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date: 22 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

‘All doctrines are concerned either with God or with visible and invisible things or with Providence and judgement about them’, pronounced Maximus in the Centuries on Love (Car. 1.78). The relationship between the divine and humanity in providence continued to concern Christian philosophers into the fourth century, especially John Chrysostom, the Cappadocians, and Evagrius Ponticus. Their speculations on divine providence, free will, the final restoration of all to God, and the origins of evil were taken up by Maximus the Confessor. His distinction between the gnomic and natural wills is now recognized as one of his major contributions to Byzantine understandings of spiritual anthropology, because it solved a long-standing philosophical problem inherent in divine providence’s government over humanity. This chapter considers the solutions to the problem that were offered by Sarapion of Thmuis, Evagrius, Gregory Nazianzen, and Gregory of Nyssa.

Keywords: Sarapion of Thmuis, Evagrius Ponticus, Gregory Nazianzen, Gregory of Nyssa, gnomic will, John Chrysostom, anthropology, providence

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