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Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor (Communio Books.) [Paperback]

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Item description for Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor (Communio Books.) by Hans Urs Von Balthasar...

The spirituality of this Eastern Orthodox giant has never been better handled than in this legendary monograph by von Balthasar, who reveals how Maximus cannot speak of the salvation of the human race apart from the created cosmos, nor ever separate nature from grace. 420 pages, softcover. Ignatius.

Publishers Description
Maximus the Confessor, saint and martyr, is the theologian of synthesis: of Rome and Byzantium, of antiquity and the Middle Ages, reexcavating the great treasures of Christian tradition, which at that time had been buried by imperial and ecclesial censure. Von Balthasar was an authority on the Church Fathers--Irenaeus, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, and above all, Maximus the Confessor. This masterpiece on Maximus broke new ground at that time. This is the first English translation of the latest edition of this acclaimed work. This book presents a powerful, attractive, religiously compelling portrait of the thought of a major Christian theologian who might, for this book, have remained only an obscure name in the handbooks of patrology. Here the history of theology has become itself a way of theological reflection.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ignatius Press
Pages   424
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2004
Publisher   Ignatius Press
ISBN  0898707587  
ISBN13  9780898707588  

Availability  2 units.
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More About Hans Urs Von Balthasar

Hans Urs Von Balthasar Hans Urs von Balthasar was the author of innumerable theological works including The Glory of the Lord (T&T Clark). He was also the spiritual leader of a religious community in Basel, Switzerland. Robert J. Daly, S.J., Emeritus Professor of Theology at Boston College, is the author of Christian Sacrifice" and The Origins of the Christian Doctrine of Sacrifice. "His recent articles, mostly in Theological Studies," have focused on Eucharist, sacrifice, and atonement.

Hans Urs Von Balthasar was born in 1905 and died in 1988.

Hans Urs Von Balthasar has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Classics of Western Spirituality (Paperback)
  2. Communio Book
  3. Communio Book
  4. Communio Books
  5. Explorations in Theology
  6. Glory of the Lord
  7. Glory of the Lord; V. 3
  8. Theo-Drama
  9. Theo-Logic
  10. Theo-Logic S

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Saints
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
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Reviews - What do customers think about Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor (Communio Books.)?

The Cosmic Dimension of Salvation in Maximus' Spirituality   May 13, 2006

"The spirituality of Maximus is pithily summarized in what is probably the most profound scholarly book ever written about Maximus, Cosmic Liturgy, by Hans Urs von Balthasar." Jeroslav Pelikan

The Christian East accepted the Chaledonian definitions with hesitation, under imperial pressure, and continually strove, if not to upgrade them, through the Henotikon of Zeno, or at least to view them in a 'Neo-Chalcedonian,' Cyrillian / Severian interpretation, as pursued by the imperial unifying policy of Justinian, represented in the enhypostasiac christology of Leontius of Byzantium.
Byzantium, while remaining adherent to the letter of the Chalcedonian definition, manifested throughout its political theology and generally in the character of its spirituality, the "Neo-Chalcedonian" standpoint which emphasizes the "divinizing" of the natural, and is therefore uneasy with the Chalcedonian duality of natures.

Apokatastasis & Maximus:
Alexandrian theology in the second/third century starts a particularly Eastern theological strand of eschatology, which Maximus followed that leads all the way to Mark of Ephesus (in the fifteenth century). Their eschatology differs from dominant Western views on the eternity of evil, and in particular on "where evil is to be found and therefore comes from." According to most accounts by the early Alexandrine Fathers that have written on the nature of evil, all of whom were Origen's students, Athanasius, Basil, and Gregory of Nyssa for instance, and even Augustine, evil does not have a real existence of its own, more so in the eschatological future; it exists only as a perversion of good, a deprivation of God, by the exercise of man's free will, and the jealousy of Satan.
Maximus' entire theology of cosmic salvation and his views on what exactly is restored in the kind of apokatastasis recognized by the Church, can give us a good insight to his views on the possibility of a final restoration of all.

Maximus' Thought:
As very ably written by the most eminent Orthodox Scholar, "Maximus' thought is scattered among the various chapters and letters of his corpus and does not appear systematically. However, there are some features, that can be consistently observed throughout the various literary texts; creation is good, the fall was a matter of free will that caused humanity death, this corruption was not of human nature (logoi) but occurred at the (level of) `mode' (tropos/ mode of abidance/action) of our existence. Furthermore our `mode' was restored to its inclination proper to nature (towards our creator) and deified in Christ's incarnation, death and resurrection. By Christ sharing in our human nature, which Maximus refers to as a Microcosm of the universe, he restored and perfected the entire cosmos (material and intelligible). Maximus also employed an apophatic method (negative theology) to describe how we know God. This is in contrast to participation in the inner being of the Trinity, which was generally an Evagrian/Origenist view. He inherited the mainstream monastic spiritual theology, principally from Evagrius but also Pseudo-Macarius. Maximus inherits his three graded view on the ascent to God from Evagrius. The categories of asceticism are graded first to last; the first is Practike; the second, Theoria; and the third is Theologia."(Meyendorff, Christ in Eastern Christian Thought)

Maximus' Origenism:
Maximus, who, opposing monothelites and monergists, was, as von Balthazar remarks, "a champion and even a martyr for orthodox christology as the Council of Chalcedon defined it," is a representative of this tension. The revision of Origen's philosophical theology by St. Maximus the Confessor resulted in an eschatology involving the replacement of the human ego by the divine presence, concludes Edward Moore, in his study, 'Origen of Alexandria and Maximus the Confessor', tracing the influence of Origen's eschatology through Evagrius Ponticus to Maximus. Origen's humanistic theology was misunderstood and wrongly interpreted throughout the latter Patristic era, culminating in the anti-personalistic system of Maximus.

Pioneering Study:
Based on an innovative and careful reading of Maximus's own writings, this analytical study of Maximus thought, broke new ground at the time, and promoted the interest in the confessor. Later editions included new material from years of research. This edition is the first English translation of the latest edition of Von Balthasar acclaimed study. This book presents an attractive, theologically compelling portrait of the thought of a major Byzantine theologian who remained only an obscure name in patristic theology.

Hans Urs von Balthasar:
Von Balthasar is an authority on the Church Fathers-Irenaeus, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Evagrius Ponticus, Augustine, and above all, Maximus the Confessor. His works include over a thousand books and articles. He was said, by Henri de Lubac, to be "perhaps the most cultured man of our time."
Karl Rahner described his achievements as really breathtaking. And it is my guess that history may well find him to be one of the most important theologians of the 20th century.
A Pretty Good Book  Jul 22, 2005
Hans Urs von Balthasar's Cosmic Liturgy is a good overview of St. Maximus' thought. I would have liked a bit more history and biography and a bit less interpretation, but then again, I'm more interested in those things than in the nuts and bolts of the Christological dilemma.
One thing I cannot fathom about the review that preceded mine is how its author (Didaskalex) read the same book I read. He says St. Maximus "is considered by contemporary miaphysites as a neo-Chaledonian who returned to Cyril Severus' Orthodox Christology." Huh? As Von Balthasar points out in the book, Maximus considered Severus of Antioch to be the fount of the Monothelite controversy and a dangerous Monophysite. He wrote works countering the arguments of Severus.
Anyway, read the book for yourself. It's worth the price.
The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth his handywork  Feb 8, 2004

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Day unto day uttereth speech,
and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3There is no speech nor language,
where their voice is not heard." Ps 19:1-3

Maximus the Confessor:
Born around 580, this Eastern Orthodox Byzantine theologian, and ascetic writer received education, rare in his time. He was first secretary to emperor Heraclius for a while before recognizing his calling in 614 to a monastery in Turkey. He visited Carthage as a refugee were he befriended Sophronius of Jerusalem. They journeyed to Alexandria together meeting with Cyrus, the last Melekite Patriarch/Governer of Egypt, trying to overturn the union agreement with the miaphysite Egyptians, since Maximus was a staunch opponent to monothelite movement. He was opposed to monophysitism but is considered by contemporary miaphysites as a neo-Chaledonian who returned to Cyril Severus' Orthodox Christology. His masters were those of the Alexandrines, Origen, Evagrius, and Dionysius pseudo-Areopagite. His most beautiful and authentic Orthodox expression on icons: "Love is the best icon for Christ."

Cosmic Liturgy:
Written by Balthasar over sixty years ago, won an able translator, Fr. Daley wrote a most compelling forward relating the thought of the author and the subject, that made this work vivid, inviting and rewarding. In his own words, "a work combining historical interpretation with constructive argument in a way seldom encountered today," The serious study of the fathers including this work influenced the resurgence of Neo-Catholicism of Vatican II.
Maximus "chapters on knowledge," defined the promise and danger of Neo-Platonism of Alexandria, and earlier of Balthasar research revealed John of Scythopolis as the writer and Maximus the editor of the commentaries of our great master mystic Dionysius Areopagiutum. Not being an expert, I may still dare say that there was no better person to analyze, and comment on Maximus work, expose and resynthesize his thought like Urs von Balthasar, including the confessor himself.

Hans Urs von Balthasar:
Hans Urs von Balthasar is certainly one of the greatest, and most influential Catholic theologians, and is said to be the most cultured of the twentieth century, with amazing breadth of literary, philosophic and religious tradition. He was born in Lucerne, studied in Vienna, Berlin and Zurich universities. Henri de Lubac and Pryzwara influenced him, and with Danielou studied the fathers of the Church Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine and Maximus. He was so versatile and innovative, wrote over a hundred books, one with a title, "Truth is Symphonic" He was active in editorial activities, publishing especially works of the mystic Dr. Von Speyr. He was awarded Paul VI Prize for theology and designated a Cardinal just before he passed away in 1988. Balthasar's writings together with Karl Rahner have clearly shaped Tubingen reconstruction of Catholic theology.

Brian Daley's expert warning:
"The dangers inherent in this kind of historical-theological study are obvious. Evenscholars willing to acknowledge the magnitude and interpretive brilliance of this book, especially in reviews of its second edition in 1961, suggested weaknesses in von Balthasar's approach: the questions he asks of Maximus are modern questions, set by situation of French and German Catholic theology in the mid-twentieth century, and the picture of Maximus he draws is, in the end, an incorporation of substantial and authentic elements of maximus' thought into the proportions and shadings of von Balthasar' own theological enterprise.'

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