In reply to many comments on Classical Theist’s video:
On why Orthodox commentators keep using Barlaam as an example of what is wrong with Roman Catholicism:
Barlaam argued that mental knowledge of God was the highest possible knowledge, and that the philosophers had higher knowledge than the Prophets because of this. We, the Orthodox see Scholasticism and the Catholic concentration on Philosophy/Theology over all else as an example of the heresy known as Barlaamism.
See Andrew Stephen Damick’s book Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy, page 51 for more information.
On Absolute Divine Simplicity:
Saint Augustine from Plotinus, and on towards Saint Aquinas define the essence of God as identical with the attributes of God. While both Saint Dionysius and Saint John of Damascus say that the essence of the Father is beyond even the category of ‘being’ itself and therefore it is beyond all logical affirmations, even one such as simplicity. God the Father is beyond your Theology and Philosophy.
We Orthodox agree in a sense with divine simplicity, for example that God does not have parts, but because of our emphasis on salvation as theosis and on God as Persons (rather than as a ‘substance’), it makes more sense to teach in terms of his unknowable essence and knowable energies than to dwell on a philosophical category like simplicity. Which relates to the heresy of Barlaamism. If God is encountered as simple substance rather than as persons who can be met and whose energies may be participated in, then his otherness imbalances out his approachability and nearness. What we mean by this is again, God the Father is beyond your Theology and Philosophy, how we come to take part in him and understand him will not be through mere intellect. Your intellect is completely inadequate when it comes to God’s essence, you can only hope to understand his energies through revelation and participating in the body of Christ. To quote Saint Palamas: Philosophy does not save. Every tree bears true fruits according to its nature, and while Greek Philosophy may be helpful, it cannot save nor can it bear fruit that isn’t marred by Paganism.
Again, see Andrew Stephen Damick’s book Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy, page 72-74 for more information.
(Almost all of what I have written above is taken from this one book).
‘The energies are various, and the essence simple, but we say that we know our God from his energies, but do not undertake to approach near to his essence. His energies come down to us, but his essence remains beyond our reach.’
Letter 234 by Saint Basil the Great.
How Palamas is traditional and not contradicting the Fathers:
Is Grace created or uncreated?:
Gregory Palamas, The Triads: The uncreated Glory.
Concentration on Essence/Energy distinction:
Gregory Palamas, The Triads: Essence and energies in God.
Philosophy not being the highest knowledge of God:
Gregory Palamas, The Triads: Philosophy does not save.
I am currently re-reading the Triads by Saint Gregory Palamas, and writing a book review of that. So, hopefully when that is done it can help a few people understand the subjects written about above.