Gregory Palamas: The Triads. THE CLASSICS OF WESTERN SPIRITUALITY SERIES. Gregory Palamas: The Triads. Edited with an introduction by John. Read the full-text online edition of The Triads (). Gregory Palamas () monk, archbishop and theologian was a major figure in fourteenth-century Orthodox Byzantium. This, his greatest work, presents .

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The Triads (Classics of Western Spirituality Series)

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The Triads – Saint Gregory Palamas, Gregorius (Palamas.) – Google Books

Gregory Palamas – monk, archbishop and theologian -was a major figure in 14th-century Orthodox Byzantium. This, his greatest work, presents a defense in support of the monastic groups known as the hesychasts, the originators of the Jesus Prayer. Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Triadsplease sign up.

Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Jan 22, Jacob Aitken rated it liked it Shelves: Philosophy does not save. In this first chapter and by chapter that is the division that Pelikan and Meyendorrf are using, and so I will use Palamas critiques the Baarlamite notion that we have to know in order to be saved.

Or more precisely and grsgory put, we have to have a good grounding in philosophy before we can understand God. The Body and Prayer Mostly good section on how the body is good.

I wish he would have taken it a step further and noted, if the body is good, and marr Part 1: I wish he would have taken it a step further and noted, if the body is good, and marriage is good, then is sexual intercourse a good? I also agree with Palamas that the gregoey is the rational faculty I. The essence is beyond the Godhead 2. Admittedly, Palamas does not go for a full apophatic theology.

This kind of makes sense.

Anybody can merely deny propositions of God with no view towards holiness. Palamas is clear that apophatic theology is necessary to liberate the understanding, but it is not enough for union with the divine. Palamas says the energies are en-hypostatic 3. This saves him from the immediate charge of Neo-Platonism. It raises the question: The Spirit sends it out in the hypostasis of another ibid.

With which we agree with Palamas: To a certain extent I can accept his conclusions about the reality of the divine light. We agree with Palamas, and contra Barlaam and the Thomists, that in the eschaton we will not know God by created intermediaries. Palamas is suggesting something akin to knowing God beyond sense perception and discursive reasoning. His doctrine of essence, energies, motion, salvation as transformation are all highly technical philosophical concepts.


If the breathing technique is so important to prayer, how come none of the apostles ever mentioned it? To the degree that the hesychasts follow in the best of the Evagrian tradition Meyendorff,one must ask if this would have ever gotten off of the ground were it not for Origen.

If this genealogy is true, then we are faced with the troubling implication that not only is this tradition of prayer not apostolic, but it comes from a rather suspect source! If both Persons and Nature are hyper-ousia cf. If grace is already inherent in nature, then what was originally wrong or inadequate with nature that it required grace?

And the distinction between prelapsarian and postlapsarian man is irrelevant. Robert Jenson has suggested that Palamas places the divine energies outside the gospel narrative Jenson Following Maximus, it appears that Palamas sees the events in the gospel narratives as symbols of higher reality 3. Does it really make sense to say that God is both beyond knowledge and beyond unknowing p.

I realize Meyendorff glosses this as a Ps. Dionysian move, which it is, but that only raises further problems. If God is ineffable Meyendorff, n. And a common criticism of Palamas: To be fair, Palamas does anticipate this criticism. In other words, we know God by his works, not by peering into his nature. There is an important truth to this, and Palamas would have done well to finish the thought: Of course, such a move is counter to any talk of apophaticism and essence-beyond-essence.

Palamas does not continue the thought. Can simplicity be maintained? Palamites are quick to respond that they do not hold to the Thomistic version of simplicity. However, Palamas himself thought he held and one should hold to simplicity. He asserts, quoting Maximus: Strangely, Palamas break with the Pseudo-Dionysian ontology at a key point: Said model posits a number of descending hierarchies from The One.

Each hierarchy mediates to the one below it. And for the most part Palamas, and much of East and West at this time, do not challenge this model for a very beautiful application of it, see John Scotus Eriguena. Barlaam raises an interesting question, though: If the divine energies are fully God, then how can they appear to the saint without the mediation of hiearchies?

The Triads by Gregory Palamas

Palamas answers with an analogy: An Emperor can speak to a common soldier without raising him to the rank of general 3. Now to the heart of the criticism: If Palamas wants to say that the energies make the ousia present, fine. Perhaps the most damaging criticism of Palamas is the divorcing of economy and ontology.

Related to this is that the energies seem to replace the role of the Persons in the divine economy. For example, the energies are not unique to a single person but common to all three who act together.


This is not so different from the gdegory Western opera ad intra indivisible sunt. By contrast, the Cappadocians triaxs say we distinguish the Persons by their propria–by their hypostatic idiomata. In Palamas, though, this tfiads has been moved to the energies. This is further confirmed by the fact that Palamas has the persons as hyperousia.

Without endorsing his theology, Paul Tillich made a pertinent comment regarding East and West. For the former, reality and salvation is vertical–union with the divine. For the latter it is horizontal–the kingdom of God in history. Perhaps an overstatement, but certainly a warranted one.

Apr 22, Matt Bianco rated it it was amazing Shelves: I’ve got to admit I understood much less of this than I’d like to admit. Yet, I was moved by it at various points. I enjoyed reading how a Church Father would interact, apologetically, with someone whose theology was suspect.

So, to that extent, the book was helpful for understanding the apologetic approach Gregory took with Barlaam. It was also helpful to read more about the hesychasts and what they were doing. Barlaam seems to take liberty with Dionysius and that liberty leads to him confusing I’ve got to admit I understood much less of this than I’d like to admit.

Barlaam seems to take liberty with Dionysius and that liberty leads to him confusing who God is. Gregory, on the other hand, is essentially arguing that “The living God is accessible to personal experience, because He shared His own life with humanity” John Meyendorff, pg. It seems The Triads are more important today than we tend to think–all the trids reason I need to wrestle through it again and improve my understanding of Palamas’s work.

I don’t know how prevalent a discussion it is, but I know that I’ve encountered Christians who think that prayer the kind the hesychasts engage in is silly, superstitious, and too subjective. Gregory argues, the kind of encounter the hesychasts have experienced is the kind of encounter that God offers to man, first and foremost at Mt. Tabor with the Transfiguration. It’s something I need to be better at, and something that St. Gregory has pushed me toward for sure, hence the five stars.

Nov 01, Nathan Duffy rated it really liked it. This only doesn’t get a 5 because the edition redacts material deemed too polemical or otherwise ‘inessential’ to the main thrust of his argument. And because there are too many endnotes, many of them unnecessary.

But the actual writing and thought of St.