented the Hebrew alphabet and astronomy. Nebrod founded the city of Babylon, was the first hunter and taught astronomy and astrology. Syros, son of Agenor, founded the science of arithmetic, Prometheus that of grammar, and Epimetheus music. Moses, Draco and Solon are mentioned as law-givers.33

Gregory's argument from nature is simply stated as the ontological dependence of created reality on a first cause. The corollary to this argument is that the world will also have an end. If the individual parts of the world are subject to dissolution, the universe as a whole will suffer the same fate. Basil had argued similarly in his Hexaemeron.34 Divine revelation adds its own prophetic witness to the end of the world.35 The end, however, does not mean total annihilation, but rather a transformation. Basil elaborates more fully:

The world must necessarily change if the condition of our souls is to undergo a transformation to a different form of life. For just as this present life bears an affinity to the nature of this world, so in the future life our souls will enjoy a lot conformable to their new condition.36

The Celestial Sphere (3–7)

In chapter 3 Gregory challenged the Hellenic doctrine of a World Soul by raising four objections. In each case he attempted to show how philosophy contradicts itself, or, more precisely, how Plato stands in contradiction to Aristotle. According to Plato's theory, the revolution of the heaven is effected by the World Soul.37 But if the World Soul permeates the entire universe, as the name implies, then all things must be moved by it at all times, since the soul is ever-moving. Aristotle, however, held the opposing view that the heaven revolves by its own nature and that the earth, again, by its own nature, is stationary.38 Moreover, Palamas continued, since self-determination is part of the nature of a rational soul, the movements of the heaven could not be regular and unchanging, as they apparently are. Then, too, many parts of the universe exhibit no evidence of a rational soul. Even fire, the most mobile of the four elements, moves by its own nature and not that of some universal soul. Finally, according to Aristotle's definition, «soul is the actuality of a body possessed of organs and having the potentiality for life.»39 Only composite bodies, therefore, can have souls. The heaven is a simple nature, possesses no potentiality for life, and thus cannot be animated by a soul.

For Palamas the conclusion was obvious. The doctrine of a World Soul is just another example of the foolish reasonings and senseless imaginings of the pagan philosophers. In the course of his closing tirade, Gregory explicitly associated this doctrine with Neoplatonism by his mention of the three hypostases, namely, God, the Mind, and the World Soul.

The next chapter continues the argument against the existence of the World Soul. The theological intention behind the argument is twofold. Besides the obvious datum of revelation that the governance of the universe belongs to God alone, Gregory is concerned with preserving the uniqueness of man as the sole possessor of a rational soul which has the character of a supernatural or «supercelestial» creation. Therefore, the revolution of the celestial body must be natural, by its own nature, and not by the nature of some mythical World Soul.

In the following chapters (5–7) Palamas delimited further the scientific views which are acceptable to orthodox Christianity. The heaven, again by its own nature, is the lightest body and therefore does not proceed upwards. As Aristotle taught, there is no body or place beyond the heaven, for the heaven encompasses all body absolutely.40 And yet there must be some sort of "region» beyond it, since God himself extends infinitely beyond the heaven and the pious Christian will one day pass through the boundary. Finally, Palamas closed his discussion of the celestial body in chapter 7 with some more details on its nature and movement.

The Terrestrial Sphere (8–14)

As a transition to his treatment of the terrestrial sphere, Gregory paused briefly to insist that the movement of the winds is natural and is not effected by a World Soul (c. 8). The winds are located in the region most proximate to the earth, for they are not as light or as mobile as the higher regions. Chapters 9–14 are devoted to the task of showing that there is a single habitable zone on the earth where alone is found the embodied rational soul. Here is further evidence of Palamas» emphasis on the uniqueness of man's place in the universe and in the divine economy of salvation. Palamas started out with an exposition of pagan cosmography (c. 9). Of the five zones on the earth, only two are temperate in climate and habitable. Each of these zones is further divided to produce a total of four inhabited regions. Palamas» understanding of the ancient Greek schema can be best illustrated by the following diagram.

A and B:      2 ἀντεύκρατοι καὶ οἰκήσιμοι ζῶναι

4 οἰκουμέναι and 4 γένη τῶν ἀνθρώπων

1:      ἡ καθ’ ἠμᾶς οἰκουμένη

2:      οί τὸ πρὸς αὐτοὐς δακοῦν ὑποκάτω τῆς ζώνης ταύτης οἰκοῡντες

3:      οί ἑκ πλαγίου ἡμῖν

As he was probably describing the pagan position from memory, his report of their terminology does not correspond quite accurately with ancient usage.41 Gregory pointed out that the Hellenic description of the earth runs contrary to the orthodox Christian doctrine that only one tenth of the earth sphere is habitable, while the rest is inundated by the abyss of the waters.

Palamas went through some unusual and very ingenious arguments in order to arrive at his version of the Christian view, which has little in common with earlier expositions, such as those of Basil's Hexaemeron or the Christian Topography of Cosmas Indicopleustes.42 Relying on a passage from Pseudo-Aristotle's De mundo, Palamas explained that the five elements occur in five spherical regions, one encompassed by the other. The elements are equal in mass but varying in density, and so the spheres are progressively greater in volume as you proceed outwards (c. 10). If the spheres were perfectly concentric, water would surround the earth making it completely uninhabitable. But since this is not the case, the water sphere must be eccentric, with its centre below that of the earth sphere (c. 11). The habitable part of the earth covers one half of the surface, that is, one half of one of the five (presumably equal) zones. The water sphere is twice the diameter and eight times the volume of the earth sphere, given that the centre of the water sphere is on the lowest point on the circumference of the earth sphere (c. 12). Illustrating this with a diagram, Palamas assured the reader that his explanation is susceptible of geometric proof (c. 13). Palamas himself probably learned his geometry from a Byzantine quadrivium textbook with its geometry section based on Euclid's Elements. The required proof can in fact be deduced from the proposition of Book 12.18: «Spheres are to one another in the triplicate ratio of their respective diameters.»43 From this it is possible to derive the formula for the volume of a sphere, . With this formula it is a simple matter to determine that the two spheres of the diagram are in a proportion of 8:1. And so, one eighth of the water sphere is in contact with the earth sphere.

The Natural Human Faculties (15–20)

With the conclusion of his little treatise Περὶ Κόσμου, Palamas moved on to reveal his ultimate goal, which was to draw a clear distinction between natural knowledge and spiritual or supernatural knowledge. In the Περὶ Κόσμου section he had reviewed various items of natural knowledge and demonstrated how easy it was to fall into error, as many had done in the past, by relying exclusively on their own natural, «foolish» reasoning. In chapters 15–20 he explained the process of natural knowledge, φυσικὴ γνῶσις, and why it must be considered unreliable.

First of all, knowledge is acquired through the perceptions of the five senses. In each case the perception (μόρφωσις) is derived from bodies, or, more precisely, from corporeal forms. The impressions (ἐκτυπώματα) received from the corporeal forms are like images inseparably separate from the bodily forms (c. 15). At the next level, the imagination (φαντασἰα) appropriates the impressions (ἐκμαγεῖα) in the senses, separates the images from the corporeal forms and stores them in such a way that they can be recalled at will, even when the bodies are absent (c. 16). In rational animals the imagination serves as the link (μεθόριον) between the mind and the senses. The mind gazes upon the incorporeal images in the imagination and formulates thoughts (λογισμούς) in the process of reasoning.44 Unfortunately, the passions and error can enter this process. Thus, most virtues and vices, true and false opinions enter the mind through the imagination. But this is not always the case, for certain objects of thought enter the mind apart from the senses (c. 17). The senses are thus unreliable sources of information and knowledge. They are ultimately connected with the transitory, material world, and, although the fruit of their knowledge may be beauty, richness and honour, it may equally be ugliness, poverty and dishonour: the senses have the capability of bringing us to the intelligible Light of eternal life, or, just as easily, to the intelligible darkness of chastisement (c. 18).

The knowledge assembled through the apprehension of particulars via the faculties of sense perception, imagination and mind must necessarily be a composite knowledge and not a direct vision of reality.45 The natural sciences of astronomy and mathematics never pass beyond the realm of nature. They do not attain the realities of the Spirit (c. 19–20).

Spiritual Knowledge (21–29)

Palamas had now set the stage for the exposition of the principal thesis of the first part of the Capita 150: the only knowledge really worth having, the only knowledge of enduring value is spiritual or saving knowledge. Of all knowledge only the teaching of the Holy Spirit can be considered secure and free of all deception and error. As a counterbalance to the Hellenic Περὶ Κόσμου doctrine, which he had presented and criticized earlier, Palamas brought forward the Christian version in chapters 21–24.

At this point one of the principal literary characteristics of the Capita 150 comes to the fore. Much of the material in this work has direct verbatim parallels in the other works of Palamas. For the moment, it will be assumed that the material in the Capita 150 was taken from these other works. Later, when the date of the Capita 150 is discussed, this assumption will be examined in detail.46 For chapters 21–24 the source in question was Homily 6: Προτρεπτική πρός νηστείαν. ἐν ᾖ και περί τῆς τοῦ κόσμου γενέσεως ὡς ἐν ἐπιτόμῳ.47

In the beginning, that is, in a single atemporal instant, God created all things in potency. Earth would produce all things proper to it and heaven would do the same.48 The possibility of pre-existent matter must be excluded absolutely (c. 21). The six days of creation saw the unfolding of created matter from formless chaos into form. God's work was one of ordering and adorning the universe, wherein the earth was fixed as the immovable centre around which all else revolves. And so the orthodox Christian will understand the universe as geocentric (c. 22). Not only do the heavenly bodies provide for the yearly changes of season and the measurement of time, but more importantly, their orderly arrangement can lead the wise to a knowledge of God the Creator (c. 23).49

Already Palamas had established that man alone possesses an embodied rational, intellectual soul, that he dwells in the only inhabited region of the earth, and that the earth is the centre of the universe.50 Then, in chapter 24 he went still further. Man occupies a unique place at the summit of creation. Creation is placed in the service of man, under his stewardship, but he is not bound by the created world, since he is destined for the kingdom of heaven. The dignity of man derives from his creation in the image of God. As body and soul, he belongs to both the material and the immaterial order. He has the capacity for knowing God and for receiving him. Such is the dignity of man and of human nature that God became incarnate, the divinity united with the humanity in a single hypostasis.

In the following chapters Palamas drew out the implications of the Christian Περὶ Κόσμου doctrine. Since man is at the summit of creation with all placed in his service, knowledge must serve man in his true nature and according to his eternal destiny, if it is to have any real value. The saving knowledge (ή σωτήριος γνῶσις) bestowed by the teaching of the Spirit must then be counted superior to all the learning of the scientists and philosophers (c. 25).

This saving knowledge is the knowledge of God in truth and of man's place before him. The great enterprise of Hellenic philosophy failed because it was unable to recognize the proper hierarchy of God, Man, and Creation. The Greek philosophers endowed irrational creation with intelligence, and some even went so far as to deify insensate matter. In so doing they failed to recognize not only die true God but also their own human dignity (c. 26).

God's image in man has its locus in the mind. Gregory developed this notion in a significant way later in the Capita 150.51 Since God created all intellectual being and not just our own, the angels are fellow servants with us before God. They too are in the divine image but they possess a greater honour than man, in that by their incorporeality they more closely resemble the divine nature. This is true of course only for the good angels and not for those who were alienated from him and who remain hostile to the human race (c. 27).

Before concluding this section Palamas returned once again to the follies of the pagan sages, but this time he may very well have had in mind a contemporary folly being committed by Nikephoros Gregoras and his associates. In chapter 28 the pagan sages are said to revere Satan and demons as God, honouring them with temples and sacrifices. These Hellenes submit to oracles, follow the guidance of prophets and prophetesses, and employ defiling purifications. This sounds very much like Proclan theurgy. This was known to Palamas from the Life of Proclus by Marinus.52 In the same text where Palamas refers to and quotes from this work the phrase καθαρμοῑς χαλδαϊκοῑς is used.53 Surely, these must be identical with the καθαρμῶν μολυνόντων mentioned in c. 28. As already noted above, Nikephoros Gregoras had revealed his interest in the Chaldean Oracles and Proclan theurgy in his commentary on the De insomniis of Synesius. Gregoras’ interest was probably not unique.54

Chapter 29 is both a recapitulation of this central section of the first part of the Capita 150 and an outline of what is yet to come. In chapters 30–33 Palamas would continue the discussion of the nature of man and his special place in creation. Then in chapters 34–40 he would add further weight to man's dignity by elaborating on the triadic character of the divine image. Finally, since saving knowledge includes man's knowledge of himself and in particular of his need for healing, Gregory would discourse at length on the origin of man's woundedness and the way to salvation (c. 41–63).

Rational Nature (30–33)

The next step for Palamas was to consider man in relation to other rational creatures, namely the angels. All rational natures, whether angelic or human, possess life as an essential part of their being, or, in other words, they are immortal. Man possesses life also as an energy or activity which passes on life and animation to his body. This does not apply to angels, because they are incorporeal (c. 30). Irrational animals are distinguished by the fact that they possess life only as an activity animating the body. They are therefore mortal, the soul dying together with the body (c. 31). Further, all rational souls are mutable with respect to good and evil, for they do not possess essential goodness. Palamas would even say that this implies a sort of composition involving the substance and either good or evil which inheres in the substance as a quality (c. 33). Finally, it should, be noted that Palamas placed a special emphasis on the immortality of the human soul, for he not only mentioned it in chapter 30 but he devoted all of chapter 32 to the subject.

The Divine Nature and its Triadic Image in Man (34–40)

a. The Doctrine of the Capita55

To continue the discussion of saving knowledge, Palamas shifted the focus for a moment to the divine nature and then back again to rational creatures and man. Chapter 34, which concerns the divine nature in its unity, displays a tightly woven fabric of Dionysian theology. It shows the degree to which Palamas had assimilated the doctrine of Pseudo-Dionysius and adapted it to his purposes.56 Unlike rational creation the divine nature possesses goodness as its substance. The goods that we know from created realities are reflections of the divine goodness, although the divine goodness infinitely transcends the good that we conceive of. In the divine nature there is no distinction of goods, for the divine goodness embraces them all in its unity. The divine goodness is, therefore, both unknown in its transcendence, yet known through its energies directed towards creation. This is the tradition of the Church followed by Palamas in the development of the doctrine of the divine substance and the uncreated energies.

In passing from the Godhead in its unity to a consideration of the three persons, Gregory turned from Pseudo-Dionysius to the theology of the Alexandrian tradition, which understood The Godhead as Mind from which the Word proceeds as from a source. In order to clarify his meaning Palamas distinguished four senses of the word λόγος. First, there is the προφορικὸς λόγος, a word which is expressed externally in sounds. This does not belong properly to the mind but to the body moved by the mind. Second, the ἐνδιάθετος λόγος is the mental image of the sounds of a word before it is expressed externally. Third, the λόγος ἐν διανοίᾳ refers to a word in the sense of a concept or idea that takes shape gradually in the mind. Finally, there is the λόγος ἐμφύτως ἡμῑν ἐναποκείμενος τῷ νῷ, a word in the sense of the knowledge latent or immanent in the mind. Only this last meaning offers a fitting analogy for the relation of the divine Logos to the Godhead. It provides a way of reflecting upon the Word's derivation from the Father by way of generation, while the Word remains complete in his own perfect hypostasis. The Word is not inferior to the Father in substance, but perfectly identical with him (c. 35).

This analysis, brief as it is, appears at first to show a degree of sophistication that goes considerably beyond previous tradition. However, care must be exercised so as not to read into this analysis more than is really there. Palamas has merely associated a λόγος with each of the faculties of knowledge, which he mentioned later in c. 63: namely, the νοερόν, the λογικόν and the αἰσθητικόν. The προφορικὸς and the ἐνδιάθετος λόγος must both be associated with the αἰσθητικόν. There is nothing here that can be compared with Augustine's examination of the various mental acts. Nevertheless, Gregory's search for a suitable analogy did lead him to a more carefully nuanced notion of λόγος than that usually found in the patristic tradition.

Extending the analogy, Palamas noted that no word exists without πνεῦμα, and so the divine Logos possesses also the Holy Spirit, whale both have their origination in the Father. Here too, some distinctions are necessary in the various meanings of πνεῦμα. The breath which accompanies a word passing through our lips is not a suitable analogy because of its strictly corporeal reference. The incorporeal spirit accompanying the immanent or the discursive word is no more suitable because temporality is involved. The only fitting analogy is that of πνεῦμα as the ineffable love of the Begetter for the ineffably begotten Word. At this point, Palamas did not specify the exact nature of the human analogy, but rather went on to conclude that the Logos reveals to us the Spirit's distinctive ὕπαρξις and the fact that he belongs to both the Father and the Word. More precisely, the Spirit derives his being from the Father, but is sent from both the Father and the Word to those who are worthy (c. 36).57

In the next chapter Palamas clarified the analogy of the Spirit as love. In man this has its foundation in the divine image and likeness to be found in the mind. The relation of the mind to its immanent knowledge is described as ἔρως or ἔφεσις. Because of the similarities with Augustine's trinitarian analogies there is a great temptation to start reading Augustine's ideas into the text of Palamas.58 The temptation should be avoided. Gregory spoke of the knowledge naturally inherent in the mind, but he did not equate this with the mind's knowledge of itself (notitia sui).59 He spoke of the relation of the mind to the knowledge immanent in it as one of love, but he did not describe this as the mind's intending its self-knowledge (amor sui and voluntas sui).60 Above all, Palamas very clearly did not conclude that the Holy Spirit is the relation of love between the Father and the Son. Faithful to the Church's tradition, Palamas maintained that the Holy Spirit is identical in every way with the divine goodness (i.e., the divine nature) and with the Father and the Son, except in hypostasis. The Spirit has his own perfect hypostasis, which is defined by its derivation from the Father by procession.

The next step in the discussion was to consider in greater detail the nature of the divine image in rational creatures (c. 38). The intellectual nature of the angels also possesses mind, a word from the mind, and a spirit which is also from the mind, which ever accompanies the word, and which is constituted by the love of the mind for its word. Bui in the angelic nature the spirit has no vivifying power: it is not ζωοποιόν. In man, on the contrary, the spirit does have this life-giving capacity for the sake of the body. This human spirit or life-giving power in the body is an extension of the intellectual love (νοερὸς ἔρως). It is from the mind, belongs to the word, lies in the word and in the mind, and has the word and the mind in itself. It forms the soul's loving conjunction with the body (ἐραασμίαν … τὴν πρὸς τὸ οὶκεῖον σῶμα … συνάφειαν). Here again, any real similarity with Augustine's trinitarian analogies vanishes into thin air.

Taking his analysis one step further, Palamas concluded that the human soul is more truly in God's image than the intellectual nature of the angels. The reason for this comes as something of a surprise: it is because man is a corporeal being. Strangely enough, Palamas left this statement suspended in a vacuum and offered no hints of an explanation until chapter 63. Gregory's meaning can be reconstructed as follows. Because the angels are incorporeal and so possess no vivifying power, they reflect only the image of the immanent Trinity in its internal relations. But in man the life-giving spirit communicates outside the intellectual sphere towards the sensible world of the body, just as the life-giving Spirit in the Trinity communicates life beyond the interior domain of the Godhead to the realm of the saving economy.

When he came to chapter 63, Palamas explained that man is more in the image of God than the angels because of the threefold character of human knowledge (τὸ τριαδικὸν τῆς ἡμετέρας γνώσεως). This threefold character is defined as the product of the intellectual or intuitive faculty, the rational or discursive faculty, and the faculty of sense perception.61 As he had shown elsewhere, the rational-discursive faculty is closely associated with that of sense perception.62 Man, therefore, has the capacity to externalize the invisible word of the mind: he can speak it out loud, put it down in writing, and express it through the arts and sciences. In this way the divine image in man reflects not only the immanent life of the Trinity, but also God's self-manifestation in the economy of salvation. The Word of God became flesh, entering the sense perceptible world of creation.

Although the angels do not possess the divine image to the same degree as men, Palamas had been careful to note that the angels are indeed more worthy of honour because of their incorporeal nature and, as such, are nearer than we are to the uncreated nature (c. 27). Moreover, the angels, or at least the good angels, surpass us by far in dignity inasmuch as they have preserved the perfection of the divine likeness (c. 43 and 64).

Back in chapter 39, Palamas added that the divine image is indefectible and cannot be lost, even after the ancestral Fall and the subsequent death of the soul through separation from God. If the soul rejects inferior attachments and clings to the better through the practice of virtue, it will receive eternal life and ultimately immortality for the body. But if it fails to do this and dishonours the divine image, it will be alienated from God.

The high dignity of the human person is founded on the triadic character of the divide image which places man in the hierarchical rank immediately after God. This dignity and this rank in the created order must be preserved by continual remembrance and contemplation of God. Only then will the soul receive the mysterious and ineffable radiance of the divine nature (i.e. the divinizing energy) which will enable it to manifest fully the divine image and grow once again into God's likeness which was lost in the Fall. If, however, man chooses the love of wrongdoing over the love of God and of neighbour, he wreaks havoc on the triadic cosmos of his own soul (c. 40).

Thus, the threefold structure of the divine image in the soul has a distinctly dynamic character. It was created by God but is made manifest and preserved by grace. The man who loves virtues returns to himself63 through the continual remembrance of God effected by practice of the Jesus Prayer in conjunction with the hesychast psycho-somatic method.64 Then, graced by the divine radiance, the soul recognizes the image of God within itself and is drawn ever closer to his likeness.

Although chapter 34 shows that Gregory Palamas was highly attuned to the intricacies and the spirit of Dionysian theology, there is clear evidence in chapter 40 that Palamas had no hesitations about applying correctives to the teaching of Pseudo-Dionysius whenever he believed these to be necessary. Prior to 1341 Barlaam had maintained that God's self-communication to man in knowledge and in grace was effected solely through created intermediaries. He left man without any direct, unmediated knowledge or experience of God. To support his teaching, the Calabrian turned to the Pseudo-Dionysian doctrine of the hierarchies through which all transmission of the divine outpourings (πρόοδοι) was mediated. Palamas countered Barlaam's arguments by applying a christological corrective to the Areopagite's teaching. The hierarchies pertain only to the natural order, considered apart from the incarnation; the advent of Christ upset the hierarchies and granted man direct access to God.65 The same christological corrective is operative in Gregory's doctrine of the divine image. Man's τάξις in the hierarchies is placed immediately after God and above the angels. The angelic nature reflects only the image of the immanent Trinity, but in the case of man his corporeity adds to the triadic character of the image an incarnational dimension. In this, as Palamas says, «the angels have no part at all.» In addition, man's place above the angels in the hierarchical order is based on the special pneumatological character of the trinitarian image in the soul. Because man possess a body and for its sake, his spirit manifests a life-giving energy.66 This aspect of the triadic image mirrors the Father's gift of the life-giving Holy Spirit (viz. his energy, not the hypostasis) to the worthy. The soul of man, therefore, is a microcosm reflecting both the immanent life and the economic processions of the Trinity.

b. Patristic Background

Very early in the Christian tradition there were attempts at using human analogies to support the belief in a triune God. By the end of the second century the Apologists were describing the relation between the first two persons of the Trinity in terms of that between the mind and the word which proceeds from the mind, at first internally and then through external expression by means of the voice. The internal word was called the λόγος ἐνδιάθετος and in its externalized form it became a λόγος προφορικὸς. In his treatise Ad Autolycum Theophilus of Antioch wrote:

For before anything came into existence God had this (i.e., τόν λόγον τόν ὄντα διά παντός ἐνδιάθετον ἐν καρδίᾳ θεοῦ) as his Counsellor, his own Mind and Intelligence (νοῦν και φρόνησιν). When God wished to make what he had planned to make, he generated this Logos, making him external (τοῦτον τόν λόγον ἐγέννησεν προφορικόν).67

The Νοῦς-Λόγος analogy was especially favoured in Alexandria. Origen had spoken of the Godhead as «intellectualis natura simplex» and «mens ac fons, ex quo initium totius intellectualis naturae uel mentis est».68 Thus, it was natural for him to use the Mind-Word analogy, as for example in his commentary on the Gospel of John.

The Word can also be the Son because he announces the secrets of his Father, who is Mind, in a manner analogous to the Son's being called Word. For just as with us the word is a messenger for the things seen by the mind, so the Word of God, since he knows the Father whom no creature is able to approach without a guide, reveals the one whom he knows, the Father.69

This tradition is carried on in Alexandria throughout the patristic period and can be found in such writers as Dionysius of Alexandria, Athanasius, and Cyril of Alexandria.70

In the fourth century, when the problem of the Holy Spirit entered the trinitarian debates, the analogy was extended to include πνεῦμα. Gregory Nazianzen, in his Second Irenic Discourse, explains that the analogy is made possible because of the relation between sensible and intelligible realities.

We so think and are so disposed that the manner in which these are related and ordered with respect to one another can be known solely by the Trinity itself and by those who have purified themselves (either now or in the future) to whom the Trinity might reveal it. But we do know one and the some nature of the Godhead, recognized by the characteristics unoriginate, generacy and procession, on the analogy of our mind, word and spirit, to the extent that intelligible realities resemble sensible ones and the most significant the least, whereas no image quite arrives at the truth.71

The discussion is more developed still in Gregory of Nyssa's Catechetical Oration.72 He treats first the analogy of the human mind and word: the word is from the mind, not entirely identical with it, nor entirely distinct. God too cannot be without his Word (οὐδὲ ἄλογον εἶναι τὸ θεῖον).

As we have come to a knowledge of the Word by proceeding anagogically from matters that concern us to the transcendent nature, in the same way we can be brought to a conception of the Spirit, by contemplating in our nature certain shadows and resemblances of his unspeakable power.73

For both the Word and the Spirit, Gregory of Nyssa goes to great lengths to explain exactly how the analogy can be applied in an orthodox manner, while at the same time he details its inadequacies.

When John Damascene comes to the Word and Spirit of God in his Expositio fidei,74 he draws heavily upon Gregory of Nyssa’s Oratio catechetica and adds to it what he has learned from his other patristic sources. However, in another work, the De imaginibus, John Damascene adds a further development to the subject by suggesting that the foundation of the resemblance between the human mind, word, and spirit, and the Trinity lies in man's creation in the image of God.

The third kind of image is that made by God as an imitation of himself: namely, man. Haw can what is created share the nature of him who is uncreated, except by imitation? For just as the Father who is Mind and the Son who is Word, and the Holy Spirit are one God, so too mind and word and spirit constitute one man.... For God says, «Let us make man in our image and likeness.»75

The association of the trinitarian analogy with the image of God in man was never common, but it had been mentioned earlier by Theodoret of Cyr and by Pseudo-Anastasius the Sinaite. In the Genesis section of his great commentary on the Octateuch, Theodoret wrote:

But one might find in turn still another more accurate imitation in the soul of man, for it possesses within itself both a rational and an animating faculty (και τό λογικόν και τό ζωτικόν). The mind begets the word and a spirit comes forth together with the word, noе begotten like the word but always accompanying the word and coming forth together with the one begotten. These things belong to man as in an image, tor which reason the word and the spirit have no independent individual existence. But in the holy Trinity we consider three hypostases, united without confusion and subsisting in themselves.76

Note how the spirit is here given the attribute ζωτικόν or "vivifying», just as in the Capita 150 of Palamas. Commenting on the Hexaemeron, Pseudo-Anastasius claimed that man's creation in the image of God means that the impress of each trinitarian person is to be found in the human soul.77

At least two reasons can be brought forward to explain why the notion of a triadic character of the image was not well accepted during the patristic period. Firstly, the theology of the divine image in man already had a long history prior to the fourth century debates on the Trinity. Much of the discussion focused on where it was located (soul or mind only, or with the body included) and what was its principal characteristic (free will, rationality, or stewardship over creation).78 Secondly, when Eunomius claimed full knowledge of God's inner being, the Cappadocian Fathers emphasized the orthodox approach of a cautious, apophatic reverence for the mystery of God. As a result, they may have been wary about suggesting that a reflection of the processions of the trinitarian persons could be found in the divine image in man. In the fourteenth century Barlaam the Calabrian went to the opposite extreme from Eunomius and denied to man any direct knowledge of God. To counter such a claim, Palamas may have seen it necessary to develop and emphasize further a theme that was latent in earlier theology. The Palamite doctrine of the image thus underlines the high dignity of man, setting him above the angels and granting him direct access to God.

It should now be clear that Palamas» teaching on God's image in man is thoroughly patristic in its foundation, for it draws upon a commonly used analogy for understanding the Trinity and associates this with the doctrine of the image, as certain earlier writers had done, at least tentatively. Gregory's doctrine is also clearly a development both in certain details and in its general thrust. The analysis of the four meanings of λόγος in chapter 35 goes beyond the common distinction between internal and external word.79 Most importantly, Gregory determined that there is a difference between the divine image in man and the divine image in the angels, and this difference gives to man a place in the hierarchy next after God and above the angels.

c. Two Contemporary Parallels

i. Gregory of Sinai

There is one further passage from the works of Gregory Palamas which mentions the triadic character of the divine image in man. This text appears near the beginning of Homily 60, which bears the rubric, Ρηθεῖσα ἐν τῇ ἁγίᾳ ἑορτῇ τῶν φώτων, ἐν ᾖ και κατά τό ἐγχωροῦν ἔκφρασις τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ Χριστοῦ βαπτίσματος. Pronounced on the Feast of the Theophany celebrating Christ's baptism, this homily provides a possible link between Gregory Palamas and Gregory of Sinai. The passage in question is the following.80

Μέγα και ὑψηλόν, το τοῖς ὀλίγοις τούτοις ρήμασιν ἐμπεριειλημμένον μυστήριον τοῦ Χριστοῦ βαπτίσματος, δυσθεώρητόν τε και δυσερμήνευτον, και οὐχ ἦττον δυσκατάληπτον. ἀλλ» ἐπεί σωτήριον διαφερόντες, τῷ τάς γραφάς ἐρευνᾶν προτρεψαμένῳ πεισθέντες και θαρρήσαντες ἀνιχνεύσωμεν ἐφ» ὃσον ἐφικτόν τοῦ μυστηρίου τήν δύναμιν καθάπερ οὖν τήν ἀρχήν μετά τό εἰπεῖν τόν θεόν, Ποιήσωμεν ἄνθρωπον κατ» εἰκόνα διά τοῦ πρός αὐτόν ἐμφυσήματος τό ζωαρχικόν πνεῦμα ἐκφνέν τε και δοθέν συνεξέφηνε τό καθ΄ ὑπόστατασιν τῆς δημιουργοῦ θεότητος τριαδικόν, ἐπί τῶν ἄλλων κτισμάτων ἄτε μόνῳ ρήματι προαγομένων τοῦ λόγου και τοῦ λέγοντος πατρός ἐκφαινομένων μόνον. οὓτω νῦν τῆς ἡμετέρας φύσεως ἀναπλαττομένης ἐν Χριστῷ, φανερωθέν τό πνεῦμα τό πνεῦμα τό ἃγιον διά τῆς ἐκ τῶν ὑπερουρανίων πρός αὐτόν ἐν Ἰορδάνῃ βαπτιζόμενον καθόδου, τό σωστικόν τῶν λογικῶν κτισμάτων τῆς ἀνωτάτω τε και παντουργοῦ τριάδος ἐφανέρωσε μυστήριον. τίνος δ΄ ἓνεκεν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου πλαττομένου τε και ἀναπλαττομένου τό τῆς ἀγίας τριάδος φανεροῦται μυστήριον : οὑ μόνον ὃτι μόνος μύστης και προσκυνητής ἐπίγειός ἐστιν αὐτῆς, ἀλλ΄ ὃτι και μόνος κατ΄ εἰκόνα ταύτης. τα μέν γάρ αἰσθητικά και ἄλογα τῶν ζώων πνεῦμα μόνον ἔχει ζωτικόν, ἀλλ΄ οὑδέ τοῦτο καθ΄ ἐαυτό ὑφίστασθαι δυνάμενον. νοῦ δέ και λόγου τελέως ἀμοιρεῖ. τά δέ ὑπέρ αἴσθησιν παντάπασιν, ἄγγελοί τε και ἀρχάγγελοι, ἄτε νοεροί και λογικοί, νοῦν ἔχουσι και λόγον, ἀλλ΄ οὑχί και πνεῦμα ζωοποιόν, ἐπεί μηδέ σῶμα τό παρ΄ αὐτοῦ ζωοποιούμενον. ἄνθρωπος δέ μόνος κατ΄ εἰκόνα τῆς τρισυποστάτου φύσεως νοῦν ἔχει και λόγον και πνεῦμα τοῦ σώματος ζωοποιόν, ἐπεί και σῶμα τό ζωοποιούμενον. ὡς οὖν ἀναπλαττομένης τῆς ἡμῶν φύσεως ἐν Ἰορδάνῃ φανερωθείσης τῆς ἀνωτάτω τε και παντουργοῦ τριάδος, οἴά τινος ἀρχετύπου τῆς κατά ψυχῆς ἡμῶν εἰκόνος, οἱ μέν κατά Χριστόν μετά Χριστόν βαπτίζοντες εἰς τρεῖς βαπτίζουσι καταδύσεις, ὁ δέ Ἰωάννης ἐν τῷ Ἰωάννης ἐν τῷ Ἰορδάνῃ εἰς μίαν κατάδυσιν ἐβάπτιζε και τοῦτο ἐπισημαινόμενος ὁ εὐαγγελιστής ἐβάπτιζε. και τοῦτο ἐπισημαινόμενος ὁ εὐαγγελιστής Ματθαῖος, Βαπτισθείς, φήσιν, ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀνέβη εὐθύς ἀπό τοῦ ὕδατος.Great and lofty, my brothers, is the mystery of Christ's baptism, combined in these few words (Mt 3.16–17), hard to fathom and to explain, and no less difficult to comprehend. But since this mystery has special salvific significance, and persuaded by the one who has urged us to examine the scriptures (Jn 5.39), we shall boldly investigate the mystery insofar as this may be possible. In the beginning, therefore, after God said, «Let us make man in our image and likeness (Gen 1.26),» and at the time when our nature was formed in Adam, the life-giving Spirit was revealed and bestowed through the divine insufflation and at the same time the Spirit manifested the tripersonal reality of the Creator's divinity. But in the case of other creatures, inasmuch as they were brought forth by a word alone, the Word and the Father who spoke the Word were alone made manifest. Similarly, now that our nature has been formed anew in Christ, the Holy Spirit, revealed through his descent from the supercelestial regions to the one who was baptized in the Jordan, has manifested the mystery of the supreme and omnipotent Trinity as salvific for rational creatures. For what reason was the mystery of the holy Trinity revealed when man was formed and also when he was formed anew? It was not only because he alone of earthly creatures is an initiate and worshipper of the Trinity,81 but also because he alone is in the image of the Trinity. The sensate and irrational animals, on the one hand, possess only a vivifying spirit, but this is unable to subsist of itself, and they are deprived completely of mind and word. Beings that transcend the senses absolutely, on the other hand, namely, angels and archangels, inasmuch as they are intellectual and rational, possess mind and word but not a vivifying spirit, since they have no body to be vivified by it. Man alone, in the image of the trihypostatic nature, possesses mind and word and a spirit to vivify the body, since the body is the object vivified. Therefore, since our nature was formed anew when the supreme and omnipotent Trinity was manifested in the Jordan as a sort of archetype for the image in our soul, those after Christ who baptize in Christ baptize with three immersions, whereas John baptized in the Jordan with one immersion. And this is what the evangelist Matthew indicated when he said, «After he was baptized Jesus went up immediately from the water» (Mt 3.16).

The homily thus presents a neat and succinct expression of the more important features of the image doctrine in the Capita 150.

D. Balfour recently published for the first time a Homily On the Transfiguration by Gregory of Sinai.82 Paragraphs 18–21 offer a close parallel to the Palamite image doctrine. The discussion opens with the scripture text, «This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased» (Mt 17.5). The very same quotation introduces the passage from Palamas’ Homily 60, except that it was taken from the narrative of Christ's baptism (Mt 3.17b) and the preceding verse and a half is also given.83

Most of paragraph 18 in the Transfiguration homily consists of a somewhat wordy, extended paraphrase of the scripture verse. For the purposes of comparison with Palamas’ Capita 150 only three phrases are of interest here. Firstly, the Father of the Word is described as the transcendent Mind beyond mind (νοῦς ὁ ὑπέρ νοῦν ὑπερούσιος).84 Secondly, it is said that we shall see the archetype in the image and from our own selves the transcendent one (ἐν τῇ εἰκόνι τό ἀρχέτυπον, ἐξ ἑαυτῶν τό ὑπερούσιον).85 And thirdly, no one shall see and know the Father unless the Son reveal him, «as the word reveals the mind hidden in it and the mind reveals in the spirit the word which proceeds from it.»86

The next two paragraphs develop this last statement in detail. The mind contains naturally the word which reveals it; the word possesses by nature the mind which begets it; and voice makes the word known, for it is a living and revelatory energy of the word. This constitutes an analogy for the Trinity, where in the Spirit the Son is known, in the Son the Father is known by nature and substance, and in the Father the Son is known by causal relationship and the Spirit by procession. But the Sinaite notes that certain qualifications are necessary. It must be understood that the mind experiences no dissipation in its association with the word but rather belongs to the word naturally and hypostatically. The word does not go form and dissolve into the air. Rather it refers to rationality itself, as it inheres hypostatically in the mind. Nor does spirit refer to a mere movement of the air.87 It is an essential living power which is self-subsistent, comes forth in word and produces sound in the air.88

For Gregory of Sinai this analogy is linked directly to the image doctrine. «Man is the image and glory of the Trinity in that he possesses essentially and hypostatically a mind and word and spirit which belong to a single nature and which are inseparable.»89 However, great care must be exercised in using natural phenomena as paradigms for understanding divine realities in an orthodox manner. This is especially true for examples which we may draw from our own human nature. And yet, Gregory insists, such examples can be more secure and are a true means of proof (para. 21). The remaining developments in paragraphs 21 and 22 are of less interest for comparison with Palamas» doctrine.

The same teaching is summarized in the Acrostic Chapters of Gregory the Sinaite:

In every aspect God is known and referred to as triadic. He is uncircumscribed; he upholds all things and his foresight provides for them through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. There is no way that can be named, in which any one of the persons can be spoken or thought of apart from the other two.

In like manner there is in man mind, word and spirit. Neither can mind exist without word nor without spirit; and they exist in one another and of themselves. For mind speaks through the word and word is made manifest through the spirit. According to this model man bears an obscure image of the ineffable and archetypal Trinity, thus indicating the divine image in which he was made.90

The teaching on the divine image in man in the Capita 150 and in the other writings of Gregory Palamas is clearly more sophisticated than that found in the works of Gregory of Sinai. Nevertheless, the parallels are striking, especially given the historical contemporaneity of the two writers. In another of his recent articles on the Sinaite, D. Balfour has re-examined the evidence for an association of Gregory Palamas with Gregory of Sinai as his spiritual father (between 1323–1325).91 The arguments in favour of this relationship are convincing. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that there was a direct dependence of Palamas on Gregory of Sinai in the case of the doctrine of God's image in man.

ii. Theoleptos of Philadelpheia

The second contemporary parallel offers a possible solution to the vexing problem of finding a source for Palamas» analogy for the Holy Spirit as the mind's love for its own immanent word. The relevant texts are found in a work by Theoleptos of Philadelpheia entitled Μερική διατράνωσις πρός ὑπόμνησιν ἄγουσα τῶν παρά τοῦ ταπεινοῦ Φιλαδελφείας Θεολήπτου διαφόρως λαληθέντων τῇ σεβασμιωτάτῃ βασιλίσσῃ Εὐλογίᾳ μοναχῇ και τῇ μετ΄ αὐτῆς και ὑπ΄ αὐτῆς και ὑπ΄ αὐτήν Ἀγαθονίκῃ μοναχῇ. At first in an ascetical context and later in a theological one Theoleptos referred to the triad of mind, word and love (νοῦς, λόγος, ἔρως / ἀγάπη). The first set of texts appears at the very beginning of the work:92

Ὁ νοῦς λογιστικήν ἔχων δύναμιν και ἐρωτικήν, διά μέν τῆς λογικῆς δυνάμεως ἐργάζεται τούς τρόπους τῶν ἀρετῶν, θείοις λόγοις και διανοήμασιν ἐμμελετᾷ, διασκέπτεται τά ὄντα ἀπταίστως, διαλαμβάνει τήν ἐν τοῖς οὖσιν ἀλήθειαν ἀπλανῶς, και διά τῆς ἀληθείας εἰς θεογνωσίαν ἔρχεται. διά μέν οὗν τῆς λογικῆς δυνάμεως διακρίνων τά κακά ἀπό τῶν καλῶν και ποιῶν τά καλά, και ζητῶν και εὑρίσκων τόν θεόν, ὡς εἴρηται, ἑνοῦται αὐτῷ διά τῆς ἐρωτικῆς δυνάμεως, διά τῆς ἀγάπης αὐτῷ συναπτόμενος και τῷ κάλλει τῆς θεωρίας αὐτοῦ μόνης ἐνευφραινόμενος... Οὓτω μέν οὗν ἐνεργεῖ ὁ νοῦς τῇ τοῦ λόγου δυνάμει παρέχων τό κῥάτος. και οὃτως ἐνεργεῖται τῷ πρός θεόν θερμοτάτῳ ἓρωτι συνδεόμενος... Φεύγων γάρ ὁ νοῦς τά ἔξω και συναγόμενος ἐπί τά ἔνδον. πρός ἑαυτόν ἐπανάγεται. εἴτουν τῷ φυσικῶς κατά διάνοιαν κρυπτομένῳ ἑαυτοῦ λόγῳ συγγίνεται, και διά τοῦ συνόντος αὑτῷ οὐσιωδῶς λόγου συνάπτεται τῇ εὐχῇ, και διά τῆς εὐχῆς εἰς γωῶσιν τοῦ θεοῦ ἀναβαίνει ὃλης τῆς ἀγαπητικῆς δυνάμεώς τε και διαθέσεως... Ὁ θεός λόγος τόν ἀνθρώπον νοῦν λογικόν διαπλάσας, συνέζευξεν αὐτῷ και τήν τοῦ ἔρωτος δύναμιν, ὃπως ὁ τῆς φύσεως λόγος τῷ πόθῳ τῆς ψυχῆς συνεργῷ χρώμενος ἐπιτελεῖ τάς ἀγαθάς πράξεις, ἳνα αἰ ἀρεταί ἐπιτιθέμεναι τῇ ψυχῇ καθάπερ χρώματα τῇ εἰκόνι τήν ἀκριβῆ μίμησιν τῆς θείας ὁμοιώμεναι διασώζωσι, και οὔτω τό κατ΄ εἰκόνα και καθ΄ ὁμοίωσιν διαφυλάττηται.

The mind is endowed with the powers of reason and love, and through its rational power the mind devotes its labour to the ways of virtue, meditates on divine words and thoughts, conducts precise examination of beings, inerrantly distinguishes the truth in beings and through the truth attains to knowledge of God. Thus, when the mind uses its rational power to discriminate between good and evil and does the good, when it seeks and finds God, as scripture says (Mt 7.7–8), the mind enters into union with him through its power of love, joining itself to him by means of love and finding its joy in the beauty of contemplating God alone... (Theoleptos proceeds to mention the effects of this union)… This, then, is how the mind operates when it provides strength to the power of reason and this is how it is operated upon when it becomes bound to God by a most fervent love... (Theoleptos then notes the deleterious effects of the mind's relation to the senses)... When the mind flees externals and gathers itself inwards, it returns to itself: that is, the mind holds converse with its own word naturally hidden within the discursive intellect, and through the word essentially associated with it the mind joins itself to prayer, and through prayer it ascends to knowledge of God with all its power and disposition of love... (Further development of the same theme)... When God the Word fashioned the human mind with a faculty of reason, he joined to it also the power of love so that the natural word might use the soul's desire as an aid in performing good deeds, in order that the virtues affixed to the soul, like colours on an icon, may assure the exact imitation of the divine likeness, and thus the image and likeness may be preserved.

Later, towards the end of the work, Theoleptos produced a sort of meditation on the baptism of Christ in the Jordan. The descent of the Saviour into the water and his emergence point to the way of moral virtue. The sight of the heavens split asunder initiates us into the natural contemplation of beings (τήν φυσικήν θεωρίαν τῶν ὄντων). The Spirit's descent upon Christ in the form of a dove and the Father's witness to his Sonship introduce us to true theology (τήν ακριβῆν θεολογίαν). Christ is the accomplishment of virtue, the guide to the knowledge of beings and the supreme interpreter of theology. He who is in the bosom of the Father both knows the Father and is known by the Father.93

The Spirit's descent from above upon the Son indicates the hypostatic procession of the Spirit from the Father and his natural relationship (οἰκειότητα φυσικήν) to the Son. The Father is cause of the Son as the begetter (γεννήτωρ) and of the Spirit as the one who sends forth (προβολεύς).94

The teaching of the Saviour in the Gospels accords with this mystagogy revealed in the baptism of Christ. The Spirit of Truth (i.e., of the Son) proceeds from the Father and rests in the Son as his Spirit. He is not separated from the Father from whom he proceeds nor distanced from the Son in whom he rests; rather, the Spirit remains with him and accompanies him as consubstantial and proper to him by nature.95

All should drink and receive illumination from the waters of the Jordan and from the spring of the Gospel. But with every effort the Italian appendage (ἰταλικήν προσθήκην, viz. the filioque) must be eschewed as a disturbance troubling the pure spring of theology.96 At this point Theoleptos introduced his triform analogy.97

Ὤσπερ τι κάτοπτρον διαυγέστατον δέδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ θεός τόν τῆς φύσεως λόγον, ὃπως ἀπό τῆς τοῦ κόσμου διαχύσεως πρός αὐτόν κεκαθαρμένον ὄντα ἐπιστρεφόμενοι, δι΄ αὐτοῦ πρός τόν θεόν ἀναγόμεθα. μακάριοι, γάρ, φήσι, οι καθαροί τῇ καρδίᾳ ὃτι αὐτοί τόν θεόν ὄψονται. πρῶτον ὁ νοῦς ζητεῖ και εὑρίσκει, εἶτα ἑνοῦται τῷ εὐρεθέντι. και τήν μέν ζήτησιν ποιεῖται διά τοῦ λόγου, τήν δέ ἓνωσιν διά τῆς ἀγάπης. και ἡ μέν διά τοῦ λόγου ζήτησις γίνεται διά τήν ἀλήθειαν, ἡ δέ τῆς ἀγάπης ἓνωσις διά τό ἀγαθόν. τούτων τήν ἀνάγνωσιν διέρχου, μή ἀργῶς ἀλλ΄ ἑναργῶς, μή παροδικῶς ἀλλ» ἐπιστημονικῶς. μή ρήματα ἐπισκεπτομένη διανοίας ἐκτός, ἀλλά βαπτίζουσα τόν νοῦν εἰς τό βάθος τῶν νοουμένων, ἴνα ἐκεῖθεν ἑλκύσῃς πνεῦμα.

God has given to us the natural word as a very clear mirror so that when we turn away from the dissipation of the world towards that word which has been purified we are led to God. For scripture says, «Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God» (Mt 5.8). First, the mind seeks and finds (Mt 7.7–8). Then, it is united to the one it has found. The seeking is effected through the word and the union through love. The seeking through the word is for the sake of the truth and the union of love for the sake of the good. Read through these things carefully, not in idleness but with perspicacity, not cursorily but with understanding. Do not examine the words apart from their meaning, but rather baptize your mind in the depths of these considerations in order that you may draw forth from them the Spirit.

Several points should be noted. First, the baptism of Christ is the occasion for the discussion, as in the text from Palamas» Homily 60 quoted above. Second, Theoleptos» interest centres upon the orthodox doctrine of the trinitarian processions and he introduces his analogy as a means of approaching this mystery. Without any detailed explanation, he simply refers the reader to the mind's pursuit of virtue and of God through its own natural word and its attainment of union through love. The reader is left to ponder this carefully and so penetrate the meaning.

Through another treatise written by Theoleptos, it is possible to delve still further into his theology of the divine image in man. The work in question is relatively well-known: it appears in the Philokalia and was analyzed in detail by S. Salaville.98 It bears the title: Λόγος τήν ἐν Χριστῷ κρυπτήν ἐργασίαν διασαφῶν. και δεικνύς ὡς ἐν βραχεῖ τοῦ μοναδικοῦ ἐπαγγέλματος τόν σκόπον. The relevant passages are as follows:99

Προσευχή δέ ἐστι διαλογή διανοίας πρός κύριον, ρήματα δεήσεως διανύουσα μετά τῆς νοῦ πρός τόν θεόν ὁλικῆς ἀτενίσεως. τῆς διανοίας γάρ συνεχῶς ὑπαγορευούσης τό τοῦ κυρίου ὄνομα και τοῦ νοῦ ἐναργῶς τῇ ἐπικλήσει τοῦ θείου ὀνόματος προσέχοντος, τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ γνώσεως τό φῶς καθάπερ φωτεινή νεφέλη πᾶσαν ἐπισκιάζει τήν ψυχήν. ... νοῦ δέ και λόγου και πνεύματος προσπιπτόντων τῷ θεῷ, τοῦ μέν διά προσοχῆς, τοῦ δέ δι΄ ἐπικλήσεως, τοῦ δέ διά κατανύξεως και ἀγάπης. ὃλος ὁ ἔνδον ἄνθρωπος λειτουργεῖ τῷ κυρίῳ... και ὀρᾶται ἡ προσευχή ἐκ τοῦ ὑπαγορεύειν ἀσιγήτως τό θεῖον ὄνομα συμφωνία και ἓνωσις νοῦ και λόγου και ψυχῆς. ὃπου γάρ, φησίν, εἰσί δύο ἢ τρεῖς ἐν τῷ ἐμῷ ὀνόματι, ἐκεῖ εἰμι ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν. οὖτως οὑν ἡ προσευχή τάς τῆς ψυχῆς δυνάμεις ἀπό τοῦ διαμερισμοῦ τῶν παθῶν ἀνακαλιυμένη και πρός ἀλλήλας και πρός ἑαυτήν συνδέουσα, τήν τριμέρῆ ψυχήν τῷ ἐν τρισίν ὑποστάσεσιν ἑνί θεῷ οἰκειοῖ... και ἡ καθαρά προσευχή, νοῦν και λόγον και πνεῦμα πρός ἑαυτήν συνάπτουσα, διά μέν τοῦ λόγου τό ὃνομα τοῦ θεοῦ ὑπαγορεύει και τήν δέησιν ἀναφέρει, διά δέ τοῦ νοῦ τῷ παρακαλουμένῳ θεῷ ἐνατενίζει ἀρεμβάστως, διά δέ τοῦ πνεύματος τήν κατάνυξιν, τήν ταπείνωσιν και τήν ἀγάπην ἐμφανίζει, και οὔτω δυσωπεῖ τήν ἄναρχον τριάδα, τον πατέρα και τόν υἰόν και τό ἂγιον πνεῦμα, τον ἓνα θεόν.

Prayer is a dialogue of the discursive intellect with the Lord. The discursive intellect runs through the words of supplication with the mind's gaze fixed entirely on God. It repeats the Name of the Lord without ceasing and the mind devotes its well-focused attention to the Invocation of the Divine Name and the light of the knowledge of God, like a luminous cloud, overshadows the entire soul... When mind, word and spirit are prostrate before God, the first by attention, the second by Invocation, the third by compunction and love, then the entire inner man serves the Lord... Prayer, which consists of the silent repetition of the Divine Name, can be seen as the harmony and union of mind, word and soul, for «where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them» (Mt 18.20). In this way, then, prayer calls the powers of the soul back from their dispersion among the passions and binds them to one another and to itself, uniting the tripartite soul to the one God in three hypostases…. Pure prayer, which joins together within itself mind, word and spirit, invokes the Name of God by means of the word and offers up supplication, gazes without distraction upon God by means of the mind, manifests its compunction, humility and love by means of the spirit, and thus importunes the one God and eternal Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

In the Μεριχἡ Διατράνωσις Theoleptos described the activity of the three parts of the soul. Fleeing external things and dissipation among the senses, the mind seeks God through its own natural word, which helps it discriminate between good and evil. Then, using prayer as the means, the mind with its word attains union with God in love. Later, in a meditation on Christ's baptism in the Jordan, Theoleptos appealed to the triform image in man as an obscure reflection of the Trinity. Then, in his Discourse On the Hidden Life in Christ, Theoleptos associated this doctrine of the image with the Jesus Prayer. The mind directs its attentive gaze towards God, while the word repeats the Invocation of the Divine Name and the spirit evokes in the soul compunction, humility and love. In this way, pure prayer guides the soul towards union with the one God in three persons.

The coincidences are so felicitous that there can be little doubt regarding the dependence of Gregory Palamas on the teaching of Theoleptos of Philadelpheia. Nor is the direct historical association lacking. In the course of his discussion on the hesychast method of the Jesus Prayer, Palamas explicitly referred to Theoleptos as one of his teachers.

Certain men, who have born witness shortly before our time and who have been recognized as possessing the power of the Holy Spirit, have passed these teachings on to us by word of mouth (διὰ στόματος οἰκείου); in particular, this theologian, this veritable theologian and surest visionary of the true mysteries of God, who was famous in our day; I refer to the well-named Theoleptos, bishop of Philadelpheia, or rather, one who from there illumined the world as from a lampstand (cf. Rev 1.20, 3.7–13).100

The same information is given by Philotheos Kokkinos in his biography of Gregory Palamas.

Gregory received these and other teachings besides from Theoleptos, that truly famous luminary of Philadelpheia, who moved on, or rather went up from the sacred hesychia and community of the Holy Mountain to assume the leadership of the Church (of Philadelpheia). Theoleptos served Gregory as the very best of spiritual fathers and guides, and from him Gregory received an excellent initiation in sacred vigilance and intellectual prayer. In a marvellous way, Gregory attained the habitual practice of this prayer even while he was still living in the midst of the tumults of the world.101

Palamas entered monastic life sometime between 1314 and 1316 and so the period of his tutelage under Theoleptos would have been immediately prior to this, during his late teens.102 At this time when Theoleptos was metropolitan of Philadelpheia, he was probably in Constantinople on occasion, for he was spiritual director to the Monastery of Christ the Philanthropic Saviour.103 Presumably, Palamas had been in contact with him during such visits or perhaps by correspondence. The implication of Palamas’ statement in the Triads and that of Philotheos point to direct personal contact.104

Recognition of Human Weakness and the Need for Healing (41–63)

Back in chapter 29 Palamas had mentioned the three elements of saving knowledge: man's knowledge of God, his understanding of himself and his proper rank, and the mind's knowledge of its own weakness and of its need for healing. The focus of chapters 41–63 is on the third element. Palamas set this section firmly in the context of the image doctrine by using the literary device of inclusio. The last chapter (c. 40) of the previous section closes the discussion of the image doctrine and announces the topic of the next section: man must learn to know and preserve his own dignity and rank. Then, in the concluding chapters (c. 62–63), Palamas returned to the subject of the divine image and man's proper τάξις in the hierarchy.

Another thread that runs through this section is the importance attached to μνήμη and θεωρία as both the means and the end of man's search for healing. The triadic nature of man must adorn itself with the continual remembrance and contemplation of God (c. 40). The ancestors of our race wilfully removed themselves from the remembrance and contemplation of God (c. 46). They should never have forgotten God, but rather, they should have grown into the perfect contemplation of God (c. 50). For Palamas the Jesus Prayer was the means par excellence for restoring man to continual remembrance of God.

The chapters of this section do not require a detailed commentary. They are straightforward and even homiletic in character. Indeed, in several cases there is a direct association with Gregory's homilies, in particular, Homilies 16, 19 and 31. Chapters 41–44 cover the temptation by Satan and the fall of Adam and Eve. Their sin was ultimately the free choice to abandon their rank and serve creation instead of the Creator. The result was separation from God and death of the soul (c. 45–48). The forbidden tree of paradise may be seen to represent the allurements of sensible realities which readily draw the immature away from the remembrance of God (c. 49–50). God in his mercy and love delayed the sentence of bodily death in order to give man a second chance through the saving economy of the incarnation (c. 51–56). As our ancestors did, so we too have our tree and our command from God. We must repent and touch forbidden things no more (c. 56–58). Chapters 59–61 are a commentary on Jn 4.23–24: «True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.» Palamas wanted to stress here the importance of a right understanding and worship of God, or, in other words, man's knowledge of God and of his own self. Finally, the image doctrine comes round once again. Men are more perfectly in the image of God because God has granted to man a stewardship over creation, and so man is not only ruled by God but also rules over earthly creation (c. 62). The superiority of the divine image in man also appears in the threefold character of human knowledge (νοερόν, λογικόν, αἰσθητικόν), which therefore encompasses every form of knowledge (c. 63).105 With this return to the image doctrine Palamas concluded the first section of the Capita 150.

* * *


The note appears in three slightly differing versions in the manuscript family GASvam. See below, p. 118.


The name Barlaam does in fact appear alone once but it is in the phrase «those infected with the opinions of Barlaam» (c. 117.1–2).


C. 21.1–2.


See R. E. Sinkewicz, «The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God in the Early Writings of Barlaam the Calabrian.» Mediaeval Studies 44 (1982) 181–242.


For a more detailed treatment of this question see R. E. Sinkewicz, «Christian Theory and the Renewal of Philosophical and Scientific Studies in the Early Fourteenth Century: the Capita 150 of Gregory Palamas.» Mediaeval Studies 48 (1986) 334–51.


The eternity of the world is condemned among the articles of John Italos (11th century) in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, ed. J Gouillard, Travaux et mémoires 2 (1967) 58–59 [II. 197–202]. Palamas listed the errors in Triad 1.1.18, ed. Meyendorff (51–53).


This is the title of ca 4.13. In the text Palamas mentioned explicitly the Hellene belief in the eternity of the world and the fact that Akindynos’ heresy forced him into this same position. Διό καί τόν κόσμον τῷ θεῷ συναῒδιον ἀπεφήναντο [i.e., the Greek philosophers]. τοῦτο δή καί τόν Άκίνδυνον δοξάζειν ὁ τῆς κατ» αὐτόν αἰρέσεως λόγος ἀναγκάσει (ca 4.13.32; ps 3:264.27–30). Cf. also ca 5.11 (ps 3:316–318).


Pseudo-Aristotle, De mundo 2.2 (39 lb9); Cleomedes, De motu circulari corporum caelestium 1.1.9–10. ed H. Ziegler (Leipzig, 1891); further references in R. Goulet, Cléomède. Théorie élémentaire (Histoire des doctrines de l'antiquité classique 3; Paris, 1980), p. 178, n. 6.


Ed. F. Creuzer in Plotini opera omnia, Porphyrii Liber de vita Plotini cum Marsilii Ficini commentariis et ejusdem castigata, 3 vols. (Oxford, 1835) 2:1413–1430; reprint in PG 140:1404–1438. On this work see J. Verpeaux, Nicéphore Choumnos, Homme d'état et humaniste byzantin ca. 1250/1255–1327 (Paris, 1959), pp. 124–125.


The work of Synesius was edited by N. Terzaghi, Synesii Cyrenensis Hymni et opuscula, 2 vols. (Rome, 1944) 2.143–189. Gregoras’ commentary is found in pg 149:521–642.


See H. Lewy. Chaldean Oracles and Theurgy. 3rd edition revised and annotated by M. Tardieu (Paris, 1978), p. 479; and L. G. Westerink, «Proclus, Procopius, Psellus,» Mnemosyne S.III 10 (1942) 280 [repr. in Texts and Studies in Neoplatonism and Byzantine Literature. Collected Papers by L G. Westerink (Amsterdam, 1980), p. 6]. Gregoras’ acquaintance with the writings of Michael Psellos is worth further investigation.


Dr. Paul Moore, who is preparing a complete bibliography of the works, manuscripts and editions of Psellos, graciously allowed me to consult his list of manuscripts.


There are at least eight manuscripts from this period for his Elements of Theology. See E. R. Dodds, Proclus. The Elements of Theology. 2nd edition (Oxford, 1963), pp. xxxiii-xl.


For astronomy in the Palaeologan period see A. Tihon, «L'astronomie byzantine (du v» au vi» siècle).» Byzantion 51 (1981) 603–624; D. Pingree, «Gregory Chioniades and Palaeologan Astronomy,» dop 18 (1964) 131–160.


On Metochites see I. Ševčenko, Études sur la polémique entre Théodore Métochite et Nicéphore Choumnos (Corpus bruxellense historiae byzantinae subsidia 3: Brussels, 1962), pp. 109–117. For Gregoras see H. van Dieten. Nikephoros Gregoras, Rhomäische Geschichte I (Bibliothek der griechischen Literatur 4; Stuttgart, 1973), pp. 50–52.


For a list of Barlaam’s scientific treatises see R. E. Sinkewicz, «The Solutions Addressed to George Lapithes by Barlaam the Calabrian and their Philosophical Context,» Mediaeval Studies 43 (1981) 185–186. Palamas quoted a statement of Barlaam in Triad l.l.q (5.21–26): «Not only do we busy ourselves with the mysteries of nature and measure the vault of heaven and explore the opposing movements of the stars together with their conjunctions, phases and risings, but we pursue the consequences that follow therefrom and we are proud of it.»


Since Pachymeres drew heavily on the compendium of Blemmydes, and Joseph used those of both his predecessors, it is really more correct to speak of a single compendium issued in three editions with various alterations and supplements. The compendium of Blemmydes is found in pg 142:685–1320; those of Pachymeres and Joseph have no complete edition. See H. Hunger, Die hochsprachliche profane Literatur der Byzantiner 2 vols. (Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft 12.5.1–2) 1:37.


H. Hunger, «Von Wissenschaft und Kunst der frühen Palaiologenzeit: mit einem Exkurs über die Κοσμικὴ δήλωσις Theodoros` II. Dukas Laskaris,» jöbg 8 (1959) 123–155.


Verpeaux, Choumnos, pp. 17–18; G. Bozones, «Άνέκδοτον μελέτημα τοῡ Νικηφόρου Χούμνου Περί κόσμου καὶ τῆς κατ’ αύτὀν φύσεως,» Δίπτυχα 1 (1979) 97–103.


Ed. P. L. M. Leone, «Nicephori Gregorae Antilogia et Solutiones quaestionum," Byzantion 40 (1970) 488–513.


Solutions 1.1, ed. Sinkewicz, Mediaeval Studies 43 (1981) 200–204.


R. B. Todd, «Cleomedes Byzantinus,» in Tenth Annual Byzantine Studies Conference: Abstracts of Papers (Cincinnati, Ohio, 1984), pp. 11–12; W. L. Lorimer, Aristotelis qui fertur libellus De mundo (Paris, 1933), pp. 2–4.


See below, pp. 57–60.


On the Byzantine chronicle tradition see Hunger, Die hochsprachliche profane Literatur 1: 243–278, 319–326.


Gen 1.1 (creation), 4.2 (Abel, Cain), 4.20(Iobel), 4.21 (Ioubal), 4.22 (Thobel), 10.9 (Nebrod). Josephus, Jewish Antiquities l.53 (Abel, Cain), 1.61–62 (Cain), 1.64 (Iobel, Ioubal, Thobel). John Malalas, Chronographia, ed. L. Dindorf (cshb 28; Bonn, l831), 1.4.1–2 (Cain), 1.4.11–13 (Iobel, Ioubal, Thobel), 5.20–6.6 (Seth), 16.20–17.8 (Nebrod), 2.34.5 (Syros), 4.70.4–8 (Prometheus, Epimetheus), 4.72.6–8 (Draco, Solon), 3.67.6–7 (Moses). The chronicle of Malalas (6th century) was used as a source by most later chroniclers: e.g.. the Chronicon of George the Monk (9th century), ed. C. de Boor with corrections by P. Wirth (Stuttgart, 1978), note especially bk. 1.


Οὖ τὰ μέρη φθυραῖς καὶ ἀλλοιώσεσιν ὑπόχειται, τούτου καὶ τὸ ὃλον ἀνάγχη ποτὲ τὰ αὑτὰ παθήματα τοῖς οἰκείοις μέρεσιν ὐποστῆναι (Basil, Hexaemeron 1.3, pg 29: 12a).


E.g., «Heaven and earth will pass away» (Mk 13.31): «Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away» (Rev 21.1).


Basil, Hexaemeron 1.4, pg 29–12c.


Plato, Timaeus 34B: «And in the center he put the soul, which he diffused throughout the body, making it also to be the exterior environment of it, and he made the universe a circle, moving in a circle.» Leges 10 (896C): «So now there is no longer any difficulty in stating expressly that, inasmuch as soul it what we find driving everything around, we must affirm that this circumference of heaven is of necessity driven round under the care and ordering of either the best soul or its opposite.»


Aristotle, De caelo 1.2 (268b14–16): «All natural bodies and magnitudes we hold to be, as such, capable of locomotion, for nature, we say is their principle of movement.» Ibid. 2.3 (286a11–13): «And since the heaven is of this nature (i.e., a divine body), that is why it has its circular body, which by nature moves forever in a circle.» It is important to remember that the Aristotle of Palamas is the Byzantine textbook Aristotle and even that was filtered through some thirty years of memory. The presentation of Aristotle's views is therefore not always faithful to the thought of the Stagirite.


Cf. Aristotle, De anima 2.1 (412a27–28 and 412b5–6). For further references see below, p. 87.


Aristotle, De caelo 1.9 (278b24–25): «There is not, nor ever could be, any body outside the haven.»


See the references given below for c. 9.


Basile de Césarée, Homélies sur l’Hexaéméron, 2nd edition, S. Giet (sc 26bis; Paris, 1968); Cosmas Indicopleustès, Topographie chrétienne, ed. W. Wolska-Conus, 3 vols. (sc 141, 159, 197; Paris, 1968, 1970, 1973).


The earliest (A.D. 1008) and perhaps the most popular quadrivium textbook was published in a modern edition by J. L. Heiberg, Anonymi logica et quadrivium cum scholiis antiquis (Det Kgl. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, Historisk-filologiske Meddelelser 15.1; Copenhagen, 1929). See also P. Tannery (ed.), Quadrivium de George Pachymère, avec introduction par V. Laurent (Studi e testi 94; Vatican City, 1940); note especially the introduction, pp. xvii-xxiv, «Le Quadrivium et la formation intellectuelle sous les Paléologues.»


Note the use of a Platonizing vocabulary, viz. ἐκτύπωμα, ἐκμαγεῖον, εἰκών. For a similar discussion of the process of knowledge see Barlaam, Solutions 3–4, ed. Sinkewicz, Mediaeval Studies 43 (1981) 206–215.


In Byzantine mystical theology the direct vision of reality or θεωρία τῶν ὄντων is a gift of grace and a fruit of prayer; e.g., Maximus the Confessor, De charitate 1.79. pg 90:977c: ἡ δέ προσευχή τόν νοῦν καθαίρει και πρός τήν ὄντων θεωρίαν παρασκεθάζει; see also idem, 1.86, pg 90:980cd. For another expression of the unreliability of natural knowledge see Palamas, Ep 1 Akindynos 9 (ps 1:212.29–32): ἐπί γάρ τῶν καθόλου γένοιτ΄ ἄν μᾶλλον ἡ ἀπάτη. διά τῆς φαντασίας θηρωμένης τῆς τοιαύτης ἀποδείξεως. δυσξυμβλήτων τε και δυσπεριλήπτων ὄντων πάντων τῶν ὑποκειμένων.


See below, pp. 49–54.


pg 151:76c-88a.


Both Basil and Gregory of Nyssa comment on the first verse of Genesis in a similar manner. For Basil see the notes appended to c. 21. According to Gregory of Nyssa, Hexaemeron, pg 44–69d-72b, Moses said God created heaven and earth ἐν κεφαλαίῳ or ἐν ἀρχῇ in order to indicate the instantaneous creation of all things (τὸ ἀθρόον). The word κεφαλαίῳ (in Aquila’s translation of the Old Testament) refers to the fact that all things came into being συλλήβδην, all at once. ἀρχῆ refers to τό ἀκαρές τοῦ χρονικοῦ διαστήματος. By naming heaven and earth, Moses indicated the two extremes that encompass beings and intended to include everything between those extremes. In the first movement of God's will, the οὐσία of each being was constituted. All beings were contemplated by the divine eye and were manifested by the word of power belonging to the one who knows all things before their birth.


Gregory of Nyssa says that Moses wrote the Book of Genesis as a guide to lead men to the knowledge of God. The work was intended to bring those enslaved to the senses through the realm of appearances into the realms that transcend sensory apprehension (Hexaemeron, pg 44:69d).


C. 4, 14. 22.


C. 34–40.


Marini Vita Procli, ed. J. F. Boissonade (Leipzig, 1814).


Ep 1 Barlaam 47 (ps 1:252–253).


First of all, it is reasonable to suppose that Gregoras influenced his students in this area. Secondly, the works of Psellos upon which Gregoras drew for his information on the Chaldean Oracles circulated in late 13th ana in 14th century manuscripts: see E. Des Places, Oracles Chaldaїques (Paris, 1971), pp. 61, 188, 197. The work entitled Πρόκλου ἐκ τῆς αὐτῆς χαλδαῑχῆς φιλοσοφίας appears in three late 13th century manuscripts: see idem, p. 205.


See the footnotes to c. 34.


In Homily 24, pg 151:316d, Palamas refered to the Trinity as Mind, Word and Spirit but did not extend the analogy to the divine image in man: nor did he speak of the Spirit as love. In Theophanes 26 (ps 2:252–254), the distinction is made between the Only-begotten Son who is ἡ τοῡ πατρὸς ἀπαρἀλλακτος εἰκών and man who is in the image of God but obscurely.


Cf. M. Jugie, art. «Palamas Grégoire,» dtc 11 (1932) 1766: «Fait remarquable dans l’histoire de la théologie grecque et byzantine, et à notre connaissance, inouï jusque-là, Palamas expose sur le mystère des processions divines une théorie identique à celle de saint Augustin et de saint Thomas.» M. E. Hussey argued against this assumption in his article, «The Palamite Trinitarian Models,» St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 16 (1972) 83–89.


Cf. Augustine, De trinitate 9.4.4; 15.6.10.


Cf. idem, 10.11.18; 15.3.5.


I.e., νοερόν, λογικόν, αἰσθητικόν. Cf. Palamas, Homily 26, pg 151:333bc, where the image of God is located in the mind and the threefold character described as αἰσθητόν, λογικόν, πνευματικόν.


C. 17.


C. 40.8: θαυμαστῶς πρὸς ἑαυτὴν ἐπισπᾱται.


Cf. Palamas, Triad 1.2.7–8 (87–91). The Jesus Prayer and the psycho-physical method are means for attaining continual μνημὴ θεοῦ.


Meyendorff, Introduction, pp. 262–264; idem, «Notes sur l’influence dionysienne en Orient,» Studia patristica 2 (TU 64; Berlin, 1957), pp. 547–552 [BH XIV]. Cf. Palamas, Triad 2.3.28–30 (443–449).


C. 30, 38–39. Cf. Homily 60.2 (ed. Oikonomos, pp. 248–249) which will be discussed in more detail below.


Ad Autolycum 2.22, ed. R. M. Grant (oect, 1970), pp. 62–63; see also 2.10, pp. 38–40. The doctrine is more developed in Theophilus than in the other Apologists, but see Athenagoras, Legatio 10.2, ed. W. R. Schoedel (oect, 1972), pp. 20–21.


De principiis 1.1.6, ed. H. Crouzel and M. Simonetti (sc 252).


Com. in Ioan, 1.38 (42), ed. C. Blanc (sc 120). There is a very similar treatment in Maximus the Confessor, Capita theologica 2.22 (pg 90:1133d-1136a): «The word which springs naturally from our mind is a messenger of the mind's hidden activity. Similarly, be who is in essence the Word of God and knows the Father as a word knows the mind which conceives it, reveals the Father whom he knows, no creature being able to approach the Father without him. That is why he is called "Messenger of great counsel’ [Isaiah 9.6 LXX].»


Dionysius of Alexandria in Athanasius, De sententia Dionysii, ed. Opitz 2.63.7–9 (pg 25:513b-516a); Athanasius, Contra gentes 45.6–10, ed. R.W. Thomson (oect), p. 122; Cyril of Alexandria, Thesaurus de sancta trinitate 6, pg 75:80c.


Or. 23.11, ed. J. Mossay (sc 270). The resemblance between sensible and intelligible realities is presumably that maintained by Platonic philosophy.


Oratio catechetica 1–2, ed. J. H. Srawley (Cambridge, 1956), pp. 6–15.


Oratio catechetica 2, p. 13.5–9


Expositio fidei 6–7, ed. B. Kotter (ptc 12).


De imaginibus 3.20, ed. B. Kotter (pts 17).


Quaestiones in Genesim 20 (1.28), pg 80:108ab.


In hexaemeron 6, pg 89:913a-932a. Unfortunately the Greek text has never been published. Maximus the Confessor also relates the triune image of mind, word and spirit in man to its archetype in the Trinity. See Ambigua 7 and 10, pg 91:1088a and 1196a Cf. also Anastasius the Sinaite, Homilia 1 de creatione hominis, pg 44:1329cd and 1333b-d.


Cf. G. Kirchmeyer, art. «Grecque (Église),» DSp 6 (1967) 813–819. Note also the references in G. W. H. Lampe, A Partistic Greek Lexicon (Oxford, 1961), B.v. εἰκών, pp. 413–414.


For Byzantine discussions of λόγος see K.-H. Uthemann, «Die ‘Philosophischen Kapitel’ des Anastasius I,» ocp 46 (1980) 344; the so-called Sammlung von Definitionen in F. Diekamp, Doctrina patrum di incarnatione verbi, 2nd edition with revisions by B. Phanourgakis and E. Chrysos (Münster, 1981), p. 263; Philosophica 9.29–33 in Die Schriften des Johannes von Damaskos, ed. B. Kotter (PTS 7: Berlin, 1969), p. 161; Suda, s.v. λόγος, ed. A. Adler, 5 vols. (Leipzig, 1928–1938) 3:281; John Zonaras, Lexikon, s.v. λόγος, ed. J. A. H. Tittmann, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1808; repr. Amsterdam, 1967) 2:1314–1315.


Homily 60.2 (ed. Oikonomos), pp. 248–249. Because of the rarity of this edition, I quote the Greek text in full. I am grateful to the Gennadius Library of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens for providing me with a photocopy of this edition.


Cf. Palamas, Apodictic Treatise 2.18 (ps 1:95.4–5).


«Saint Gregory the Sinaite: Discourse On the Transfiguration.» Θεολογία 52 (1981) 631–681.


Homily 60.1, pp. 247–248.


Para. 18.240–241.


Para. 18.252–253.


Para. 18.272–275: ὡς λόγος τόν ἐν αὐτῷ κρυπτόμενον νοῦν και νοῦς τόν ἐξ αὐτοῦ προερχόμενον λόγον ἐν πνεύματι


Gregory of Sinai seems to treat φωνή and πνεῡμα as equivalents.


Note that Gregory describes the voice/spirit as an ἐνέργεια ζωτική and ζωτικήν δύναμιν (19.291, 301), just as Palamas speaks of the spirit as ζωοποιόν and of a ζωοποιός ενέργεια and δύναμις (c. 30.10–11, 32.2, 38.7,9). However, the Sinaite’s usage does not seem to include communication of life, which is essential to the concept in Palamas.


Para. 20.303–305: οὐσιωδῶς καθ΄ ὑπόστασιν νοῦν και λόγον και πνεῦμα ὁμοφθῆτε και ἀδιαίρετα κέκτηται ὁ ἄνθρωπος. εἰκών και δόξα τῆς τριάδος και ἐν τούτοις ὑπάρχων.


Κεφάλαια δι΄ ἀκροστιχίδος 30–31, Philokalia 4.35 (pg 150: 1248d).


«Was St Gregory Palamas St Gregory the Sinaite's Pupil?,» St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 28 (1984) 115–130.


The texts are quoted from Ottobonianus gr. 405, fols. 197r.8–197v.3; 197v.19–23; 199v.8–18 [-Philokalia 4.13.a».1–5]; 201r.22–201v.10. Alexandrinus gr. 131 offers no significant variants. In my forthcoming edition of the Monastic Discourses of Theoleptos these texts can be located as md 23, sections 1–2, 2, 7 and 13 respectively.


Ottob. gr. 405, fols. 214v.1–261r.2 (md 23.51–54).


Ottob. gr. 405, fol. 216r.2–11 (md 23.55).


Ottob. gr. 405, fol. 216r.11–23 (md 23.56).


Ottob. gr. 405, fol. 216v.1–10 (md 23.56).


Ottob. gr. 405, fols. 216v.11–217r.10 [πρῶτον ... ἀγαθόν = Philokalia 4:15.ּּζ’.1–4] (MD 23.57–59).


«Formes ou méthodes de prière d’après un Byzantin du XIV siècle, Théolepte de Philadelphie,» eo 39 (1940) 1–25.


Philokalia 4:7.40–8.4 (md 1.17), 8.9–12 (md 1.18), 9.31–37 (md 1.23–24), 10.8–18 (md 1.25). The printed text contains a number of errors and omissions which I have corrected from Ottob. gr. 405. Alex. gr. 131 offers no significant variants. The references marked in italics are all references to the Jesus Prayer. See Salaville, «Formes ou methods de prière,» eo 39 (1940) 13, n. 1.


Palamas, Triad 1.2.12 (99.11–13); cf. 2.2.3 (323.18–19).


Philotheos, Encomium Gregorii Palamae, pg 151:561a.


See Meyendorff, Introduction, pp. 30–33, 49–50.


For summary information on the life of Theoleptos see PLP 7509.


The only other possibility would be familiarity with the writings of Theoleptos, but this seems very unlikely. The Monastic Discourses survive in only two copies, Ottobonianus gr. 405 and Alexandrinus gr. 131. The two manuscripts appear to be contemporary, the latter being a direct copy of the former. There is every probability that both belonged to the double monastery of the Philanthropic Saviour, one copy for the nuns and the other for the monks. The two treatises under discussion here were addressed to the nuns under the abbess Eirene-Eulogia Choumnaina and the nun Agathonike. When the Palamite controversy erupted Eirene sided with the anti-Palamites. After 1341 it would be unlikely that Palamas had any access to the monastery or to the writings of Theoleptos.


See the discussion above, pp. 16–21.

Источник: The one hundred and fifty chapters / Gregorius Palamas - Toronto : Pontifical inst. of mediaeval studies, 1988. - XI, 288 с. ISBN 0-88844-083-9

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