Master Class on Maximus the Confessor

Jan 17, 2020
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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St. Maximus the Confessor is rapidly becoming one of the most studied of all early Christian theologians; the depths and richness of his writings and theology are being ever more appreciated. This masterclass focused on one specific—and short—text, Ambiguum 41, perhaps the richest of them all and certainly the one for which is best known. It speaks of five fundamental differences or divisions within being, with the vocation of the human being to unite them: Uncreated and created; intelligible and sensible; heaven and earth; paradise and the inhabited world; male and female. We will work through the Greek text (with a parallel edition), and compare his treatment of the male/female distinction to that which we find in Gregory of Nyssa’s De Hominis Opificio.



  • Maximus the Confessor, Ambiguum 41 (PDF supplied) from Maximos the Confessor: On Difficulties in the Church Fathers: The Ambigua, ed. and trans. Nicholas Constas, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, 2 volumes (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2014)
  • Gregory of Nyssa, On the Making of Man (PDF supplied)


Suggested Background Reading:

  • Paul Blowers, Maximus the Confessor: Jesus Christ and the Transfiguration of the World (Oxford: OUP, 2016).
  • L. Thunberg, Microcosm and Mediator: The Theological Anthropology of Maximus the Confessor, 2nd edn. (Open Court Publishing Co. 1995).
  • Torstein Theodor Tollefsen, The Christocentric Cosmology of St. Maximus the Confessor, OECS (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).
  • Melchisedec Törönen, Union and Distinction in the Thought of St. Maximus the Confessor, OECS (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).



1:30pm Coffee, Tea, & Pastries
2:00pm Session I
3:25pm Break
3:35pm Session II
5:00pm End, Wine & Cheese reception


Fr. Behr also gave a lecture on January 16 on Becoming Human in the Light of the Gospel of John.