Title: ST. MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR'S QUESTIONS AND DOUBTS
Book Condition: New
Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press September 2009
0875804136 / 9780875804132
Seller ID: 91202
We rejoice that younger patristics scholars like Despina Prassas and Joshua Lollar (below) keep building up the corpus available in English from the pen of this great Byzantine theologian. Maximus likely composed Questions and Doubts before 633--it never refers to the Monothelite heresy he staunchly opposed (and for which he eventually suffered mutilation and exile). The text consists of 244 short 'interrogations' and responses, a traditional format used for the instruction of monastics. Each 'question' concerns either a baffling passage from Scripture (Rachel concealing idols in her camel seat, Christ rebuking Peter as 'Satan,' the concubine dismembered by the Benjaminites) or probes a simple image (the Babylonian furnace, the denarius of the vineyard parable) for unsuspected treasure. Often, Maximus's arrow pierces implications for living the ascetic life: 'The raven [that sustained Elias] represents nature blackened through disobedience, and Elias sitting in the gully represents the knowledgeable nous sitting in the gully of temptations and labors of askesis. He is nourished by bread...that is, gathering knowledge from the natural contemplation of things that exist.' While the style of exegesis owes much to Origen, the flavor of these writings--polished at times to the diamond point of a Zen koan--brings to mind the unforgettable spiritual gems of the Philokalia.