John of Damascus

John of Damascus
(c. 675–c. 749)
   Theologian, Poet and Saint.
   Little is known of the life of John of Damascus. He served as chief representative of the Christians at the court of the Caliph of Damascus; he entered the monastery of St Sabas near Jerusalem and he participated in the Iconoclastic Controversy, defending the use of icons in churches. He is remembered for his great three-part work, the Fount of Wisdom, which dealt with philosophy, heresy and the Orthodox faith. The last part has always been used as a textbook of doctrine in the Orthodox Church, but his work was not known in the West until the twelfth century. It was used by both peter lombard and thomas aquinas and must be regarded as a foundation document of mediaeval theology. It is a work of immense learning and was influenced by the writings of Aristotle, maximus the confessor, epiphanius, Gregory of nazianzus and Pseudo-dionysius. John was also a considerable poet and some of his hymns have been incorporated into the Orthodox liturgy. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1890.
   D.H. Farmer (ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 3rd edn (1992).

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

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