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March 31, 2009



It would be interesting to contrast/compare this with Dionysius Aeropagite, Maximus and hesychasm (Palamas).

One of the impediments to ecumenical dialogue with Eastern Orthodox is precisely the insistence by some Orthodox that the Augustinian approach is erroneous.

I have seen little written on this.

It's an area that deserves attention.

Spirit of Vatican II

You are right, Evagrius, that Augustinians ignore the Eastern world and vice versa. We talk about Christian-Buddhist dialogue, but in reality we are not even able to set up an encounter between Augustine and Maximus, for example. I do not know of any Augustinian scholar who has examined the Greek Orthodox critique of Augustine. Could you indicate the chief points of critique?

Spirit of Vatican II

It strikes me that Plotinus would be a good topic for tracking the difference between Augustine and the Greek Orthodox. Augustine's encounter with Plotinus was a major event of his life; he situates it at the geometrical center of the Confessions.

Jean-Luc Marion whisks this away, unjustifiably (see my posting on this further down). Marion thinks that he has found a pure "saturated phenomenon" of "God as Love" that would be common to Augustine and Ps. Dionysius Areopagita, but what to the historical eye is more striking is the two Fathers' intensive engagement with Neoplatonism.


As far as I know there is only one substantial book, a collection of essays, "Orthodox Readings of Augustine", that explores the Augustian heritage vis-a-vis the Eastern Orthodox. It's the result of a colloquium held at Fordham in 2007.
I've just obtained it from the library and read one interesting essay on the use of Augustine by Palamas.

Basically, Augustine was unknown to the Eastern Orthodox until the 20th century. One will find rather tendentious essays on Augustine by personages such as John Romanides, ( who has an interesting, peculiar and, to my mind, ridiculous theory of how the West was subjugated by a Franko-German conspiracy and separated from the East through the political use of the filioque- all this available on the 'Net ), Christos Yannaras, ( who has written some interesting works on theology and explored Heidegger and Dionysius but who sees Augustine as the chief source of all Western errors, including the filioque etc;) and Zizioulas who thinks Augustine's trinitarian thought overemphasized the unity above the persons, ( this based somewhat on Lossky who based it on De Regnon).

The book has had a mixed reception on Orthodox blogs but it is quite interesting to see that there has been some movement in examining the foundations of "Latin" and "Greek" theologies.

If you're curious, please examine the blog, "Energetic Procession" . It's quite biased but it does give an indication of what some Orthodox think about the differences between Catholic and Orthodox theology.


Perry Robinson


Actually, Augustine's works were translated into Greek in the late middle ages.

2nd, the Orthodox Readings of Augustine is misnamed since only three of the participants are Orthodox and one of them is a Thomist. (Hart)

3rd. I have a perspective, and that of itself doesn't entail or imply bias, where the latter is some violatiom of the rules of evidence and reason.

4th The council of Blachernae is sufficient to fix what constitutes Orthodoxy on trinitarianism and so it isn't what "some" Orthodox believe, but what is formally taught.


Fr. O'Leary,

As you can see from the above comment from Mr. Robinson, there's quite a difference.

I stand by my remarks regarding bias but it's a personal observation that others can certainly disagree with.

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