This volume is the fourth and final of a four-volume special series dedicated to the theology of St Gregory Palamas. In this last volume, I feel obliged to thank once again all the authors for their original contributions, which, I think, are of decisive importance for contemporary Palamite research. Taken as a whole, this special series forms one of the most important scholarly tributes to Palamite thought over the last decades.
This last volume begins with David Bradshaw’s excellent study, which undertakes the difficult task of describing the nature of the distinction between essence and energies in Palamas’ theology. Is this distinction kat’ epinoian or not? Bradshaw’s path-breaking and polymath scholarship shows how subtle the Palamite position ultimately is. I think that no future research on this question can afford to ignore this study.
Marcus Plested, in his paper, offers some new and fascinating insights into an underexplored aspect of St Gregory Palamas’ teaching: the nature of the life to come. His teaching on the spiritual body, his connection of the future resurrection with the possible participation in Christ’s ascension, and his assimilation of the Dionysian and Cappadocian concept of epektasis, broaden our understanding of his thought on that crucial point.
Christos Terezis and Lydia Petridou, in a co-authored article, attempt a carefully thought-out methodological analysis of the Palamite theology of the union and distinction between the divine essence, the divine persons, and the divine energies. The authors demonstrate how the Trinity forms the fundamental ontological reality underlying any discourse about God and his relations with creation.
Miroslav Grisko offers a well-elaborated treatise on the ontological meaning of St Maximus the Confessor’s eschatological teaching, where history, ethics, and natural and gnomic will are perceptively interwoven. This article has been added to this volume as a Maximian comment on the question of Palamite eschatology that Marcus Plested has brought to our attention.
Finally in my article, I make a systematic effort to read Maximus the Confessor’s doctrine of pleasure and pain along with Gregory Palamas’ doctrine of energies in a modern existential context.
– Nikolaos Loudovikos, Senior Editor