Orthodoxy & Natural Law

Posted by on August 7, 2013 in Natural Law, Scholarly, St Maximus the Confessor | 2 comments

Maximus Confessor, natural lawI gave a second lecture to Acton University in June entitled “Orthodoxy & Natural Law.” In it, I demonstrated that there is a natural law tradition in the Christian East. It is found in the Scriptures and clearly spoken of in St Justin the Philosopher and Martyr (d. 165) and in St John Chrysostom (d. 407). Moreover, it is clearly laid out and systematically developed in St Maximus the Confessor (d. 662). I look in particular at the Confessor’s To Thalassius 64 and compare Maximus’s exposition of natural law with Thomas Aquinas’s, as found in the Summa theologiae, QQ. 90-94, and find that they agree. I also mention modern work toward an Orthodox natural law theory (particularly in Vladimir Solovyov’s Justification of the Good) and some contemporary discussions about the subject.

I made this presentation to Acton University in Grand Rapids, MI, on 21 June 2013. Dylan Pahman gave a fine summary of my talk the day it was delivered. You can read it here on the Acton PowerBlog.

You can listen to the lecture or download it free from Ancient Faith Radio, or you can download it from the Acton Institute for a small fee.

If you have comments either on the topic or on the lecture, I’d like to hear them. Thanks in advance.


  1. Thank you for every other magnificent post. Where else may just anybody get that type of information in such an ideal way of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I am at the search for such information.

    • Thank you for your kind words. There is very little information available on natural law in Orthodox thought. There is more information on natural law in the early Church and in the Fathers. For that information you can probably find good sources in Polish from Roman Catholic sites.


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