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Light, vision and religious experience in Byzantium.

Louth, A. (2004) 'Light, vision and religious experience in Byzantium.', in The presence of light : divine radiance and religious experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 85-103.

Abstract

This chapter is principally concerned with the experience of the divine, uncreated light in monastic writers belonging to the hesychast tradition (a term I shall explain in a moment); this is, I think, natural, for it is this tradition that dominates our perception of the Christian Byzantine tradition, whether one is looking at the historical era of the Byzantine world, brought to an abrupt conclusion in 1453 with the sack of Constantinople by the Ottomans, or is concerned with the increasingly significant presence of the Byzantine Orthodox tradition (including the Slav Orthodox tradition, but in distinction from the Oriental Orthodox tradition, of the Syrians and Copts, for instance) in today’s world, a result of both the fall of the iron curtain and emigration from traditionally Orthodox countries over the past two centuries. But the question of light and religious experience is a wider one than what we might call the “light mysticism” of the hesychasts, and I want to start by indicating something of that.

Item Type:Book chapter
Keywords:Byzantine hesychasm, Saint Maximos the Confessor, Saint Symeon the New Theologian, Theophanes of Nicaea.
Full text:PDF - Published Version (508Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/16396.ctl
Publisher statement:© 2004 by The University of Chicago
Record Created:11 Nov 2008
Last Modified:03 Jun 2011 17:10

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