A Praying God?
In the tenth book of De Trinitate, Hilary of Poitiers gave extended consideration to the motive and meaning of three prayers from the passion narrative: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Matt 26:39); “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34); and “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit” (Luke 23:46). All three prayers were used by the Arians in an attempt to establish the ontological inferiority of the Son to the Father. In fact, Hilary states that the latter two prayers comprise, together, the “chief weapons” in the Arian campaign to deny the divinity of the Son. This chapter focuses upon key ancient and medieval inquiries into the question: why did the Incarnate Son pray?
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