Was St Gregory Nyssen a Proto-Palamite?

Eclectic Orthodoxy


The title is intentionally provocative, and I’m afraid the article will disappoint if you are hoping for a clear answer to the question. While I have read a fair amount of the secondary literature about St Gregory Palamas’s famous distinction between the divine essence and energies, as well as Gregory’s own Triads, I am quite sure that I lack the competence to accurately articulate the theology of the saint himself. But I have read a goodly amount of the Cappadocians over the years, and I have noticed differences between them and Palamas (at least as he is popularly presented)—hence the title.

In this series on the Cappadocian brothers, we have observed that St Basil of Caesarea and St Gregory of Nyssa appear to operate not with an essence–energies distinction (at least not principally) but with a more fundamental essence–propria–activities distinction. Both saints believe that the ad extra activities of…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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