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Forum Philosophicum

Philosophical Readings of Maximus the Confessor

Volume 20, Issue 2, Autumn 2015
Sharing in the Logos

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1. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Sotiris Mitralexis, Georgios Steiris Guest Editors' Note
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2. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Marcin Podbielski Editorial Note
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3. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Abbreviations Used in Current Issue
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4. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Jack Louis Pappas Otherwise than Identity, or Beyond Difference: Maximus the Confessor and the Hypostatic-Transfigurement of Fundamental Ontology
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This paper locates in the philosophy of Maximus the Confessor a remarkable concern for the temporality, finitude, and historicity of the human soul, that at once anticipates Heidegger’s “fundamental ontology,” but which is also capable of overcoming the limitations of philosophical nihilism. In taking up Heidegger’s claim that the recovery of ontology (and philosophy itself) depends upon the understanding of Being always in relation to its self-revelation in the finite and historical reality of human existence, it becomes clear that contemporary philosophical expression requires a “turning away” from the conceptual unity of finite beings and eternal Being, and a movement toward a radically subjective negativity. In contrast to his Neoplatonic forebears, Maximus presents a mode of thinking which is capable of surpassing Heideggerian negation, not through a denial of human particularity or finitude, but rather through a transformation of the very categories of Being and non-being themselves through his understanding of divine personhood. For Maximus such personhood is conceived of as transcending both Being and time, and yet without any loss of transcendence comes also to partake fully of both through the mystery of the Incarnation. According to Maximus, this radical event of be-coming forever transfigures the sphere of beings, bringing the historical into the transcendent, non-Being into Being, and death into life.
5. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Ty Monroe I Know You Above All; I Know You Not: St. Maximus the Confessor on Divine and Human Knowledge and Love
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This essay considers distinct ways of understanding these complexities, specifically by reference to the anthropological and metaphysical thought of St. Maximus the Confessor. Maximus’ understanding of human knowledge and volition and desire are interpreted in light of his commitments concerning doctrine of God, read through his systematic correction of a broadly “Origenist” aversion to metaphysical motion.
6. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Emma Brown Dewhurst The Ontology of Virtue as Participation in Divine Love in the Works of St. Maximus the Confessor
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This paper demonstrates the ontological status of virtue as an instance of love within the cosmology of St. Maximus the Confessor. It shows that we may posit the real existence of a “virtue” in so far as we understand it to have its basis in, and to be an instance of love. Since God is love and the virtues are logoi, it becomes possible and beneficial to parallel the relationship between love and the virtues with Maximus’ exposition of the Logos and the logoi. In particular, Vladimir Cvetković’s interpretation of the circle and radii analogy will be utilized. It will be shown that when one practices a virtue, one is practicing and participating in love, and, by extension, partaking in God. Within the context of Maximus’ cosmology, this means that practicing virtue and love is the ultimate purpose of humanity in its journey to gather all creation to communion with God. This paper is primarily an exposition of primary sources from St. Maximus, but discussion of the ontology of virtue is made with a view to bringing it into dialogue with modern theories of virtue ethics. This paper arises in part as a response to the August 2013 papers by Andrew Louth and Paul M. Blowers on the need for increased scholarship on Maximus and virtue ethics.
7. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Douglas A. Shepardson Maximus and Socrates on Trial: A Historic-Literary Consanguinity of Rebellion
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Although the similarities between the trial of Socrates and the trial of Jesus have been discussed since the age of the Apologists, the same cannot be said about the anonymously written Trial of Maximus the Confessor and Plato’s Apology. My paper seeks to start this discussion. First I look at the historical context of each trial, finding that each was preceded by a rebellion that the accused was suspected of inciting (the Thirty Tyrants’ in one, the Exarch Gregory’s in the other). Then I summarize the Trial, noting numerous similarities between it and the Apology. After this, I examine some of these similarities in detail. In particular, I show that the defense speeches of both Socrates and Maximus reveal a layer of duplicity endemic to the text: while both Socrates and Maximus appear to exonerate themselves, their defense speeches actually contain harsh mockeries of their accusers. Next, I elucidate the consanguinity between the defendants’ opposition to their cities’ god(s), whom they feel compelled to reject, and their introduction of new gods into their cities (the god of reason and the Christ of Dyothelitism)—a charge for which both defendants were tragically convicted. Finally, I examine the manner in which both figures play gadfly to their city.
8. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Cullan Joyce Unity, Interdependence, and Multiplicity in Maximus the Confessor: An Engagement with Heidegger’s Topology
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This paper explores how Heidegger’s discussion of experience as topos (place) can illuminate some elements of Maximus’ writings. In Heidegger’slater work, the experiencing subject emerges from, and experiences only within, place. Experience is only ever constituted when the conditions of its emergence come together concretely, which is to say, somewhere. Topos, a place, such as a city or my home, is a unity of the elements that make it up. The essay first examines how Heidegger sees philosophical inquiry as a drawing out of the different elements that constitute the unity of experience as place. Many works of Maximus the Confessor, including his ascetic writings, examine how the subject experiences within the world. Using the topological account of experience described by Heidegger, the paper examines several distinctions that emerge from Maximus’ ascetic thought. Using examples, the essay suggests it is possible to see Maximus’ analyses as being engagements with an understanding to the effect that experience emerges with a unity, in topos. The essay suggests that reading Maximus through topos helps explain why it is that so many structures can arise interdependently through his engagement with experience.
book reviews
9. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Anna Zhyrkova George E. Karamanolis: The Philosophy of Early Christianity
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10. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Reviewers of Articles Published in 2015
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11. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Note about Forum Philosophicum
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