The Whole Mystery of Christ
Creation as Incarnation in Maximus Confessor
- ISBN: 9780268203474
- Published By: University of Notre Dame Press
- Published: October 2022
A thoroughgoing examination of Maximus Confessor’s singular theological vision through the prism of Christ’s cosmic and historical Incarnation.
Jordan Daniel Wood changes the trajectory of patristic scholarship with this comprehensive historical and systematic study of one of the most creative and profound thinkers of the patristic era: Maximus Confessor (560–662 CE). Wood's panoramic vantage on Maximus’s thought emulates the theological depth of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Cosmic Liturgy while also serving as a corrective to that classic text.
Maximus's theological vision may be summed up in his enigmatic assertion that “the Word of God, very God, wills always and in all things to actualize the mystery of his Incarnation.” The Whole Mystery of Christ sets out to explicate this claim. Attentive to the various contexts in which Maximus thought and wrote—including the wisdom of earlier church fathers, conciliar developments in Christological and Trinitarian doctrine, monastic and ascetic ways of life, and prominent contemporary philosophical traditions—the book explores the relations between God’s act of creation and the Word’s historical Incarnation, between the analogy of being and Christology, and between history and the Fall, in addition to treating such topics as grace, deification, theological predication, and the ontology of nature versus personhood. Perhaps uniquely among Christian thinkers, Wood argues, Maximus envisions creatio ex nihilo as creatio ex Deo in the event of the Word’s kenosis: the mystery of Christ is the revealed identity of the Word’s historical and cosmic Incarnation. This book will be of interest to scholars and students of patristics, historical theology, systematic theology, and Byzantine studies.