The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Palaestinus – Palamas

PALAMAS.

and has since that time been frequently reprinted. The following is a list of the principal editions:— By Tollius, with a Latin translation and notes, Amsterdam, 1649 ; by Martin Brunner, Upsala, 1663, which edition was reprinted with improve­ments under the care of Paulus Pater, Frankfort, 1685,1686, or 1687, for these three years appear on different title pages ; by Thomas Gale in the Opus-cula Mythologica^ Cambridge, 1670, reprinted at Amsterdam, 1688 ; by Dresig, Leipzig, 1735, which edition was frequently reprinted under the care of J. F. Fischer, who improved it very much, and who published a sixth edition at Leipzig, 1789 ; by J. H. M. Ernesti, for the use of schools, Leipzig, 1816. The best edition of the text is by Wester­mann, in the rt MvOoypdcpoi: Scriptores Poeticae Historiae Graeci," Brunswick, 1843, pp. 268— 310. (Fabric. Bill. Graec. vol. i. p. 182, &c.; Voss. de Hist. Graec. p. 478, ed. Westermann ; Westermann, Praefatio ad Mvdoypdtyovs, p. xi. &c. ; Eckstein, in Ersch and. Gruber's EncyUopa-die, art. Palaphatus.)

PALAESTINUS (IIaAa«r<nVos), a son of Po­ seidon and father of Haliacmon. From grief at the death of his son, Palaestinus threw himself into the river, which was called after him Palaes­ tinus, and subsequently Strymon. (Plut. De Fluv. 11.) [L. S.]

PALAMAS, GREGO'RIUS (Tp-nyopios 6 TlaAajuas), an eminent Greek ecclesiastic of the fourteenth century. He was born in the Asiatic por­tion of the now reduced Byzantine empire, and was educated at the court of Constantinople, apparently during the reign of Andronicus Palaeologusthe elder. Despising, however, all the prospects of worldly greatness, of which his parentage and wealth, and the imperial favour gave him the prospect, he, with his two brothers, while yet very young, be­came monks in one of the monasteries of Mount Athos. Here the youngest of the three died ; and upon the death of the superior of the mo­nastery in which the brothers were, which fol­lowed soon after the death of the youngest brother, the two survivors placed themselves under another superior, with whom they remained eight years, and on whose death Gregory Palamas withdrew to Scete, near Berrhoea, where he built himself a cell, and gave himself up entirely, for ten years, to divine contemplation and spiritual exercises. Here the severity of his regimen and the coldness of his cell, induced an illness which almost occasioned his death ; and the urgent recommendation of the other monks of the place induced him then to leave Scete, and return to Mount Athos; but this change not sufficing for his recovery, he removed to Thes­salonica (Cantacuzen. Hist. ii. 39).

It was apparently while at Thessalonica, that his controversy began with Barlaam, a Calabrian monk, who having visited Constantinople soon after the accession of the emperor Andronicus Palaeolo-gus the younger in a. d. 1328 (andronicus III.), and professed himself an adherent of the Greek church, and a convert from and an opponent of the Latin church, against which he wrote several works, obtained the favour and patronage of the emperor. Barlaam appears to have been a conceited man, and to have sought opportunities of decrying the usages of the Byzantine Greeks. To this super­cilious humour the wild fanaticism of the moiiks of Athos presented an admirable subject. Those of them who aimed at the highest spiritual attain-

PALAMAS.

ments were accustomed to shut themselves up fof days and nights together in a corner of their cell, and abstracting their thoughts from all worldly objects, and resting their beards on their chest, and fixing their eyes on their bellies, imagined that the seat of the soul, previously unknown, was revealed to them by a mystical light, at the dis­covery of which they were rapt into a state of extatic enjoyment. The existence of this light, well described by Gibbon as " the creature of an empty stomach and an empty brain," appears to have been kept secret by the monks, and was only revealed to Barlaam by an incautious monk, whom Cantacuzenus abuses for his communicativeness, as being scarcely above the level of the brutes. Bar­laam eagerly laid hold of the opportunity afforded by the discovery to assail with bitter reproaches the fanaticism of these Hesychasts (rtffvx^ovres) or Quietists, calling them 'O/x^aAo^/uxoi, Omplialopsy-chi, " men with souls in their navels," and identi­fying them with the Massalians or Euchites of the fourth century. The monks were roused by these attacks, and as Gregory Palamas was eminent among them for his intellectual powers and attain­ments, they put him forward as their champion, both with his tongue and pen, against the attacks of the sarcastic Calabrian. (Cantacuz. /. c.; Niceph. Greg. Hist. Byz. xi. 10 ; Mosheim, Eccles. Hist, by Mur­doch and Soames, book iii. cent. xiv. pt. ii. ch. v» § 1, &c.; Gibbon, Dec. and Fall, c. 63.)

Palamas and his friends tried first of all to silence the reproaches of Barlaam by friendly re­monstrance, and affirmed that as to the mystical light which beamed round the saints in their seasons of contemplation, there had been various similar instances in the history of the church of a divine lustre surrounding the saints in time of persecution; and that Sacred History recorded the appearance of a divine and uncreated light at the Saviour's transfiguration on mount Tabor. Barlaam caught at the mention of this light as uncreated, and affirmed that nothing was uncreated but God, and that inasmuch as God was invisible while the light of Mount Tabor was visible to the bodily eye, the monks must have two Gods, one the Creator of all things, confessedly invisible ; the other, this visible yet uncreated light. This se­rious charge gave to the controversy a fresh im­pulse, until, after two or three years, Barlaam, fearing that his infuriated opponents, who flocked to the scene of conflict from all the monasteries about Thessalonica and Constantinople, would offer him personal violence, appealed to the Patriarch of Constantinople and the bishops there, and charged Palamas not only with sharing the fanaticism of the OmphalopsycM) and with the use of defective prayers, but also with holding blasphemous views of God, and with introducing new terms into the theology of the church. A council was consequently con­vened in the church of St. Sophia at Constantinople (a. d. 1341) in the presence of the emperor, the chief senators, the learned, and a vast multitude of the common people. As it was not thought ad­visable to discuss the mysteries of theology before a promiscuous multitude, the charge against Pala-. mas and the monks of blasphemous notions respect­ing God was suppressed, and only the charge of hold­ing the old Massalian heresy respecting prayer, and of using defective prayers, was proceeded with. Barlaam first addressed the council in sup­port of his charge, then Palamas replied, retorting

Pages
About | First

88

89

90
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.