I’ve just got back from Pusey House, where I heard the latest in their ongoing Recollections series, today on Maximus the Confessor. It turned out to have some interesting implications for our discussions on the blog. As is well known, Maximus argued that there are two wills and two operations in Christ, against the monothelites and monenergists. According to the talk, however, this was not the whole of the disagreement. At stake were two very different attitudes to doctrine. The imperial opposition to Maximus (note the parallel with the Trinitarian controversies) was not so much committed to monothelistism and monergism as they were committed to doctrinal latitude for the sake of communion and peace. Maximus did not just favour the first-order doctrinal views referred to above, he favoured the higher-order view that doctrinal precision should be sought, and that precisely false views should be excluded as beyond the bounds of orthodoxy. I asked after the talk whether any had argued against precision out of a concern for safeguarding divine mystery: apparently, there is no evidence that this is so. Certainly, Maximus argues straightforwardly in favour of precision, and against compromising precision for the sake of communion. Assuming that the speaker (Phillip Booth) is correct here, we have in Maximus Patristic precedent for the view that the pursuit of doctrinal precision need not yield before divine mystery.