Orthodox Readings of Aquinas


Orthodox Readings of Aquinas



This book is an exploration of the remarkable odyssey of Thomas Aquinas in the Orthodox Christian world. It centres on the surprisingly enthusiastic welcome which Aquinas received across the theological spectrum of the late Byzantine world. By contrast with the Byzantine era, modern Orthodox readings of Aquinas have been resoundingly negative, routinely presenting Aquinas as the archetype of a specifically Western form of theology against which the Orthodox East must set its face. This study rejects such hackneyed dichotomies, arguing instead for a properly catholic or universal construal of Orthodoxy — one in which Thomas might once again find a place. In its probing of the East–West dichotomy, this book also questions the widespread juxtaposition of Gregory Palamas and Thomas Aquinas as archetypes of opposing Greek and Latin theological traditions. Indeed, Palamas' own Byzantine scholastic inheritance and sympathy with Latin theology prepared the way for many Palamites to embrace Thomas. Close attention is also paid to those Orthodox theologians who struggled against union with Rome but remained devoted to Aquinas. The long period between the Fall of Constantinople and the Russian Revolution, conventionally written off as an era of sterility and malformation for Orthodox theology, is also viewed with a fresh perspective. Study of the reception of Thomas in this period reveals a theological sophistication and a generosity of vision that is rarely accounted for. The book radically re-thinks the history of Orthodox theology through the prism of the fascinating and largely untold story of Orthodox engagement with Aquinas.



Publication Date



Oxford University Press




Thomas Aquinas, Gregory Palamas, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, theology, Byzantium, scholasticism


Title Pages




Introduction: 1354 and all that

Part I Greek East and Latin West: An Exercise in Multiple Perspective

1 Thomas Aquinas and the Greek East

2 Gregory Palamas and the Latin West

Part II Byzantine Readings of Aquinas

3 The First Phase

4 Further Readings

Part III Ottoman Era and Modern Orthodox Readings of Aquinas

5 Responses to Thomas in the Early Modern Period

6 Readings of Aquinas in Modern Orthodox Thought

7 New Perspectives

End Matter


General Index

Index Locorum

Orthodox Readings of Aquinas