College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

3. Silence through schism and two Reformations: 451-1500

'Silence through schism and two reformations: 451-1500', lecture 3 in Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch's Gifford lecture series on silence and Christianity

Lecture abstract

The significance of the threeway split in Christianity after the Council of Chalcedon (451). The purposeful Chalcedonian forgetting of Evagrius Ponticus and the contribution of an anonymous theologian who took the name Dionysius the Areopagite. The role of Augustine in the Western Church: a theologian of words, not silence. The transformation in the use of silence and its function after the Carolingian expansion of Benedictine monastic life (together with the West’s discovery of pseudo-Dionysius), and the further development through the great years of Cluny Abbey. Counter-currents on silence in the medieval West, and the significance of the Iconoclastic controversy, and later hesychasm, in the Byzantine world. Tensions between clerical and lay spirituality in the late medieval West.

Lecture video