McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Aquinas, Byzantine, Palamas, Theophany, Transfiguration
In this dissertation, I claim that Gregory Palamas' teaching on the uncreated light of the transfigured Christ is best understood when interpreted through the category of theophany, namely, the appearance or vision of God. For Palamas, the Transfiguration is the theophany which manifests the full implications of the hypostatic union. As a revelation of the uncreated divinity of Christ (the vision of God), the Transfiguration anticipates, makes present, and partially effects the eschatological deification that takes place fully in the face to face vision of God. Palamas' teaching on the Transfiguration as theophany synthesizes insights from the Eastern patristic tradition regarding theology of revelation, deification, and eschatology. Palamas' theology of the Transfiguration and theophany presupposes a theophanic and therefore Christocentric economy of salvation which sees the Son of God as the theophanic mediator between God and man beginning with creation, through the theophanies of the Old Testament, and culminating in his Incarnation and the face to face vision of God in the fully glorified Christ in the eschaton. Palamas' theology of revelation (essence and energies), deification, and eschatology cannot be properly understood without taking into account their theophanic foundation. Furthermore, I claim that Palamas' synthesis of the Eastern patristic tradition concerning the Transfiguration and theophany can aid Roman Catholic theology in recovering a series of insights concerning the Transfiguration as the vision of God in this life contained in its shared patristic heritage with the Christian East. Central to this claim is that Thomas Aquinas' teaching on the Transfiguration and theophany is inadequate for the task of such a retrieval (his view of theophany does not permit it) and that Palamas' synthesis can show Roman Catholic theology the way back to its theophanic Eastern patristic heritage.
Hayes, C. (2015). Deus in se et Deus pro nobis: The Transfiguration in the Theology of Gregory Palamas and Its Importance for Catholic Theology (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/640