Gregory Palamas, The One Hundred and Fifty Chapters

Full Title: 
[His Beatitude the Archbishop of Thessaloniki Gregorios], The One Hundred and Fifty Chapters on Topics of Natural and Theological Science, the Moral and the Ascetic Life, Intended as a Purge for the Barlaamite Corruption [Του μακαριωτάτου αρχιεπισκόπου Θεσσαλονίκης Γρηγορίου] Κεφάλαια ρν΄ φυσικά και θεολογικά, ηθικά τε και πρακτικά και καθαρτικά της Βαρλααμίτιδος λύμης
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Inc. Ἦρχθαι τὸν κόσμον καὶ ἡ φύσις διδάσκει καὶ ἡ ἱστορία πιστοῦται, καὶ τῶν τεχνῶν αἱ εὑρέσεις καὶ τῶν νόμων αἱ θέσεις καὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν αἱ χρήσεις ἐναργῶς παριστᾶσι·

Des. Φευκτέον οὖν αὐτοὺς καὶ τὴν αὐτῶν κοινωνίαν, ὡς ψυχοφθόρον καὶ πολυκέφαλον ὕδραν, ὡς πολυειδῆ τῆς εὐσεβείας λύμην.

Found in: 
Gregory Palamas, The One Hundred and Fifty Chapters, ed. R. Sinkewicz, Pontifical Institute fo Medieval Studies, Toronto, 1988.
mid 14th
Summary - Description: 
The 150 Chapters were written between 1347 and 1351 by Gregory Palamas in a time when the dispute over Hesychasm, mainly with Barlaam of Calabria, had settled down, after the triumph of the Hesychasts, and Palamas personally, during the so-called 'Hesychastic Councils' of 1341 and 1347, where both Barlaam of Calabria and Gregory Akindynos were condemned. The work is made up of 150 chapters, of which the 34 first focus on the relation between Man and Nature, Wisdom, Science and Philosophy, inspired by a general turn of the erudite society towards profane knowledge. Here, Palamas summarizes in many ways his views on Science, as presented in his earlier works. The main focus points concerning Nature, Science and Philosophy are: 1. As the Cosmos has a beginning, so it will have an end, for if the seperate parts of the Universe die, then the entire Cosmos also dies. 2. Palamas repudiates the platonic vision of an anima mundi. Each element, even fire, moves according to its own nature, and thus cannot be guided by a world soul. 3. Heaven is the lightest of all bodies, and he accepts the Aristotelian notion that there can be no body beyond Heaven. However, he accepts the existence of a region (not body) beyond Heaven, for God is infinite and cannot be restricted only to Heaven. 4. Concerning the movement of the winds, Palamas stated that their movement is not affected by the anima mundi, but from their own nature. 5. Then, Palamas moves on to the description of the Earth, the terrestrial sphere, with a brief mention of pagan (as he calls it) cosmography, which he refutes by stating that it does not conform to Christian beliefs, which accept that only one tenth is inhabited by Man, as the other nine tenths are covered by water. 6. Palamas then describes the main difference between (scientific) natural knowledge (physike gnosis) and spiritual knowledge. Natural knowledge is acquired through the perception of the Five Senses, which create impressions, which in turn are used by imagination, storing the impressions into memory. All vices are porducts of the sense, which are responsible for logical thoughts, and can lead to good vices as easily as they can lead to bad vices. On the other hand, spiritual knowledge is the true knowledge that every Christian should acquire.
Type of Source: 

Hussey, Μ. Ε., "The Palamite Trinitarian Models," St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 16 (1972) 83-89.

Meyendorff, J., Introduction à l'étude de Grégoire Palamas, Paris, 1959.

Meyendorff, J., Grégoire Palamas. Défense des saints hésychastes. Introduction, texte critique, traduction et notes, Louvain, 1959 (repr. with revisions, 1973).

Sinkewicz, R., "Doctrine of the Knowledge of God", Mediaeval Studies 44 (1982) 181-242. 

Sinkewicz, R. (ed.), Gregory Palamas, The One Hundred and Fifty Chapters, Toronto, 1988.