Volume 20, Issue 2, Autumn 2015
Sharing in the Logos
Unity, Interdependence, and Multiplicity in Maximus the Confessor
An Engagement with Heidegger’s Topology
This paper explores how Heidegger’s discussion of experience as topos (place) can illuminate some elements of Maximus’ writings. In Heidegger’s
later work, the experiencing subject emerges from, and experiences only within, place. Experience is only ever constituted when the conditions of its emergence come together concretely, which is to say, somewhere. Topos, a place, such as a city or my home, is a unity of the elements that make it up. The essay first examines how Heidegger sees philosophical inquiry as a drawing out of the different elements that constitute the unity of experience as place. Many works of Maximus the Confessor, including his ascetic writings, examine how the subject experiences within the world. Using the topological account of experience described by Heidegger, the paper examines several distinctions that emerge from Maximus’ ascetic thought. Using examples, the essay suggests it is possible to see Maximus’ analyses as being engagements with an understanding to the effect that experience emerges with a unity, in topos. The essay suggests that reading Maximus through topos helps explain why it is that so many structures can arise interdependently through his engagement with experience.