Four Hundred Texts on Love (Fourth Century) 8

Posted: January 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: St. Maximos the Confessor | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Four Hundred Texts on Love (Fourth Century) 8

29. The intelligence recognizes two kinds of knowledge of divine realities. The first is relative, because it is confined to the intelligence and its intellections, and does not entail any real perception, through actual experience, of what is known. In our present life we are governed by this kind of knowledge. The second is true and authentic knowledge. Through experience alone and through grace it brings about, by means of participation and without the help of the intelligence and its intellections, a total and active perception of what is known. It is through this second kind of knowledge that, when we come into our inheritance, we receive supernatural and ever-activated deification. The relative knowledge that resides in the intelligence and its intellections is said to stimulate our longing for the real knowledge attained by participation. This real knowledge, which through experience and participation brings about a perception of what is known, supersedes the knowledge that resides in the intelligence and the intellections.

This text can be a little tricky to untangle, but if I understand it properly it divides knowledge into two realms. One is intellectual and confined to the workings of our own mind. This knowledge is relative because it has no basis in the perception of actual experience. Authentic knowledge is gained by the actual experience of God through the energies of his grace and participation with him. The relative knowledge of our own intellect can spur our desire for true and authentic knowledge, but that’s the limit of its reach. I think I can be guilty of confusing the former knowledge with the latter and it makes me wonder just how widespread that confusion might be.


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