Book Series Studia Traditionis Theologiae, vol. 38

The Anthropology of St Gregory Palamas

The Image of God, the Spiritual Senses, and the Human Body

Alexandros Chouliaras

  • Pages: xvi + 243 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2020

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58941-1
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58942-8
  • E-book
  • Available


“Indeed, in this excellent book Chouliaras shows how Palamas is not simply of Eastern interest but is a thinker of much broader significance.” (Norman Russell, in The Heythrop Journal, LXIV, 2023, p. 136)

"Adorned with a lavish collection of primary and secondary sources, the book by Fr. Chouliaras should be a must-read for theologians, students in theology, scholars in religious studies, and simple believers." (Ionuț Biliuță in Review of Ecumenical Studies 13.3, 2021, p. 535-539)


Alexandros Chouliaras, adjunct Lecturer of Patristics, Anthropology, and Spirituality at the Faculty of Social Theology and the Study of Religion, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, holds a PhD in Theology from VU Amsterdam, Faculty of Religion and Theology, under the direction of Revd Professors Andrew Louth and John Behr. His contributions have been presented at international theological conferences and published in peer-reviewed academic journals. He serves as a parish priest in Athens, Greece (Metropolis of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki).


How are we to regard our body? As a prison, an enemy, or, maybe, an ally? Is it something bad that needs to be humiliated and extinguished, or should one see it as a huge blessing, that deserves attention and care? Is the body an impediment to human experience of God? Or, rather, does the body have a crucial role in this very experience? Alexandros Chouliaras’ book The Anthropology of St Gregory Palamas: the Image of God, the Spiritual Senses, and the Human Body argues that the fourteenth-century monk, theologian, and bishop Gregory Palamas has interesting and persuasive answers to offer to all these questions, and that his anthropology has a great deal to offer to Christian life and theology today.

Amongst this book’s contributions are these: for Palamas, the human is superior to the angels concerning the image of God for specific reasons, all linked to his corporeality. Secondly, the spiritual senses refer not only to the soul, but also to the body. However, in Paradise the body will be absorbed by the spirit, and acquire a totally spiritual aspect. But this does not at all entail a devaluing of the body. On the contrary, St Gregory ascribes a high value to the human body. Finally, central to Palamas’ theology is a strong emphasis on the human potentiality for union with God, theosis: that is, the passage from image to likeness. And herein lies, perhaps, his most important gift to the anthropological concerns of our epoch.

Some third-party content could not be displayed due to your cookie settings. Click here to allow third-party content.