иеромонах Кирилл (Зинковский)

Novelty of the Matter and Human Body Concepts in the Great Church Fathers

In this report I would like to highlight the main results of my doctoral thesis research performed at the Department of Theology of Post Graduate and Doctoral Center of Russian Orthodox Church (in the name of Saint Cyril and Methodius, Chair of Theology). It should be noted that investigation of Holy Fathers’ doctrines concerning matter was up until now a neglected area. ‘Theory of matter’ is usually considered to be a part of pure philosophy. Meanwhile directly or indirectly the majority of Christian dogmatic ideas are connected to the issue of matter.

One of the main results of this research consists in the arrangement of the perceptions of matter among Holy Fathers and theologians of Alexandrian theological school, the Cappadocian Fathers, St. Cyril of Alexandria and Rev. Maximus the Confessor. Is it has been so far a conviction among Russian theologians and philosophers that Holy Fathers in their teaching of matter either repeatedly kept on affirmation of nonexistence of matter or were simply adjacent to Plato1. It’s been demonstrated that Holy Fathers’ view of matter couldn’t be considered as one repeating the ideas of Platonists.

At the second half of the 20th century there has appeared a range of writings of western theologians on issues quite close to ours.2 Nevertheless, these investigations have narrow focus on works of certain representatives of heathen philosophy and Holy Fathers. Moreover, the doctrine of matter is rarely a logical center of analysis. Therefore the purpose of my research was to carry out the analysis of the concepts of matter as the tangible substance of the material world and the terminology employed to describe the matter and possible changes in it and human’s body in the church’s sacraments and in the Eschatological perspective in the works of ecclesiastical writers of Alexandrian theological tradition.

It is well known that in the systems of the Middle Platonists, Philo of Alexandria and the Neo-Platonists a better future for the individual is considered as the abandonment of its earthly body and in the translation to the heavenly spheres for an incorporeal life. Even those Neoplatonist systems opposing a negative ontological status for matter did not suggest any eschatological perspective for it other than its necessary persistence in the universe as the ‘last’ (τῶν ὄντων ἔσχατον),3 ‘worst’ (χείρων, Plotinus, Ammonius, Damascene, Olimpiodor, etc.) and ‘always in need’ (ἐνδεὴς, Plotinus, Simplicus) at the edge of being. As a whole, Neoplatonism preserved the tendency descending from Plato of a contemptuous attitude toward matter.4

In Christian theology we find that if description of the matter and human body qualities is very similar to that one in Platonists it is only true for the permanent state of the material world. At the same time, Christian understanding of the origins and eschatological perspectives of both are completely new and alien to the heritage of the Antiquity.

For the Alexandrian Theological School of the Pre-Nicene Period our analysis emphasises Athenagoras’ theological and philosophical innovations in the doctrine of matter. Though he uses language of the Platonic tradition, with a high level of clarity he contrasts the broken and perishable nature of all matter and the eternal nature proper to God the Creator5. In distinction from Hellenistic philosophy, the apologist extends the property of decay to all parts of the cosmos, leaving imperishability as only the prerogative of Divine nature. The ‘otherness’ of the divine and created material nature is manifest by ‘a wide interval’ (τὸ διὰ μέσου πολύ) between them. God is uncreated and eternal (ἀγέννητον εἶναι καὶ ἀΐδιον), while matter is created (has the cause of its existence) and perishable (δὲ ὕλην γενητὴν καὶ φθαρτήν).6

We also examined the problem of the origin of evil in Clement of Alexandria. Its appearance in the material world was, unlike most Platonists, recognised by Clement not through its connection with matter, or with some other ontological principle, but by its opposition to God the Creator and with the improper use of the freedom of moral choice. Clement developed the theological and psychological understanding of the categories of free will and choice to an unprecedented degree. The apologist establishes a clear causal link between sin and corruption7 and makes a distinction between real and subjective evil.8 Clement’s teaching on the renewal of mankind based upon Christ's model as the second Adam and the full sanctification of human nature, an aspect noted by previous scholars, is supplemented by evidence that matter will be preserved in the future life.9

Perhaps, one of the most impressive texts, bearing evidence to the harmonious approach of Clement to the synthetic nature of man, is his exegesis of the phrase of Christ about two or three persons gathered together in His name. This triad is defined by the catechumen as body, soul and spirit (σὰρξ δὲ καὶ ψυχὴ καὶ πνεῦμα), which are united in a single whole within Christ.10 The man in the image of Christ and obedient to God becomes a ‘god who assumed a body’,11 god-bearing and dwelling in God, ‘θεοφορῶν καὶ θεοφορούμενος’.12

Dealing with the problem of the Origen's doctrine on matter I noted his use of the term ‘ὕλη’ with such a severely negative epithet as ‘πόρνη’.13 I also highlight that many prominent contemporary researchers focus on Origen's heritage in detailed analysis of the semantic burden of such terms as ‘ἀσώματος’ (bodiless), ‘ὄχημα’, and ‘τὸ σωματικὸν εἶδος’ (the bodily eidos). Some authors insist that Origen fell victim to the ambiguity of the term ‘bodiless’ (G. Crouzel, M. Edwards). Meanwhile nobody has devoted sufficient attention to a very crucial point in Origen – his rejection of the resurrection of the flesh. Under detailed examination, it emerges that it was namely for this point that Origen was reproved by the Church brethren of the next generation.

We have also found a set of terms in which Origen contrasts the understanding of 'spiritual' or ‘ethereal’ nature of resurrected bodies and the ‘earthly’ ones (τὰ γήϊνα, χοϊκός).The latt ones are rigidly adjacent to such terms as ‘accessible corporeal sensations’, ‘corporeal’, ‘flesh and blood’, and ‘corruption’. The Didaskalos assertions that resurrected Christ ‘is no longer a man’ (οὐδαμῶς ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος),14 and that the mortal body and the human soul of Christ have literally ‘changed to the Divine’ (εἰς θεὸν μεταβεβληκέναι), through unity and admixture (ἑνώσει καὶ ἀνακράσει) with His Divinity,15 speak not just to systematic terminological imperfections, but also to an evident trajectory towards Monophysite theology. We expand on the conclusions of Prof. A. I. Sidorov that Origen sometimes came ‘dangerously close to the spiritualism of the Neo-Platonists’, but ‘very rarely crossed... the principal line that separates Christianity from Platonism’16 by noting that Origen with respect to his teaching of matter actually far more often crosses that line. The great Alexandrian teaching on matter still remained so to say ‘in the Platonic system of coordinates’.

The review of works by modern scholars17 has demonstrated that none of the previous researchers focused their attention on the fact that St. Athanasius has provided a theological basis for a dramatically different from Origen view on the nature of resurrected bodies. It is St. Athanasius to whom the merit belongs of a crystal clear articulation of the connection between the dogma of God’s incarnation with deification of the entire man including the flesh. We do not find in Athanasius a single negative epithet applied to the term ‘ὕλη’. Negative connotations of the adjective ‘fleshly’ (σάρκικος) when used to mean ‘infirm’, ‘sinful’, ‘passionate’ reflect the state of enslavement of the human nature to sin.

We argue the principle novelty of the notion ‘me-on-icity (nothingness) of matter’ in St. Athanasius. It can be defined as reflecting the principles of God’s absolute monarchy and the anthropocentric providence of the Creator concerning the material cosmos with God’s positive purpose preordained for matter as such. Using the formulas ‘ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων’ and ‘ἐκ μὴ ὄντων’ interchangeably,18 St. Athanasius taught about the good will of the Creator towards being and towards the becoming firmly established in being and in grace of the material world that appeared from absolute non-existence.

Comprehensive analysis of the original theological texts of the Cappadocian Fathers, St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Maximus the Confessor yielded the following main conclusions of the research:

1. The Church Fathers did not regard a doctrinal systematization of the nature of matter as a separate question for theology. However, in the context of opposition to various heretical doctrines, the gradual development of a terminological apparatus arose within the work of the Church theologians. This reflected orthodox Christian positions on the significance of matter as well as the bodily nature of mankind as a capable cataphatic explanation of the mystery of their transformation under the action of divine grace. Whilst conserving their faithfulness to biblical cosmology and anthropology and at the same time employing the anthropological formulae of Platonic and Aristotelian philosophical schools, the Fathers wrought stark innovations to – and departures from – Hellenic philosophical tradition especially in their sacramental and anthropological theology.

The usage by the Church fathers of the anthropological formula ‘πλάσμα Θεοῦ’ was examined especially closely. This expression, which has been so far usually interpreted as ‘formation of God’, is suggested to be translated as ‘handiwork of God’. This formula has not been so far paid proper attention, but it clearly highlights the devotion of the fathers to anthropomorphic biblical language as well as undoubted use of the theology of St. Ireneus of Lyon (man being made by the Son and Holy Spirit as ‘Hands’ of God the Father).

2. The Christian concept of ‘meonicity’ of matter, as shaped by alexandrite Alexandrian and Cappadocian theologians falls very much apart from the Antique concept thereof. Thus, if the ‘meonicity’ of matter among the Platonists amounts to its susceptibility to the eternal law of chaos and its passive opposition as an amorphous medium, to the creative activity of the demiurge; then the Christian theology of matter can be understood as the creative operation of God bringing something into being out of absolute nothingness. Beginning with St. Athanasius of Alexandria, apart from its logical association with creation ex nihilo under the good and free will of the Creator and ‘rooted’ in this will stability of existence of created cosmos, the understanding of the ‘meontism’ of matter was supplemented by the anthropocentric conception and providence of the material world. It is man in his bipartite, spiritual-material nature who is called to play the role of a unique, meaning and fate-determining ‘focus’ of the material universe.

3. The idea of matter being not just a corrective tool used by the Creator for the punishment of human sin, but that Adam from the beginning was entrusted with the task of bringing matter into the condition of ‘establishing in existence’ and to a higher state of deification. This principle was first expressed by St. Athanasius the Great, noted by the great Cappadocian fathers and most clearly revealed by Rev. Maximus the Confessor.19

4. All the negative statements in patristic literature regarding cosmic matter and the human body are not of an ontological but a purely ascetical character. They demand close contextual reading for a proper assessment of their theological content.

5. The works of the fathers of the Alexandrian and Cappadocian schools repeatedly refuted the false anthropological position of Origen, especially on the question of the resurrection of the body. Of central importance in their theological formulations was the fruitful experience of the full dogmatic account of the Incarnation with the divination of human nature and the resurrection of the flesh. Common also to all members of the schools was the commitment of Eucharistic realism with the characteristic identification of the historical and Eucharistic flesh of Christ defined as the salvific ‘medicine’, ‘conveyor of life’ (τὸ ἀλεξιτήριον, πρόξενος), the ‘god-inspired’ (θεοφορεῖται),20 the ‘God-bearer’ (θεοφόρος),21 the ‘holy and life-giving’ (ἡ ἁγία σάρξ; ζωοποιὸς).22

6. The orthodox understanding of St. Paul’s expression of the ‘spiritual body’ (1Cor 15. 44) is articulated. It is not about fending off the body or the flesh but discarding the sin and carnal and mundane mindset. The renovation of human body (as well as of all the creation) by the grace of God upon resurrection will take place with the preservation of the logos by which it was endowed at the creation. Due to synthetic manner of analyzing of the heritage of St. Maximus, we have been able to highlight the concept of ‘the logos of the event’ into his theological apparatus. This concept is represented in the similar formula of the ‘Providential logos’ (τὴν πρόνοιαν ὁ λόγος),23 as well as the formula of ‘the logos of the accomplished’ (τῶν γινομένων λόγος)24 in the original writings by Rev. Maximus the Confessor and especially matters in proper understanding of the holy Eucharist. In this case, the logos of the sacrament is the transformation of the logos of wine and bread into the logos of flesh and blood of the Incarnated Logos – i. e. into the Incarnated Logos Himself in His godly and human nature.

7. A detailed analysis of the system of theological terms employed by the Cappadocian fathers and St. Cyril of Alexandria to account for material change in the created world under the action of divine energies reveals the true novelty of patristic thinking. Coining terms unknown in Antique philosophy (μεταστοιχειόω, in St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Cyril of Alexandria), and giving completely new uses to other terms (ἀναστοιχειόω, ἀναπλάσσω, ἀνάπλασις among the Cappadocians and St. Cyril of Alexandria) Church Fathers meant to emphasise a qualitative change in the essence of human nature in the fullness of its spiritual-corporeal composition, as well as at the elemental physical level regarding the holy Sacraments and the Resurrection.

The analysis of the use in early-church writings of the verb ‘ἀναπλάσσω’ descending from the biblical ‘ἔπλασεν’ (Gen 2. 7) revealed remarkable contribution of St. Gregory the Theologian in the broadening of the verb’s meaning. In his theology, the term acquired a new broad spectrum of meaning eligible to describe the transformations of human nature not only in the resurrection but also in the Church sacraments.

8. The Cappadocians’ theology of deification and that of Maximus the Confessor was a continuation of St. Paul’s anthropology and the Christology of St. Athanasius of Alexandria. Despite the ‘physical realism’ of their sacramentology, the Church Fathers’ views on the mystery of salvation set a pure emphasis on the moral and ascetic obligations of those who were communicants in the holy mysteries of the Church. Especially clearly expressed was the doctrine of the ‘conforming’ of man to Christ (Phil. 3. 10, Rom. 8. 29) ‘in accordance with the measure of the Incarnation’ (κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τῆς ἐνανθρωπήσεως),25 ‘likening to the flesh of Christ’ (ὁμοιότητατῆς τοῦ Κυρίου σαρκός).26 The congruence of the formulae ‘in the likeness of man’, ‘in the likeness of flesh’ (ἐνὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων, ἐνὁμοιώματι σαρκὸς)27 and ‘in the likeness of God (of the Lord)’ (τὸ καθ’ ὁμοίωσιν εἶναι θεοῦ; καθ’ ὁμοίωσιν τοῦ Κυρίου),28 taken into the Cappadocian theological synthesis as a revelation of Christocentric anthropology, starkly reveals that the whole material and spiritual human nature takes part in divination. This likewise emphasizes the claim of spiritual fertility within the mystery of the Eucharist and the experience of Christian asceticism.

To conclude I want to note that the great fathers of the Church clearly articulate the doctrine of matter as a kind of bait used by Satan to avert man from God. The biblical tree of knowledge of good and evil was intended for man, but the eating of its fruit was postponed ‘for a time’ (τέως) – to allow the man to know God Himself prior to all creation. St. Maximus says that the tree of knowledge should be interpreted both as ‘the logos of sensual things’29 and the visible creation itself (τὴν φαινομένην κτίσιν).30

‘The Tree of disobedience’ (τὸ ξύλον τῆς παρακοῆς), from which Adam had partaken prior to his spiritual maturity, resulted in the ignorance of God and idolization of creature and constant concentration of man on himself. Hence, the purpose of man’s life would focus not on God and virtue, but on serving the idols of his passions, on the humanity’s love of themselves ‘by flesh’ (κατὰ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ γένους τῶν ἀνθρώπων φιλαυτία).31

The true cause of all ascetic labours preached by the Church Fathers is rooted in the need for the corruptible human soul to receive the knowledge of God as the object of prior importance. The very material creation is not evil of itself or even the cause of evil. It is associated with obtaining knowledge of good as it is contemplated spiritually and in harmony with the ontological and chronological hierarchy given by the Creator. The same becomes the knowledge of evil, ‘if perceived bodily’ (σωματικῶς),32 that is apart from the spiritual meaning and destiny, inherent in the creation of God. This evil is the very condition of man who ‘associates with matter all the lusts of his soul’ and his soul ‘governed by the worst principle’ comes to the depletion of natural forces.33

The disarray of the hierarchy of values in the conscience of Adam caused his Fall. God-man Christ restores in Himself and through Himself the hierarchy of logoi of the new humanity.34 The ultimate goal of the Christian life should be restoration of a harmonious hierarchy of soul and body, like in a spiritual harp when a human becomes ‘a cithara, a flute and a temple of God’.35

Sources

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2. S. Athanasius Theol., Expositiones in Psalmos, in PG 27: 60–545, 548–589 (TLG).

3. S. Athanasius Theol., Oratio I contra Arianos, K. Metzler, K. Savvidis (ed.). Athanasius: Werke, Band I. Die dogmatischen Schriften, Erster Teil, Lieferung (Berlin – New York, 1998): 109–175 (TLG).

4. S. Athanasius Theol., Oratio III contra Arianos, in K. Metzler and K. Savvidis (ed.), Athanasius: Werke, Band I. Die dogmatischen Schriften, Erster Teil, 3. Lieferung, (Berlin – New York, 2000): 305–381.

5. Athenagoras Apol., Legatio pro Christianis, in PG 6: 889–972.

6. Theol. Basilius Caesariensis, Theol., Asceticon magnum sive Quaestiones (regulae fusius tractatae), in PG 31: 901–1052 (TLG).

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8. S. Basilius Caesariensis, Theol., De spiritu sancto, in B. Pruche (ed.). Basile de Césarée. Sur le Saint–Esprit, 2nd edn. [Sources chrétiennes 17 bis] (Paris, 1968): 250–530 (TLG).

9. S. Basilius Caesariensis, Theol., Epistulae, in Y. Courtonne (ed.). Saint Basile. Lettres, 3 vols (Paris, 1: 1957; 2: 1961; 3: 1966). 1: 3–219; 2: 1–218; 3: 1–229 (TLG).

10. S. Basilius Caesariensis, Theol., Homiliae in hexaemeron, in S. Giet (ed.). Basile de Césarée. Homélies sur l’hexaéméron, 2nd edn. [Sources chrétiennes 26 bis] (Paris, 1968): 86–522 (TLG).

11. Clemens Alexandrinus, Theol., Stromata, L. Früchtel, O. Stählin, U. Treu (eds.). Clemens Alexandrinus. Vols. 2, 3rd edn. and 3, 2nd edn. [Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller 52 (15), 17] (Berlin, 2: 1960; 3: 1970: 2: 3–518; 3: 3–102) (TLG).

12. Clemens Alexandrinus, Theol., Eclogae propheticae, L. Früchtel, O. Stählin, and U. Treu (eds.), Clemens Alexandrinus, vol. 3, 2nd edn. [Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller 17] (Berlin, 1970): 137–155.

13. S. Cyrillus Alexandrinus, Theol., Commentarii in Joannem, in P.E. Pusey (ed.). Sancti patris nostri Cyrilli archiepiscopi Alexandrini in D. Joannis evangelium, 3 vols (Oxford, 1872). 1: 1–728; 2: 1–737; 3: 1–171 (TLG).

14. S. Cyrillus Alexandrinus, Theol., Commentarii in Lucam (in catenis), in PG 72: 476–949 (TLG).

15. S. Cyrillus Alexandrinus, Theol., De incarnatione unigeniti, in G.-M. de Durand (ed.). Cyrille d’Alexandrie. Deux dialogues christologiques [Sources chrétiennes 97] (Paris, 1964): 188–300 (TLG).

16. S. Gregorius Nyssenus, Theol., De creatione hominis sermo primus, in H. Hörner (ed.), Gregorii Nysseni opera, suppl. (Leiden, 1972) 2a–39a, 40.

17. S. Maximus Confessor, Theol., Ambiguorum liber, in PG 91: 1031–1418.

18. S. Maximus Confessor, Theol., Capitum Theologiae et Oeconomiae, in PG 90: 1083–1176.

19. S. Maximus Confessor, Theol., Mystagogia, in PG 91: 633–718.

20. S. Maximus Confessor, Theol., Quaestiones ad Thalassium, in PG 90: 243–786.

21. S. Maximus Confessor, Theol., Quaestiones et dubia, in Corpus Christianorum. Series Graeca. V. 10. J.H. Declerck (ed.). (Brepols – Turnhout, 1982) (TLG).

22. Origenes, Theol., Commentarii in evangelium Joannis, C. Blanc (ed.). Origène. Commentaire sur saint Jean. 5 vols [Sources chrétiennes 120, 157, 222, 290, 385] (Paris, 1: 1966; 2: 1970; 3: 1975; 4: 1982; 5: 1992). 1: 56–390; 2: 128–580; 3: 34–282; 4: 44–360; 5: 58–360 (TLG).

23. Origenes, Theol., Contra Celsum, in M. Borret (ed.). Origène. Contre Celse. 4 vols. [Sources chrétiennes 132, 136, 147, 150] (Paris, 1: 1967; 2: 1968; 3–4: 1969). 1: 64–476; 2: 14–434; 3: 14–382; 4: 14–352 (TLG).

24. Origenes, Theol., Homiliae in Jeremiam, P. Nautin (ed.). Origène. Homélies sur Jérémie. Vol. 1 [Sources chrétiennes 232] (Paris, 1976): 196–430 (TLG).

25. Proclus, Phil. De malorum subsistentia, H. Boese (ed.), Procli Diadochi tria opuscula (Berlin, 1960): 173–191, 211–265 (TLG).

26. Proclus, Phil. In Platonis Cratylum commentaria, G. Pasquali (ed.), Procli Diadochi in Platonis Cratylum commentaria (Leipzig, 1908) (TLG).

Bibliography

27. Kh. Anatolios, Athanasius, The Early Church Fathers (New York, 2004).

28. Andrew Hamilton S.J., The relationship between God and created reality in the theology of St. Athanasius of Alexandria, Thesis (D. Phil.) (Oxford, 1977).

29. D. Balás, The Unity of Human Nature in Basil’s and Gregory of Nyssa’s Polemics against Eunomius, in Studia Patristica. Vol. 14:5. (1976). 275–281.

30. D. Brakke, Athanasius and Asceticism (Baltimore, 1995).

31. T. Borodai, Antique philosophy dictionary, Moscow, 2008.

32. A.G. Cooper, The body in Maximus the Confessor (Oxford, 2005).

33. Archim. Cyprian (Kern), Anthropology of St. Gregory Palamas (Moscow, 1996).

34. Fr. G. Florovsky, The Eastern fathers of the IV century (Paris, 1931).

35. Fr. G. Florovsky, The dogma and history (Moscow, 1998).

36. A.R. Fokin, The Great Athanasius. Theology, in Orthodox encyclopedia. Vol. 4 (Moscow, 2002), 32–41.

37. A.R. Fokin, The theology of the S. Athanasius The Great, Patristics. The writings of the Church fathers and patrological studies (Nizhny Novgorod, 2007), 352–376.

38. Kyrill and Methody Zinkovskiy, hierom, Hierarchic Anthropology of Saint Maximus the Confessor, IJOT, 2/4 (2011), ed. D. Munteanu, 43–61, 55–56.

39. Hans van Loon, The Dyophysite Christology of Cyril of Alexandria (Leiden, 2009).

40. G. Maspero, Trinity and Man: Gregory of Nyssa’s ‘Ad Ablabium’, Supplements to Vigilae Christianae 86 (Leiden, 2007).

41. Fr. Jh., Meyendorff, Introduction to patristic theology, translated from English by L. Volkhonskaya (New York, 1985).

42. J. Opsomer, Proclus Vs Plotinus on Matter (De malorum subsistentia 30–7), Phronesis. 46 (2). (2001). 154–188.

43. J. Opsomer, Some Problems with Plotinus’ Theory of Matter / Evil. An Ancient Debate Continued, in Quaestio, 7 (2007), 165–189.

44. A. Pettersen, Athanasius and the Human Body (Bristol, 1990).

45. Jh.V. Popov, Patrology. In 2 vol. (Moscow, 2004).

46. A. Richard, Cosmologie et théologie chez Grégoire de Nazianze (Paris, 2003).

47. Jh. Roldanus, Le Christ et l’homme dans la théologie d’Athanase d’Alexandrie. Étude de la conjonction de sa conception de l’homme avec sa Christologie (Leiden, 1968).

48. K. Ruzhitskiy, Church writers on matter (Moscow, 1958).

49. A.I. Sidorov, The exegetical writings of Origen: commentaries on the New Testament, in Alpha and Omega (Альфа и Омега). 2008. № 1 (51). (2008) 4–61.

50. P. Tzamalikos, Origen: Cosmology and Ontology of Time (Leiden – Boston, 2006. Supplementsto Vigiliae Christianae, Book 77).

51. Jh. Zachhuber, Human nature in Gregory of Nyssa: philosophical background and theological significance (Leiden, 2000).

* * *

1

T. Borodai, Antique philosophy dictionary (Moscow, 2008), p. 481; K. Ruzhitskiy, Church writers on matter (Moscow, 1958), p. 260.

2

It is worth mentioning the works of P. Tzamalikos, Origen: Cosmology and Ontology of Time (Leiden; Boston, 2006. Supplementsto Vigiliae Christianae, Book 77); J. Opsomer, Proclus Vs Plotinus on Matter (De malorum subsistentia 30–7), Phronesis. 46 (2). (2001). 154–188; J. Opsomer, Some Problems with Plotinus’ Theory of Matter / Evil. An Ancient Debate Continued, in Quaestio, 7 (2007), 165–189; A. Pettersen, Athanasius and the Human Body (Bristol, 1990); D. Balás, The Unity of Human Nature in Basil’s and Gregory of Nyssa’s Polemics against Eunomius, in Studia Patristica. Vol. 14:5. (1976). 275–281; G. Maspero, Trinity and Man: Gregory of Nyssa’s ‘Ad Ablabium’, Supplements to Vigilae Christianae 86 (Leiden, 2007); Zachhuber Jh., Human nature in Gregory of Nyssa: philosophical background and theological significance (Leiden, 2000); A. Richard, Cosmologie et théologie chez Grégoire de Nazianze (Paris, 2003); A. G. Cooper, The body in Maximus the Confessor (Oxford, 2005); Hans van Loon, The Dyophysite Christology of Cyril of Alexandria (Leiden, 2009).

3

Proclus, De malorum subsistentia 30. 14; 30. 22.

4

Proclus, In Platonis Cratylum commentaria 90. 1–2.

5

Athenagoras, Legatio pro Christianis 15, PG 6. 920А.

6

Ibid. 4, PG 6. 897В.

7

Clemens Alexandrinus, Stromata 3. 104. 5.

8

Ibid. 7. 11. 65. 3–4.

9

Clemens Alexandrinus, Eclogae propheticae 25, 1–4.

10

Clemens Alexandrinus, Stromata 3. 10. 69. 1.

11

ἐν σαρκὶ περιπολῶν θεός, ibid. 7. 16. 101. 5.

12

Ibid. 7. 13. 82. 3.

13

Origenes, Commentarii in evangelium Joannis 20. 16. 134. 1–5.

14

Origenes, Homiliae in Jeremiam 15. 6. 16.

15

Origenes, Contra Celsum 3. 41. 11.

16

Sidorov A. I. , The exegetical writings of Origen: commentaries on the New Testament, in Alpha and Omega (Альфа и Омега). 2008. № 1 (51). (2008) 4–61.

17

Fr. Jh., Meyendorff, Introduction to patristic theology, translated from English by L. Volkhonskaya (New York, 1985); Fr. G. Florovsky, The Eastern fathers of the IV century (Paris, 1931); Fr. G. Florovsky, The dogma and history (Moscow, 1998); Archim. Cyprian (Kern), Anthropology of St. Gregory Palamas (Moscow, 1996); Jh. V. Popov, Patrology. In 2 vol. (Moscow, 2004); Jh. Roldanus, Le Christ et l’homme dans la théologie d’Athanase d’Alexandrie. Étude de la conjonction de sa conception de l’homme avec sa Christologie (Leiden, 1968); Kh. Anatolios, Athanasius, The Early Church Fathers (New York, 2004); A. Pettersen, Athanasius and the Human Body (Bristol, 1990); Andrew Hamilton S. J., The relationship between God and created reality in the theology of St. Athanasius of Alexandria, Thesis (D. Phil.) (Oxford, 1977); A.R. Fokin, The Great Athanasius. Theology, in Orthodox encyclopedia. Vol. 4 (Moscow, 2002), 32–41; A.R. Fokin, The theology of the S. Athanasius The Great, Patristics. The writings of the Church fathers and patrological studies (Nizhny Novgorod, 2007), 352–376; D. Brakke, Athanasius and Asceticism (Baltimore, 1995), etc.

18

Although in the controversy with the Arians St. Athanasius employed solely ‘ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων’ (since heretics used this formula in their discourse of the Son of God), yet in some texts the equivalence of the meaning of the ‘οὐκ ὄντων’ and ‘μὴ ὂν’ formulae is quite explicit (S. Athanasius Theol., Oratio I contra Arianos 17. 4. 5–6). On this occasion St. Athanasius condemns the Arians as he notes that their heresy means that ‘the things which have never existed (τό ποτε μὴ ὂν) pretend to be the subject of theology and are glorified along with the things which exist from eternity’. Also in the extract Oratio I contra Arianos 18. 2 the Saint says that the heretics do not fear to ‘intermingle the things which do not exist (τὰ μὴ ὄντα) with the things which exist’.

19

S. Maximus Confessor. Ambiguorum liber, PG 91. 1305–1312.

20

S. Athanasius Theol., Oratio III contra Arianos 41. 2. 6–7.

21

S. Basilius Caesariensis, De spiritu sancto 5. 12. 20.

22

S. Cyrillus Alexandrinus, Commentarii in Joannem 3. 118. 15; Commentarii in Lucam (in catenis) 72. 549. 49; De incarnatione unigeniti 708. 25; Ammonius, Fragmenta in Joannem (in catenis) 232. 4; S. Maximus Confessor, Quaestiones et dubia 54. 6.

23

S. Maximus Confessor, Quaestiones ad Thalassium 26. 209; 64. 831.

24

S. Maximus Confessor, Mystagogia 24. 272; PG 91. 1384 B.

25

S. Athanasius Theol., Expositiones in Psalmos 27. 565. 10; S. Basilius Caesariensis, De baptism, libri duo 31. 1552. 33; Epistula 8. 4. 21–22.

26

S. Maximus Confessor, Capitum Theologiae et Oeconomiae, PG 90. 1164 С; S. Athanasius Theol., Oratio III contra Arianos 9. 53. 1. 3–4.

27

Phil. 2. 7, Rom 8. 3, S. Athanasius; S. Gregorius Nazianzenus; S. Gregorius Nyssenus.

28

S. Gregorius Nyssenus, De creatione hominis sermo primus 29. 4–5; S. Basilius Caesariensis, Asceticon magnum sive Quaestiones (regulae fusius tractatae) 31. 945. 41; Homiliae in hexaemeron 9. 6. 91.

29

S. Maximus Confessor, Quaestiones et dubia 44. 8.

30

S. Maximus Confessor, Quaestiones ad Thalassium, Section epist. 327–328.

31

Ibid., Section epist. 356–357.

32

Ibid., Section epist. 336.

33

Quaestiones et dubia 44. 25–27.

34

Kyrill and Methody Zinkovskiy, hierom, Hierarchic Anthropology of Saint Maximus the Confessor, IJOT, 2/4 (2011), ed. D. Munteanu, 43–61, 55–56.

35

S. Maximus Confessor, Capita Theologia et Oeconomiae II. 100, in PG 90. 1172D–1173A.

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