This pioneering and still preeminent study, published in 1965, was the first monograph in English devoted to St. Maximus the Confessor (ca. 580-662), arguably the most important of the Greek Fathers between the Cappadocians and St. Gregory Palamas. A little familiarity with the Fathers triggers certain associations (allowing for gross simplification in all cases, of course): 'recapitulation' with Irenaeus, the Incarnation with Athanasius, deification with Gregory Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa. With Maximus, the key word might be 'cosmological.' In his work as a whole we find a meticulous integration of all the great themes of patristic thought, with a distinctive emphasis on the human person as 'microcosm and mediator' between God and the created order. He is the object of perichoresis, the divine permeation, but through the Incarnation, human nature also reciprocally permeates the divine. Maximus' foundational and thoroughly orthodox Christology expands outward to unite his entire cosmology: 'the Christological combination of inseparable unity and preserved identity is . . . equally characteristic both of the relationship of God to creation and of the different entities of creation in relation to one another.' Thunberg systematically describes Maximus' account of the nature of creation, the constitution of man, his disintegration through the passions and re-integration through the virtues, and the varieties of mediation-between the sexes, between heaven and earth, nature visible and invisible, God and creation. The study concludes with a discussion of Maximus' vision of deification not as the highest stage of some ideal spiritual perfection, but the natural outworking of Christ's communication of divine energies to us through the Incarnation. Time has revealed the lasting value of Thunberg's work, and this second edition includes a thoroughly updated and comprehensive bibliography. 488 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
This text focuses on Maximus's anthropology, and his developed general reflections on human nature.