Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Transformation of Divine Simplicity$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Andrew Radde-Gallwitz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199574117

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574117.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 December 2019

Basil of Caesarea I: On Not Knowing God's Essence (But Still Knowing God)

Basil of Caesarea I: On Not Knowing God's Essence (But Still Knowing God)

Chapter:
(p.113) 5 Basil of Caesarea I: On Not Knowing God's Essence (But Still Knowing God)
Source:
Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Transformation of Divine Simplicity
Author(s):

Andrew Radde‐Gallwitz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574117.003.0006

Chapter 5 is the first of two chapters on Basil of Caesarea. It has two principal sections. First, it outlines Basil's views about religious language generally. For Basil, theological terms applied both to created reality and to God mean the same thing in the two cases, although they need to be purified in order to apply appropriately to God. Hence, when God is called ‘Father’ or ‘powerful’, it is not that the terms mean differently than they ordinarily do in their common usage, but that the theologian must strip from them all connotations of materiality, temporality, limitation, and so forth. This enables Basil to reject Eunomius' claim that all theological terms are equivalent to ‘ingenerate’. A second section examines five distinctions Basil draws within theological epistemology. Basil uses these to classify language, to help define the doctrine of the Trinity, and to parse out in precise ways what humans can and cannot know about God. It is argued that, for Basil, there is growth in theological knowledge associated with practices of asceticism. Basil refuses reducing the richness of Christian vocabulary to a single term, ‘ingenerate’.

Keywords:   Basil of Caesarea, distinctions, common usage, essence, asceticism, Trinity

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .