Gregory Palamas on the relationship between philosophy and theology

Trakakis, Nick 2005, Gregory Palamas on the relationship between philosophy and theology, Theandros : an online journal of Orthodox Christian theology and philosophy, vol. 3, no. 1, Fall, pp. 1-6.

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Title Gregory Palamas on the relationship between philosophy and theology
Author(s) Trakakis, Nick
Journal name Theandros : an online journal of Orthodox Christian theology and philosophy
Volume number 3
Issue number 1
Season Fall
Start page 1
End page 6
Publisher [Theandros]
Place of publication [U.S.A.]
Publication date 2005
ISSN 1555-936X
Summary The relationship between philosophy and theology has rarely been a harmonious and fruitful one. The two disciplines are often segmented into mutually exclusive compartments. On the one hand, philosophers, particularly contemporary philosophers working within the Anglo-American analytic tradition, widely agree that the claims made by theologians – such as the claim that there is a God and that God is a trinity of persons – are meaningless, or false, or irrational, or unsupported by evidence, or in some other way epistemically below par. On the other hand, it is not unusual to find theologians following in the footsteps of writers such as Tertullian, Kierkegaard and Barth in arguing that, when it comes to theology, faith suffices and reason merely perverts.

The philosophy-theology dispute was no stranger to fourteenth-century Byzantium, particularly in the writings of the most prominent spiritual and intellectual figure of this period, viz., Gregory Palamas (c.1296-1359). In his debates with Barlaam of Calabria (c.1290-1348), Gregory Akindynos (c.1300-1348) and Nikephoros Gregoras (c.1290-c.1358), the issue of the appropriateness of employing philosophical terms and modes of reasoning in theology occupied a central place.[1] But before looking at how Palamas tackled this issue, it will be helpful, firstly, to briefly outline how the Christian world (especially in the East) prior to Palamas tended to see the relationship between secular learning (including philosophy) and theology; and secondly, to ascertain what exactly was Palamas’ conception of philosophy.
Language eng
Field of Research 220315 Philosophy of Religion
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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