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Title: The analogy of love : the virtue ethic of St Maximus the confessor
Author: Harper, Reuben
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 9364
Awarding Body: University of Winchester
Current Institution: University of Winchester
Date of Award: 2015
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This study primarly aspires to locate and retrieve the ethical dimensions of Maximus the Confessor’s great theological synthesis, offering his suppositions as foundational paradigms towards the formation of an alternative Christian moral approach. As recent advances in Maximian scholarship have indicated, the Confessor’s rich synthesis is fertile ground for the discovery and the means to understanding theological and philosophical currents within Late Antiquity and the Early Mediaeval Period. However, his significance is by no means limited to the work of historical exposition. Indeed, Maximus has become an indispensable reference point for contemporary theologians and philosophers East and West, providing seemingly limitless material for many nascent debates and dialogues. This study endeavours to follow in the wake of these emerging discussions, seeking to examine and to affirm Maximus’s inherently ontological approach to virtue, human behaviour, and morals. Elements of both Aristotelian and Stoic versions of naturalism function as points departure for the Confessor, as he endorses the diachronic maturation of nature through the habituation of virtue, on the one hand, and the presence of an immanent divinely-constituted natural law, on the other. These naturalistic elements, however, are subordinate to and function in accordance with his larger Christocentric vision, which considers the imitation of the Incarnate Logos to be both the ontological and ethical focal point for authentic human existence. Concern for a relationship with the divine and temporal other emerges as the primary moral criterion of truth. As such, the ethical dimensions of Maximus’s theology are best described as having a relational character, and constitute a perspective that sees virtue as being wholly defined in terms of love. In an effort to provide a modern context to this discussion, the study also notes and juxtaposes prominent features of deontological morality to Maximus’s own approach, focusing especially on those elements that have contributed to the formation of a contemporary moral psychology. A critical part of this study is a brief examination of the suppositions of the theory of Immanuel Kant, the thought of whom is perhaps the most refined exemplar of a deontological approach to morals.
Supervisor: Andreopoulos, Andreas ; Loudovikos, Nicholas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available