St. Maximos the Confessor and the Filioque Doctrine Part I

If there is any doctrine that permeates my thinking of just why I am Orthodox, it is the doctrine of the Trinity. It is this doctrine that is the basis and praise of our liturgical worship as Orthodox Christians. I think it goes without saying that the Saints and Doctors viewed any change in our liturgical worship as presenting what they believed to be a foreign faith. When we turn to the question of the Latin filioque doctrine, no more ink has been spilled in more fruitless discussion than any other doctrine. However, in the words of the great 20th Century theologian Vladimir Lossky:

“Whether we like it or not, the question of the procession of the Holy Spirit has been the sole dogmatic grounds for the separation of East and West. All the other divergences which, historically, accompanied or followed the first dogmatic controversy about the Filioque, in the measure in which they too had some dogmatic importance, are more or less dependent upon that original issue.” (In the Image and Likeness, p. 71)

It is the doctrine of the Trinity which which lies at the core of every belief that we have, whether ecclesiological, soteriological, spiritual and even cultural influences, to paraphrase a friend of mine Dr. Jospeh P. Farrell. So, I believe any analysis or head-way that we can make regarding the filioque question is worth our time and energy.

Since I embraced the strong monopatrism of St. Photios the Great, I’ve always asked these questions: in what sense, if any, is the filioque doctrine true? In what way can it be appropriated? Is there an eternal and theological relationship of the Spirit and the Son that intuitively grasps what the filioque doctrine wishes to express? I mean, if one is to believe that there is a “symphony of the Saints” that characterize Eastern and Western theology–which St. Mark of Ephesus clearly did–Orthodox theology must take seriously those texts in our Western Fathers, that are in every sense our Fathers, that proclaim a belief that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

I believe firmly there is a way without sacrificing “one iota” of what our Eastern Fathers proclaimed, especially St. Photios. I will be posting several installments that will be interacting with a dissertation that I’ve read, in which I fully share the author’s vision for putting aside this long impasse. The dissertation is called The Use of Maximus the Confesor’s Writings on the Filioque at the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-1439) by A. Edward Siecienski. In my first installment, I will discuss Siecienski’s analysis of a key text: Quaestiones ad Thalassium 63 to try to understand Maximos’ thinking regarding the Holy Spirit.

For St. Maximos all that can be truly known of God’s inner life and relations (theologia) is revealed through the Incarnate Word (economia). As Siecienski points out quoting Lars Thunberg: “[the] distinction between theology and economy is strictly upheld [in Maximus]…but at the same time he relates them intimately so that a correspondence is established” (p. 23). Siecienski recognizes that Maximus does not collapse these two together, and “neither does he (Maximus) differentiate them in such a way that one cannot gain a knowledge of God’s trinitarian nature (i.e. theologia) from his revelation in history. (p. 24) Though he points out this is not to be confused with what would later be called “natural theology,” as these “adumbrations of the Trinity” in God’s historical working can only be apprehended through the “eyes of faith.” (p. 23) Siecienski rightly recognizes that their is an “intimate connection between theology and economy.” This shows the essential unity that Maximos has between the two, and sets up Siecienski’s discussion of Maximos’s text Quaestiones ad Thalassium 63 which I will quote the pertinent section here in full:

Τὸ γὰρ Πνευ̑μα τὸ ἅγιον ὥσπερ φύσει κατ΄ ου͗σίαν υ͑πάρχει του̑ Θεου̑ καὶ Πατρός, ου͑́τως καὶ του̑ Υι͑ου̑ φύσει κατ΄ ου͗σίαν ε͗στίν, ω͑ς ε͗κ του̑ Πατρὸς ου͗σιωδω̑ς δι΄ Υι͑ου̑ γεννηθέντος α͗φφάστως ε͗κπορευόμενον.”

“For the Holy Spirt, just as he belongs to the nature of God the Father according to the nature of God the Father according to His essence so he also belongs to the nature of the Son according to His essence, since he proceeds inexpressibly from the Father throughHis begotten Son.”

Though most take this passage to signify God’s relation to man in the economy since Maximos goes on immediately to state that the Spirit “bestows on the lampstand–the Church–His energies as through a lantern,” I agree with Siecienski that this speaks also of an eternal relationship. First the Greek word ε͗κπορευόμενον is used in the passage which being a derivative of ε͗κπόρευσις. This signifies that we are discussing an eternal relationship as ε͗κπόρευσις denotes that their can only be one single point of origin for the Holy Spirit, and that undoubtedly being the Father. However, this coupled with the phrase dia tou Yiou shows that Maximus wishes to express, as Siecienski mentions, that it is precisely the Father as Father of a Son. Siecienski goes on to state that it is the intent of this passage to denote Maximos’s differentiation between τάξις (trinitarian ordering) and hypostatic origination. (p.30) The latter solely to  denote the order in which we designate the hypostases as well as showing their consubstantiality, and the former to denote the single source of the Spirit’s existence from the Father [alone]. Those who are familiar with my paper on Gregory of Nyssa and his Trinitarian structure in Contra Eunomium, should readily remember the discussion regarding the taxis of the divine Hypostases, as this is fully a part of the Cappadocian heritage. Siecienski concludes his analysis of this text by stating a further insight that those who are familiar with modern discusions concerning the filioque will recognize:

“The Father remains the sole cause of the Spirit’s hypostasis (as the one who spirates Him), but the Spirit, intimately aware of the Father’s begetting of the Son, comes forth from the begetter through the begotten as the Spirit manifesting their common nature.” (p. 31)

Those who are familiar with Gregory of Cyprus or Gregory Palamas will readily pick up on Siecienski’s expression, as it corresponds to the eternal manifestation. The Father breathing forth the Holy Spirit as  bond of love and the Son back towards the Father. This will be discussed in more detail in later installments.

So far, we have set the stage with a key text that will allow me to see exactly how Maximos understood the filioque (in St. Martin’s day) of the Latin Fathers in his Letter to Marinus. I will follow up with more from Siecienski’s dissertation later this week.

 

62 Responses to St. Maximos the Confessor and the Filioque Doctrine Part I

  1. FrPaul says:

    Photius
    forgive the question, but did you ever actually provide the promised further postings on S’s dissertation? I’d be interested to read them if you did, but can find nothing dealing with it directly and ex professo on here…

  2. Asher Black says:

    Actually, the rite we used was the Gregorian.

  3. acolyte says:

    Dr. Djogo,

    Your English is better than my Serbian, which is nothing at all. Daniel and I are only graduate students, and while I am workiong on languages my Greek is not proficient yet to read many of the works in Greek in Orthodox theology. In any case, we appreciate your input. Please continue.

  4. Darko Djogo says:

    Sorry for some typing mistakes in the first mail. I dictated it to my younger brother whose English is not that good.
    Hi to everyone
    Darko

  5. Darko Djogo says:

    Hi there1
    it’s very interesting discussion you have here. I’m an assistent junior professor of Systematic theology at St’Basil of Ostrog Theological Faculty (Serbian Orthodox Church) in Focha, Republic of Srpska, BiH. I have this feeling that one very importaint thing is missing – analysis of actal dogmatic standing points of the fathers zou mentioned frome the history of dogma point of wiev. Besides, there’re some great books on St Mark the Eugenicus, one of them and maybe the best one is these of bishop Irineaeus Bulovich “The Distinction between energy and substance according to St Mark the Eugenicus” (on kathareusa greek). It would be nice to see what do you think after reading it.
    Darko

  6. Photios,

    After reading your recent exchanges on the filioque at Sacramentum Vitae with M. Liccione, I am looking forward to reading the next installment in this series.

    God bless,
    Todd

  7. Dr. Siecienski,

    I read your dissertation over the Christmas holiday, and I think that your analysis of the Council of Florence is spot on.

    As a Ruthenian Catholic I accept the teaching of the Blachernae Council on the Holy Spirit’s procession as person from the Father alone, while accepting the fact that — as energy — He is manifested, both temporally and eternally, from the Father through the Son. It is my hope that your dissertation will help to advance the cause of ecumenism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches on this thorny issue.

    God bless,
    Todd

  8. A Edward Siecienski says:

    It’s not that Mark Eugenicus doesn’t understand palamite theology, it just seemd to me that at the council the “third school” of Byzantine theology regarding the procession (Maximus, Gregory of Cyprus, and Palamas) was better represented (when it was represented at all) by Scholarius. Eugenicus, while instinctually correct that the proposed Latin formula deviated from the faith of Maximus and prevented by the emperor from offering the theology of Palamas, simply retreated to the position of Photius without offering a positive alternative. As I point out, Eugenicus is not simply the “bloodyminded monk” Gill’s work often portrays, and yet neither is he (at least at the council) the best interpreter of Maximus’s theology of the procession as contained in the Letter to Marinus.

    As for the Letter to Marinus itself, it is funny how it has worked out – a Greek writes to defend the Latins of heresy, but it is the Latins themselves who later cast doubt on the Letter’s authenticity. When they finally come around to accepting it in the 20th century, it is then the Greeks (i.e., my fellow Orthodox) who call its authenticty back into question. Go figure.

    Anyway, my best wishes and prayers go to you and yours.

    AES

  9. photios says:

    Dr. Siencienski,

    I’m getting killed at work right now, but I plan on getting back to the analysis You did a heckuva job on that dissertation. From an Orthodox stand-point, my criticisms would be very minor and all historical and not theological. At any rate, you seem to think that Eugenikos doesn’t represent the fullness of Palamite theology. I think that would be begging the question a little bit, since 1) Eugenikos was silenced right at a very critical point in the dialogue on palamite theology (which you recognize), 2) Eugenikos brushed aside Scholarios not out of disagreement with his formulae but that the Latins would misuse the formulae provided by Scholarios, and finally 3) Eugenikos was an adamant defender of St. Gregory Palamas. It would seem unlikely that he would misunderstand or not know of the ‘eternal manifestation’ of the Spirit as understood by the Sts. Gregory Palamas and Gregory of Cyprus. The same thing would apply to St. Photios, since the eternal manifestation wasn’t the context of his critigue of Carolingian theology. Of course, regardless who is right or wrong on such historical technicalities is really all water under the bridge now. Kudos to you for showing the path forward. I have had the exact same opinions on the very texts you point out for a long time.

    I also agree with your view of the Letter to Marinus and it’s consistency. Funny how many modern day Orthodox don’t think it is authentic, but Mark Eugenikos and Scholarios certainly did. Oh well.

    Photios Jones

  10. A Edward Siecienski says:

    I am very eager to hear more of your feedback about the dissertation (esp. as you look at the Letter to Marinus). As a point of interest, the next issue of Vigilliae Christianae will have my article defending the authenticity of the Letter based on its theological consistency with the rest of Maximus’s work. I certainly welcome any criticisms (as long as they are both intellectually sound and offered in Christian charity), esp. as I am continuing my own work on the filioque and its importance.

  11. Jack,

    http://www.celticchristianity.org/library/

    http://celticchristianity.org/library/stowe.pdf

    Just imagine if all the continuing Anglican’s prayed like this tomorrow and her Bishops re-instated. Then you could have just what you always wanted Perry. 😉

    Photios

  12. Perry Robinson says:

    Jack,

    I agree. I think the rite Farrell uses is the old Sarum Missal, but I am not sure.

  13. Jack says:

    I was subtly agreeing with Perry. As much as I would like to keep the “cultural heritage” of Anglicanism, which is our Ameircan religious patrimony to the extent that we have any at all, I would much rather be in communion with the wholly Catholic Church.

    Who accepts Farrell’s “Celtic rite”? No offense, but that sounds very modern. Give us a link.

  14. What rite? Besides Dr. Farrell’s Celtic rite, the common liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and the overhauled BCP used by the Antiochene’s, I would really like to know if there is another liturgy that someone is using that prays truth. Any of you patristic Anglicans want to answer this question?

    Photios

  15. Jack says:

    There is a currently availible rite that prays truth, just not in Anglican colors. As Clinton would say, I feel your pain. It is a time of difficult questions and hard answers. Not sure if I would recommend your path. Anglican theological history and practice is a mess.

  16. Daniel,

    Thats fine, except for what he prays every sunday morning, which includes the filioque and a number of other things in the Book of Common Prayer. Point being that it doesn’t seem legitimate to pray error just because there isn’t currently available a rite that prays truth.

  17. photios says:

    Perry,

    With Death Bredon, we aren’t dealing with an “Augustinian.” He believes what we believe about theology. He’s like a Joe Farrell who doesn’t like canonical Orthodoxy for the reasons given (cultural identity). I don’t know how many Anglicans out there that are like that, but I do know some.

    Photios

  18. acolyte says:

    Death Bredon,

    Theculturalidentitythoughcomes at a theological price. Given lex credendi, which is better, giving up the cultural identity along with the filioque (among other problems) or retaining it along with the filioque?

    I’d be Orthodox no matter if the TEC was everything I dreamed it could be.

  19. Death Bredon says:

    Jack,

    Thanks for the link to Fr. Behr’s article. Spot on. I agreed with every word, and I am an Anglican! (This is part of the imperfection of Orthodoxy that Florovsky refers: long ago, and to this day, many Anglicans did in fact convert to Ortodoxy — the Caroline Divines, The Old-High Churchmen, the Moderate Tractarians, and contemporary Sarum-Use Prayer-Book Catholics — but dur to its own imperfections, canonical Orthodoxy has not recognized it, offering only nonOrthodox, Tridentine/Counter-Reformation Rites for Western Converts. Thus, to keep our divinely ordained cultural indentity, and our Orthodoxy, we remain Patristic Anglicans.)

  20. To better understand the connections between Augustine and Neoplatonism I recommend reading an article written by Philip Zymaris entitled, “Neoplatonism, the Filioque, and Photios’ Mystagogy” (GOTR, 46:3-4, 2001).

    God bless,
    Todd

  21. Jack says:

    I should have said that the activities of the Spirit, who rests upon the Son, infuse the Son’s created Body. E.g., baptismal regeneration and eucharist. This is the (scriptural) energetic manifestation. This does not mean that the energetic manifestation is not “eternal” so long as one understands that these temporal energetic manifestation is rooted in eternal forms. However, despite how Maximus and Palamas have been misread, there are no eternal activites without temporal manifestations of some sort. The eternal activites or causes, qua eternal, never began, but their temporal effects most assuredly surely did.

    I suggest giving the word “neoplatonic” a much needed rest. To use it in conversation assumes a shared, stable definition which does not exist. It has become a polemical slur with no true referent.

  22. Aaron Friar says:

    Greetings to all you lovely theologians!

    I am greatly enlivened by this vigorous and loving discussion on the most important doctrine of Christ’s Church.

    I read Dr. Farrell’s God, History & Dialectic way back in 1998 and four times since then. I found you all by googling the unfortunate phrase from Augustine “To predestine is the same as to foreknow.” Little did I realize there was a whole blog dedicated to his (and other good scholar’s) work.

    Concerning the present question about St. Maximus & the filioque, I too look forward to future installments, and will wait until I have seen the full argument.

    I would be interested in how many of you are out there reading this, but maybe that can be a separate post lest we clog this one with too many things unrelated to the topic.

    Gentleman, Fathers, Brothers (and if there are any sisters or mothers out there) I salute you all!

  23. Jack says:

    Again, to endlessly repeat myself, the tradition is imaged in the feast of Theophany. We the Church are sacramentally initiated into the One Body of Christ upon whom the Spirit, who proceeds from the one God and Father, remains. Noah-Baptism. The Son eternally returns that Spirit to the Father. The Father and Son rest in a whirling bond of love within the one Spirit. It is a dymanic sign of the cross; St. Denys’s “whirlwind of love.”

    The procession of the Spirit is from the Father to the Son (and through the divine Son to his created Body, the Church, born in the Spirit) and returns from the Son to the Father. It is only in the images of scripture-sacraments, my brothers, that the resolution of this dispute lies. Otherwise, it will just be another ‘theological consultation’ like Florence having absolutely nothing to do with the lived life of the faithful. We need scriptural “economy,” in both senses of that term.

    Behr is our guy.

  24. Please excuse the [i] and [/i] in my post. I do not know how to italize things on blogs.

    🙂

  25. Thomas said: “Regarding comment #8

    I am uncomfortable with Photius’ statement ‘the term ‘Holy Spirit,’ it is used more symbolically as we are not talking about a unique, particular, and personal property, but rather the Spirit as divine energy.’ The statement strikes me as a move towards minimizing (if not altogether eradicating) the ‘person-ness’ of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps I’ve misread Photius.”

    Thomas,

    I did not get the impression — at least based upon what Photius has written so far — that he is in any way denying the hypostatic reality of the Holy Spirit; instead, I took what he is saying as a confirmation of the distinction between the Spirit’s existence as hypostasis, which comes only from the Father, with His manifestation as energy, but not as hypostasis, which comes from the Father, through the Son, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Thus, the manifestation the Spirit as energy is a common property of the three divine hypostaseis, and because it is common to all three, it follows that the eternal energetic manifestation of the Spirit reveals the consubstantial communion of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit within the Godhead, but without the danger of falling into an Augustinian / Neoplatonist [i]filioque[/i].

    God bless,
    Todd

  26. Jack says:

    “After Zizioulas.” Father Behr on Trinity. Long live Fr. Behr.

    http://www.svots.edu/files/SVTQ-Trinitarian.pdf

  27. Death Bredon says:

    Photios,

    I would go even further and suggest the possibility that even St Austin himself may not have thought of his own work in “Augustinian” terms. Indeed, I think Augustinianism (as something distinct from the consensus patri) was a later Germanic invention ultimately promoted to dogmatic status by Caroligian Franks for political reasons.

    Had St Austin been able to sit down and chat with the Cappodacians, I suspect that he would have glossed his works in the way Maximos later did, or else change his terminology a bit to clarify an Orthodox meaning. Indeed, we have no evidence that the Bishop of Hippo intentionally wanted to vary from the deposit and much evidence to the contrary.

  28. Best place to find it is going to be your University library. I was lucky enough to get a used one off Amazon a couple years ago though.

    Photios

  29. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    AH–you’ll have to go to a library. I keep scouring used book outlets online and otherwise and have yet to find it. It had a low print volume and has not been reprinted. It is still the “standard,” though I hope in a few years, I will be co-authoring a book that will become the next one. Pray that occurs.

    Photios, I’ll have to think about what you just said concerning how to understand Augustine. My instinct is to dissagree with you, but I’ll give it more thought. St. Photios definitely accepted that Augustine taught the filioque and Augustine is notoriously imprecise with his Trinitarian theology. “The one God” is “the Trinity itself”? Good grief. Anyhow, I’m overtired because I can’t sleep at night due to coughing, so for now, all I can do is think about what you said. Sorry. Ok, time to get back to typing up a final exam for my students. Micah is awake, but my daughter Macrina is sleeping, so I’d best make good use of my time.

  30. AH says:

    Can anyone tell me where I can find Richard Haugh’s work? THanks

  31. “I want to see how you can talk of the Spirit as “bond of Love” without capitulating to Augustine and the Victorines. What’s going on??”

    Hint (without spoiling too much right now):

    If you have access to the 150 Chapters, take a look at Capita 37. They don’t mean the same thing, but Palamas shows where this can be applied and makes use of Him.

    Another thing to remember, that echoes in my mind of my dialogues with Farrell, is that we don’t have to understand Augustine from an “Augustinian” perspective. It reminds me of the debate between Radbertus and Ratramnus, where the former said there was no dialectic between Augustine’s statements about “believe and you have eaten already,” “Christ’s body is in heaven,” and statements like “when Christ said ‘this is my body,’ he carried in His hands, that very body.” Radbertus wondered why Ratramnus saw these statements in opposition and reduced one as a symbol, when the Eucharist was both symbol, figure, and continuous with Christ’s Incarnate and Ascendend body.

  32. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    Ok, now I am really thinking we’re talking past each other. We probably just chose to phrase it differently. My apologies for the misunderstanding. I’ll write up my critique of the immanent/economic distinction sometime and get your response. I’d be interested to know what you think.

    Let’s move on! I want to see how you can talk of the Spirit as “bond of Love” without capitulating to Augustine and the Victorines. What’s going on?? I know, Augustine is used possibly by Maximos and later is used by Palamas, so I’m more than open to what you’re doing here. So, I stand in your way no longer. No more side debates, here.

    Let’s talk filioque (and why it’s wrong)! At least, why the Carolingians, Bonaventure, and Lyons are wrong (I’ll take Perry’s word for now that Aquinas is, but I’ll also look into Aquinas myself in the future). 🙂

    Don’t worry, I know you’re trying to “ecumenical” and that’s good. I just think that other than Gregory of Cyprus (and I think what he says is in Maximos), there’s not much else we Orthodox can offer.

  33. I read the article by Behr. Good stuff. It’s alot of the same thing that I learned from Farrell in his God, History, and Dialectic.

    Photios

  34. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    All in all, what I’m doing here, is agreeing with Fr. John that the order of how one does theology is important. I honestly believe that it is only because Augustine can think of a Trinity and then contemplate one becoming incarnate that he can dream up the filioque. If we start with Christ’s question, we won’t get there. We could say “through the Son,” per #2 from Photios’ summary of Revelation, or per Gregory of Cyprus, but that’s simply a continuation of reflecting upon the one Christ (the Economy).

    I do hope this helps. It’s all time allows for now. God bless you!

  35. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    Jeremiah,

    It may be a while before I get to that critique, but I have it on my extended “to do” list. Then again, I have another essay on my “to do” list, too, and it’s been there for some time. It’s all a result of being so loaded down with grad work on top of having a family and assisting as I’m able at a parish.

    Turning to your question:
    I would follow the same distinction between theologia and economia that Behr gives in that footnote I cited. These are just two different ways of speaking of the same Christ. On the one hand saying he has the same divinity as the Father and on the other hand that he is fully consubstantial with us. That is what is being claimed by the phrases you cite from the Creed. Those phrases do not require that we think of a self-existing Trinity (which we can “properly define”) and then think of one of the Trinity becoming incarnate. To do this is to do “Trinitarian theology” and then “Christology.” What I’m suggesting is rather than go about things that way, we should first wrestle with Christ’s question to us, “Who do you say that I am?”

    Our answer, of course, is that he is the Christ and as Christians, we believe that means he has revealed God and so has the same divinity as the Father and is truly man as well. This is our starting hypothesis, if you will. This is our starting point.

    So, we certainly say Christ is begotten of the Father before all ages, but this we say because he has the same divinity as the Father and so it follows that Christ’s divinity must likewise be eternal. We say Christ was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man because Christ is economic as well, that is, he is fully human. Of course, we can only say any of this “in the Spirit” (see 1 Cor 12.3 and Phil 2.8-9, for example).

  36. Jeremiah Davis says:

    Father Oliver, bless.

    I want to understand better your and Father John Behr’s point concerning the distinction of “theology” and “economy.” Could you please describe your understanding of the relationship between the creedal statements “begotten of the Father before all ages” and “came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man”?

    I would also like to read your critique, when you have written it.

  37. Disclosure: I’ve expended a considerable amount of effort studying the Filioque and am convinced there is no way to reconcile the teaching of the Church with the teaching of the Vatican. Some readers here may be interested in my commentary on the ‘Agreed Statement’ by the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation at
    http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/agreed_commentary.html
    Essentially, I view the ‘Agreed Statement’ as an agreement to disagree. In particular, I view the ‘Constitution on the Procession of the Holy Spirit’ from Lyons II (1274) which the ‘Agreed Statement’ suggests should be repudiated (and that cannot happen without undermining their _magisterium_ thing) as an absolute impediment to any agreement between the Church and Papal Christianity. Thus, I view any suggestion that there can be a reconciliation between the teaching of the Church and the teaching of the Vatican with great wariness and will be approaching Photius’ comments here with a very strong amount of scepticism.

    ===

    I agree with Photius’ characterisation of St Photius the Great teaching as ‘strong monopatrism’, but think it would have been better to make clear that a strong monopatrism long predates St Photius the Great.

    I would be interested in seeing what Photius characterises as ‘texts in our Western Fathers … that proclaim a belief that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.’ In the usual citations provided by Filioquists which they claim demonstrate a belief in the Filioque, I have found that the statements are either (1) not ‘from the Father and the Son’, but ‘from the Father _through_ the Son’, or (2) not from Church Fathers. (Note: I am very much in agreement with Dr. Father Michael Azkoul’s definition of ‘Church Father’ as found at
    http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/churchfather.html )

    I am leery of any interpreter, even that of the eminent Lars Thunberg, who would suggest St Maximus relates ‘theology and economy … [so] intimately … that a correspondence is established’. This seems to smack of Augustinianism’s assumption of _analogia entis_, an assumption that, from the Orthodox POV, is wholly unwarranted. I cannot help but wonder if such a suggestion is the interpreter reading into the text his own Augustinian assumptions instead of correctly understanding the text.

    I can accept the idea that St Maximus’ statement that the Holy Spirit ‘proceeds inexpressibly from the Father through His begotten Son’ from _ad Thalassium_ can be understood to refer to ‘an eternal relationship’ only if it goes no further than the understanding enshrined by the Fathers at Blachernae (1285). But I would be very cautious to read into the statement things which are not explicitly there, especially if similar ideas cannot be found in St Maximus’ writings. Also, with regard to St Maximus’ writings, I would caution Photius that the supposed _Letter to Marinus_ may well be a forgery as explained by Richard Haugh in his _Photius and the Carolingians: The Trinitarian Controversy_ (p. 32, footnote 31). IMO, the problems noted by Haugh are too great to regard the letter as anything but spurious.

    Regarding comment #7
    The so-called ‘Orthodox filioque’ is NOT typically expressed as ‘from the Father by the Son’, but as ‘from the Father THROUGH [dia] the Son’.

    There is no evidence that Augustine’s _De Trinitate_ ‘was really getting at’ anything like an ‘Orthodox filioque’. Augustine, in most of his writings, was first and foremost a philosopher who — unlike the Greek Fathers — thought Neoplatonism was compatible with Christianity. Unwilling or unable to embrace a mindset exemplified by Saint Gregory the Theologian’s famous quote, ‘You ask what is the procession of the Holy Spirit? Do you tell me first what is the unbegottenness of the Father, and I will then explain to you the physiology of the generation of the Son, and the procession of the Spirit, and we shall both of us be stricken with madness for prying into the mystery of God’, Augustine asked a philosphical question predicated on an assumption of ‘divine simplicity’ and all its baggage: if both the Son and the Holy Spirit come from God, how can they be distinguished?

    I disagree that the Vatican ‘more or less took the “official” position that the Latin filioque expresses nothing more than the eternal manifestation of the Spirit’, see my ‘The Vatican Clarification on the Filioque With Commentary’ at
    http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/vatican_clarification.html .

    Regarding comment #8
    I am uncomfortable with Photius statement ‘the term “Holy Spirit,” it is used more symbolically as we are not talking about a unique, particular, and personal property, but rather the Spirit as divine energy.’ The statement strikes me as a move towards minimising (if not altogether eradicating) the ‘person-ness’ of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps I’ve misread Photius. (I at first misread an earlier statement in the same comment as denying that the Father is logically prior to the Holy Spirit. I should stop reading in bed as I’m falling asleep!)

    Thomas

  38. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    This, I like (defining Economy as Christ enfleshed, if you don’t mind) and it is what leads me to suspect that we may just be talking past each other:

    I’m not conceiving a Trinity independent of the Economy (Label this a Trinity-in-General), but rather through the Economy. Now to the question of the Holy Spirit, 1) Revelation tells me that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, 2) Revelation tells me that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and is sent by the Son, 3) Revelation tell me that the Persons are united, all that the Father has the Son has, and all that the Son has the Holy Spirit has, to paraphrase Christ, and 4) Revelation tells me that the Son became Incarnate by the Holy Spirit.

    So, let’s let this pass and sometime I’ll try to get around to writing up a critique against the immanent/economic distinction that people make.

  39. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    Yeah, I think we’re quite close, Photios. Although, rather than through the economy, I’d say from the economy, but the same thing could be said either way. For me, I follow what Behr has elicited: “economy” is the one Christ enfleshed. To follow Athanasios, Scripture speaks of Christ sometimes as divine and sometimes as human. It is the one and same Christ, but the exegesis is two-fold. So, that’s my starting point. I’d even go along with Athanasios in saying the Incarnation is, properly speaking, the Cross. Regardless, what I am saying is we can only say what we say about the Trinity from economy (Christ incarnate). There is no “ad extra” that we know. We only know what’s been revealed. To conceive of the three persons existing “ad extra” is to do something else with the Gospel. That’s all I’m saying. The categories of hypostasis and nature and wills all flow from reflection upon the Crucified and Risen Lord. There’s no need to bracket the Trinity and then talk about it that way. That’s what I’m saying. So, we may be talking past each other. It wouldn’t surprise me.

    Jack, you are correct to note that they’re patristic. My rejoinder to Photios was simply intended to point out that refusing to conceive of some Trinity bracketed off from creation does not force me to conflate or reduce hypostatic and natural categories any more than it caused Athanasios and the Cappodocians to do so. They didn’t. Neither do I. That’s all.

    Again, Photios, I’m willing to let this pass. If I have a chance, sometime, I could possibly write up something more substantial and email it to you. That would let us know whether I was rightly or wrongly understanding you and vice versa.

    For now, let me suggest the following:
    http://www.svots.edu/files/Faculty/John-Behr/2001-06-svtq-behr.pdf

    And Fr. John Behr’s “The Way to Nicea” followed immediately with “The Nicean Faith” (both parts)

    These could work as starting points.

  40. Jack says:

    I take the distinction between hypostatic and natural qualities to be patristic: the Son is homoousia but not identical to the Father. Perhaps I’m just missing the criticism. I’ll shut my mouth too and just listen.

  41. To be brief: My understanding of the economy is Salvation History: Christ’s recapitulatory economy. In Maximos thinking, with respect to the divine decree, Creation of the Kosmos serves the purposes of the Incarnation: “For the Word of God and God, always and in all things, wills to accomplish the mystery of His embodiment.” (Ambigua PG 91: 1084D). In other words, we understand creation [correctly] only from the stand-point of the Incarnation. There is a creation because God willed the Incarnation. All the activities of the Trinity ad extra that we read about from Revelation fall under the category of Salvation History = Christ’s Recapitulatory economy. Having said that, I can’t figure out what is being debated here or what is anachronistic. I’m not conceiving a Trinity independent of the Economy (Label this a Trinity-in-General), but rather through the Economy. Now to the question of the Holy Spirit, 1) Revelation tells me that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, 2) Revelation tells me that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and is sent by the Son, 3) Revelation tell me that the Persons are united, all that the Father has the Son has, and all that the Son has the Holy Spirit has, to paraphrase Christ, and 4) Revelation tells me that the Son became Incarnate by the Holy Spirit.

    It’s part of our investigation here to understand these facts from the stand-point of Maximos the Conessor and to understand what, if anything, of the Latin filioque doctrine is true.

    Photios

  42. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    That sounds good to me, Jack. We’ll let Photios continue with this line of argumentation. I think Behr’s criticisms run deeper, and it is due to his influence that I would argue that one should not create an immanent/economic distinction concerning the Trinity. It is anachronistic, if for no other reason that what he said in that footnote I cited. However, the problems run beyond mere anachronism, as I think unless we’re precise and slowly going through this, we run some serious risks (such as Ratramnus’ fillioque). I have my reasons for making my arguments.

    Photios, concerning your objection that my position requires conflating hypostatic and natural qualitities–that’s no more true for me than for Ss. Athanasios, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory the Theologian, and Basil the Great, to name but four.

    One thing at a time, though. I want to hear you out on this. Maybe I can type up something as my schedule allows and email it to you. I’m just soooo busy. I shouldn’t have shot my mouth.

    I will be reading this site periodically, though, and I will be watching to see how/whether you avoid going the route of Augustine and the Victorines. Clearly, you’re trying to set us up, so I’m willing to take the set up and see where we all land.

    God bless you!

  43. Jack says:

    Lee Atwater?

  44. Jack says:

    Agreed. I am looking forward to reading Photios’ thoughts, but I hope we stay as close to scripture as a hell-fire baptist preacher. The Church has celebrated the feast of Theophany since who knows when, must be for good reason.

    This is the essence of Behr’s (righteous) criticism of much of 20th cent. “orthodox” theology: when the Fathers do metaphysics, it is always within a scriptural exegesis enabled by the apostolic symbol. They never ever talk about “being as communion.” Nor do they claim that the Church is or ought to “image” the Trinity. It is the Body of Christ inspired by the Spirit not the Body of the Trinity.

    As it was once famously said by Bush I’s political advisor, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

  45. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    Ah, yes, this is what I get for opening this can of worms! Oy!

    First, it is possible that we may be talking past each other, here. If you are willing to say “economy = Christ Incarnate/Christ’s humanity” or something along those lines, then we’re fine. It seems to me you use economy in two ways–for Christ and for “temporal manifestation” of the Trinity as opposed to the immanent existence. That’s why I reacted as I did and it seems to me, Photios, and Jack, that you still want to use the dual definition of economia.

    Still, if this is what you mean: “The economy of Christ, the Theologian, reveals to us this procession, which we could never know otherwise,” then we’re at least in the same chapter, if we’re not on the same page.

    I would still maintain that the immanent/economic distinction (as relates to “Trinitarian theology” and not “Christology”) is anachronistic. It simply is. I would also still maintain that assuming the Trinity rather than working from revelation can be risky. As soon as the Trinity’s assumed, you can go where Augustine and Augustinian tradition goes–filioque. That’s all I meant with risk, Photios. I did not say your “risk” was a heretical mistake. I am simply arguing that once we make the distinction, whereby we can even conceive of a Trinity independent of the economy, then we are at risk for making a mistake along the lines of Augustine.

    Photios, I will allow you the time to fill in “B.” No problem.

    Finally, here’s my proposal:
    1) I can slowly try to piece together an argument via exchanges
    2) I can wait until you’ve gone through all of yours and then we can hash out my take on this stuff

    I am really limited for time. Yes, that probably means I should’ve kept my mouth shut. With that said, I do think continuing what you, Jack, and I have started could be good and useful. The main point, of course, is that we maintain the integrity of the Gospel and the Fathers. I know you’ll do that. The “filioque” theology of Gregory of Cyrus, for example, is not the filioque of the Carolingians, Aquinas, or Bonaventure, much less Augustine or the Victorines (though it sounds like you’re headed there!). So, I know that however we handle this, all will be well.

  46. Jack says:

    Fr. Herbel,

    I still think there is an important distinction to be made between how we relate to the Trinity as Body of the Word of the Father inspired by the power of His Holy Spirit and how the Trinity relates to itself. Perhaps I miss the boat here? I do really appreciate Behr’s criticisms.

    The “solution” ought to be something really simple, like something based on the scripture readings, hymnography, and iconography of the feast of Theophany. Looks like the Spirit proceeds from the Father to his Son and remains upon Him. Let us assume arguendo that this is an image of the eternal “immanent” relations. If that is so, then we in turn are enabled to participate in the Son’s “theological” annointing through his economy, namely by being sacramentally incorporated into that very same Body. The Spirit proceeds from the Father to the Son upon whom it rests, and through the Son to his economic enfleshment, the Church.

  47. Fr. Oliver,

    You state:

    “5) You say “through the Son” means “Father and Son are in a bond of love.” What? Help me out here. What dictionary leads you in that direction? I’m still missing “B.” I have “A” and “C” but no “B.”

    “6) Bond of love language is straight from Augustine and is very much according to Victorine thought. What connections do you see or not see between what you’re saying and what they said?”

    Ah I see, I think it will helpful if I state that we aren’t going to get “B” right now, nor do I intend to do so yet. That was purposeful. Cyprus and Palamas are coming, patience. I expect this to be about 15 or so installments. I just don’t have the time or energy to get it all cranked, plus it would be too much to read and then remember and comment on.

    Photios

  48. Fr. Oliver,

    Thanks for the comment.

    “You only have to say that because you assumed before hand that they’re distinct. Just stick to Maximos’ words. “From the Father, through the Son.””

    No I’m making the proper distinction based off the grammar and the usage of the author (Maximos) following the patristic ordo theologiae: Persons–Operations–Essence. I’m more than happy to throw out economia and theologia altogether, as I would still be making the same [proper] distinctions between person and nature. It’s just that economia and theologia help folks keep track of where I’m going, because they are familiar with the distinction. And for that, I think quite helpful. Yes the passage by Maximos is first and foremost, economical, but I believe it reveals something about Maximos’ use of “procession” and “through the Son” with respect to his understanding of the theologia–God’s inner life and relationships. I can’t see why that is a problem.

    “You claim that the distinction is necessary to avoid confusing hypostatic and natural qualities. I dissagree. Photios never confused them. He was never in danger of doing so. It’s quite simple: the Spirit Proceeds from the Father. Just read the Gospel of John.”

    I would argue that Photios made the same distinctions that I’m making. Photios says that the hypostatic properties cannot be confused and are not shared in common. When we read the revelation of the Spirit’s procession from the Father in John’s gospel, is this speaking of the origin of the Spirit, His eternal manifestation, or His relation towards creation? I would argue that it is his ‘origination’ because that is what economy (Christ the Theologian) and John’s grammatical use of εκπορευσις, which denotes a single source of origin, reveals to us. The economy of Christ, the Theologian, reveals to us this procession, which we could never know otherwise. Is the origination of the Spirit the same thing as economy? I hope not. It seems that you are missing my point that the economy (Revelation) reveals to us what we know about God’s inner life (theology).

    Here’s a simple test:

    When the grace of the Holy Spirit is poured out at Pentecost, we would all agree that this an economic activity of the Holy Trinity? Is this proper to all three Persons? I believe so. Is the Holy Spirit coming into the economy then the same and identical to his origination from the Father from all eternity? Photios said no, because the economy revealed elsewhere in John’s Gospel that He proceeds from the Father (not to mention that Photios said the Holy Spirit would originate Himself if this were so).

    Here’s another way to put it, God’s relation towards creation is an act of will. Are hypostatic properties the same as acts of will?

    Alot of what I’m doing is using the Basilian principle of what is common among the Hypostases is of the nature and what is proper to one Hypostasis is said of one and only one Hypostasis. This is one of the fundamental rules of Photios’ critigue of Carolingian Triadology.

    I don’t believe I am separating economia and theologia, yet they are distinct. Otherwise if they are the same, why wouldn’t this be true:

    An act of will (energy) is the same thing as a hypostatic property.

    Surely you don’t intend to do this, but this how it comes across to me.

    I must say that I’m quite confused by your critigue because I don’t think I’ve done what you describe here:

    “if you make the distinction, THEN you are in danger of confusing the hypostatic and natural because THEN you are no longer “theologizing” in light of the Revelation…”

    This is the opposite of what I intend to do. The fact is that I’ve learned the distinction from the economy of Christ Himself and I believe this is what the Fathers did.

    If I’m misunderstanding you, please clarify.

    Photios

  49. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    That was supposed to be “8” and “)” but I’ll accept a smiley with sun glasses. We do actually have snow now, here, in MO, though I didn’t think enough to warrant the sun glasses.

  50. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    5) You say “through the Son” means “Father and Son are in a bond of love.” What? Help me out here. What dictionary leads you in that direction? I’m still missing “B.” I have “A” and “C” but no “B.”

    6) Bond of love language is straight from Augustine and is very much according to Victorine thought. What connections do you see or not see between what you’re saying and what they said?

    7) We need to be careful to remember that the Father is ultimately what “bonds” the Son and Spirit together. That’s based on Revelation. Saying the Spirit bonds the Son and Father is doing something different, at least as I’m reading you right now.

    8) Please do realize I am throwing these things at you not to be a pain (though maybe I am one, de facto) but because I care about the topic and argumentation as I know you do and I highly respect your ability to wrestle with these things. If I’m getting too contentious, let me know. Often, it’s the one’s we’re closest to that we rub the wrong way and given that we’re both concerned Orthodox, I could be running that risk.

  51. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    Now, although I am not the expert on Maximos, my guess is that something similar would be said of him as well. Certainly, in St. Photios, I do not find the immanent/economic distinction anywhere in Ep 291 (Letter to the Patriarch of Aquileia). It’s not there. St. Photios bases himself on the Revelation through Christ.

    4) You claim that the distinction is necessary to avoid confusing hypostatic and natural qualities. I dissagree. Photios never confused them. He was never in danger of doing so. It’s quite simple: the Spirit Proceeds from the Father. Just read the Gospel of John. In fact, I would argue it is the other way around: if you make the distinction, THEN you are in danger of confusing the hypostatic and natural because THEN you are no longer “theologizing” in light of the Revelation, you are concerning yourself with the heavenly existence of three divine persons. To put it another way (and risk sounding Behrian once more), you run the risk of working from “Trinitarian shorhand,” the conclusions without the arguments that led to them. This is the risk. Keeping to the arguments is not the risk.

  52. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    3) Let quote Fr. John Behr’s 17th footnote in his The Nicene Faith:

    “It is doubtful that the distinction, drawn in this manner, between ‘immanent’ and ‘economic’ Trinitarian theology really corresponds, as is often asserted, to the patristic usage of ‘theologia’ and ‘economia.’ C.M. LaCugna, for example, states that, despite their infrequent use of these terms, the Cappadocians had firmly established their meaning: ‘Theology is the science of ‘God in Godself’; the economy is the sphere of God’s condescension to the flesh. The doctrine of the Trinity is Theology strictly speaking. In later Greek Patristic theology, usage will remain generally the same . . . Having discovered that it was possible to make inferences about theologia on the basis of oikonomia, theologians began to reflect on theologia itself, in some cases before or without considering the economy of salvation.’ [Behr gives citation] Yet her own comment on the passage she cites as support for this claim in fact suggests otherwise: ‘Theodoret . . . contrasts the human and divine natures of Christ with the words oikonomias/theologias’ (ibid., 52). In other words, the distinction applies to the two aspects of Christ, whether he is spoken of as human or as divine. It is in this manner that the term ‘theology’ is used from very early on; Eusebius records a passage from an early third-century document, the Little Labyrinth, which asserts that in the works of many earlier writers, ‘Christ is spoken of as God’ (theologeitai ho Christos, EH 5.28.4-5). Even when a contrast is made, it is between two different ways of speaking of the same subject, as for instance in the classic passage of Gregory of Nazianzus, where he distinguishes between what belongs to Christ according to the ‘economy’ and what belongs to him by nature (Or 29.18). For Gregory, the Holy Spirit is also to be included in ‘theology,’ as identical expressions (of divinity) are applied to each of the three (Or 31.3). Yet, although Christ and the Spirit are ‘theologized’ in this way, they remain the subject of reflection, not ‘God in Godself.’ The distinction between ‘economy’ and ‘theology’ as elaborated by Athanasius, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa will be discussed in detail in their respective chapters.

  53. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    Photios,

    We may be entering a point of interminable debate. If I so, then it may be best to let you have your say. It is your blog. Since we’re not yet there, though, let me throw a few things your way.

    1) I, too, am concerned for baby steps, which is precisely why I would argue that your immanent/economic distinction is anachronistic, at least when going back to Maximos, and I’d say the same for St. Photios and probably even Gregory of Cyprus.

    2) The distinction is anachronistic, as even your usage suggests. You state, “It is my contention that the passage denotes both Theologia and Economia in the same breath of thought.” What I’m saying is you never should have separated them in the first place. Then you wouldn’t have to superfluously say, “in the same breath.” You only have to say that because you assumed before hand that they’re distinct. Just stick to Maximos’ words. “From the Father, through the Son.” He doesn’t say “and now I’m talking both of economic and immanent Trinitarian realities here.” We’re the ones who are making those distinctions. One Christ. One revelation. One step at a time.

  54. Jack says:

    Looking forward to more installments.

    Going with your model of Christ the Theologian, I think the first question we have to pose is “where” are we? According to Paul, we are members of the Word’s Body. As such, our relations to the Trinity are not according to essence (theology) but according to activity (economy). Thus, we must respect the undivided but unconfused distinction between theology and economy. As Chalcedon reaffirmed, this distinction remains even in the divinizing recapitulation of that economy.

    There is only one all adorable Trinity, not an economic and an immanent one. But the Son’s essential relation to the Father and the Spirit is distinct from the relations the members of the Son’s Body have to the Trinity by activity. The Son’s Body or economy is born by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our economic relations as the Body are from the Father, through the Word, in the Spirit.

    Now, respecting this traditional distinction between economy and theology, and this traditional understanding of our eternal economic relationship to the Trinity, the question becomes what does this economy tell us about the Trinity’s natural or immanent, or theological relations.

  55. Jack and Fr. Oliver,
    I’m going to try answer you both in the same response as I think your quesions and probings are very similar.
    You state: “Do you mean the Father breathes forth the Holy Spirit to the Son (hypostatic processioni) and the Spirit proceeds from the Father to the Son and back to the Father (substantial procession)?”

    It is my contention that the passage denotes both Theologia and Economia in the same breath of thought. While Maximos uses the verb εκπορευομενον, he means to denote the sole point of origin for the Spirit. In denoting ek dia tou Yiou, he means to show the common activity and indwelling the Father and Son [and consequently the Holy Spirit] have in manifesting their love for one another. When we say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, this is a property of the nature since it is a common act said about all Hypostases. Though the Hypostatic existence of the Holy Spirit is not logically prior to or temporally prior to the eternal manifestation, they are connected in such a way that they can never be treated separately and for a lack of a better term, are “simultaneous.” Having said this, the eternal manifestation is not the same thing as origination or hypostatic existence of the Spirit. When we mean to denote the eternal manifestation in the use of the term “Holy Spirit,” it is used more symbolically as we are not talking about a unique, particular, and personal property, but rather the Spirit as divine energy. Since the energy is absolutely in common, the taxis, perichoresis, and “bond of love” is a natural property of the divine essence and not a particular hypostatic property that is absolutely unique. On this basis, the distinction between theologia and economia–though intimately connected–is justified at the risk of confusing hypostatic properties with natural properties. In the Incarnation of the Word, Christ becomes the Theologian for us, and in doing so, reveals to us the origination of the Hypostases [from the Father] and the love that they share in common (whether this love is expressed towards one another–theologia–or the love that is expressed towards creation–economia) while maintaing the Trinitarian order in which we designate them.

    2) How does the latter follow from the former here?

    “The Father remains the sole cause of the Spirit’s hypostasis (as the one who spirates Him), but the Spirit, intimately aware of the Father’s begetting of the Son, comes forth from the begetter through the begotten as the Spirit manifesting their common nature.” (p. 31)

    I think the point is that in recognizing that the Father is the sole point of origin for the hypostases (absolutely unique personal property), the author expresses the Persons can never cease to share what they have in common. In doing so, both types of eternal modes are maintained and meant to express this theologia in one sentence and not to separate them. The objective here is to tip-toe our way through what is particular and what is common about the Hypostases.

    I hope this will become more clear as we move on.

    At this point, I’m not going to treat whether or not RC dogmatic theology “can do this?” That question will hopefully be answered as we move along. We’re trying baby-step our way here some.

    As far as the scriptural basis for these things are concerned, I think the phrases in scripture (economy) “Father of a Son,” “Spirit of the Father,” and “Spirit of the Son” denote that the Persons have possession of one another or rather interpenetration of one another. Since this is revealed in the economy, the same holds true in the theologia. Is perichoresis an absolutely unique hypostatic property? No, since it is in common. We need to turn to other places in the revealed scriptures (economy) to find what is paritular (theologia).

    BTW–Does the Greek font look messed up on your browsers? It looked fine on my home comp, but at work it looks garbled. I must be missing some fonts or something. Not sure. Any help would be appreciated.

    Photios

  56. Death Bredon says:

    Gregory of Cyprus’s eternal-manifestation (as opposed to eternal generation) clarification of the “Orthodox filioque” — typically expressed “from the Father by the Son,” but allowable as “from the Father and the Son” when speaking of manifestastion, not generation — seems to be the most fruitful attempt at resolving the filioque question for several reasons.

    First, this may have been what Augustine was really getting at in a slightly inartful way in his De Trinitas.

    Second, under JPII, the Vatican more or less took the ‘official’ position that the Latin filioque expresses nothing more than the eternal manifestation of the Spirit, not the eterenal generation.

    Third, the Vatican has continued under B16 to regad the Credo sans filioque as THE CREDO, and has relegated the filioque to a legitimate and require variation within the Latin tradition due to accidents of historical translations — the argument being that to excise the filioque from the Latin Creed would be to deny the eternal manifestation of the Spirit by the Son. (Personally, I think this argument is specious.)

    As I see it, perhaps the major stumbling block is Acquinas’s cut-from-whole-cloth theory of complete oppositions. If this is infallible RC dogma, then I doubt any resolution can ever be reached between the East and Rome. (But, as Protestants do not regard Acquinas as dogmatic, some detente might be reached between East and West.)

    Xp

  57. Good work, Photios. I await your further installments.

    A few of the commenters here so far also comment at my own blog. A few days ago I posted my own treatment of the filioque issue, on which you yourself commented. The dialogue is off to a good start. Let’s keep it going in both places.

    Best,
    Mike

  58. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    2) How does the latter follow from the former here?
    “The Father remains the sole cause of the Spirit’s hypostasis (as the one who spirates Him), but the Spirit, intimately aware of the Father’s begetting of the Son, comes forth from the begetter through the begotten as the Spirit manifesting their common nature.” (p. 31)

    Those who are familiar with Gregory of Cyprus or Gregory Palamas will readily pick up on Siecienski’s expression, as it corresponds to the eternal manifestation. The Father breathing forth the Holy Spirit as bond of love and the Son back towards the Father. This will be discussed in more detail in later installments.

    The quote talks about the Spirit coming from the Father and going through the Son. You then turn this into “the Spirit as the Bond of Love.” I think your argument would be stronger if you showed how you got from A to C. Give us readers “B,” so that we may follow your argument better.

    Thanks!

  59. Fr. Oliver Herbel says:

    Photios,

    Glory to Jesus Christ! Not to be a pain, but two observations:
    1) It strikes me as anachronistic to make the theologia/economia distinction for Maximos. I think it even gets at why you give a quote that you say many consider “economic” but you say is really “theologia” (i.e. “immanent”). There’s only one Trinity for Maximos. Just one. And there is only one way to know and speak of that Trinity–via Christ (which you say). I think there’s a tension in your work, here. On the one hand, saying (to paraphrase) “only one Trinity known via Christ” while also saying (to paraphrase) “Maximos sometimes talks about the theologia while at other times about the economia.” I see this as a tension in your thought and submit that the modern distinction you’re using is anachronistic (though I realize everyone and their dog–East or West–does this).

  60. Jack says:

    I’m not sure I understand this sentence: “The Father breathing forth the Holy Spirit as bond of love and the Son back towards the Father.”

    Do you mean the Father breathes forth the Holy Spirit to the Son (hypostatic processioni) and the Spirit proceeds from the Father to the Son and back to the Father (substantial procession)? We would thus have a theological filioque while maintaining the hypostatic procession from the Father alone. Sounds like the Dionysian whirlwind of love to me!

    Two questions: (1) can RC do this? (2) what is the economic-scriptural basis for this theology?

    Lastly, I really do not like the idea of “shining forth” mainly because I do not understand what the ground is for the ontological space “outside” the Trinity in which the Spirit could so shine. What is “outside” infinity besides privation-evil?

  61. photios says:

    Yes it was. Thank you.
    Photios

  62. William Ballow says:

    I love you guys! Not to be a pain in the you-know-what, but is the word “confessor” in the title mispelled?

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