Personhood in the Byzantine Christian Tradition: Early, Medieval, and Modern Perspectives, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Personhood in the Byzantine Christian Tradition

Early, Medieval, and Modern Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Alexis Torrance, Symeon Paschalidis


202 pages

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Bringing together international scholars from across a range of linked disciplines to examine the concept of the person in the Greek Christian East, Personhood in the Byzantine Christian Tradition stretches in its scope from the New Testament to contemporary debates surrounding personhood in Eastern Orthodoxy. Attention is paid to a number of pertinent areas that have not hitherto received the scholarly attention they deserve, such as Byzantine hymnography and iconology, the work of early miaphysite thinkers, as well as the relevance of late Byzantine figures to the discussion. Similarly, certain long-standing debates surrounding the question are revisited or reframed, whether regarding the concept of the person in Maximus the Confessor, or with contributions that bring patristic and modern Orthodox theology into dialogue with a variety of contemporary currents in philosophy, moral psychology, and political science.

In opening up new avenues of inquiry, or revisiting old avenues in new ways, this volume brings forward an important and on-going discussion regarding concepts of personhood in the Byzantine Christian tradition and beyond, and provides a key stimulus for further work in this field.

Table of Contents


Alexis Torrance and Symeon Paschalidis


Section I – Ancient Christian, Early Byzantine

1 Personal relationship as a prerequisite for moral imitation according to the Apostle Paul

Christos Karakolis

2 Emotional "scripts" and personal moral identity: insights from the Greek Fathers

Paul M. Blowers

3 Personhood in miaphysitism: Severus of Antioch and John Philoponus

Johannes Zachhuber


Section II – Early to Middle Byzantine

4 Hypostasis, person and individual according to St Maximus the Confessor, with

reference to the Cappadocians and St John of Damascus

Jean-Claude Larchet

5 Mary, the Mother of God, in dialogue: the drama of personal encounter in the Byzantine liturgical tradition

Mary B. Cunningham

6 Personification in Byzantine hymnography: kontakia and canons

Damaskinos Olkinuora


Section III – Late Byzantine

7 The exemplar of consubstantiality: St. Gregory Palamas’ hesychast as an expression of a microcosmic approach to personhood

Demetrios Harper

8 Nicholas Cabasilas of Thessaloniki: the historical dimension of the person

Marie-Hélène Congourdeau

9 Freedom, necessity and the laws of nature in the thought of Gennadios Scholarios

Matthew C. Briel


Section IV – Modern

10 Flesh and Spirit: divergent Orthodox readings of the iconic body in Byzantium

and the twentieth century

Evan Freeman

11 Nikos Nissiotis, the "theology of the ’60s" and personhood: continuity or discontinuity?

Nikolaos Asproulis

12 Eastern Christian conceptions of personhood and their political significance

Nicolas Prevelakis

13 Consubstantial Selves: a discussion between Orthodox personalism, existential psychology, Heinz Kohut, and Jean-Luc Marion

Nicholas Loudovikos

About the Editors

Alexis Torrance is Archbishop Demetrios College Chair of Byzantine Theology and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Theology and the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame.

Symeon Paschalidis is Professor of Patristics and Hagiography in the Faculty of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Director of the Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies in Thessaloniki.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Christianity / Orthodox
RELIGION / Christian Theology / History
RELIGION / Theology
RELIGION / Christian Church / History