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Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of GodIn Your Light We Shall See Light$
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Christopher A. Beeley

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195313970

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195313970.001.0001

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 The Trinity

 The Trinity

Chapter:
(p.187) 4 The Trinity
Source:
Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God
Author(s):

Gregory A. Beeley

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195313970.003.0005

This chapter brings the argument to a focus by considering Gregory's doctrine of the Trinity as a whole, which is “theology” in the fullest sense. After cataloging Gregory's major and minor texts on the Trinity, it demonstrates of the nature of Gregory's Trinitarian doctrine as the “theology of the divine economy,” in which the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is confessed, against the well known separation of these categories in certain ancient, medieval, and modern systems. It then identifies Gregory's core doctrine in the dynamic monarchy of God the Father—who is the cause (aitia) and first principle (arche) of the Trinity—as being the root of both the unity and the distinctions among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and the fundamental element of Gregory's entire theological system. In its necessary combination of divine equality and dependence, Gregory's Trinitarian doctrine is shown to repudiate both ancient and modern assumptions that the monarchy of the Father contradicts the consubstantiality and equality of the three persons, as well as the false distinctions between Trinitarian personalism and essentialism and between Christocentrism and Trinocentrism in modern theological analysis. It goes on to interpret the secondary types of Gregory's Trinitarian discourse in light of this core doctrine, namely his formulaic summaries of the Trinity—the most common being “the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the one Divinity and power” and the most famous being the Nicene language of consubstantiality—and his clarification of several technical matters. Finally, the basic meaning of Gregory's doctrine is located in the believer's participatory knowledge of the Trinity.

Keywords:   Trinity, theology of the divine economy, monarchy of God the Father, unity of the Trinity, unity, distinctions, homoousion/consubstantiality, divine relations/scheseis, dynamic Trinity, participation/metaschesis

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