A Great Website

I found the articles on Dr. David Bradshaw’s homepage to be quite enlightening, and I thought that I would bring them to the attention of the readers of this blog:


Steven Todd Kaster

23 Responses to A Great Website

  1. Dr. Bradshaw,

    Thank you for the reply.

    Yes I really like Bathrellos’ book. I thought he did a great job in tracing out the Cyrillic Chalcedonians and their influence on Maximus’s Christology. My one reservation with his book was his interpretation of the gnomic will, which he interprets as a consequence of a fallen human person’s mode of wiling, where Farrell interprets it as a consequence of created hypostasis’s mode of willing (and with the fall the condition of the gnomic will’s doubt is in a far worse condition). Since Maximus links up the gnomic will with a mode of willing that involves doubt and deliberation about the good, since the good is acquired and known through examination according to Maximus, I believe Farrell’s interpretation of Maximus has far more purchase power in giving a coherent response to the problem of evil, i.e. man’s potentiality to move and rest (resting-motion) in virtue as a created hypostasis leaves open the possibility for him to fail (Adam’s choice, doubt, and deliberation in the garden).


  2. David Bradshaw says:

    Dear Photios – Thank you for your kind words. I have read this book by Farrell and found it enlightening. In fact it’s the best discussion I know of how Christ & the blessed in heaven can exercise free choice. However, you have to be careful about the translations as sometimes they are inaccurate. If you’re interested in Maximus’s Christology the recent book by Demetrios Bathrellos, “The Byzantine Christ,” is also very helpful.

  3. Dr. Bradshaw,

    Thank you for taking the time to come and post on our blog. I very much appreciate the work that you have done and have learned a great deal from your writings. I am curious to know if you have read Dr. Joseph P. Farrell’s dissertation: “Free Choice in Saint Maximus the Confessor.” Thoughts?


  4. David Bradshaw says:

    Many thanks to all who have made positive comments about my work. I certainly agree that Eric Perl’s work is well worth reading, but I do not think that the particular article mentioned (the one from Dionysius on Palamas) is one of his best. See the criticisms on pp. 271-73 of my book. He’s mentioned to me that he has changed his views since writing that article, but I don’t know on what details.

    I’ll ask SVTQ for permission to post “The Divine Energies in the NT” on my website, but in the meantime if you’d like a copy feel free to write to me, dbradsh@uky.edu.

    Perhaps I will see some of you at the Augustine or Chrysostom conferences?

  5. Jack says:

    Analogia persona?

  6. Nick Spitzer says:

    Matt, yes I have been following Mike L’s blog as well as Fr. Kimmels. Indeed they are very helpfull. Mike is a good philosopher (he knows how to work an argument from his training under Jim Ross at Penn) but I am a little concerned about what I percieve as (and I am only a novice historian at best, so I don’t speak as a scholar) the soft peddaling of history to make it fit a presupposed outcome (I no that no one is immune from this) by these guys. What I would like to see from these guys is a different project from the standard, here is *a reading* of this problem/position that avoids the supposed concerns raised by others. Belive me, my training is in analytic philsophy, I know that you can make a plausible argument for just about any postion. But when it comes to matters of the faith, I think you should treat the issues and people you are trying to convince more like you would if you were dealing with a friend or child in a relationship that has been breached. And lets face it, the current position Rome finds itself in with outsiders is (from the west and the east), we want to know if we can trust Rome, when in many ways it looks like we can’t, either becuase we just miss understand Rome or because our concerns are ligitimate and Rome has not been trustworthy. If the former, then Roman apologist need to show us why we missunderstand (and by and large they do a good job of this). But if it turns out that the historical record does show Rome has been untrustworthy in certain areas, instead of trying to soft peddal these mistakes Rome needs some humility and needs to begin to explain why they are still trustworthy in spite of these mistakes. Instead we to often get either the revising its position or something like an innovation and Rome saying, well since the pope is guided by the spirit we can make this change from what we held before (and VII was a nice attempt to backpedal from this disaster of VI, all little more work and Rome might pull it off), or they might say something like, well here is actually how this historical opinion or position *can* be read (even though the historical record pretty clearly shows how the dogma was actually used and what it was assumed to mean at the time of its use which differs from the supposed *possible* alternative reading, (check out Kimmels and Mike L’s recent disscusions of absolute simplicity and sin guilt, man I see some historical scrambeling going on).
    Now when JPII makes the efforts to restore relations where Rome clearly made mistakes in its dealings in the past, this does a lot to restore Rome’s trustwothiness. And Rome does seem to be doing more of this, acknowledging mistakes in regard to its civil relations with others. But in regard to its dogmatic stances (and past dogmatic stances and its theological inovations that I think go beyond even Newmans standards) Rome does not seem to be as willing to acknowledge its mistakes, its just more, honey here is why I am right and your tears are unjustified. We seem to get more justifications of bad theology or *possible* revisionist readings that any gnostic would be proud of. Say what you want about the problems with Orthodoxy (and there seem to be many, I was recently at Hopko’s disscusion on attonment in St.Louis, which was very helpfull, and there was a Greek preist who was the MC (I am sure much farther down the road of deification than I) and we were opening in prayer with a beautiful, theologicaly rich prayer and he wanted to say it in Greek, what the F***. Youve got a room full of non-Orthodox people who don’t speak Greek (I know for a fact there were two are three Luthern pastors who are seriously considering Orthodoxy and who very well may bring many in their parishes over with them) who are seriously checking out Orthodoxy and one of the things that is a great obstical as they percieve it is the language and cultural barrier. Im sorry I have enough ministry expierence to know this is just really bad pastoral praxis, and I know many Orthodox missionaries would say this is bad praxis) but at least I have good reason to think I won’t get innovations going east (even the Russians like Soloviev, Bulkakov and Hart’s kind of Sophia theology at rock bottom has has a limiting factor in its adaptation range). Just some thoughts take em or leave um.

  7. Perl is stellar on participation, but how one can talk about a “metaphysics” of creation without discussing PERSONS AND their willing operations is quite counterintuitive to an actual Palamite and Orthodox mindset. I don’t remember reading anything about Persons in Perl’s paper.


  8. Matt says:


    Do you follow Mike L over at Sacramentum Vitae? His arguments are worth your time I think. I’m not saying they will convince you, but I do think they are worthy of your consideration.

  9. Death Bredon says:

    As an eyewitness, I can attest that Dr. Bradshaw’s work is painstakingly well documented and that he understands classical philosophy, the New Testament, and early Christian writings in their original tongues. Also, he is very honest and moderate in his demeanor and scholarship In other words, he is a definite philosophical force to be dealt with!

    Although he does not necessarily write for a popular audience, I nevertheless heartily recommend all his works! Read away!

  10. acolyte says:


    email me at Acolyte4236 AT sbcglobal.net

    I will see what I can do for you.

  11. handmaidmaryleah says:

    Hi There,
    No on the email, thanks for the help!

  12. Perry Robinson says:


    Even though I disagree with Perl, I am all for posting links to his articles should you provide them.


    Nice to see your participation on the blog. I had forgotten that you were in the Aquinas seminar with me. I wouldn’t worry about spelling as this is an informal blog and not a seminar paper.

  13. Jack says:

    “Christian Philosophy East and West” is a brilliant summation.

  14. apotheoun says:

    For those interested in getting a taste of what Dr. Perl has to say about the essence / energy distinction, I have transcribed the second part of his four part article on the metaphysics of creation in the theology of St. Gregory Palamas onto my website.


    Due to an ongoing illness I have been unable to add the footnote information, but I hope to add that information at some point in the future.

    God bless,

    P.S. – The back issue of “Dionysius” that contains the article is available for purchase (for just $10) from the publisher.

  15. Nick,

    All great questions, and for the answers that I gave at some point, I became Orthodox.

    On the Franks and the Pope, I do not believe Leo III ever lossed his loyalty to the Imperium Romanum, but rather crowned King Charles “emperor of the Romans,” which more or less made an ass out of him, as both Pope and Charles knew that the East would never succumb to a foreign ruler on those terms. This is why King Charles was so angry after his coronation. Why? It was what he wanted wasn’t it? No, he wanted the crown through marriage of Irene, which was only way he would have any respectability and take hold of the Roman empire as he wanted. Leo III played him for what he was: a fool. I believe the West deeply misunderstands the motivations for Leo III’s coronation of King Charles.

    Leo III is one of the heroes of our faith, and probably one of the craftiest and smartest Bishops of Rome in our history.


  16. Jack says:

    As good as these articles are, I still vote for Orthodox Chrisitian and philosopher Eric Perl’s lucid and more philosophically sophisticated presentation scattered thoughout his works. As far as Augustine representing a break with Christian tradition, who then becomes the sole authority for the West, and Augustine being a bad Neoplatonist by identifiying the divine essence with the Nous (which is not Platonic but Aristotleian), and most of the West reading Easterners like St. John of Damascus and Dionysius through Augustinian categories and thus failing to understand them, I think Bradshaw is spot on.

  17. Nick Spitzer says:

    My gosh, I have got to spend more time editing comments, sorry for all the miss spellings and bad grammer.

  18. Nick Spitzer says:

    Thank you for posting the Bradshaw link. I have just devoured his articles on “Philosophy East and West” and “Drawing the Mind into the Heart”. Maybe the clearest presentation of the conceptual content of hesychastic prayer I have ever read (and very persuasive). Hey what the heck, I’m off work today maybe I will devoure a couple more of his articles. For anyone who may care out there in the blog sphere I seem to be sliding east; if I don’t get some *really good* responses by Reformed. RC or Anglican folks soon I don’t know if the slide will stop. So I am asking Reformed, RC and Anglican folks what are some of the absolute best counter arguments against the following Orthodox arguments you know of (and/or the best arguments in favor for the counter positions). (1) The Palamite essence/energies distinctions and the work it gets done in avoiding the problems of absolute simplicity (and everyone who studies these issues knows exaclty what the *initial* problem is, is God’s goodness really identical with his willing, knowledge etc). Does anyone know of any better argument than the one the Stump/Kretzman Aquinas has to offer (theirs is the best I have seen but falls short of the Capadocian response (I know, I was there when Perry challenged Stump’s view and presented what was clearly a more plausible response to Gods simplicity, namely the Cappadocian view and she (as brilliant as she is, and make no mistake she is brilliant, I think in the same camp as Swinburne) basically side steped the issue. (2) The Maximian person/nature distinction. What I mean is, does anyone know of a way to show how Augustine’s anthrolopolgy gets more work done than say (Farrell’s) Maximus in regard to Christology/philosophical arthropology and its application to the freewill/soveringty issues. The only possible argument I can think of, especially for the Reformed folks here, is to pull the biblical theology card and say Maximus has missunderstood the biblical narrative. But I have not seen how this will work as two of the best biblical theologians I know of (Wright and Dunn) seem to be a step or two away from fitting in a Maximiam model. I know both of these folks are not reformed perse and Dunn is Methodist, well then who do you suggest (and please don’t give me biblical positivist like Carson, the guys at Covenant or Moo.)? (3) The monarchy of the father. To me the contemporary Protestant Trinitarian guys like Gunton, Jensen and Torrance (and an RC like Rahner) don’t want to take the step to the monarchy of the Father but it seems they should based on the Christotlogical and Buberian person hood moves they have made toward it. Any suggestions? Am I completely miss reading these folks (Zizzioulas has been very convincing here)? (4) The Orthodox take on the recapitulation, (Irenain) Christus Victor view of soteriology and its corrresponding ascetical theology (and please don’t pull the semi-Pelagian card, I have learned enough by now to know if you are saying this you need to go back and read Irenaes and Orthodox catagories (sorry for the miss spellings). Also does anyone know of an Anselmian type argument that does not meta-divinize God’s Justice? (5) And this is the big one for the RC, does anyone know of a historical explanation (a scholorly one like Chadwick and not a popular RC apologist power play version) where the East isn’t just knifed in the back at their moment of need by the Franks, the universal pastor of the church (the Pope) and the other latin church (this is probably the most difficult point I have with thinking about actually becoming Roman Catholic. From a pastoral perspective, the idea that the universal pastor of the church could succomb to the power play of the Franks and not help the vunerable east (even if we grant that theologicaly Rome was right that, qua economy, the spirit proceeds from the son) this makes it very tough to trust the Roman leadership and the idea that the Pope and the magisterium have a special upholdoing by the holy spirit. These would be great for starters. What ever help folks may offer I appreciate it. I seek these questions as a seeker after Christ’s kingdom and not for a power play of some sort.

  19. acolyte says:


    I haven’t read everything of Bradshaw but I have read enough. I don’t take his reading to be exceptionally controversial. I work in medieval metaphysics and to tout my own horn, I think Jonathan’s comments are more bluster than substance. consequently, I don’t think you will find much that is significantlly different in him than say major contemporary Thomists like Klubertanz, MacInerny, et al. If you prefer, just read up on Thomism and judge for youself. But as someone who reads Thomas and Thomists on a regular basis, I wasn’t moved by Jonathan’s comments.

  20. Matt says:

    This question might be controversial — something that’s never been seen on this blog before 😉 — but is there any consensus on how reliable Bradshaw’s read of the West is? I think Jonathan said he was pretty unimpressed with it. My understanding of Aquinas is rocky so I don’t want to read Bradshaw if it’s going to mislead me. There’s enough bad stuff floating around in my head already.

  21. acolyte says:

    david r,

    Steven Kaster and Thomas Traveltine have been added as contributors to this blog. I am in the process of adding a few others. This should help to keep the blog moving more regularly as well as foster unity among Orthodox bloggers, among other things.


    I am not sure if I qualify, but I can give it a shot. Do you have my email or no?

  22. handmaidmaryleah says:

    Dear Steven or Perry,
    Christ is Risen!
    I need an Orthodox Apologist to help me with some responses on my blog can I email either of you privately?
    the handmaid,

  23. David Richards says:

    I am very pleased to discover more articles online from Dr. Bradshaw and also to see that Todd Kaster has become a contributor to this site. I look forward to reading his articles on Energetic Procession in the hopefully near future.

    By the way, any idea where I can find “The Divine Energies in the New Testament,” or did that come out too recently to find online?

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