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F Ι{ΙF-ΦTE{EΦS tftθerg?

aθi*εtaΙ JαιεrnaΙ fφr ΡhrEοsαμhy agτd TEteοi*gy

ΦπaocοQ,{Σ a ΗTpoΠ o ΛaΓ ],7ΙΙ


Gδttliche Τrinitlt und merrschliche Ιnterpersona]itδt
Ιch a1s Du, Ρhilosοphisclres zu Ρerso,-,.,,-,d Bezielrung
Ku1tuη Religion und λ{oraΙ.
UnzeitgemδGe Betrachfungen zu einenr zeitgenrHfien Τhema
Beyond the Death of the Christiarι Novel: Literafure as TheοΙogy
FΙacτpοenlfe κaK QπzlοcoQcκaε πpo6 ΛeΜa
F{ans-Ceοrg G ad amers hermeiτeu ti sches VerstHndnis der Wahrheit
LΤber das Ρroblem der VοrsteΙlungsproduktion
τ.
λocM orοΙJ cΚΙι P eaΛτ4sa ιι Tτειτ ej u," -,1 oB aTHe Tτp Ι49e,,
"p
Αspects de 1a phiiοsophie du drοit dans les Lοis de P]aton

L,exi:erience de ],il.ιstant metaphysique:


La colrtribution de Plotill au probJδme ..6ternit6 et tem1rs>
ΦmzocοQ,Ι,Ι ΚaK ((cΖ)/)KaΗKa Teo11oΓ,{Ι4> B yτJeFΙΙ4τη Kzriιaeπτa Αzeκcau4pπftcκοro
The Divine Energeia accοrding to St. Gregory οf N1,553
La notion d€nergie(s) divine(s) dans l,οeuv,e cle saint }ean Chrysοstome
Ο Διαδο1οq Φωlτιτcti'tcαιl1 θειυq[α πεq[ π1s αρετηc
Das intetrlektuelle Spiel und der Ernst der Geschichte.
Die,,syllogistische : _F{δresie,,
_..
des Photios und ihre Rezeption
Le sa]ut Comme divinisation de Ι,Irοmme daτrs ],ceuvre de St Gr6goire Palamas
ΝicοΙaus Cusanus und Joharures Scottus Eriugena. Eine Retra.tuΞo
Der erste FΙistοriker der russischen ΡhiΙοsophie
im Kοntext der Ρlflοsοphie der Αufklδrung
Φ1rrr4a :ιa eH τ a ιυτlυιι|η B,{ΧΡ b B KocM oΖ o T14Ι 1' o' Π aν,ι a Φaopen cκo rο
O. Γeοprlr ι7 Φnοposcι<llfu o Κ\/ΖbΤ)ζpe /peεεefi Pycιι
o πon-εlτlrlt ,,ιιeτa<}Ι{3}4κa BepΙ,Ι,, ε pyccκoft ι}lrzocοζlπll
Eο ro π e Ιι'G1-ryrΙ,fiJ,Ι-,r B pvccΙ( ο iα Qu ιo ca Qιιτα
o sι{ aFΙ Ι,f

Ι44en cΖaε-rΙ]cKoΓo λ4Ι4pa B cΙ4cTeMe QτaaocoQ \ηu Βceιξupποr} τ4CTIΡM14


Eastern-Westerrr Chapters. Easi? \Λrest?
Τhe FΤοliness οf the churcir
Τhe FΙoΙiness of Epiphany in t]re Chιlrch alrd through the Chιιrch
t:

Ι4cΤopΙ4Ko-Qτa,ιocοQcκτηfu. aΗaΛ'ξ3 (λ4. Be6ep, B. 3οιι6a ΡT, C' Evzraκοε)


Sοiidarif and Sοcial Justice: The Missiοn οf the Serbian ortlrodox Churclr
toιη,ard s Ειrro1:ea-ιr Ιnteg ra tiοlr
Understallding οf tlre Enlightenrnelrt (L. Dυpr6,2004)
Αnalytische Dekοnstruktiοl-ι des W,ahrΙ-.eitsbegriffes
(D, Daι.idson / R. Rοrξ, 2ΟΟ5)
ΡhilotΙιeos 6 (2a06\ 48-6Ο

SpyridοuΙa AthanasΦpoEΙΙΦu-Κypriou
Αthens

Βeyοrcd the Ueαth οf tlιe CEerιstiαιι Ι{οvel: Literαtιnre αS Theο!οgy

Αbstract: Τhe aims of this paper aΓe to qualify thοologically Ρaul Fiddes' οIaim that creative
writing can be understοοd aS a response to divine reνeΙatiοn and to constΓi-}ct a preΙiminary
sketch of a theolοgicaΙ framework in oΙder to appreciate ιextuaΙity and move frοm reading liter.
ary texts in the light οf theοlogy to considering them aS theoΙogy, that is, aS Sacraments of com-
munion with God, What follows is, thus, an inquiry into some of the theological presupposiιiοns
and criteria, which would enable a reader with a Christian perspective to cοnsider any iiterary
text theologically and read it as a kinc οf doxοlοgy.

Ιn the Reνieιυ section of the British journal The Guαrdiαlι (aU03lΟ3), the journalist and
.Catho-
novelist, Mark Lawson, declared the deαt|ι of the Catholic novel. Ιn his afiicle'
lic tastes', he wrote:
The Catholic novel _ at Ιeast as exemplifiedby Τhe Ειιd οf tlιe Affαir or Brideslιeαd Reνis.
ited, in which the holy Sacraments are pΙot devices - more or Ιess died with Gιeene and
Waugh. . . . Ιronically, the οnly really Catholic fiction writer these days is Pope John ΡauΙ ΙΙ,
who has published several plays and is abοut tο bring οut a volume of verse.,
Αccοrding to Laιvson,s autοpsy, the Catholiο noveI died as aresult of the fading of tΙre
peculiar Iiterary-religious culture which produced it. Ι take this .peculiar literary-reli-
giοus culture, to mean a particular amicable relationship bοtween literary texts and
Cathοlic doctrines. This is not the right occasion to discuss the difficulties and prob-
lems with attempting to define what literary texts are and what the content of Catholic
doctrinοs is. Neither is this the right occasion to check the truth-value of Lawson,s
decΙaration of the death οf the Catholic novel. Fοr, irrespective of the trτth-value of his
declaratiοn, Lawson perpetuates the assumption that the Cathοlic novel, that is to Say
.promotiοn,
an example οf Christian literaιure, is concemed with Christian ethics, the
οf Christian life, the incoφοration and illustration of Christian doctrines and is always
composed by avowed Christians. FΙis pronouncement of the Catho1ic noveΙ,S death is
based upon /zls observatiοn that there has been currently a decline in the production of
noveΙs that have a clear Christian agenda.
Τhe question though that can be raised is: Does the alleged deciine in ιhe pro-
duction of novels with a Christian agenda indicate the death of the Christian nove1? Fοr
Lawson it does. Lawsοn expresses a view of what constitutes a Christian novel that
.it
wοuld be shared by anyone ιvho, like Luke Feιτοtter, claims that is on1y certain fic-
tionai and οoetic texts that lead their rοaders to raise the question of their ultimate οon-

Mark Lawson, ,CathoΙic tastes' in Reνieιv, Τhe Guαrdiαn,01.03.03, p. 35.


l
ΞΞ

Beyοιιd tΙιe DeαtΙι tΙιe Christiαιι Νoι,el: Literαtιιre αs Tl'ιeolοgy

.cern' or that only certain texts fianscend themselves tοwards [divine] mystery.2 Ιf thο
orthοdoxy and οatholicity of a text depends upon its subject matter, if .it is precisely
the nature of the conοerns raised by a tοxt that contributes to a reader,S or a community
οf readers, judgement οf its value,,3 then Lawson is right to declare the death of the
.now
Christian nοvel Since, for him, the Christian noveΙ 1argely consists οf reasons for
ieaving the Church'."
The Christian novel, SeΘn aS one specific example of οvertly Christian liιerature
and understood as the i1lustration pαr exceΙΙeιιce of the Christian doctrines, rnight bο
dead but the noνel as crοative writing survives. Ιnstead of reflecting upon the future or
the death of the Christian noveΙ, one [a devout Christian?] nοeds to examine the theo-
logical si-εnificance of creative writing and texfua1ity in genοral. The Ιist of critics and
theologians who paved the way to the recognition οf the theo1ogicai significance of
creative writing includes the names of Frank Kermode,' David Jasper,6 George Steiner7
and Michaοl Edwards.8 \λzhi]e the aforementiοned figures explbred the theological
dimensions of literary texts and the similπ.ities between creative writing and theologi-
οal rοflection, it was Ρaul Fiddes whο moved frοm reading literature in tlre liglrt of the-
ology tο considering 1iterature aS theοlogy. Ιn Freedol,ιι αlιd Linιit: A Diα!οgue ΒetΙ,νeeΙx
Literαture αιιd Clιristiαrι Doctrine, Fiddes argues ιhat both creative writing and theo-
.interact
Ιogiοal discourse in the Θver-present grace and the universal self-revelation οf
For Fiddes, .The work of thαcreative imaginatiοn is in fact one kind of re-
Gδd'.9
Spοnse io revelation,.10 Ι agree with Fiddes, claim that Iiterary texts can be undοrstοod
as a kind of responsο to God,s self-revelation and, in my view, his appreciation of
creative writing and textuality in general is useful in bringing conteinpοrary texts and
texts with no Christian agenda into dialogue with Christianity. Nevertheless, Fiddes
does nοt justify his position theologically, thus leaving room for criticism. Α Cathoiic
critic, Ιike Ferretter, would point οut the unrecognised, and therefore unresolved,.
probiems of what kinds of theological assumptions are made by Fiddes.l1
Ι fee1 that Fiddes, argument that literature is a kind of response to divine revela-
tiοn is theοlogically valid but nοeds more justification. Ιn οther words, in οrder to
qualify an interpretatiοn of literary texts aS doxology' that is, as talk about and response
to divine glory and reι,elatiοn, οne has to clarify what is assumed and presupposed.
What folΙοws is an inquiry into Some of the theοlogical presuppοsitiοns and οrite-
ria for cοnsidering any literary text thοologically or, aS Ι would rather say, dοxologi-

.
L,k. Ferretter, Tοwαrds α Clιristiαιι Literαry Tlιeory (New Yοrk: Palgraνe Macmii]an, 2a03), p, Ι7 1 '
,
Ιbid.
o
Mark Lawsοn, .Caιhοlic tastes', p. 35.
5
Frank Kermode, Tlιe Salιse οs α,i Ειιding: Studies iιι the TΙιeory of Fictiolι (Νew York: oxfοrd Univer-
siιy Ρress. 1967).
" Daγid Jasper, Cοleridge αs Pοet αιιd Religious Thi'ιιker: Ιιιspirαtion αιιd Reu-elαtlοil, (Lοndοn and
Basingstoke: Macmiilan' 1985); TΙιe Study of Literαtιιre αι,ιd Religiolι,: Αιι Ιntroducttoι.ι, 2no edn (Basing.
stoke and London: Macmillan. 1992).
,
G"o.g. Steiner, ReαΙ Preseιιces: Ιs TΙιere Αιιything iιι ΙΥlιαt We Sαy? (London and Boston: Faber and
Faber. Ι9B9)
E
Michael Edwards, Tοιυαrcls α Christiαtl Poetics (London and Basingstοke: MacmiΙian, 1984),
, Ρaul Fiddes, Freedoln
αlιd Linιit: A Diαlogue Βetweeιι Literαture αιzd Clιristiαn Doctriιιe, (Lοndon
and Basingstoke: MacmiΙΙan' 1991), p. 32.
,.,Ιbid.,
p. 30.
,,
Fοr a criιicism of Fiddes,ideas see: LukeFerrettοr,Tοιυαrd,c αClιrisΙiαιι LiterαιyTΙιeory,pp. Ι70-173.
5υ Spγκtooιιe Ατιraπesopoυιoυ-KγpRloυ

οaily, and thus aS a SacrameΙlt of coΙnmuniοn with God. Τhus, an attempι wi1l be made
to construct the theological framework witirin which a Christian reader can bι.ing a lit-
etary text and from wiιlrin which he or she can read it aS a Sacramοnt οf comrnuniοn
with God and as a response to dil,ine rer,elatiοn. The way tο proceed is as follows: Ι
will first go briefly throιlgh Some of the theological criteria ιhat would qualify an inter-
pretatiοn of a iiterary work as a Sacramerrt of οommunion with God and thοn d.iscuss
what understanding of theοlοgy is assumed by such an inteηpretatiοn.
The first theolοgical criteriοn is the Clrristοlοgical οne. Wiιh the incarnatiοn of
Christ, the divine Lο-Qοs and Son of God, God becomes man in οrder that human be-
irrgs might become God. Τhe incarnate Logοs reνeals the divine g1orγ in flesh so that
people can get an idea about the invisible and incomprehensibie Gοd.], Ιn Christ, peo-
pΙe are offered the possibility of attaining ιο union with Gοd and. of seeing the worid as
a Sacrament of cοmmunion with F{im bοcause in Christ everything is Jancιified and
rοdeemed in the Sense that in everything there is divine presence. Ιn Christ, language,
undοrstood aS a representationa] Sysιem, is able to relate to Gοd.
More analytically, in οne and the Same aοt, the divine Wοrd assumes human na-
ture, gives it its existence and deifies it. Christ, embraces alΙ that is really human, such
as it is after the FaΙl, excepting sin. Ρerfect God, Christ does nοt only become peifect
man but assumes also all the imperfections and limitations that p.o.-"d from sin.
The Christοlogical dοgma of thο two natures of Jesus Christ involves the admis-
siοn οf the union οf trvo perfect natures. Ιn Christ the .unthinkable, happens: irr Christ,
two perfect natures are united in οne person. The divine Wοrd becοmes flesh. Thο fi-
niιe and the infinite, things which exc1ude one another and cannοt bο rnixed', are fοund
to be uniιed in the peΙSon of Clrrist; but deity does nοt change into humanity, nor is
humanity transformed into deity. Though united in the persοn οf Christ, each nature
acts accοrding to its own propοrties and maintains its distinοtivenοss. Suοh is the
meaning of the ChristοΙogicaΙ dogma formulated by the Counοi1 in Chalοedon (45i).
What is striking about the formal confession οf faith in the Definitiοlι Fic]ei of the
Council of Chalcedοn is that it forms a singie mοdeΙ in v'zhich the divine and human
natures are uniιed yet alsο remain distinct. Τhe fοur negative definitiοns, .withοut cοn-
fusion, withοut change, without division, ιvithοut separatiοn,,i3 cοncerned as they are
with the union οf the divine and human elοmοnts, expΙess ιhe relatiοns betweeλ the
human and the divine, the transcendent and the immanent, the wοrds and ιhe divine
Word, language and God.
Αfter tire incarnatiοn οf Christ, the abyss that separates God frοm hunran beings
and human language from Gοd is crοssed. The divinο and the human natures, being
united hypostatically (in the persοn of Christ) withοut being transformed into one an-
οther' permeate one another and mutually οοmrnunicate their attributes. Αs a result, the
human nature can manifest the divinity witlrοut changing into a divine nature. Simi-
Ιarly, the divinity is manifested in the human nature withοut οhanging into humanity.
The fact that Gοd becomes flοsh and takes human fοrm οffers the οntο1ogica1 possibiI-
ity for considering the ιη,orld aS a Sacrament of cοnmuniοn with Gοd. Ιn Cluist" the

Αιhanasius, .De incarnatione Veιbi' in C. Kannengiesser (ed.), Sωr l'incαnιαtiοιι dιιVerbe, Sources
Ι2

chrdtiennes 199 (Ρaris: Cerf, 1973), chapter 54, sectiοn 3.


,,
For the original creek text of the cοnfession οf faith of the Coιιncil of Cha]cec1on see R.V. Sel1ers.
ΤΙιe CοulιciΙ οfClιαΙcedolι: A Histοricα! αnd DoctrilιαΙ Sιιnle),(London: S.Ρ.C'Ιζ, 1953), p. 131.
Be1'oι.ιc! tΙ.ιe Deατlι οf tΙιe CΙιristiαn Literαture αs TΙιeοΙ'

whο1e nature manifests God,s gΙοry and reΙatοS peοpie to God. Ιn this sense, it is in
Christ and in virtue οf his incarnation that ianguage is redeemed and can manifοst
God,s glory, becoming a Sacrament of communiοn with God and ιhus relating pοople
ιo ιhe diνine.
More analytically, the divine Word becοmes flesh, takes human form and appro-
priates to Flimself the human attributes, assuming also all the human imperfections and
limitations that proceed after the Fall' With respeοt to the Word,s descοnt into the
world, it can be said that 'Christ the Word descends into all the eioquence, rhetoric,
minresis and endΙess deferal of meaning in human signs,.,. Christ u,iu*., the faiien
.heals,
and self-referentiaI language and it, restoring its nature as a Sacrament οf com-
muniοn with Gοd. The incarnate Word speaks the human language that in Fiim is
united with the divinity and can thereby manifest and relate to God. Αfter the incarna-
tiοn, words are no longer empty sounds or empty symbοls. The .meaninglessness, of
language is heaied because Christ aSSumοS the meaningless language and dies with it
and with its endless rοferraI οf meaning on Good Friday, entering the prοfound silence
of FΙoly Saturday. Through the cieath of Christ, the assumed fatrlen and meaningless
language dies only to appear yet again restored, redeemed and meaningful afιer the
Ιesuffection of Christ on Εaster Sunday.,,
Frοm within a ChristologicaΙ perspective, as expressed by the Council of Cha1-
cedοn, the language is redeemed and beοomes a SacΙament of communiοn with God.
Without turning intο a divine language, human ianguage manifests and relates tο God,
rrraintaining however its human nature. Ιn Christ, language bears a dir,ine and a human
e]ement that are united and 1,οt distinct. Language is known in these two elements,
.lvithout confusiοn,
withοut change, without division, without separatiοn,. Ιn Christ,
ιγhere all language is redeemed and can relate tο and ma-nifest Gοd, in so far as it is
illdivisibly and inseparably united with the divine, there it cannot be confused οr identi-
fiοd with Gοd fοr it is uncοnfusedly and unchangeably united with FΙim.
Tο sum ιlp, what is redeemed and deified in Christ is the human nature assumed
in its fuΙlnοss by ihe diι,ine person of Christ. The assumed hurnan language is thereby
redeemed in iιs union with ιhe divinity. F{οwever, the rοdemption of iruman nature and
οf all 1anguage do not provide a1I the cοnditions necessary for considering language
(and consequently textuaiity) a de fαcto Sacrament οf cοmmunion with God. The incar-
nate Christ prοvides the ontο1ogicaΙ pοssibility to a1l language to relate to and praise
Gοd, as FΙe alsο prοvides human beings with the possibility οf bοing deified. Ιn Christ,
tΙre redemp[ion of human natuΙe and οf ianguage is a rea1ity in the Sense that it is a real
potentiatity that needs to be actualised by the persons as members of the Church. Lan-
gLιage is fully redeemοd' Αli language _ and consΘquently any literary text _ is fοr
e\leΙy person a de jure sacrament of communion with God. The work οf Christ is con-
summated. Language needs to become fοr οvery peΙSon a de fαcto sacrament of cοm-
mιιniοn with God. The work of the FΙoΙy Spirit is waiting tο be aοcomplished'
Thus, the second and ιhird theological criteria, examined together, are the eοο1ο-
siοlogical and ιhe personal ones. Αfter ιhe incarnation and the accοmplishment οf

,' .Ward, .Κenosis


GraΙram and naming: beyond ana1ogy and ιοwards αllegοriα αnιοris, in Ρaul Ηeelas
('ed,)',.ReΙigioιι, MοcΙerιιiry^ ωιd Posulιodeniη'
., \oxford: BlackwelΙ, 199B), p' 242.
For a fuller discussiοη οf the redemptiοn of language through ιhe death and resurrectiοn οf Christ see
a|sο ibid.' pp. 241-243'
.Ξξ

52 S pγRlυουιa Ατgaπasopουιoυ-ΚγpRloυ

Christ's work, which is the redemption and restoration of all the creation, Christ returns
to the Father. The ascension of CΙrrist is then foilowοd by Pentecost. Pentecost is the
:
result and not tlre continuation of Cfuist,s salvific work on earth. Ιt is beοause Christ
redeems and restores human nature that people are ready to receive the FΙoly Spiriι.
Pentecost, that is, the descent of the F{oly Spirit on earth, is the finaΙ goal οf the divine
Θcοnomy upon earth.,u Ch,ist returns to the Father sο that the Spiiit may descοnd.
Uniess Christ goes a\η/ay, the Comforter, the F{o1y Spirit, wi1t not cοme. But if Christ
goΘS away, F{e wiil send the Spirit unto them (John 16, 7)' The work οf ιhe Spirit is to
communicate the divinity ιo those who become mοmbers οf the body of ChrisJ, that is,
tο those who become members of the Church, and make them partakers of the uncre-
ated divine grace.
More analytically, the FΙοly Spirit is sent intο the world in the name of the Son
(Jοhn 14,26)' Ιt is necessary, therefore, to bear the namο οf the Son in order tο receive
the F{o1y Spirit, and in order for the FΙοly Spirit to communicate the uncreated divine
.to
grace. But what does bear the naπΙe of the Son, mean? Ιt means to be a member of
Christ,s body, i.e., of the Church. For, in BiblicaΙ terms, Christ is the F{ead οf the
Church, which in turn is Clrrist,s bοdy. Αnd if Christ is the FΙead of the Church, the
FΙοiy Spirit filΙs all in a11, quickening the Church and filling her with divine graοe.
Thus, the F{o1y Spirit operates in the Church understoοd as Christ,s perfected body.
Thο Church is a new reaΙity in this world: she is not of this wor1d and yet she is
in and for this world. The Church is ιhe kingdom of God οn earth. Since Christ is the
head οf the Church and the F{oly Spirit fills a1Ι in a]Ι, then the Church has her roots
both in Christo1ogy and pneumatology. Τhe Church, being the restored and redeemecl
body οf humanity, is one nature in Christ, yet it includes many persons who are mem-
bers of this ecclesial body. With respect tο the idea that the Church is one nature and
yet includes many persons, it can be said that where the wοrk οf Christ concerns ex-
actly this one human nature, which Christ recapitulates in FΙis person, there the work of
ιhe FΙoly Spirit concerns the persons to whom the FΙoiy Spirit imparts the fullness of
deity after a mannΘr that is unique, .personal,, and apprοpriate to every peΙSon. There
is, thus, a simultaneous distinction and unity of nature and person, of redeemed human
nature and the persons who are being redeemed' Ιn Christ, hurnan nature is redeemed.
Each human being has then tο partiοipate in this redeοmed human nature and real ze
the redemptiοn of his/her person, οr in other words realize his/her persοnal red.emption.
Ρersonal redemption is thus the morzement frorn the rοality οf the already redeemed
human nature to the reality of the person who is in the process of being redοemed' The
fact that, in Christ. human nature is already justified is pointiess for people, unless they
realize their personal redemption and deification in thο Church rvirere the }Ιοly Spirit
fi1ls all in aiΙ and οommunicates the divine gtace.
The personal redemption is only possible in the Church that offers aΙl the ob-
jective conditions, which are neοessary for peop1e,s deifiοation. The objective con-
ditions involve the Church's Christological and pneumatological foundations. This
being asserted, it fοΙ1ows that outsidο tlre Church, understοod as the redeemed human
nature and as offering ιhe objective conditions of deifiοation, there is no personal re-
demption.

,, VΙadimir
Lοssky, Τlιe Μνsticαl Πιeology of tΙιe Εαstenι ChurcΙι (Cambridge: James C1arke & Co,
l99i)' ι:'159.
Beνοn,d rΙιe Deαt]ι οf t|ιe CΙιristiαιι Νονel: Li|erαture αs T|ιeοlogy 53

Ι have already said that in tlre Church the human nature is united with the divine
nature in the persοn of Christ, the Ηead of the ecοiesiai body. Ιn the Church, people,s
lrumanity becomes consubstantial with the deified humanity, uniιed as it is with the
person οf Christ. F1oweνer, people have not yet attained their perfectiοn and redemp-
don. Αlthough human nature is ιιnited with Christ in the Church, it is alsο necessary
that every person of this one human nature shou1d bοοome cοnformed to Christ
(7,ριoτoειδ6g). Αs Christ unites in F{is person the human with the divine nature, So
should the human persons. The human pers.ons shοuld unite in themselves their created
nature wiιh the fullness of uncreated grace.., So, aS members of tlre Church, peopie are
cailed to coopοrate for their personal redemption in the grace of the FΙoly Spirit. The
personal redemptiοn depends upon the work of the FΙoly Spirit and upon the grace the
Spirit communicates to peοple, but without the cooperatiοn (oυν6ργεια) of peopie
there is no pΘrsonalredemption.
Maximus the Cοnfessor writes about the work and presence of the FΙοly Spirit in
the world in the light of peopie,s reiaιion with God:
The FΙοly Spirit is present in a1Ι men, without exception, aS preserver of aΙΙ things and
quickener οf natural seed; but FΙe is parιicu1arly present in all those whο have the law,
calΙing attention io the transgressions οf the cοmmandments and bearing witness to the per-
sοn of Christ. Αs fοr Christians, the F{o}y Spirit is pΙesent in eaοh οne of them, making
them sons οf Gοd; but as giver οf wisdom FΙe is hardly pfesent in tirem a1l but οnly in those
who haι,e understanding' that is tο say, in those whο by theil struggles and Ιabours in Gοd
haνe become worιhy οf the deifying indwelΙing of the'FΙoly Spirit. Fοr all thοse who do nοt
fulfiΙ the ιη,iΙΙ οf God haι,e noι an undersιanding heaι.t.,o
What Maximιιs triοs to emplrasize here is both the objective and the subjective aspects
of deification. Ιn the Church, peopΙe recοive all thο objecιive cοnditions of their re-
demption but the subjective conditions depend only upon people themselves. Ιf peoplο
do nοt desire tο establish a relationship with God, if they do not want tο work their re-
demption by freely and vοiuntariIy transforming their Ιife into a life in Christ, then re-
denrption is not imposed ιΙpon them. The faοt that in Christ the whο1e of creation is
redeemed doοs not mean that the freedοm of the human persons is annihi1aιed by in-
r,oluntariiy and neοessariΙy receiving ιheir redemption from without. The cοmmunica.
tion οf divine grace and personal redemption are fiuiιs of people,s free and voluntary
decisiοn to See the world as God sees it, that is, aS a Sacrarnent οf communion with the
divinity, and tο transfοrm their life into a life in Christ'
Ιn the Church, one finds the overcoming of οppositiοns. For, tlrere is a coinοi-
dence οf necessity and freedom, objectivity and subjectivity, externalism and internal-
ism, reality and potentiality. The Church opens tο each of 1rοr members the real pοssi-
biiity οf salνatiοn and redemption but it is the human persons that have tο rea\ize this
pοtentiality. The divine person of the Sοn descends to the world and reunites in F{is
peΙSon the human and divine natures in order that it might be possibie for human pοr-
SonS ιo reunite in themselves the unοreated divine graοe and the human nature and at-
tain to union with God and thο deificaιion of the οreated οrder through the F{o1y Spirit
and their οwn free wil1.

',^ Ιbid'.,pp. 181-t 82.


Maximus ιhe Confessor, Di,ι,ersα cαpitα αd tΙιeοlogiαm e| oecoΙ'ιoΙlιi'αnι spectαlltiα, cenτ'. |' 13' MPG
,o

XC: 12094.
Spγκtοoυιa ΑτH,ηπesopoυιoυ-ΚγpRlου

To sum up aΙl tΙτrοe theοΙogicaΙ criteria: after tΙre incarnation, the incarnate divinο
Wοrd Speaks the human language tl-rat in FIis persοn is united with divinity and can
thereby relate to God. Ιn Clι.ist, aΙl language and consequently textuaΙity in generaΙ is
de fαcto redeemed and is a de fαctο sacrament οf communion with God. Υet, for pοo-
ple, all language is οniy de jure redeemed and is tlrus a de jure Sacrament of commun-
ion with God. Τhe incarnate Christ provides peopie with the ontoiοgical possibi1iιy οf
οonsidοring a1l language and co,seq,ently any literπy text as a dοioΙogicaΙ text, λs a
Sacrament οf cοmmuniοn with God. But this ontoiogical pοssibility needs tο be aοtual-
ised by and fulfilled in the persons through the grace οf the F{ο1y Spirit and the per-
SοnS, voluntary οooperatiοn aS eΧpressed in their act of reading in C|.ιrist and their
transfοrming any text in[o dοxoΙogy.
Finally, in order tο qualify a reading of a liιerary ιexι aS a Sacrament οf cοm-
muniοn with Gοd, Ι need to define what understanding of theology is assumed. Thus, Ι
think it is useful to give a brief acοount of the term .theolοgy, in οrder to show that
ever since thο appearance of the term .theοlogy, there have been two understandings of
this ιerm: one that sees theοlogy aS a sciencο and one, dοveloped within a Christian
context, that understands theοlogy as doxo1og},. Ιn my view, it is impοrtant to cοntrast
ihese tιvο different understandings οf tlreoΙogy because Ι want to explain why it is oniy
in tοrms οf the understanding of theoΙοgy as dοxοiogy that any iiterary text can be con-
sidered theolοgically and understood aS a Sacrament of communion with Gοd.
The term .theology, is first to be found in Ρlato,s Republic|g where Ρlato sets
fοrth the patterns or norms οf tlreology on which poets must compose their myths about
gods.," Το the question of Αdeimantus .what wou1d the patterns of right speaking
abοut gods would be,, Socrates responds that thο god must be described such as he ii
(oiog τυγ1dνει δ θεδE ιiiν) whether one presents him in epiο, melic or tragic verse.2,
Αccording to the above understanding, theoIοgy is closeΙy related tο the compo-
sition of mythology: theοlogians are the poets who mytho\ogize, i.e., offer fabIes, abλut
the gοds, Ιt is worth mentioning at this pοint that, for Ρlato, in the ideal state, the poets
must ar,oid the mythological tradition and its naive, untruthful and impioUS feprΘSeΠt?:
tiοn οf gods and raise their representatiοn of gods up tο the 1evel οf philosopλic truth.
As Ρlaιο puιs it:
.Neither
must we admit at a1Ι', said Ι, .ιhat gods ιvar with gods and pΙot against one anothel.
and contοnd _ for it is nοt true either _ if we wish our future guuiαiu,, tο deem nothing
mοre shameful than lightΙy to fal1 out with one anοther; sti1l less must we make baπIes οf
gods and giants the subject for them οf stories and embroideries, and other enmities many
and manifold of gods and heroes toward their kith and kin. But if there is any likeΙihoοd of
οur persuading them ιhat no cΙtιzen ever quaΙΤeΙed with his fοllow-οitizen and that the very
idea of it is an impiety, that is the sοrt of thing that οught rather to be said by their eiders,
men and women, to children from the beginning and as they grow older, and we must
compel the poets ιo keep οΙose to tss in their οomposiιions' (xαi τoδE ποιητbg θγγilg
τοιjτων αναγxαoτ6 oν )νoyo πo ιεiν)...

,,
M, J' Congar, .Τhdolοgie' in Α. Vacant et al, (eds), Dictiοιιιιαire de Th1otogie CαtΙιoΙique (Ρaris,
1903-195Ο), νo1. 15. Ι' pp. 34Ι-342'
,.,
Ρlato, TΙιe RepιιbΙic in Plαroιιis operα, vol' 4, edited by J. tsurnet (oxford: Clareηdοn Ρress, 1968),
3'79a.
l'^ nia.,3i8e-3i9a.
-. Ρlatο, TΙιe RepubΙic, tΓans. Paul Shοrey (Londοn: Wi11iam FΙeinemann Ltd,
1969), p.1B1. [Τhe Greek
text: Ρlato. TΙιe Repτιblic Ιn PΙ'αtοlιis operα,378b 8 . 378d 3.]

Beyοιιd t]ιe DeαtΙι of tlιe Clιristiαlι Nοι,el: Literαture αs TΙιeology 55

For Plato the term 'theology' does not only designate the mythological ideas
.λoγoπoιεΤν, suggests, an interest in rea-
abοut the gods but alsο aSSumΘS, as the word
sonably forming an adequate cοncept of God and aιr equal interοst in reasonabiy de-
fining the true quality of Gοd, that is, his true essence (oiog τυγy"d,νει δ θεδE ιi1ν). Un-
fortunately, Paui Shorey's ιranslation dοes not ful1y capture the connotatiοns of thο
word.λoγoπoιεiγ,. Given that, for Ρlato, λdγog doοs not οnly mean talk or pro-
nouncement but it also signifies thο essence of an entity,,, then λoγo-πoιεΙγ (οon-
struοting the essοnce) may refer to the proοess of reasonably defining the essence of
something.
.theology, often, Αristotie employs it οn
Unlike Ρ}ato who dοes nοt usο the term
several οccasions. Following to son"ιe extent Ρlato,s understanding of thο term, Αris-
totle cοnsiders thοology aS mythology in the Sense that theology is a simplistic and an-
thropomοrphic representation of gods.,* Yet, Aristotle differs from Ρlato because he
.thοology' to Suggest an interest in describing god such as he is.
does not take the term
.theοiοgical philοsophy,.
This task is reservοd fοr what Aristotle ca1ls in Ι^ιls Metαphysics
Theologicai philosophy is one of the three theoretical sciences, the οther two
being the natirat aiα ihe mathem atica],'zs Whereas the natural sciοnce deatrs with mοv-
ab1e things and the mathematiοal deals with immovable and inseparable things, tl-re
theο1ogicλl is concerned with the separate and immovable entity that is alsο known as
.the
fiλt unmoved mover,.26
For Αristotle' theologiοal philosophy is the best of the theoreticaΙ sοiences be-
cause iι is concerned with the nature οf ιhe Separate, independent and immovabΙe being
where one can find ιhe divine, ιvhich is the first and most lordly prinοiple. Τhereby, in
treating the mοst honοured things, i.e', the nature of the divine, theological philosophy
is the best theoretical science on the acοount of its subject matter,,.
Frοm wlrat has been said so far, it fο11ows that primarily with P1atο, arrd then
with Αristotle, the preoccupation with thο naturο of the divine is gradually raised tο a
phi1osophicaI problem. Τheology, in tl-iο context of metaphysics, becomes a science and
iike any Science, .in So far as it is rationa1 and reasonable, [it] is conοerned with princi-
ples and explanatiοns more or 1ess fundamental and explicit, and circumscribοs Some
particular being or kind of being as an object of special concern, that is, as its subject
.theology, and .theologica1, are associated with an
matter.lδ Ιn this respect, the terms
inquiry leading to a certain knοwledge of the divine or, in other wοrds, οf the indepen-
dent and immοvable bοing. Αristotle says οxplicitly that the task of knowing"(γνιΙναι)
what ιhe Separaιe and immovab1e being is, belongs to theologicalphi1οsophy.,,

See for exampΙe P1ato, Ptιαedo in J. Burnet (ed.), PΙαtοιιis operα, vol. 1 (oxford: Clarendon Press,
23
.αiτ\ i1oυo(α το! ε1γαι',
ι967),78d 1: fig λ6γοι,δ(δoμεν
,i S"" Αristotie;s Metαphysics bοok Α 983b; book B 10Ο0a; boοk Λ ]'0"74a-Ιa74b. Αristoιle,
MetαpΙιιlsicαin W'D. Ross (ed.), Aristοtle's Metαph1lsics, vol.2 (oxford:ClarendοnPress, 1970),
.' Ιbi,d., boοk Ε, l026a
.u
Ιbid', boοk Κ 1064a-1064b.
''28 Ιbict', book Κ 1064b.
See ibicl., bοok E 1025b.
29
Ιbid,, bοοk E
Ea26a. The fact thaι Aristotle refers tο the Divine Being as being separaτe and
immονabΙe dοes not mean that the Divine iS not one being among οιher beings. The Diνine Being might
we1l be an
.aporetic' being οn the account that it differs frοm otΙrer beings because first' it has the cause of
its existence in itself; secδnd, it is the cause οf aΙl οther beings; and finally, unΙike all οther beings, it does
not consist of matter, being pιιre eneΓgy. Flοwever, ιhe fact that this Divine Being, 1ike all oιher beings, is
Spγιloουιa Ατgμ.πasopoυιου-Kγpκlου

To sum up, according tο the Ρlatonic and Αristotelian understanding οf ιhe term,
οn the one hand, .theology, is identified with mythοlogy, i.e', with the teiling οf sim-
plistic and anthropomorphic stοries about gοds and their nature and, on the other, it
Suggests a scientific inquiry into the truο nature of gods such that there wouΙd be rea-
sonably justified knowledge abοut the divine. FΙowever, the fact that the wοrd .theol-
ogy, seems to stand for two apparently diffοrent discοurses abοut gods, that is, tlie
mythological discourse abοut the divine and the philοsophical one, is not paradoxical.
Fοr, although mythology is assοciated (on the basis that it does not employ reason)
with false and unjustified icieas abοut and descriptions of gods and philosophy with
true and reasonable ones (on the basis that it employs reason), they bοth attempt to give
comprehensive accounts of the dir,ine that are products οf the human imagination and
reason respectiveiy. Both mythoΙogy and (theological) philosophy give informatiοn
about the essence and nature of gοds that assumes a prior understanding and kηοwl-
edge of the djνine.
Ιn this Γespect, knοwledge οf god,s essence, ιvhether true or false and regardless
οf how it is acquirοd, is what motivates and lies bοhind bοth my1fuoΙogica1 and philoso.
phical inquiry about gods. Gradually, and because rationality was privileged, the phi-
lοsophical inquiry abοut gοds dοminated, leaving mythologicai understanding about
gοds to the .uncivilised, irrational barbarians,. Fοllowing thο Ι:Ιellenic philosophical
traditiοn, understood exclusiveΙy in. rationalistic terms, the so-cal1ed Western culture,
especially aS eΧpressed after the i2th century,3Ο cοnsiders theoΙogy to be a science that
οbjectifies its subject matter, that is, god's Θssence, and subjects it to the aims and prin-
οiples of human inteileοt (regulαe, αxioιtlαtα, prilιcipiα) and to thο methοdologies of
typical logiο.,. Τhereby, for the samο culture, theology occupies a certain SpacΘ in the
scientific fοrum and differs from the other sciοnces because its subject matter (the di-
vine) is different from theirs. Giι,ing a systematic account of the understanding of thο-
oΙogy as science, FΙanS W. Frei writes:
For ceniuries, institutions οf higher Ιearnirrg in Westοrn culture \,Vere governed by the or-
gallizatiοn of learning inιo the study of the liberaΙ arιS, ιhe ιrivium and quadrivium, and

considered by Aristotle to be a being (δν) whose essence can be described and defined by the human inιeΙ-
Ιect according tο certain principles (for instance the fact that it is described aS puΓe energy and is defined as
'the first unmoved mover' results tiom the application of the causality principle) and can thus be the subject
matιer οf a science Suggests that ιhe Divine being is not treated in a different way from other beings. Τhus,
the Diνine Being
.is, in the same utriνocal manner as alΙ other beings, and aΙthough the Divine is distin-
guished by an .inιensity οf being', it nοnethe1ess remains within the caιΘgoΓy οf Being, having a certain
oυyybνεια (kinship) wiιh a1i other beings. Τhe separate and immoνable being, Supreme though it may be in
relation tο the oιher beings, is stiΙl subject tο scientific inquiry and is knοwable and describabΙe by ιhe Ιlu-
.Τhe
man inteΙiect on the accοunt of its kinship with human beings, on this last point see: FΙ. A. Wοlfson,
KnoιvabiΙity and Describability οf God in P]ato and Aristοtle', fΙαlυαrd Studies in Clαssicαl PhiloΙogy,
LVΙ-LVΙΙ (1945-1946\. pp. 133-49.
.n .Enti-
les deux g.λ,α' carefours de Ιa renaissance carolingienne eι du Quattrοcenιo, les ΧΙΙ" et ΧΙΙΙ.
siδcles n-Ιarquent une 6tape caract6ris6e de la r6cup6ratiοn du capital de Ι'Antiquit6'. M.-D. Chenu, /-a
tΙι{οlogie Cofi1ιfi'e sci,eιιce' αu ΧΙΙΙe si2cle (Paris: Librairie ΡhiΙosophique J. Vrin, 1957), p. 101.
.', .C'est
]e mθme Alain de Lille (i1203) ce maitre de nature, qui est aussi le thdοriοien des <rδgles de la
th6oΙogie>, c'est_λ.dire de la nrdthοde selon laquοlle' coΙΤιme tοute discipΙe de 1,esprit' la connaissance de
foi s,organise, se bλtiι, grλce λ des principes ilrternes qui 1ui dοnnenι ιournuΓe et r,a1eur de science'. M'.D'
.Gi1bert
Chenu, Ι.α tΙιδοLogie αu clouziDnιe siDcle (ParΙs: Librairie Ρhilosophique J. Vrin, 1957), p, 51. de la
Pοrr6e (1076-1 154) dnοnce ι,igoureusement le principe du transfer λ Ιa th6o1οgie des proc6d6s de
construction (regιιlαe, αxiοιnαtα priιιcipiα) couιυmieΓS en ιοute discipllne ratiοnnelle'. M.-D. Chenu, lz
tΙι!ο|οgie CoΙτιn1e ,scielιce αu ΧΙΙΙ. si?cΙe, p' 20.
Beyοnd τΙιe Deαth οf tΙιe CΙιristiαl.ι Νoι,el: Literαtιιre αs TΙιeology

.God, .'.
ιheology on ιop of them. TheoΙogy in that context is discοurse abοut a concept,
theοlogy has been a generally accessibΙe subject matter. Ιt examines the concept of God
(and on this view theo1ogy is bound to philosοphy) and becomes an informative science
which te1ls you whaι bein^g is, and how you get into a position to know it, and in what re-
Spect God has οr is being..',
Ιn terms of this understanding of thοology aS Science, the bοundaries betwοen
theology and nοn-theοlogy are clear. Theo1ogy is about the nature of ιhe divine; it is,
thus, noι abοut hurnan beings, it is not about nature, politica1 institutions, nuclear
power, lοgal systeπΙS οr foοtball. Ιt follows, then, that if theology is concerned with the
concept and nature of tire divine, a literary text is not tlreolo-9y in so far as it dοes not
talk about thο nature of the diγine and because it is considered by our cuIture, which
faνours the distinctions between different discipiines and discourses, as being iiterature.
opposed to this higΙrly cοgnitivist undοrstanding of theology as a body οf knοwl-
edge and a scientific inquiry into the natuΙe of the divine lies a Cfuistiarr understanding
of theoΙogy that Ι shal1 develop iater' Ιt is ιvorth mentioning at this point that, although
.theοlοgy, in iιs own context, before the .Christi-
Christianity has employed the term
anization' of the term, the Chri$ian writers of the first three centuries were quite re-
luctant to use the terin becaιlse:.,, first, t}reology was associated with mythological and
idolatrous ideas about gods that were products of human imagination;-'" second, the
Christians understoοd theology as the discursive expression of and as bound ιo pagan
religion;3s and finally, theology designated a reasonable.inquiry about the nature and
essοnce οf the divine being and was bound to philosophy.,o
.theology,
What mainly lies bοhind the Christians, reluctance to use the term is
nοt the fact that poοts and philosophers alike speak of gods and the divine nature (for
Christians wouid speak of God as well) but rather the fact that they, uniike Chrisιians,
make an attempt to define and describe the nature of tlre diγine, as FΙippoiytus wouΙd
say, the τ( θoτιγ ij πoδαπι5g, by means οf human imaginatiοn and reason alone withοιrt
appealing to divine revelation.
.theology,, Αthenagοras
Ιn his effort to overcome the suspicion tοwards the term
was one of the first Christian writers tο emp1oy the term in a Christian context. Ιn his
Legcιtio, he speaks of the theological part (θεoλογικ6ν μθρoq) of Christianity, which
.tΙreo]-
invoiνes the Christian teachings about the triune God' By empioying the word
ogy,, ιhe Christian writers placed the terτn in a different context and Christianized it,
ascribing tο it a different meanirrg from thο one it used ιo have.
.theology, does
More precisely, in tοrms of a Christian understanding, the term
not indicate God-talk, implying knowledge of Gοd,s ΘSsence or nature. What is mοre,
knοwledge and speech of Gοd do nοt deril,e from the human ability tο understand the

], FΙans W. Frei, Types οf C]zristiαιι TLιeoΙogy, edited by George }Iunsinger and WilΙiam C. Ρlacher
(New LΙaνen and Lοndοn: Yaie University Ρress, L992)' pp' L9.20,
.3 .theoΙogy' dοes not appeaΓ at a1l in the Νew Testament and its use in ιhe ινritings οf the
The wοrd
apoΙogisιs and Christian writers οf the first centuries is rare: Τatianus employs it once, Jιιstin twice and
.ΤΙιeοΙogy', ,to ΤEιeoΙogize', αιιd
Αthen-agοras seven times. C,B, Scouteris' TΙιe Meαrιiιιg of tΙιe Ternιs
,TΙιeοΙigiαιι' i'ιι tΙιe TeαcΙιin,g of the Greek FαtΙιers ιιp to ωιd ΙncΙuding tΙιe Cαppαdocicuιs (in Greek) (Αιh.
ens, 1990), p.27.
See Athenagoras, Legαtio αnd c]e resurrectione, edited by W' R. Schoedel (oxfοrd: Clarendon Press,
3o

Ι972) chapter 22, sec. Ι0-lr2'


,,Ε),},ηναg,
].s
See Tatianus' Πρδ5 |0' MPG 6: B2BΑB.
36
See FΙlppοiytus, Toυ Κατd, Πααrilν A[ρ€oεων tλ6γ7oτ', MPG \6:3103D-3106A.
Γ
58 Spr,ιιooυιa Ατgaπasοpoυιoυ-KypRlου

divine nature. Rather, in Christian teΙms, theolοgy is tatk abοιιt Gοd buι implies
knowΙedge only οf God,s energies and οperations. The doctrine οf the distinction be-
tween Gοd,s unknoιvable essοnce and God's knowab]e enοrgies 1ies at thο lreart of the
discussion about a Christian understanding of the nature of theοΙogy.37 tsasil the Great
puts it clearIy in one οf his epistles:
Τhe operations (energies) are various and the essence simple, but we say that we
know God frοπr Flis οperations, but do nοt undertake to approach near to FΙis essΘnce.
Goιi's operatiοns come down to uS, but FΙis essencΘ remains ungraspable,38
Ιn this respect, speaking οf God suggests only a certain kind οf knοwledge;
knoιvΙedge of Gοd,s energies, of Flis attributes, of FΙis manifestatiοrr and revelatiδn,
that is, of God's glory. But what does it mean to know God,s energies? Β&at do we
knοw of God when we Say that we knοw FΙis energies if F{is energies' thοugh uncre-
ated, are distinct frοm F{is essence? Basil again would respond by ιrsing another dis-
tinctiοn. This time Basil distinguishes betweοn the .what God is, (τ( θατι) and the fact
.that
Gοd is, (δτι θoτtιν). For him, to knοw .what Gοd is, is impοssible. Α11 we can
k,qy, in the Sense of realizing through Gοd,s operations and reι,elation, is .ιlrat God
-
15'.-
Κnοwing only that God is and knowing that throιrgh F{is operations in creation,
and in so far as F{e reveals FΙimself tο us is follοwed by the recognition that God-talk
(theοlogy) has its Source in God FΙimsοlf fοr Gοd,s revelatiοn is the sine quα noιι far
our ιaΙking about F{im. Ιn fact, as Ι will develοp later on, speaking of God (ιheοlogiz-
ing) is spοaking about God's revelaιion, which is nothing but F{is δ6ξα (glοry),

',,Τhe acceptance or the denial of the distinctiοn


between essence and energies assumes twο diametri-
caΙ1y dift.ererrt understandings of reality. twο dift.erent theοries of knοwledge, t\νo incοmpatib1e οnto1οgicai
approaches and two distinct ways of liνing. on the one hand, the acceptance οf the distinctiοn between
God's essence that remains unknοwn and incοmmunicabΙe and God,s communicabΙe energies aSSumes that
priority is given to the reality of personaI existence and interpersοnal relatiοηs and nοt t6 intelIectuaΙ ab-
stractiοns. God, ιιnderstood as being identical with aη act of communiοn and not aS a necessaΙy. Separaιe
and ilicommιrnicable essence. is known thrοu.gh Gοd's personaΙ reνelation, tΙrrοugh an ec-static
f(οiαμαι
Lxτ6g) offering of FΙis benevolence, Τhe worid is the resu]t of God's energies and testifies tο them. Τhe
worΙd, as God,s creation, is an inι,itation for cοmmuniοn wiιh God's operations. By distrngιrishing between
essence and energies, the .ιruth abοιιt Gοd' does nοt derive from reasonable speculatiοn or frοm ι,arious
inιellectua] abstractions. Rather, the truth is understoοd aS a personal relationship and people's knoιvledge
of God as peopΙe's ec-static paπicipation in Gοd,s energies. on the οther hand, the deniaΙ οf ιhe distinctiδn
be|ινeen essence and energies aSSumeS the priοrity of the human inteΙΙect as ιhe means by which knοιvledge
is acquired. Ιf this is Sο, ιhen the pοssibility of a mutuaΙΙy ec-static commuηion between God and humin
beings as the oniy way tο knοw the divine is ru1ed out. By denying the distinction between God,s essence
and God's energies, God is then οnly ιlnderstoοd in terms οf F{is essence. Νo re1atiοnship with Gοd is re-
quired in οrder tο knοw F1im. Gοd becomes the object of scientific inquiry and is considered as a reasοnably
jusιified necessiιy since God οperates as ihe cause οf the wοr]d. Τhe on1y relationsΙrip thaι Gοd has with the
worΙd is the intellectual οne that a cause has with its eff.ect. God, as the impersonaΙ cause of the ιvοr]d, is
deιached from the wοrld, as the eff'ect of this cause' and a great unbridgeabΙe fissure is created bet\ryΘen thΘ
transcendent and tΙle immanent. on the consequences οf the acceptance or the deniai of ιΙre distincιion be-
tween God,s unknowable eSSence and God,s knοwabIe and cοmmunicable energies see Christos Yannaras.
Persc'llι ωιd Εrοs 4.l. ed. (in Greek) (Αthοns: Domos, L98]), pp.94-99. Αη insighιfu1 discussiοn οf the ec-
static characιer of God according ιo the orthodοx Christian tradiιion, is provided by Jοhn D. Ziziοulas in
his Βe illg cιs Cοιlιllιιιιιiolι: Studies iιι Pe rsοιιhood αι'd tΙιe CΙιιι'rcΙι (Lοndon: Dartοn, Lοngman and Τοdd.
1985), np. 21-65.
,o
Basil the Great, .EpistuΙa 234' in Y. Courtοnne, (ed.), Sαint ΒαsiΙe: Lιttres,3 vο1s. (Paris: Les Be1les
Leιιres, 1 : 1957 ; 2: 19 6L: 3 : 1 966).
'9 Ιbid,
Bey,gη,1 ΙEιe Deαtlι oJ'tΙιe CΙιristiαιι Νονel: Literαture αs Τheοlo

Clement of Α1exandria was tlie first Chrisιian \,vriter tο rnakο a clear and svsιem-
atic distinction beiween tho .rigΙrt theοlogy, (δρθiν θεολογfβv)o, of the Christians and
the .theoΙogy of the idοls, (τΦν εLδι,liλων τi,1ν θεoλoγfαν)al that is dominant among
the poets and phiiοsophers. The .theology of the idοΙs, inr,οlves a talking abοut God
that presupposes certain knοwledgο of God,s nature, which has iεs Source in human
imaginatiοn and thus is a hurnan prοjeοtion. By contrast, .the right theοlοgy, involves a
ιalking about Gοd that has its Source in God, and in fact in Gοd,s revelation of Godselξ
and impiies knowledge oniy οf FΙis οperations and glory.
Ιn terms οf Clement,s understanding of divine knowledge as deriving from
Gοd,s revelatiοn, speaking οf God, that is, the,οlogizing is only possible because and in
so far as Gοd reveals FΙimself either in nature*, οr in FΙis divine seΙf-revelation through
the incarnation of the dil,ine Logos.a3 Ιt, thus, becomοs clear that speaking of Gοdls
nothing but spοaking about God,s revelatiοn, that is of God,s g1ory.aa ln δis respect,
the terms doxology (the wordΛ6),oζ abοut g1οry) and theolοgy describe the same ac-
tivity. Doxology and ιheolοgy are identical and that is the reason why in the writings οf
the Church Fathers and the ear1y Christian writers these two words π.e often used in-
terchangeabΙy. For instance, thο faοt that theοlogy is identified with doxοlogy is fuliy
expressed by Οrigοn when identifying prayer with theοΙogy.45 Simi1arly, comnrenting
on the 67 Ρsalm, he ernpioys the expression .appropriate theologies, to speak οf tlie
prayers that wο must oft.er to God..o Ιn an analοgous way, Cyril of Αlexandria states
ciearly that when Christians spοak οf God and when they use FIis name, they speak of
God's gΙory.*,
Αccording to a Christian understanding, doxoiogy is pπ.ιicipation in the divine
g1ory. God reveals FΙis glοιy in nature but especial1y thrοugh the incarnatiοn οf God the
Logos. Gοd,s glοry descends (in fact οondesοends) to the human leve1 in οrder that

..,CΙemens
Αlexandrinus, .Stromata' in o. Sιiihlin and L' FriichteΙ, (eds), Ctenιelιs Αlexαιιd'r}lιls, ι,ols.
2, 3rd edn and 3,2nd edn, Die griechischen christlichen SchriftstοlΙer 52 (15), 17 (BerΙin: Αkademle-Ver-
Ιag, ι,oΙ, 2:1960 and voΙ. 3:L970), bοok 5, chapter.8, section 46, subsection 1.
",Clemens Α]exandrinus, .Ρrotrepticus, in C. Mond6sert (ed'), Cl€meι.ιt d'Αlexαιιdrie: [ι protreptiqιιe,
2nd edn., Soιιrces chrdtiennes 2 (Ρaris: Cerf, 1949). chapιer 7, section 74, subsection 3.
CΙemens Αlexandrinus, .Stromata', boοk 5, chapier 6, section 32, subsecιion 3.
a2
a3
The divine revelation cοnsists in ιhe reveΙaιiοn δf Goα's gΙory and οf the way that God is. Ιt is only in
terms of a systematic account of tΙre foπns of divine reνelation that Ι distinguish between Gοd's reνeΙatjon
in ιhe world and God's self-reι,elation in the peΓSοn of Jesus Christ. Ιn both cases the nature οf revelatiοn is
the same. Whaι changes is the ιvay that it happens and the way tlrat it is receiνed. Ιn this Γespect, οn the one
hand, the world is considered as Gοd's reνeΙatiοn when the world is understoοd and received aS .cοSmos'
(xoαμημα), as the creation and expressiοn of divine energies and thus as the p1ace where οne communicates
with God. on the οther hand, God is revea]ed in the persοn of Jesus Christ where the divine Word was
incarnated and dweΙι among peοple.
*o
See aΙso: Ν. A. Nissioιis,
.La Τh6ο1ogie en ιant que science et en tant que dοxoΙog\e' Ιr6nikοιι
, 33
(196ρ)' pp. 293-310.
o,
origen, .De oratiοne, in P. Κoetschau (ed), arigeιιe s Werke, νoit. 2, Die griechischen christlichen
Schriftstel1er 3 (Leipzig: }Ιinrichs, ΙB99), chapter 21, sectiοn 1.
o.,origetr, .FΓagmenta
in Ρsaimοs Ι-150'in J. B. Piιra (ed,), ΑιιαΙectζι SαCrα spicilegio Solesηιelιsi
ρcιrαlcι1 νοls. 2 and 3 (2:Paris; 3:Venice: 2:Tuscu]um; 3:St. Lazarus Monastery,2:1884 3:1BB3). For a
furιher discussiοn of origen's understanding οf theology and doxology see: C' B. Scouteris, ΤΙιe Μeαιιiιιg
οf the Ternιs ,T|ιeoΙοgy',
,ιo ,ΤΙιeοΙogiαlι'
TΙιe olclgize ', αlιd iιι tlι'e ΤeαcΙ.ιillg o;f tΙιe Greek Fατlιers up Ιo αtιd
Ιιιclιι'diιι g tlιe Cαppοdοciαιιs, pp. 8 1 -84.
", CyriΙ of ΑΙexandria. '.Eρμηνε[α i1 δπ6μνημα εig τδ y,ατδ 'Ιωdννην εiαγγdλιoν' in Ph. E. Ρusey
(ed'), CyriΙli αrcΙtiepiscοpi Αlexαιιdri'ιιi iιι D. Joαιιlιis Εl,αrιgeΙiutru, vοl, ΙΙ. (oxοnii, Ι872')'ρ' 679'
--l

60 SpγκIοoυιe ΑτHexesopoυιου-KYpnlου

people might be ab1e to asοend tο and οοmmunicate with God. God,s revelation is
God,s glοry/δ6ξα and God,s g1ory/δ6ξα is the overcoming οf t1re ontοlogical distance
between creatοr and οreatures aS achieved from above by the crΘator, that is, by God.
Ροople,s response ιo God,s g1οry/δ6ξα is their doxology,.^Doxoiogy is the overcoming
of the fissure as achieved from beneaιh by the creatures'uo Doxoiogy is the recognition
that God is. Doxolοgy and consequently thοo1ogy designate that people refer (&ναφ6-
ρoυν;a9 their existence to God in so far as thοy think of God as their creaιor and as the
Source of their bοing.
Ιf examined from a specific Christian perspective, the boundaries between theοl-
ogy and non-theo1ogy are not clearly definοd. Theology understoοd as doxology, ιhat
is, as talk about God's revelation and manifestation challenges an understanding of
theolοgy that wοuld differentiate iι from other disciplines on the aοcount of theiτ dif.
ferent subject mattΘrs. Ιn this τespect, talk about nature becomes theoiogy on the οon-
dition that peop1e recogrlize nature as God's creatiοn and as tΙre p1ace in which F{e
manifests FΙis glory. Ali scientific discοurses become theolοgical in so far as their de-
pendence upor-ι God is accepted and to the extent that they are related tο God as to their
generator. Ρlaying fοotball can also be theological if by playing it people are praising
the God who has given thοm as a gift the apprοpriate talents tο kick a ba1l. Cοnse-
quently, the language of liιerary texts is theo1ogiοal and literature in turn beοomes the-
ology if the readers cοnsider literary texts aS symbols that enable thο readers to reοοg-
nize the glory of God as manifested in language.
Τo conclude: within a context where ιheology is understood as doxolοgy, and
given ιhe theοlοgical assurnptions that Ι have discussed in this paper, any text can be
understοοd as talk abοut God,s giory and as a response to divine revelation, prοvided it
is read [n Clιrist' Ιf the Catholic novel is dead, the orthodoxy, catholicity and doxο1οgi-
cal nature of iitοrary texts can potentially but not neοessari1y lead the readers beyond
tlreir everyday experience to divine mystery. Ιf the Cathοlic nοvel is dead, the Christian
readers can reaΙize ιhe doxologiοal nature of al1 texts and consider textuality aS a re-
Sponse to Gοd,s self-reve]ation, ιhrough their act of reading ilι Clιrist'

See C.E,. Papapetrou' Τl.ιe Εssence oJ'TΙιeotogy (in Greek) (Αthens, Ι910)' p' t62.
a8
a9
Ι employ the νerb .to refer' (from tlre Latin referre < re + ferre = bear) to translate the Greek r,erb
αιιαpΙιereiιι (dνω-φ6ρω) which means to bring something up οr tο take something back to its originator or
origin' When used in relatiοn tο God, Ι take the verb to designate that something is returned to God in the
sense that it is assigned and attributed to Gοd as its sοurce,

,?a