Original Research - Special Collection: Romania

The genetic mechanism of fallness: St. Maximos the Confessor revisited

Sebastian Moldovan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6701 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6701 | © 2021 Sebastian Moldovan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 April 2021 | Published: 09 September 2021

About the author(s)

Sebastian Moldovan, Department of Orthodox Theology, Faculty of Orthodox Theology, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Sibiu, Romania; Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Through a close reading of the two definitions of evil in the Introduction to Responses to Thalassios, this article points out a circular, cognitive-affective-somatic, genetic mechanism that St. Maximos the Confessor considers responsible for the initiation and transmission of the fallness as a human condition and the specific manifestation of it in the form of passions. It elucidates the first definition as mainly phenomenological, by identifying the circular mechanism and its behavioural expressions, and the second definition as more aetiological, by explaining why this mechanism emerges and reemerges with the fallen humanity despite its catastrophic results.

Contribution: This article highlights a double genetic mechanism (survival cum passions) that St. Maximos the Confessor grasped within the fallen human condition as a curse solvable only in Christ, a notion largely carved out by previous Maximian scholarship, but fully explained and valuated here.


fallness; passions; philautia; responses to Thalassios; Maximos the Confessor


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Crossref Citations

1. The mutual corruption of volition and nature? A closer reading of Ad Thalassium 42
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