16 March 2009

Ethos & Dogma In St Gregory Palamas

I’ve been meaning to post a passage from the Prologue to the book, Passions and Virtues According to St Gregory Palamas (South Canaan, PA: St Tikhon’s Seminary, 2004), by my advisor, Anestis Keselopoulos, and trans. and ed. by Hieromonk Alexis (Trader) and Harry Michael Boosalis. Kevin Edgecomb made a comment on the last post that finally forced my hand. From p. x:

Orthodox theologians have grown more aware that St Gregory Palamas is not only a ‘dogmatic theologian’ (1), but also a guide who can initiate others into the life in Christ. If Palamas composed so many writings affirming the uncreated character of deifying grace, he did so because he regarded divine grace as man’s only hope for transcending the unnatural life of the Fall, for redemption from slavery to the passions, and for a life of personal communion and participation in God. For this very reason, his teaching is an excellent model for the harmonious blending of dogmatic theology and personal life.

(1) Especially when such a characterization implies an artificial and destructive separation of dogma from ethics.

Fr Andrew Louth has made a similar comment about the Philokalia as a whole—‘[M]uch of the historical importance of the Philokalia lies in the way it has revealed the essential unity of what have come to be called in the West “theology” and “spirituality”, a unity that Orthodoxy, at its best, has preserved’ (‘The Theology of the Philokalia’, Abba: The Tradition of Orthodoxy in the West (Festschrift for Bishop Kallistos [Ware] of Diokleia), ed. Fr John Behr, et al. [Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary, 2003], p. 357).

One can order Keselopoulos’s book at the St Tikhon’s Press site, here.
And just for Christopher Orr, here is my attempt at a literal translation of that first sentence, with the footnote from the brackets properly replaced within the sentence: 'It has become more conscious in Orthodox theology that St Gregory Palamas is not only a "dogmatic theologian", when specifically within this characterisation is understood the destructive any longer for theology separation of dogma and ethos, but also the mystic of the in Christ life' (trans. from Anestis Keselopoulos, Πάθη και Αρετές στη Διδασκαλία του Αγίου Γρηγορίου του Παλαμά [Athens: Domos, 1990], p. 12).

1 comment:

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Thanks for that!

I'm getting a kick out of the fun translation issues, too.