John of Damascus: New Studies on his Life and Works, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

John of Damascus

New Studies on his Life and Works, 1st Edition

By Vassa Kontouma


286 pages

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Hardback: 9781409446378
pub: 2015-04-28

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For more than five hundred years the life and work of John of Damascus (c. 655-c.745) have been the subject of a very extensive literature, scholarly and popular, in which it is often difficult to get one’s bearings. Through the studies included here (of which 6 appear in a translation into English made specially for this volume), Vassa Kontouma provides a critical review of this literature and attempts to answer several open questions: the author and date of composition of the official Life of John, the philosophical significance of the Dialectica (a study which has its first publication here), the original structure of the Exposition of the Orthodox faith, the identity of ps.-Cyril, the authenticity of the Letter on Great Lent, and questions of Mariology. She also opens new vistas for research along four main lines: the life of John of Damascus and its sources, Neochalcedonian philosophy, systematic theology in Byzantium, and Christian practices under the Umayyads.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The Life of John of Damascus and its Sources: John of Damascus (c.655-c.745); John III of Antioch (996-1021) and the Life of John of Damascus (BHG 884). Neochalcedonian Philosophy: Remarques sur la situation de la philosophie byzantine du concile de Chalcédoine à Jean Damascène. Systematic Theology: Pseudo-Cyril’s De SS. Trinitate: a compilation of Joseph the Philosopher; The Fount of knowledge between conservation and creation; At the origins of Byzantine systematic dogmatics: the Exposition of the Orthodox faith of St John of Damascus. Christian Practices under the Umayyads: Lent in Jerusalem according to John of Damascus’s De sacris ieiuniis; Un florilège sur le Grand Carême attribué à Jean Damascène; Le florilège sur le Grand Carême et la Lettre de Jean Damascène à Comètas; Byzantine celebrations of the infancy of Mary and the question of Immaculate Conception in the 19th and 20th centuries. Index.

About the Author

Vassa Kontouma has taught Orthodox Christianity at the École pratique des Hautes études (Paris) since 2000, whilst also undertaking research at the Centre d’Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance (UMR 8167 and Labex RESMed). Academic director of the library of the Institut français d’études byzantines (ICP, Paris) since 2004, she was also elected President of the IFEB in 2013.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Medieval
RELIGION / Christianity / General