Maximus the Confessor Reading Group

May 15, 2023
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Rev. Andrew SummersonUniversity of St. Michael’s College

Mondays, April 17- May 15, 2023 | 4:30- 6:00 PM


Open to current students and faculty at the University of Chicago. Copies of the Ambigua will be provided. Participants can come to whichever sessions they choose. No previous knowledge of the subject-matter required. Non-students interested in participating should contact Food and beverages will be provided. 

Maximus the Confessor (580-662) is considered one of the most speculative and creative theologians from the first millennium of Christianity. Yet, Maximus’s genius is at its most generative in conversation with the past. His largest work, the Ambigua, comments on difficult passages in the works of Gregory Nazianzen (4th century) and Dionysius the Areopagite (6th century). Maximus’ broad and deep thinking is on full display throughout this commentary, responses to single passages becoming small treatises in their own right.

The Ambigua reveals Maximus’ wide ranging interests in metaphysics, cosmology, anthropology, Christology, language, and time. His wide learning in all these areas are  put at the service of exploring these earlier Christian works. 

This reading group seizes upon the insight gleaned from Maximus’ method: creativity is born from a rigorous engagement with the past. Through a reading of selected Ambigua, we will explore his bold, christological vision of the cosmos, rooted in the deep reading of his priors.

Food, beverages, and Greek/English copies of the Ambigua will be provided. 




April 17: Quid Ambigua?

  • “Ambiguum 21,” 421-447
  • Recommended Reading:
    • “Prologue to Ambigua to Thomas,” 3-7
    • “Prologue to Ambigua to John,” 63-69

April 24: Trinity & Christology

  • “Ambiguum 1,” 7-11
  • “Ambiguum 5,” 31-59

May 1: Creation & Salvation

  • “Ambiguum 7,” Selections

May 8: Interpretation: Scripture & Cosmos

  • “Ambiguum 10,” Selections

May 15: The Practice of Theology

  • “Ambiguum 13,” 349-355

Rev. Andrew Summerson, S.Th.D. is Assistant Professor of Greek Patristics at the Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies in the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michael’s College, parish priest at St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Whiting, Indiana,  and Program Fellow in Patristics and Eastern Christianity at the Lumen Christi Institute. He is the author of Divine Scripture and Human Emotion in Maximus the Confessor (Brill 2021). He is currently working on a monograph exploring Maximus the Confessor's interpretation of Gregory Nazianzen.