Torrey Honors Institute professor publishes new research on St. Peter of Damascus

Greg Peters has written on St. Peter, a previously undocumented monastic figure

Apr. 9, 2012 By Abbey Bennett

St. Peter of Damascus, a twelfth century contributor to Byzantine monasticism, has been largely understudied and undocumented until now. Biola Torrey Honors Institute associate professor of medieval and spiritual theology Greg Peters, after a decade of research, has released his book “Peter of Damascus: Byzantine Monk and Spiritual Theologian.

Beginning his research in 2002, he completed his doctoral dissertation on the Byzantine spiritual theology of  Peter of Damascus at the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Ontario. Since then, he traveled to Rome and did research at the Vatican library on a research and development grant from Biola in 2006.

“The Vatican library has an important manuscript of Peter’s work from the thirteenth century,” Peters said.

In the past, St. Peter’s life has only been documented by one other author and according to Peters, he “claimed a couple things, but they were untrue and it was obvious he had not seen the manuscript [in the Vatican library].”

Also, no one had ever tried to identify St. Peter’s lifetime in dates, and Peters does.

Within Peter’s book, he hopes to explicate the inaccuracies of the past writer and offer a theology of spiritual life applicable to all Christians.

“[T]he publishing of the book was made possible by grants from the Torrey Honors Institute, Institute for Spiritual Formation and the School of Arts and Sciences, so in many ways it is a truly Biola book,” Peters said.

Professors around the world see Peter’s book as a resource and a credible source.

“This splendid book not only vindicates St. Peter of Damascus as a major figure in the articulation of Byzantine ascetic and spiritual theology, it also stands as a testament to the skilful and informed interpretation of that theological tradition. It is most welcome,” said Augustine Casiday, senior lecturer in historical theology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Written by Abbey Bennett, Media Relations Intern. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, at 562.777.4061 or at


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