Byzantine Theology in the 14th Century : the Discourse on Divine Energies

  1. Lemma
  2. Византийското богословие през XIV в. : дискурсът за Божествените енергии
  3. Bulgarian
  4. Nachev, Ivaylo
  5. Orthodox theological tradition and practice > Patristic studies
  6. 28-1-2019
  7. Христов, Иван [Author]. Византийското богословие през XIV в. : дискурсът за Божествените енергии
  8. Византийското богословие през XIV в. : дискурсът за Божествените енергии - Sofia: Изток-Запад, 2016.
  9. Saint Gregory Palamas - Hesychasm - Divine energies - Saint Thomas Aquinas - Christian philosophy
    1. The book provides a thorough analysis of the teaching of Divine energies, a central theme for the Byzantine theology in the 14th c., according to the author. Analyzing original texts and synthesizing more recent theological publications on the subject, Hristov presents as well a comprehensive study on the subject which has been one of the key topics in Bulgarian theology in recent decades. The author argues that the discourse on Divine energies had been historically in the heart of the Eastern Orthodox identity, a position which has been maintained also nowadays.

      The book focusses on the Palamitic debates, with the controversy between St. Gregory Palamas and Barlaam in the 14th c. being examined in the context of the issue of theological methods. As the teaching of the Divine energies introduced abstract elements, it was considered by some as an addition to the Orthodox theology which is not based on Scripture. In addition, the teaching was criticized for borrowing philosophical concepts without explaining these concepts. Hristov argues that the discourse on Divine energies has similarities with philosophical discourse but as a theological discourse it is not identic with philosophical ones.

      The author’s point of departure is Christian philosophy as an interdisciplinary field between theology and philosophy which is closer to theology in his opinion. Without ignoring the evidence of intellect, Christian philosophy has a specific focus as it is centered on the spiritual experience. In that way the discourse on the Divine energies is not alien to Scripture and theology and can be considered a key element of the Christian tradition. In a separate part, Hristov also looks at the impact that the Palamitic debates on the spiritual climate in the Bulgarian kingdom of that time.

      The book looks as well at the meaning of the hesychast spiritual practices. The theological justification of Hesychasm in St. Gregory Palamas is examined. It discusses as well critical voices toward personal mysticism allegedly stemming from the teaching of the Divine energies. In addition, it looks at the reception of texts of Thomas Aquinas in Byzantium. Being viewed as the most prominent proponent of the Catholic doctrine, Byzantine theologians defended specific features of the Eastern Orthodox identity in opposition to the thought of Thomas Aquinas.