Sotiris Mitralexis offers a contemporary look at Maximus the Confessor’s (580-662 CE) understanding of temporality, logoi, and deification, through the perspective of the contemporary philosopher and theologian Christos Yannaras, as well as John Zizioulas and Nicholas Loudovikos. Mitralexis argues that Maximus possesses both a unique theological ontology and a unique threefold theory of temporality: time, the Aeon, and the radical transformation of temporality and motion in an ever-moving repose. With these three distinct modes of temporality, a Maximian theory of time can be reconstructed. This theory can be approached via his teachings on logoi and deification, as time is more precisely measuring a relationship, the consummation of which effects the transformation of time into a dimensionless present, devoid of temporal, spatial, and general ontological distance. This manifests a perfect communion-in-otherness. In examining Maximian temporality, the author not only focusses on one aspect of Maximus’ comprehensive Weltanschauung, but looks at the Maximian vision as a whole through the lens of temporality and motion.
Foreword by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Part One: Introducing Maximus the Confessor – and Our Contemporary Perspective
1. Maximus the Confessor
2. Hermeneutic Tools in Approaching Maximus: Christos Yannaras’ Ontology
3. Ontological, Epistemological, Anthropological Themes in Maximus
4. Maximus’ “Logical” Ontology: The logoi of Beings
Part Two: Maximus the Confessor’s Understanding of Motion and Temporality
5. Motion and Time in Aristotle’s Physics as a Precursor to Maximus’ Definition of Time
6. Maximus’ Philosophy of Motion
7. Introducing Maximus’ Conception of Time
8. The Fundamentals of Temporality, Spatiality, and Motion: Sections 35-40 from the Tenth “Difficulty”
9. Inverted Temporality: The Aeon
10. Ever-Moving Repose
Concluding Remarks: Reconstructing Maximus the Confessor’s Theory of Time
Endorsements and Reviews
This is a really welcome addition to the fast-growing literature on Maximus the Confessor. It is a first-class study of the original texts, but is distinctive in its willingness to bring Maximus’ thought into fruitful conversation with contemporary philosophical discussions, so that the implications of this study will be of interest to many more than Byzantine specialists.
Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge
In this remarkable book, Dr Mitralexis seeks more than an exposition of a central notion in St Maximus the Confessor’s metaphysical vision, but rather a genuine fusion of the horizons, in a Gadamerian sense, so that his understanding of Maximus is informed by the development of a relational ontology by the likes of Zizioulas and Yannaras, whose own thought has been inspired by their reading of Maximus. The result is a bold and original contribution to ontology and metaphysics.
Andrew Louth, FBA, Professor Emeritus of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, Durham University