Panentheism.  Revisionism.  Anarchocapitalism.


Holy Theologian Bernard Lonergan in the Mystery of the Eternal Processions of the Most Blessed Trinity

by Fr. William Hart McNichols


Essays by Me

Essays by Others

From Religious Studies and Theology, 5, no. 2 (May, 1985), pp. 13-23.

“If Lonergan’s analysis of the dynamism of the human mind is correct and universally valid, more-over, it must describe the mind of Jesus as appro-priately as that of other human beings, and in fact preeminently, since, as both Catholic and Orthodox thought would agree, only in him was the potential for fully developed human existence perfectly realized on all levels. ”

Posted September 10, 2009


The Pneumatology of Bernard Lonergan: A Byzantine Comparison

Eugene Webb



The common declaration of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople on Decem-ber 7, 1965, revoking the excommunications of 1054 and calling for an active pursuit of mutual under-standing has resulted in increased dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox commu-nions.1  Since then a number of Catholic theologians have taken a fresh look at the issue of the “Filioque,” the phrase “and the Son” which was added in the West to the original Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed after the statement that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father.”  The disagreement over whether this addition represented a fundamental change in doctrine or only a development or explication of the original intent of the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople is not one I will attempt to resolve in this essay.  What is important is that for each side this question has served historically as a symbol of the definitive separation between the Eastern and Western traditions of belief.

Reviewing the history of the disputes between East and West over the Filioque and its corollaries one gets the impression that rarely have the two sides managed effectively to address each other. Spokesmen from each side have discussed the issue at length, but they seem mostly to have been talking past each other.  Well before the Libri Carolini, the Council of Frankfurt (794 AD), and Patriarch Photius made the developing divergence of East and West explicit, the two Christian cultures had already been pursuing different lines of theological reflection for centuries.  According to G. L. Prestige, in his God in Patristic Thought, the Greek and Latin traditions were even before the councils of the fourth and fifth centuries developing into radically different thought worlds.2  The resulting lack of common ground has meant that when East and West have met to speak, they have used language that may sound alike but that carries such different connotations the meanings expressed were not what they appeared to the other side.  Reading Joseph Gill’s account of the pro-ceedings of the Council of Florence in 1438 one sees repeated breakdowns of  communication as the Western side quotes what it takes to be evidence of the Filioque doctrine in the Greek fathers and the Eastern side insists that this was not what the texts originally meant.3

The compromise officially adopted at that council was that the Latin doctrine of the Filioque was equivalent to the Greek idea that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father through the Son.”  To the great majority of Christians in the East subsequently, however, it did not seem that these conceptions were equivalent at all, and this is why despite the official reunion proclaimed at Florence, effective reunion could not take place.4



It would be good to remember this difficulty in the present as theologians make further efforts toward rapprochement between the two traditions.  There have been some important new developments in this direction from the side of Catholic thinkers such as Paul Henry, Juan-Miguel Garrigues, André de Halleux, and Yves Congar.5  The general trend among these has been toward a revival of the strategy of the Council of Florence—although with the difference that instead of requiring the Orthodox to accept the addition of the Filioque to the creed, these Catholics have been suggesting that the Western church delete it, provided it is interpreted as not having been erroneous.  Congar in particular has suggested that as at Florence the way to agreement would be to interpret “from the Son” and “through the Son” as equivalent and complementary in meaning.6  To carry out such an approach without repeating the mistakes of the earlier effort, however, will require a considerable effort not only of historical research, but also of theological hermeneutics.  And of these two, it is the hermeneutic task that is the more difficult and crucial.


Lonergan and Cognitional Theory

It is here that I believe certain aspects of the thought of Bernard Lonergan can prove especially helpful.  Of modern Catholic theologians, Karl Rahner is well known to approximate Eastern thought on grace and the Trinity and to be appreciated for this among Orthodox thinkers.7  Few Orthodox, on the other hand, are acquainted with the thought of Ber-nard Lonergan, and he has never attempted explicitly to address East-West issues.  Nevertheless, I think that Lonergan’s thought has the possibility of making a special contribution to Orthodox-Catholic dialogue. What I propose is to apply Lonergan’s cognitional theory to the elucidation of certain aspects of the Orthodox theology of the relation between the Son and the Spirit.  This will, I believe, suggest a possibility for genuine dialogue of the most fruitful kind between East and West—dialogue, that is, which can aim at more than an acceptable compromise, but in which both sides might cooperate in the exploration of new as well as old questions, especially since it should also offer a perspective on Western issues that could contribute to the West’s own discussion.

For example, when Frederick E. Crowe, S.J., brings a Lonerganian framework of analysis to bear on “the two fold sending of Son and Spirit,” he is talking about a theme discussed by a number of Byzantine theologians as an aspect of the meaning of the very phrase “through the Son” that became blurred in the discussions at Florence.  The mere fact of a convergence between modern Lonerganians and some Byzantines on a common theme is not perhaps in itself especially remarkable, but what suggests the possibility of really fruitful dialogue is the fact that where their discussions diverge is at a point where the Western tradition recognizes that it runs into some difficulty.  In this instance Crowe is speaking about the problem of understanding the idea of “divine inspiration” as expressing both man’s word and God’s.  What he says in full is the following:

But, once we see that two fold activity in God’s word as related to the two fold sending of Son and Spirit, the difficulty dissolves into no more than a mode of the mystery of the Incarnation and Pentecost.  The Son was sent to be the cosmic Christ, in whom all creation, all history is held together (Col. 1:15-18).  The Spirit’s relation to the mind of Jesus may be a problem, but he had dwelt in the hearts of the prophets and will dwell in the hearts of Jesus’ disciples, to guide them to a true and salvific interpretation of this cosmic history, including their own part in it.  If that is distressing to theologians, then they should tackle the problem at its source, and ask why God should send both Son and Spirit in the first place. . . .8

He goes on to say that Catholics have begun to move from an older extreme in which the question was why, if the Son is Savior, there should be a need for the Spirit, to a newer one in which the question is, “If the Spirit is the gift of God to all his children, and a sufficient gift for salvation, what need have we of the Son?” (Ibid.).

Two related difficulties are specified here.  One is the relation of the Spirit to the mind of Jesus. Perhaps this might be rephrased as a question of what could the Spirit contribute to the Son that is not His already?  If the Logos is the divine wisdom, after all, what need would he have for the enlightening presence of the Spirit?  The other difficulty identified is why revelation and redemption should have to involve both Son and Spirit.  Could not either one take care of the whole job by himself?

To Orthodox ears such questions would probably have a very strange sound.  Where the relation between Son and Spirit is reciprocal and mutually constitutive, as it was in the Byzantine tradition, it is inconceivable that there could be a presence of the Spirit separable in any way whatsoever from the presence of the Son.  The presence of the Spirit, that is, constitutes divine Sonship wherever it is present and to the degree that it is present, and the presence of the Son implies by its very nature the presence of His Spirit: to be the Son, the Christ or Anointed, is to be filled with the Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and abides in the Son.


The Spirit and the Son

Actually to understand what the idea of Christ’s being anointed with the Spirit means it will be helpful first to consider how this conception of the relation between the Spirit and Son has been explicated by theologians in the Orthodox tradition and then to see how Lonerganian concepts might apply to it as well. The Eastern thinkers I have particularly in mind are Gregory of Cyprus (Patriarch of Constantinople, 1283-89), Gregory Palamas (died 1359), and Joseph Bryennios (died 1439).  A consideration of their issues in the light of Lonergan’s cognitional theory may also suggest a helpful new perspective on the other problem Father Crowe mentioned—that of the Spirit’s relation to the mind of Jesus.

Gregory of Cyprus developed his interpretation of the formula “through the Son” in opposition to Western oriented theologians, such as John Beccus, who had been installed as patriarch of Constantinople by the Byzantine emperor to support the Union of Lyons (1274).9  The Council of Lyons, like that of Florence later, had tried to get around the Filioque problem by interpreting the Latin “from the Son” as equivalent to the Eastern “through the Son,” and it was for this supposed equivalence that Beccus argued.  The issue came to a head at the Council of Blachernae in 1285, during the patriarchate of Gregory, who succeeded Beccus in 1283.10  Gregory’s own discussion of the relation between the Son and Spirit proceeded from premises that from the standpoint of traditional Western trinitarian theology might seem unusual, but which are characteristic of Orthodox theology.  Instead of drawing a sharp line between the temporal mission of the Holy Spirit and the eternal relation between the Son and Spirit, Gregory assumed that the sending of the Spirit to Christ’s believers was a revelation of the eternal relation itself, experienced in the life of faith.  The eternal relation, according to Gregory, is a manifestation of the Spirit in the life of the Son.  As Gregory put it in his Tomus, the official statement he composed for the Council of Blachernae: “Indeed, the very Paraclete shines forth and is manifest eternally through the Son, in the same way that light shines forth and is manifest through the intermediary of the sun’s rays; it further denotes the bestowing, giving, and sending of the Spirit to us.”11

Underlying this way of thinking is the characteristically Eastern distinction between the “internal” and “external” life of God and between his essence (ousia) and his energy (energeia, which can also be translated as “operation”). As Aristeides Papadakis has summarized the implications of these principles in his commentary on the passage just quoted:

In trinitarian theology. . . two distinct realities are involved. If one level of reality denotes the internal life and nature of the Trinity itself—its self-existence—the other denotes the external life or self-revelation of God Himself, as it reveals perpetually the glory and “splendor” that is common to the trinity of persons in the Godhead. . . . God, in short, exists not only in His essence but outside His essence. . . .

More specifically, the patriarch’s ideas involve the distinction between the essence and the energy, or between the incommunicable and unknowable essence of God and His participable and perceivable energy, or life. Plainly, the divine manifestation is dependent on the consubstantiality of the Son and the Spirit; the Son shares the co-essential nature of the Spirit eternally.  It is not the essence that is revealed by God’s manifestation, however, but the divine life. (Ibid.)

It is this very life or “energy,” that according to Orthodox thought, is shared by the faithful, who from their experience of its presence as the dynamic source of their own life in Christ are able to understand the meaning of trinitarian theology as an explication in language of the eternal relations among the hypostases.  Western trinitarian thought since Victorinus and Augustine has been based on the assumption that the trinitarian relations were inherently unintelligible to human beings, since they had to do with what is within the unknowable divine essence; the psychological analogy of Father to memory, Son to reason, and Spirit to love was needed to give some concrete, but strictly analogical content to terms that were in themselves inscru-table.  The tradition that developed in Byzantium, of which Gregory of Cyprus is a fairly typical example, held quite the opposite: that the real participation of believers in the life of the incarnate Lord is a genuine revelation not only of temporal effects of the presence of the Spirit, but of the eternal life shared by the Spirit and the Son.

Gregory’s conception of this principle, as summar-ized by another contemporary Orthodox theologian, Dumitru Staniloae, was “that the Holy Spirit is manifested through the Son not only temporally but also eternally: the ‘manifestation’ or ‘shining forth’ of the Spirit through the Son represents the eternal relation between them.”12  “Through the Son,” therefore, Staniloae quotes Gregory, “indicates the irradiation and manifestation of the Son, for, in a manner known to all, the Paraclete shines forth and is manifested eternally through the Son, like light from the sun through a ray.”13

Gregory’s analogy of the Spirit to a ray could be misleading if it were taken to suggest that the Spirit moves forth from the Son, leaving him behind (which would in turn suggest the question Crowe mentioned about why the Son would be needed if the Spirit alone was sufficient for salvation).  His intention, however, is perfectly clear when considered in the context of such a traditional formulation as that of John of Damascus in his De Fide Orthodoxa, Bk. 1, ch. 8:  “We likewise believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, and abides in the Son; who is adored and glorified with the Father and the Son as co-essential and co-eternal with Them; who is the true and authoritative Spirit of God, the Source of wisdom and life and sanctification . . . who proceeds from the Father, and is communicated through the Son, and is participated in by all creation. . . .”14  Orthodox Christians in medieval Byzantium accepted this formulation as authoritative, and Gregory of Cyprus was thinking within the framework it defines.  He could not, therefore, have meant by his analogy to the radiance of light to suggest a departure of the Spirit from the Son.  On the contrary, what he had in mind was an illumination of the Christian that takes place by participation within the Son, in whom the Spirit eternally dwells.

Commenting on this conception, Staniloae says, “The ‘rest’ or ‘abiding’ of the Spirit upon the Son or in the Son signifies not only the union of the one with the other in the order of eternity but also their union in the temporal order”—that is, the Incarnation and redemption in time reveal the eternal relations between the Son and the Spirit.15  (Or to state the same idea in language made familiar to Catholics by Karl Rahner, the “economic Trinity” of salvation is the “immanent Trinity” of the Godhead and vice versa.) Staniloae goes on to say in explanation, “The presence of Christ is always marked by the Spirit resting upon him, and the presence of the Spirit means the presence of Christ upon whom he rests. The Spirit is the one who shines forth, that is, the one who stands out over Christ like a light, and Christ is he who has led us into the light of the Spirit” (Ibid.).


Lonergan: Dynamism of Human Consciousness

It is at this point that the relevance of Lonergan’s cognitional theory and his study of the dynamism of human consciousness becomes clear.  It bears upon the idea of the Spirit as light filling the Son and making him known.  Staniloae says of this light, “The Spirit is the milieu in which Christ is ‘seen,’ the ‘means’ by which we come to know him and to lay hold of and experience the presence of Christ.  As such, the Spirit enters the system of our perceptual subjectivity.  He is the power which imprints itself upon and elevates this subjectivity.  In this sense the Spirit also ‘shines forth’ through spiritual men, the saints” (Ibid.).  What this means is that just as the economic Trinity of salvation manifests and reveals the immanent Trinity of the Godhead, so also the experience in the redeemed of participation in Christ discloses the character both of the Son who is known and the light by which he is known.  The analogy to Lonergan’s dynamic force of authentic subjectivity should be obvious, especially at the point where his analysis of this carries over into his discussion of faith as “the knowledge born of religious love.”16

Much of Lonergan’s discussion of knowing, particularly in the step by step analysis of Insight, focuses on the way we know mundane phenomena objectively and their creator by inference.  Method in Theology, on the other hand, places greater emphasis on the existential element in knowing, by which we come to know authentic subjectivity itself from within.  One of Lonergan’s fundamental assumptions in his later thought, moreover, is that “the many levels of consciousness are just successive stages in the unfolding of a single thrust, the eros of the human spirit” (Ibid., p. 13).  To know anything, in other words, whether Christ or a natural object, consciousness must attend to experience, articulate it in insight, and verify the accuracy of the insight by reference to the experience it articulates. These operations take place by the energy of “the prior transcendental notions that constitute the very dynamism of our conscious intending, promoting us from mere experiencing towards understanding, from mere understanding towards truth and reality, from factual knowledge to responsible action” (p. 12).

This is Lonergan’s description of human intelli-gence and love, considered as the flow of an energy that moves consciousness through cumulative levels of intentional operation.  The particular intentional operations are, of course, contingent, and in the language of the Byzantine theologians, they would have to be considered “created energeiai.”  The tran-scendental notions that according to Lonergan are the dynamic force giving rise to particular operations, on the other hand, might well be described as manifestations of “uncreated energeiai” since by their very character as intentions of the intelligible as such, truth as such, and the good as such, they could be said to participate in the eternal as both their source and their ultimate goal.


Jesus and the Dynamism of the Human Mind

If Lonergan’s analysis of the dynamism of the human mind is correct and universally valid, more-over, it must describe the mind of Jesus as appro-priately as that of other human beings, and in fact preeminently, since, as both Catholic and Orthodox thought would agree, only in him was the potential for fully developed human existence perfectly realized on all levels.17  If the reality imaged as Gregory of Cyprus’s light and John of Damascus’s abiding Spirit is considered as manifested and revealed in the incarnation of the Son as true man, then this must imply that the Holy Spirit was the dynamic principle of authentic human subjectivity in Jesus by which he knew, as man, both worldly reality and his own relation to the Father and the Spirit.18 Lonergan’s analysis of the normative pattern of recurrent and related operations by which human consciousness can move progressively and cumu-latively from experience to thought, knowledge, and love is, therefore, not merely a study of psychology or of heuristic method, but also has a bearing on trinitarian theology.  And when it refers not simply to inquiry regarding worldly phenomena but to the development of insight into spiritual experience, it can become in fact a pneumatology. Even if Lonergan never called it that explicitly, he approached this formulation on occasions, as when he said that “the real root and ground of unity is being in love with God—the fact that God’s love has flooded our inmost hearts through the Holy Spirit he has given us (Rom. 5,5).  The acceptance of this gift both constitutes religious conversion and leads to moral and even intellectual conversion” (Method, p. 327).

To speak in this way is to say something very close to what Byzantine theologians meant when they spoke of man as incomplete without the presence of the Holy Spirit, who manifests his presence in the form of “uncreated energies” that animate us spiritually so that the particular activities or operations of our souls are revelatory of the Spirit’s own illuminating and vivifying character.  The essence-energies distinction, to which we saw Papadakis refer in his explication of the Tomus of Gregory of Cyprus, is traced by Orthodox thinkers back to the Greek Fathers, but it received its fullest exposition and definitive formulation for the Ortho-dox tradition at the hands of our second Byzantine figure, Gregory Palamas, in the century following Bla-chernae.19  This formulation was affirmed authorita-tively for the Orthodox Church by councils in Con-stantinople in 1341, 1351, and 1368.


Gregory Palamas

To explain fully the issues the fourteenth century discussion involved would be a major undertaking, but anyone interested can find an excellent account in John Meyendorff’s A Study of Gregory Palamas.20 In the controversies those councils were called to settle, Palamas was speaking for the mainstream of Orthodox tradition in defense against criticisms stemming from thinkers under Western influence who insisted upon an unbridgeable ontological and epistemological gulf between God and human beings and therefore denied the cardinal Orthodox tenet of “real deification” in favor of, as Vladimir Lossky phrased it, the idea of “the created character of deification, taken as a pious metaphor rather than an actual union of the created an uncreated.”21

The important point for the present discussion is that as Palamas and his tradition conceived it, God is actually experienced and known within the soul that is “deified” by grace.  As Meyendorff paraphrased Palamas’s idea, “To see God, we must acquire ‘a divine eye’ and let God see himself in us.”22  Palamas himself referred to the thought of Maximus the Confessor as a traditional authority for his concep-tion: “Hence St. Maximus had written,” says Meyen-dorff summarizing Palamas, “‘God and the saints had one and the same energy.’ Not only did they themselves rejoice in the presence of God, but that presence was manifested to others through them.  So deification is not only an individual gift of God, but constitutes a means of manifesting him to the world.  ‘The saints participate in God; not only do they participate, but they also communicate him. . . .’”23

Here one can see the parallel between Palamas’s thought and Gregory of Cyprus’s idea of the Spirit as a light that radiates from Christ into the world.  Just as Christ is the image of his Father, and just as his divine Sonship is revealed through its manifestation in his humanity, so also those sanctified by his Spirit are themselves his own living icons communicating his reality to the world.  What this means in relation to the present discussion is that authentic humanity, both in Christ and in those who through union with him become like him and manifest his life, can have a revelatory function.  Authentic human subjectivity, in other words, since it is not the expression of an autonomous human energy but the manifestation of the presence of the Holy Spirit, by whose energies it is moved and constituted, exhibits in its structure the living truth that was manifested and revealed in Christ: the very life of the divine Son in whom the Spirit abides.

Staniloae suggests that Palamas added some-thing important to Gregory of Cyprus’s discussion by interpreting the image of irradiation through the Son as representing a circulation of spiritual life between Father and Son: “According to Palamas, even the Father and the Son have a new relation between themselves through the Spirit.  For the Spirit is the love of the Father for the Son which comes down upon the Son and returns as the Son’s love for the Father.”24  Staniloae also goes on to say further, in words that still more clearly suggest a parallel to the Lonerganian framework, “The irradiation of the Spirit from the Son is nothing other than the response of the Son’s love to the loving initiative of the Father who causes the Spirit to proceed.  The love of the Father coming to rest in the Son shines forth upon the Father from the Son as the Son’s love.  It does not have its source in the Son but in the Father. When it falls upon the Son, however, it is shown to the Father; it is reflected back towards the Father, and joins with the loving subjectivity which the Son has for the Father, in the same way that the Spirit of the Father who is communicated to us returns to the Father in conjunction with our own loving filial affection for him.  This is so because the Son is not a passive object of the Father’s love, as in fact we ourselves are not passive objects when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us. . . . The Spirit of the Father penetrating within us as the paternal love kindles our own loving filial subjectivity in which, at the same time, the Spirit is also made manifest” (Ibid., p. 31).  In this way, the Orthodox conception of the procession of the Spirit “through the Son” becomes virtually equivalent on the level of trinitarian theology to Lonergan’s conception of the dynamic transcendental notion that moves through the soul and quickens it into actual understanding, knowledge, and love.


Joseph Bryennios

This last idea also points toward a further possibility of understanding the relation between the Spirit and the Son.  If the human soul is moved by the Spirit’s energy from potential to actual spiritual life as it comes to stand consciously in luminosity of exis-tence in the knowledge born of religious love, this might be described as an image on the level of the creature of the eternal coinherence of the Spirit and the Son.  It is here that the ideas of the fifteenth-century figure, Joseph Bryennios, show their rele-vance.  Bryennios suggested that just as the Spirit was said by Palamas to “pass through” the Son, so also may the Son be said in a sense to “pass through” the Spirit, “revealing himself as the Word of the Spirit” (Ibid., p. 37).  This does not mean, as it would on the level of creatures, that the Spirit is the cause of the existence of the Son.  Orthodox theologians have traditionally insisted that the Father alone is the ontological source of both Spirit and Son, whose relation is reciprocal but non-causal. What it does mean, according to Staniloae, is that “the Spirit on ‘passing through’ the Son makes manifest, and is himself revealed as, the filial consciousness of the Father’s Only-Begotten Son. But when the Son also ‘passes through’ the Spirit who has already passed through him and whom he also possesses, he reveals himself as the Word of the Spirit and makes the Spirit reveal himself as the Spirit of utterance.  At the same time the Son remains the Word of the Father inasmuch as he comes forth from the Father, and the Spirit utters the Word of the Father, or, rather, it is in the Spirit that the Son of the Father speaks” (Ibid.).  This is the perichoresis or “reciprocal interiority” of the Son and Spirit as well as that of the Father in both (Ibid., p. 38.)



Viewed in such a way, in the light of both Lonergan’s analysis of the dynamic structure of consciousness and these Byzantine theologians’ explication of Trinitarian theology, the questions raised by Father Crowe—the relation of the Spirit to the mind of Jesus, the need for the roles of both Spirit and Son in redemption, and the problem of understanding the idea of divine inspiration as expressing both man’s word and God’s—must cease to be problems at all.  Neither Son nor Spirit could redeem separately because neither could exist or act separately.  The movement of the Spirit’s energies through the human consciousness of the incarnate Son of God reveals in its temporal unfolding, both in the earthly life of Jesus and in that of his saints, the reciprocity that is also characteristic of the Spirit and Son in their eternal relatedness.

To speak thus, even if both Western and Eastern theologians could agree on such a formulation, would not by itself resolve all the differences that have developed over the centuries between the two tradi-tions.  They are probably too manifold and too deeply rooted in history and personalities for any merely conceptual solution.  The de in the Catholic tradition of a way of thinking about human intellectual and spiritual consciousness that can be related fruitfully to Eastern Orthodox ways of thinking is, however, a hopeful sign and may open avenues for further exploration.


1 For brevity I will refer to these subsequently as Catholic and Orthodox respectively. This usage is not intended here to have any ecclesiological implica-tions.

2 (London: SPCK, 1952) See, for example, pp. 235-8. Cf. Yves Congar, Je crois en l’Esprit Saint, 3: Le Fleuve de Vie (Ap 22, 1) coule en Orient et en Occident (Paris: Editions du Cerf, 1980), p. 263.

3 Joseph Gill, The Council of Florence (Cambridge: University Press, 1959).

4 Jaroslav Pelikan says that the Eastern theologians who defeated the union argued “that ‘through the Son,’ was a Latin device for foisting the heretical Filioque on the Greeks.” The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, 2: The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), p. 277.  They were referring, of course, not to the Eastern use of “through the Son,” but to the Western interpretation in use at the council.

5 For a survey see Congar, pp. 260-63.

6 Ibid., pp. 264-5, 269.

7 For an Orthodox appreciation of Rahner see, for example, John Meyendorff, Christ in Eastern Christian Thought (Crestwood, N.Y.: Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1975), p. 213.  Rahner’s way of speaking about uncreated grace as participation in God and his emphasis on the Trinity as a mystery of salvation both find immediate echoes in the Orthodox theolo-gical tradition.  Where Rahner speaks of divine-human participation through uncreated grace, Orthodox speak of deification through the gift of uncreated divine energies in the soul.  For the Orthodox, like Rahner, the doctrine of the Trinity is not a speculation on what there could be three of within a perfectly simple divine essence, but an explication of the Christian experience of salvation in Christ.  When Rahner said in The Trinity (NY: Herder & Herder, 1970), p. 48, that only by going back to the experience of God in Jesus and of the Spirit of God operating in us can we avoid “the danger of wild and empty conceptual acrobatics” deriving from the Augustinian psychological analogies, he was stating in essence the traditional Orthodox objection to the pattern of Western thought of which the historical Filioque has usually been taken by both East and West to be an expression.  For a brief Catholic comparison between Rahner’s thought and Orthodox, see George A. Maloney, S.J., A Theology of “Uncreated Energies” (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1978), pp. 114-116.

8 Theology of the Christian Word: A Study in History (New York: Paulist Press, 1978), p. 142.

9 The phrase “through the Son” seems to have come from Origen, who used it to express his emanationist conception of the origin of all things, of which he considered the Holy Spirit to be one, from the Father through the intermediary role of His first emanation, the Son. See Prestige, pp. 249-50. This emanationist and subordinationist conception was the result of Origen’s assimilation of Christian symbols to a Neo-Platonist metaphysical cosmology. It had no future in the Orthodox tradition and had already dropped out of the developing patristic conceptual framework by the time of the Cappadocians. Both the Cappadocians and the Alexandrians, however, continued to read Origen and retained some of his language, including this phrase. The later tradition, evidently having forgotten its original meaning, developed its own way of interpreting it.

10 For a book-length study of this controversy, see Aristeides Papadakis, Crisis in Byzantium: The Filioque Controversy in the Patriarchate of Gregory II of Cyprus (1283-1289) (New York: Fordham University Press, 1983).

11 Tomus, Patrologia Graeca 142, 240B-C, quoted in Papadakis, p. 91

12 Theology and the Church (Crestwood,N.Y.: Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1980), p. 17.

13 Patrologia Graeca 142, 240B-C, quoted in ibid.

14 Quoted in Thomas Hopko, The Spirit of God (Wilton, Conn.: Morehouse Barlow, 1976), p. i.

15 Staniloae, p. 24.

16 Method in Theology, second edition (New York: Herder and Herder, 1973), p. 115.

17 Cf. David Coffey, “The ‘Incarnation’ of the Holy Spirit in Christ,” Theological Studies, 45 (1984): 467, on Karl Rahner’s interpretation of Jesus as the only man in whom “fulness of being human has been actualized.”

18 Cf. Karl Rahner, “Dogmatic Reflections on the Knowledge and Self-Consciousness of Christ,” Theological Investigations, 5 (London: Darton, Longman, and Todd, 1966), pp. 193-215.

19 For a history of the Patristic descent of this distinction, see Vladimir Lossky, The Vision of God (Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire: Faith Press, 1973).

20 Crestwood, N.Y.: Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1974.

21 Lossky, Vision, p. 130.

22 Ibid., p. 173. Cf. also Nicholas Cabasilas, a four-teenth century Byzantine lay theologian, describing the effect of baptism on the candidate: “He becomes eye to see the light.” The Life in Christ, Patrologia Graeca 150: 560C-561A, quoted in Meyendorff, By-zantine Theology, p. 108.

23 Ibid, p. 175.

24 Staniloae, p. 29.

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