St John Damascene on the Five Elements of Creation

Tea and coffee from 15.30 in the Hood Room

St John Damascene’s On the Orthodox Faith has, between his account of the dOctoberrine of God and his Christology, a long section on creation. Hitherto, attention has mostly been directed, if at all, to his account of what it is to be human, which leads into his dOctoberrine of the Fall, redemption through Christ, and his Christology. The section of six chapters on the visible creation begins by asserting the God created out of nothing the five elements (sky, fire, air, water, earth), and then devotes a chapter to each. The lecture will have two concerns: firstly, to explore why John finds all this so interesting, but secondly, in a more systematic vein, to explore the place of the elements in our experience of the world, and what can survive of this in the worldview of modern physics with atoms, electrons… and strings!