Vision of God and apophatic theology in the dispute of Palamas with Barlaam
Klimkov Oleg Stanislavovich
PhD in Philosophy
Doctoral candidate, the department of History of the Russian Philosophy, St. Petersburg State University
199034, Russia, St. Petersburg, Universitetskaya Naberezhnaya 7-9
Abstract. The object of this research is one of the most important and relevant questions of Hesychast controversy that took place on Byzantine Empire in the XIV century, namely the meaning and correlation of the two approaches towards cognition of the divine reality – vision of God and apophatic theology, reviewed from gnoseological and existential perspective. The subject of this research is the discussion of Gregory Palamas with Barlaam, in the course of which had established and crystalized his views upon the role and place of the apophatic theology in work of the experienced contemplation of God. Using the phenomenological and analytical method, the author examines the problem of interrelation of these distinct methods of the cognition of God, which results in conclusion on the existence of the two opposite approaches towards the practice of spiritual and thinking activity of a human. The article demonstrates the distinctness of the apophaticism of Hesychasm, which is different from the traditional Christian apophatic theology, as well as a specific role of the religious experience. The author analyzes the crucial for Palamas criterion between the essence and energy of mind and his doctrine about theosis. The author underlines the close connection between the gnoseological and anthropological problematic, because the possibility of cognition of God directly depends on the way of human existence, which includes not only his intellectual and emotional spheres, but also the corporeal practices. It is noted that there are elements of spiritual succession between the Byzantium Hesychasm and the Russian religious philosophy that gained momentum on the basis of the unified Eastern Christian traditions. The article also examines the question of expression of mystical experience, which is connected with the problem of religious and metaphysical authority. The conclusion is made that Palamas’ clarification of mind outgrows the initial ethical-psychological level, and reveals its essence in gnoseological and ontological dimension.
apophatic theology, knowledge of God, Gregory Palamas, Byzantic philosophy, palamism, Hesychasm, theosis, asceticism, mysticism, vision of God
Article was received: 09-05-2017
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here.