St John Damascene: Tradition and Originality in Byzantine Theology

Paperback | October 18, 2004

byAndrew Louth

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John Damascene, one-time senior civil servant in the Umayyad Arab Empire, became a monk near Jerusalem in the early years of the eighth century. He never set foot in the Byzantine Empire, yet his influence on Byzantine theology was ultimately determinative, and beyond that his theological workbecame a key resource for Western theology from Scholasticism to Romanticism. His searching criticism of Imperial Byzantine iconoclasm earned him harsh condemnation from the Byzantine iconoclasts. This is the first book to present an overall account of John's life and work; it makes use of recentscholarship about the transformation of the former Byzantine territories of the Middle East after the seventh-century Arab Conquest, and the new critical edition of the Damascene's prose works. It sets John's theological work in the context of the process of preserving, defining, defending, and alsocelebrating the Christian faith of the early synods of the Church that took place in the Palestinian monasteries during the first century of Arab rule. John's own contribution is explored in detail: his amazing three-part Fountain Head of Knowledge, which provided the logical tools for arguingtheologically, outlined the multifarious forms of heresy, and set out with clarity and learning the fundamental doctrines of Orthodox Christianity; as well as his treatises against iconoclasm, his preaching, for which he was famous in his lifetime, and, the work for which he is most renowned in theOrthodox world, his sacred poetry that still graces the liturgy of the Orthodox Church. The life and thought of this subject of the Arab Caliphs, a Christian monk who thought of himself as a Byzantine, poses intriguing questions about identity in a rapidly changing world, and the deeply traditionalnature of his presentation of Christian theology calls for reflection about the relationship between tradition and originality in theology.

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John Damascene, one-time senior civil servant in the Umayyad Arab Empire, became a monk near Jerusalem in the early years of the eighth century. He never set foot in the Byzantine Empire, yet his influence on Byzantine theology was ultimately determinative, and beyond that his theological workbecame a key resource for Western theology ...

Andrew Louth is Professor of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, University of Durham, and General Editor (with Gillian Clark) of Oxford Early Christian Studies

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.78 inPublished:October 18, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199275270

ISBN - 13:9780199275274

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Table of Contents

1. Life and Times2. John Damascene and Tradition3. The Fountain Head of Knowledge: Nature and Development4. Settling the Terms5. Defining Error6. Defining the Faith7. Against the Iconoclasts8. Chrysorrhoas ('flowing with gold'): John the PreacherSteps to the Altar: John the Monk at Prayer9. Glykorrhemon ('sweetly speaking'): John the PoetEpilogue

Editorial Reviews

`While being rigorous and detailed, the author is careful to write in an accessible and clear way, so that a reasonably well-informed reader can easily follow the argument.'Church Times