(Published June 10, 2011)

For ease of reference, and to give readers some sense of the whole argument of his book, I have put all of the chapter headings of John Kyparissiotes’s Decades together here on a single page. As I continue translating further chapters of the work, I will provide links to them here. Please note that, particularly in the case of the chapters that have not yet been translated, the translations of the chapter headings are provisional, and may be changed subsequently if new readings shed a different light upon the author’s meaning. Please note also that these translations are copyrighted.

Preface to the Decades

Decade One: On Symbolic Theology

  1. That there are two kinds of theology.
  2. That there are two kinds of symbolic theology as well.
  3. That the symbolic theology which has to do with images is always delineated in a bodily and perceptible way.
  4. That the symbolic theology that is manifested in a perceptible form has the property of being shaped out of certain divine and sacred apparitions.
  5. That all sacred depiction of angels as well is to be referred to this branch of symbolic theology.
  6. In however many ways symbolic theology is given shape, it is either visual or auditory.
  7. That those who have met with this kind of symbolic theology have termed it a sight and a vision.
  8. That these visions and theophanies have been sacredly effected in no other way than by means of the angelic powers.
  9. That even our Lord Jesus Christ himself, in respect of his own divinely-primordial humanity, does not depart from the order befitting man, an order which he himself defined.
  10. That, from both types of symbolic theology, whether the kind expressed in an outward form by angels or the kind expressed by words which, at first glance, seem incongruous, it is by all means necessary to have recourse to higher notions.

Decade Two: On Demonstrative Theology

  1. That there are also two kinds of demonstrative theology.
  2. That demonstrative theology, too, though it appears to be without any veil, proceeds by way of types formed for our sake.
  3. That, through every kind of theology, reason progresses by way of “mirrors” and “enigmas.”
  4. That it is impossible for those in the body to theologize apart from bodily things.
  5. That neither can we attain, or theologize with, a complete mental picture of God in this present age, nor can we do so with any other of those things which take shape in us by way of abstraction from images.
  6. That God is neither discerned from a natural representation, nor is he one of those things that think or are thought, such that one might theologize of him out of those things which he is in himself.
  7. Upon what basis, then, must we theologize, and out of what things?
  8. That even the most eminent among theologians theologize on the basis of the creatures; and, as for the “back parts” of God, they are the creatures themselves, and their corresponding reasons.
  9. That in demonstrative theology the chief thing is that which is stated through negations, and that negations are not opposed to affirmations in this kind of theology.
  10. That God is above all affirmation and negation, and that it is only through utter unknowing and unseeing that he is, simultaneously, both known and theologized.

Decade Three: On Divine Emanations

  1. That emanation is twofold: there is that which is in God, and there is that which goes out of God and from him towards the creation.
  2. That all cause and motion and principle, when said regarding things that come into being, is a coming-to-be that is co-effected along with its effects.
  3. That all coming-to-be is said to be a mean of two things, and it is impossible for it to take place where one of the things that make up the relationship is missing.
  4. That God’s disposition and movement towards creating the things that exist, and the coming-to-be and bringing-forth of all things, are called his emanation and energy and wisdom and power and greatness, and all other such things as bear upon the beginning of his ways, which are recognized from the great work of his making of the things that are.
  5. That all such things as, on the basis of their activity, are recognized as presenting a middle state, are in themselves insubstantial, and possess being only in coming-to-be.
  6. That, as activity stands to things enacted, and emanation to things that emanate, so will and desire stand with respect to things willed and desired.
  7. That God’s providential acts towards us are also spoken of according to this will and desire of God.
  8. That, generally speaking, all the divine emanations are said to be noetic providences, and what are the names by which people call them.
  9. That it is according to these same divine providences and emanations and activities that our own participations with God and sharing in divine titles come to be.
  10. That God is one and indivisible and not-to-be-multiplied and immovable, but, on account of these emanations, he appears to be moved and divided and multiplied and differentiated.

Decade Four: How a Divine Name Takes Shape

  1. That every name of God is the discovery of our own intellect, and, for this reason, all naming of God is said to be intellectual (noetic).
  2. That it is from things caused that God is hymned, and, on the same account, he is named.
  3. What are the “things that are caused,” and what is the matter that is proper to them?
  4. Why God is named as cause from things caused, and not from things perceived.
  5. How, through us, God comes to be many-named.
  6. Whether the names that apply to God are from eternity.
  7. Whether, just as the divine names, derived from things caused, indicate various activities, so likewise they can indicate different realities when referred to God.
  8. If the divine names are unable to present differing realities in God, it follows that they indicate only his essence — not what he is, but that he is.
  9. That the divine names, when referred to the essence of God, signify it properly and not by an abuse of terms; and, through each of them, we indicate the superessential Trinity.
  10. That God, the one and the same, remains to us entirely anonymous in respect of what in fact his nature is; but, though one and the same, he becomes many-named, because he is also the only one who produced those things from which [he is named].

Decade Five: On the Properties of the Divine Names

  1. To what things one should pay attention, and what things one should watch out for in the case of each of the divine-naming properties.
  2. Concerning goodness and moral beauty, and wherein they are conjoined, and in what ways they are differentiated, and what is their identifying property.
  3. Concerning eros and love and what identifying property may be found in them.
  4. Concerning being and its proper subdivisions, and what is the identifying property of being in the things that are.
  5. How God is said to be both being-itself and life-itself and wisdom-itself, and how, again, this same God is said to be the one who brings these things into existence.
  6. Concerning power and justice; and that it is from the infinitely powerful Power and Justice that “power-itself” and “justice-itself” were produced and made; and what are their peculiar properties.
  7. Concerning the Life and Wisdom that are in God, and that God, who is very Life and Wisdom, is cause and creator of life-itself and wisdom-itself as found in beings; and what are their peculiar properties.
  8. Concerning peace and smallness and greatness and rest and motion and otherness and likeness, and that, in God, these things are one peace, but, outside of God, they differ, as things created by him; also, what are their identifying properties.
  9. Concerning All-powerful, Protector, Helper, and other names that are applied to God in view of a relationship; and concerning the divinity and likeness and relation and deification which are said in view of an imitation and a likening and a relation with the unrelated and inimitable God in whose who are becoming God and becoming likened and are imitating; [and concerning] names spoken by way of preeminence, e.g., “King of kings,” “God of gods.”
  10. Concerning equality, perfection, unity, and what are their several properties in beings.

Decade Six: On the Showings of the Divine Light

  1. That every perceptible light is from God, and that the sun is an image of his goodness.
  2. That perceptible fire, also, provides images, not only of the godlike angels, but even of God himself; and what are the Father’s properties.
  3. That from the perceptible and more honorable material substances God is given the names “sun” and “light,” while, from those of a middle rank, he is named “fire”; and that the contemplation of the symbolic lights is named in various ways.
  4. That the Lord’s face that shone like the sun in his most divine Transfiguration and the brightness that accompanied it imaged the splendor of his glorified body after the resurrection and its future, natural brilliancy; for this reason, again, it fell to the sight of bodily eyes.
  5. That the light which shone from the Lord upon Tabor is neither his divine essence, nor some efflux and effulgence from it, but a symbol of the now-invisible hiddenness of the Word of God and an obscure image of his future glory and an appearance of the kingdom of heaven, and is to be counted among Christ’s other supernatural marvels.
  6. That all the luminous showings of the hypostasis of the one Son of God, that occurred from time to time, are creatures, and that the example of his glorified body is a symbol of his Godhead, because of the union, according to hypostasis, of the two natures in Christ and the fact that, in his case, God and man are identified. For this reason, also, in every one of Christ’s miracles his divinity was illustrated and exposed and unveiled.
  7. That that beauty which Adam possessed before his disobedience is what the Lord has now depicted beforehand upon Tabor as being taken up again by human nature; but, later, after his own resurrection, as the Lord himself naturally shines round with his own infinitely brighter light, so shall he also have those who follow in his company and the righteous shining brighter than the sun, insofar as he will have restored them to the brightness that preceded Adam’s disobedience.
  8. What the future light of the resurrection is, according to its subsistence, and what is the kingdom of God that has been prepared for us and the heavenly city that corresponds to it.
  9. That every light, whether sensible or intelligible, shines forth from the true and superessential Light, and that God is intelligible Light.
  10. That also the divine Moses and those divine men who resemble him, who leave behind all lights whether perceptible or intelligible, enter into the all-bright darkness and are united to the Infinite One through utter unknowing and unseeing.

Decade Seven: On Divine Participation

  1. That it is proper to God to be present in all things according to essence; and, as he is present in essence, so he is also present in energy. But as for what the manner of his presence is, that is something unspeakable.
  2. That, according as God is present to us, so do we also partake of him; and, if he is present to us in essence, we partake also of his essence.
  3. That, when we partake of the divine essence through the Holy Spirit, we partake of the superessential Son, and, when we partake of the Son, we partake of the God and Father; and it is in this way that we become communicants of the divine nature and essence.
  4. That, in partaking of the nature of God, we are partakers, not of the bare, non-hypostatic grace that is from him, but of the living and subsisting Holy Spirit himself; and that the entire trihypostatic God is called grace, and the Son and the Spirit are together grace, and each of them in particular is called grace; while, again, what is created and effected by them is also, equivocally, called grace.
  5. That, just as God, who is grace itself and trihypostatic power, is partaken of by us in a causal way, so likewise he produces and creates a distribution of the divine gifts, so that we, who are created, may participate in them.
  6. That, in keeping with this apostolic theology, the divine Dionysius, too, has said that those beings which are the more general are effects and participations of those which are more particular, so that all the things which God has created are divided into participated and participating.
  7. That, given that all created things, both participating and participated, are, by way of cause, from the sole participable nature, some of them are put forth from it in a simple way, for the sake of participation, while others, standing forth in actual subsistence, are counted among things that participate.
  8. That the things which take part in participation, whether their being be found to lie in the participation itself or in separate subsistence, undergo a multiplication of receivings and a diversity of participatings, because of their unfitness; but that nature which, in respect of causality, alone is participable by all things, does not admit of this diversity.
  9. That the divine nature is participable only upon the grounds of causality; and that it is proper to God to call all things to communion; and that, the more things participate in his gifts, the closer they are to God
  10. That God, in his entirety, is participable and, in his entirety, is imparticipable, and there is not one thing in him that is participable, another thing that is imparticipable.

Decade Eight: Concerning God’s Infinity in Existing Things

  1. That none of the things that are is uncaused, but only God is uncaused, who is the cause of all things.
  2. That nothing is self-caused, but God alone creates all things out of nothing.
  3. That, as the whole creation has been brought into being out of nothingness by the will of God, neither is the aeon coeternal with the infinite God, nor is time, nor is any other of those things that share with these a similar modality of being.
    The title is given also in this form: That none of the things that are is coeternal with the Creator, but God alone is preeternal from all eternity.
  4. That nothing that is a work is not a creature of God’s; and in respect of what things does God take his Sabbath rest. And it is clear that, since among those days which he began to number temporally when he began from time, he took his sabbath rest upon the seventh day, at some temporal point he stopped.
    Otherwise: That nothing that exists is beginningless, but either it exists from the beginning of time, or it exists from the beginning of eternity; but God is atemporal, in a simple and infinite way.
  5. That none of the things that are, when it comes forth from itself, is undivided; whereas when God, according to his single power, is multiplied and comes forth upon all things, he is undivided and in no way separated from himself.
  6. That God brings about all things according to one single cause, and not one of the things that have come to be and have been activated by him is uncreated.
  7. That no duality, or any multitude that comes after duality, or anything else that admits of an order of superior and inferior, can be infinite and without beginning.
  8. That both comprehension and vision are a kind of circumscription and limitation, whereas God is uncircumscribed and invisible to all alike; moreover, to us in particular, both angels and souls are invisible.
  9. That none of the things that are is named out of opposites, whereas God is named, by reason of cause, out of things that are opposed; while, in respect of his own existence, he is utterly nameless.
  10. That none of the things that are is uncreated and unoriginated; only God is uncreated and unoriginated, and all things that come after the divine nature are originated or created.

Decade Nine: Concerning the Infinity that is in God

  1. That in the superessential God there is nothing else that is uncreated besides Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the one and unique uncreated nature; nor is anything else preeternal besides these three divinely-primordial hypostases.
  2. That in the superessential God there is no other divinity that is his besides the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the one and unique uncreated nature; nor is there any other power and energy in him besides, again, these three divinely-primordial hypostases.
  3. That in the superessential God, Unity is not one thing in him and Trinity another; nor is there, in the transcendent Trinity, any sort of inequality, and a greater and a less, nor, in him, any other thing characterized by deprivation, existing on its own without essence and hypostasis.
  4. That in the superessential Trinity neither hypostasis is really distinct from essence, nor in fact are the three divinely-primordial hypostases differentiated from the essence, nor indeed are they differentiated by any other opposition, except only that of relation.
  5. That in the superessential Trinity, unbegottenness is neither essence, nor a hypostatic property of the God and Father, nor is there in the Trinity any other fountaining origin of the whole Godhead apart from the Father alone, nor is there any other natural and essential power and Godhead and energy coming forth from the infinitely-knowing divine essence, except only the Son and the Holy Spirit.
  6. That in the superessential Trinity there is no other energy and hand by which God works (activates, energizes) all things, apart from the Son and the Spirit, nor is there any other wisdom and power and glory and image of the superessential God, apart from the Son and the Spirit.
  7. That in the superessential Trinity there is no other life, in it, or will, or love, or blessedness, or beauty, or holiness, nor again any other goodness, or form, or kingdom, besides God’s superessential Son himself and his All-holy Spirit.
  8. That in the superessential Trinity there is nothing that is not essence and hypostasis, nor is there in it something natural and essential to the Father which is not the Son and the Spirit, nor are the reasons of beings any other thing in God besides (in an implicit way) the Only-begotten Word of God.
  9. That in the superessential Trinity, aside from the three divinely-primordial hypostases, which are not interchanged, there is nothing in it which is not the one thing of the other: for the Life of the Son is not other than the Father, and the Life of the Father, again, is nothing other than the Son, and likewise the same thing holds true of the Holy Spirit with respect to both; and this is what is meant by the dwelling of the three divinely-primordial hypostases through one another and in one another.
  10. That whatever is contemplated in the superessential Trinity is beyond reason and understanding and is utterly unknowable and unintelligible, such that the same, one act of being is both whole and alone in each of the Three, and, nevertheless, it is the same thing, whole and alone, in the Three together, and in none of them, in whatsoever manner, does it depart from the unitary wholeness, being worshipped nonetheless threefoldly and singly.
    Also thus: That, in the superessential Trinity, the act of being is not delimited according to the divinely-primordial persons, but, above all reason, it is the one being of the Three.

Decade Ten: On Divine Simplicity

  1. That one should not look for habitudes and dispositions in the superessential Trinity, nor are there things surrounding it that complete its essence.
  2. That one should not look for any accidents, in the case of the superessential Trinity, existing alongside its own existence, nor should one understand there to be essential differences in it — which, indeed, may be found in the case of those immaterial beings created by it — nor should one seek a difference of essence and energy, nor suppose that, in it, anything inheres in its own proper existence accidentally, as one thing in another.
  3. That, in the case of the superessential Unity, one should not seek the differentiation of Cause and Caused in all those places where it is said that it exists of itself, and that its own energy comes forth from it, and that it circulates back from itself, through itself, to itself.
  4. That, in the case of the superessential Unity, one should not seek in it an essence that is one thing and an energy that is another, nor should one take cover under the ambiguity of the term “energy,” nor should one suppose that, in this case, essence and energy are not the same.
  5. That, in the case of the superessential Unity, one must not seek in it an energy on its own, non-essential and non-hypostatic, nor should one envisage some other thing accompanying this Unity, nor differentiate from it its own energy.
  6. That, in the case of the superessential Unity, one should not seek in it essence as one thing and goodness as another, nor that a form found in it is one thing and its essence something else, nor that the life, or wisdom, or power that are found in it are anything other than its essence.
  7. That, in the case of the superessential Unity, one should not expect to find that its knowledge, or its love, or its beauty, or its immortality, and so on, are one thing in it, and that its superdivine, unitary essence and existence are something else.
  8. In the case of the superessential Unity, one ought not to seek that, because it itself is all things, therefore all things belong to it as many and various; rather, its divine and blessed essence is these selfsame things; it possesses all things, not as one thing in another, but unrelatedly and collectively, admitting no duality, and above all one.
  9. That, in the case of the superessential Unity, it is not possible to find either a beginning, or a middle, or an end of it, nor a totality, because, in the case of each of its intelligible aspects, it is total and single; nor is it any one of the things that are, because it itself is all things; nor is it possible to comprehend it by name.
  10. That the superessential Unity is recognized by us as above all essence and above all unity and trinity, and is neither essence, nor unity, nor trinity, such as anyone knows these things, nor infinite, nor anything that may be numbered among the manifold things.

3 Responses to “Kyparissiotes: Table of Contents to the Decades”

  1. John Church Says:

    Christ is born! Hope you’re having a merry Christmas. I know you’re a busy guy but I hope you haven’t entirely abandoned your translation work. I enjoy reading your material from Bekkos and Kyparissiotes that you have available.

    A thought occurs to me, that if Kyparissiotes was essentially teaching traditional Christian doctrine, harmonious with the scholastics but only working from the Greek Fathers, this kind of material would be a great tool for catechesis for Byzantine Churches in Union with Rome. True to their own heritage but true to the overall extensive Christian tradition as understood by the Roman Church. (In other words, a good tool for de-latinization…)

    Hope you’re well.

  2. bekkos Says:

    Thanks, Mr. Church; I also wish you God’s blessings during this season. I am well, but, as you say, busy, with a pile of papers and final exams to grade. I have not abandoned my translation work, but in general it is something I can make progress on only during the summer when I have more free time.

    I have been translating Kyparissiotes, chiefly because I want to see what he has to say and there are no available translations in English to which I can turn. By all accounts, he gives one of the most comprehensive rebuttals of Palamism of any writer of the fourteenth century, and he does this through reading the Church Fathers, making a case for the claim that the Palamite theology misinterprets the patristic texts that witness to authentic Christian tradition. I tend to think that he is right about this. If these translations are of use to Eastern Catholics, or to anyone else, thanks be to God; they are, however, very much a work in progress, and, since I am obliged to make a living for myself otherwise than as a translator, I cannot provide any estimated date for their completion.

  3. John Church Says:

    Thanks for your reply. Glad to hear you’re well.

    I found this quote from St. Cyril of Jerusalem and thought it was relevant to the topics you discuss on your blog. Maybe you’ve seen it before?

    Catechetical Lecture 16:12
    And why did He call the grace of the Spirit water? Because by water all things subsist; because water brings forth grass and living things; because the water of the showers comes down from heaven; because it comes down one in form, but works in many forms. For one fountain waters the whole of Paradise, and one and the same rain comes down upon all the world, yet it becomes white in the lily, and red in the rose, and purple in violets and hyacinths, and different and varied in each several kind: so it is one in the palm-tree, and another in the vine, and all in all things; and yet is one in nature, not diverse from itself; for the rain does not change itself, and come down first as one thing, then as another, but adapting itself to the constitution of each thing which receives it, it becomes to each what is suitable. Thus also the Holy Ghost, being one, and of one nature, and indivisible, divides to each His grace, according as He will (1 Corinthians 12:11): and as the dry tree, after partaking of water, puts forth shoots, so also the soul in sin, when it has been through repentance made worthy of the Holy Ghost, brings forth clusters of righteousness. And though He is One in nature, yet many are the virtues which by the will of God and in the Name of Christ He works. For He employs the tongue of one man for wisdom; the soul of another He enlightens by Prophecy; to another He gives power to drive away devils; to another He gives to interpret the divine Scriptures. He strengthens one man’s self-command; He teaches another the way to give alms; another He teaches to fast and discipline himself; another He teaches to despise the things of the body; another He trains for martyrdom: diverse in different men, yet not diverse from Himself, as it is written, But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healing, in the same Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits; and to another various kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these works that one and the same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.

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