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34 - World and Empire: Contrasting the Cosmopolitan Visions of George of Pisidia and Maximus the Confessor in Seventh-Century Byzantium

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2023

Lewis Ayres
Affiliation:
University of Durham and Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Michael W. Champion
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Matthew R. Crawford
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
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Summary

In seventh-century Byzantium, the imperial panegyrist George of Pisidia and the peregrinating monastic theologian Maximus the Confessor represent two distinct ways of knowing and interpreting the new creation purportedly being realised in the empire. George envisions it largely in terms of the political and military exploits of the emperor Heraclius, Christ’s viceroy on earth. Maximus sees it instead as the work of the peerless agent of creation and redemption, Christ himself, whose unique politeia, embodying a whole new mode of creaturely being in the world, has inaugurated a new eschatological ordering of existence. Yet George and Maximus both engage primarily in theôria, a heightened spiritual vision of the created universe, integrating perspectives from biblical history, the contemplation of created nature, and the observation of current events. Each writer is a theoros of the new creation unfolding in the imperial and ecclesial foreground.

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The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity
Reshaping Classical Traditions
, pp. 644 - 662
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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