Human destiny and divine providence in two Byzantine authors of the early eighth century

Vladimir Baranov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The well-being of a person was viewed by the Byzantines as a complex interplay of divine providence, guiding a person throughout his life to salvation, and his will, freely choosing between virtue and sin. Several solutions were given to the problem of misfortunes which might befall a person, since they could not result from the actions of a good God: from ultimate non-involvement of God into the voluntary actions of humans, to pedagogical temporary “stepping aside” by God to demonstrate the futility of human actions which go against the best predestined course of life, to active divine intervention as “bitter medicine” for the correction of human wrongdoings and putting an end to uncorrected sin. These problems are discussed in the treatise On the Predestined Terms of Life by Patriarch Germanus I of Constantinople and in the Dialogue against the Manichees by John of Damascus, who thoroughly adapted and reworked the Homily That God Is Not the Author of Evil by Basil of Caesarea for the discussion of theodicy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-29
    Number of pages27
    JournalScrinium
    Volume15
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

    Keywords

    • Basil of Caesarea
    • Foreknowledge
    • Free will
    • John of Damascus
    • Mentalization
    • Patriarch Germanus I of Constantinople
    • Providence
    • Theodicy
    • Theophylact Simocatta

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