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Unknown God, Known in His Activities

Incomprehensibility of God during the Trinitarian Controversy of the 4th Century

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Tomasz Stępień and Karolina Kochańczyk-Bonińska

What can man know about God? This question became one of the main problems during the 4th-century Trinitarian controversy, which is the focus of this book. Especially during the second phase of the conflict, the claims of Anomean Eunomius caused an emphatic response of Orthodox writers, mainly Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa. Eunomius formulated two ways of theology to show that we can know both the substance (ousia) and activities (energeiai) of God. The Orthodox Fathers demonstrated that we can know only the external activities of God, while the essence is entirely incomprehensible. Therefore the 4th-century discussion on whether the Father and the Son are of the same substance was the turning point in the development of negative theology and shaping the Christian conception of God.

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Index

A

Abraham 23, 211

Aetius 6, 7, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 114, 115, 119, 150, 151, 159, 166, 167, 204, 228, 233

knowledge of God

knowledge of substance (ὀυσία)

Syntagmation 7, 89, 115, 159, 166, 233

Aghiorgoussis M. 200, 238

Alcinous 39, 40, 41, 45, 131, 233

Anatolios, K. 76, 238

Andia Y. de 238

Anomeans 6, 7, 8, 9, 34, 45, 89, 119, 140, 219, 221, 225, 228

Aristotle 10, 11, 13, 31, 40, 42, 81, 92, 93, 94, 95, 103, 104, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 131, 132, 134, 138, 144, 148, 152, 159, 160, 161, 163, 164, 169, 177, 197, 204, 233, 237, 238, 239, 240

Analytica Posteriora 233, 237

Analytica Priora 233

Categoriae 233

De anima 122, 233

De generatione animalium 233

De interpretatione 169, 233

Ethica Nicomachea 233

knowledge of substance (ὀυσία)

Metaphysica 233

Protrepticus 121, 122, 163, 233

Topica 233

ἐνέργεια

Arius 5, 6, 9, 10, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 68, 69, 70, 73, 76, 78, 79, 86, 89, 116, 119, 137, 161, 227, 228, 238, 241, 242, 243

arian controversy 25, 34, 49, 70, 77, 137, 139, 140, 146, 148, 149

attributes of God 36, 101, 114, 141

Creation ex nihilo 57

(Father and Son) will and wish (βούλημα καί θέλημα) 56

Monad and Diad 51

negative theology 5, 9, 10, 55, 60, 62, 64, 68, 69, 161, 227

status of the Son of God 2

Thalia 54, 62, 67

Armstrong A.H. 40, 238

Athanasius 34, 48, 57, 62, 64, 66, 69, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 79, 90, 146, 147, 227, 233, 234, 238, 239, 240, 241

Contra Gentes 74, 233

De decretis Niceane synodi 65, 233

De Incarnatione 71, 74, 233

De Synodis Arimini in Italia et Seleuciae in Isauria 234

Epistula ad episcopos Aegypti at Libyae 234

Epistula ad Serapionem 234

knowledge of God 69, 71, 72, 73, 77

Orationes Contra Arianos 234

transcendence of God 70, 71, 72, 76, 77

Athenagoras 35, 142, 234

Atticus 39

Augustine of Hippo 234

Autolycus 35, 37

B

Balás D.L. 187, 238

Balentine, S.E. 24, 238

Barnes M.R. 92, 93, 95, 103, 119, 120, 121, 122, 125, 126, 127, 143, 145, 162, 187, 197, 233, 238

Basil of Caesarea 6, 7, 77, 165, 166, 168, 172, 173, 174, 195, 229, 234, 239, 241, 242

concept (ἐννοία)

conceptualisation (ἐπίνοια )

Contra Eunomium 7, 234

Epistulae 234

faith and understanding 105

Homiliae in Hexaemeron 234

Homilia in illud Attende tibi ipsi 234

knowledge of attributes (ἀπηριθμησάμεθα) 102

knowledge of God

knowledge of substance (ὀυσία)

perception of God’sincomprehensibility

theory of language

theory of names 6, 166, 229, 239

worship and knowledge 99

negativetheology

Beeley Ch. A. 211, 212, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 238

Beere, J. 11, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 238

Benedict XVI 31, 238

Birjukov D. 167, 169, 238

Bradshaw, D. 10, 11, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 131, 135, 141, 146, 147, 160, 231, 239

Brouwer, R. 67, 239

C

Candidus 58, 77, 78, 79, 82, 84, 241

Carabine, D. 9, 12, 24, 27, 42, 239

Chaldean Oracles 55

Christian mysticism 23, 231

Clement of Alexandria 12, 25, 27, 30, 32, 38, 40, 42, 44, 48, 51, 69, 149, 227, 234, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243

Excerpta ex Theodoto 143, 234

negative theology 12, 42

Stromata 234

conceptualization (ἐπίνοια) 168, 169, 170, 171

Council of Antioch 8

Council of Constantinople 7

creation 7, 25, 27, 30, 32, 37, 45, 47, 49, 51, 52, 55, 57, 60, 63, 65, 66, 68, 69, 70, 73, 109, 115, 128, 141, 142, 143, 145, 146, 149, 152, 153, 154, 157, 159, 160, 162, 163, 164, 182, 184, 185, 192, 196, 201, 224

Cyril of Jerusalem 224, 225, 235, 243

negative theology 225

D

Daley B.E. 42, 210, 211, 213, 214, 216, 218, 239, 243

Danielou, J. 13

DelCogliano, M. 6, 7, 9, 12, 91, 98, 150, 154, 157, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 234, 239

Dexippus 10, 92, 235

Dialectic 24, 43

Diekamp F. 7, 8, 239

Dillon, J. M. 42, 46, 48, 233, 239

Doods, E.R. 39, 239

Droge, A.J. 31, 32, 239

E

Epicureans 38

Epiphanius 235

Epistula ad Diognetum 235

Eunomius 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 27, 45, 56, 61, 69, 77, 89, 97, 99, 102, 110, 112, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 123, 127, 131, 136, 137, 138, 140, 141, 142, 143, 145, 146, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 187, 188, 189, 195, 197, 200, 203, 204, 205, 210, 217, 219, 228, 229, 231, 234, 235, 238, 240, 242, 243

activity of God 10, 136, 137, 157, 159, 160, 161

Apologia Apologiae 8, 112

Apology 7, 27, 33, 89, 115, 116, 146, 151, 174

distinction between substance and activity 102, 115, 119, 142, 146, 149, 175

Fragmenta 235

generation 10, 115, 137, 153, 160, 161, 164

knowledge of God 174

knowledge of substance (ὀυσία) 164, 165, 180

theory of language

theory of names 150, 156, 157, 164, 166, 167, 173

time 155

two ways of theology 115, 165, 175, 181, 229

ἐνέργεια

Eusebius of Cesarea

Eustachius of Sebasta 8

F

Festugière A.J. 239

G

Gnostics 52, 65, 143

God 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 78, 79, 80, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 119, 120, 121, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 136, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 170, 171, 173, 174, 175, 176, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 227, 228, 229, 230, 236, 238, 239, 241, 242, 243

Creative Power 29

Creator of the Universe 27, 30, 62, 181

divine simplicity 54

Fatherincomprehensible (ἀκατάληπτος)

First Principle 5, 69

God’s activity (ἐνέργεια) 37

God’s attributes (ἰδίων) 25

Gracious Power 29

hypostases 45, 53, 131, 133

image likeness of God

incorporeal 28, 35, 43, 85, 198, 216

invisible 25, 28, 35, 37, 74, 76, 82, 84, 109, 141, 170, 182, 198, 201, 206, 207, 208, 209, 211, 219, 220, 224

Kingly Power 29

knowledge and worship 26

Maker 35, 65, 75, 188, 201

nature 23, 24, 38, 40, 45, 46, 48, 148, 171, 181, 189, 190, 191, 209, 210, 212, 215

Persons/Divine Persons 39, 59, 60, 71, 108, 117, 118, 141, 146, 148, 175, 177, 182, 187

powerδυνάμεις

Prohibitive Power 29

simplicity 61, 68, 78, 102, 154, 163, 164, 170

substance (ὀυσία) 10, 13, 28, 29, 110, 114, 153, 164, 165, 166, 180, 181, 183, 187, 195, 196, 199, 209

transcendence of God 60, 70, 90, 98

unoriginated ἀγένητος 28

Wisdom 60, 61, 62, 140, 145, 218, 242

worship 23, 25, 26, 31, 33, 34, 35, 38, 89, 99, 100, 101, 102, 105, 106, 109, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 168, 199, 200, 201, 202, 215, 228

Gregory of Nazienzus

illumination

knowledge of God

negativetheology

Orationes

purification

theosis

knowledge of substance (ὀυσία)

Gregory of Nyssa 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 23, 27, 28, 61, 70, 77, 90, 100, 110, 113, 117, 120, 136, 140, 156, 157, 162, 165, 167, 174, 175, 179, 181, 183, 187, 188, 192, 193, 195, 203, 205, 210, 215, 216, 217, 223, 225, 229, 230, 235, 236, 238, 240, 241, 242, 243

activity of God

Contra Eunomium 8, 13, 110, 117, 120, 140, 174, 188, 203, 235, 238, 240, 241

De beatitudinibus 235

De infantibus praemature abreptis 235

De vita Moysis 235

generation 165

In Canticum Canticorum 236

knowledge of God

knowledge of substance (ὀυσία)

negative theology 10, 77, 113, 193, 195, 203, 205, 242

Refutatio confessionis Eunomii 178, 236

status of God’s activities 175

ἐνέργεια 9, 10, 11, 12, 37, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 149, 155, 160, 175, 182, 228, 229

Gwynn D.M. 66, 239

H

Hadot, P. 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 236, 239

Hägg, F. 12, 39, 40, 41, 46, 239

Hamilton A. 74, 239

Hanson, R.P.C. 50, 89, 239

Harari O. 103, 104, 240

Henry, P. 50, 55, 63, 64, 65, 67, 77, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 161, 186, 187, 237, 240

Hieronymus 8, 236

Holy Scripture 6, 11, 21, 23, 26, 28, 44, 60, 79, 90, 105, 106, 110, 129, 138, 140, 142, 148, 149, 158, 164, 205, 207, 227, 229, 236

knowledge of God 23, 26

knowledge and worship

ἐνέργεια 11, 229

Holy Spirit 47, 146, 147, 158, 163, 173, 175, 177, 181, 196, 199, 202, 216, 234

I

Incarnation 24, 74, 77

intellect (νοῦς) 28, 40, 41, 42, 49, 73, 109, 114, 130, 131, 137, 160, 161, 186, 188, 202, 212, 218, 227, 230

Itter, A. C. 44, 240

J

Jesus Christ 72, 145, 169

as theophany and epiphany 32

Logos 27, 29, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 82, 83, 86, 87, 142, 143, 227

Son’s knowledge of the Father 68

John Chrysostom 9, 195, 219, 224, 225, 230, 236

knowledge of angels 224

knowledge of God

knowledge of substance (ὀυσία)

negativetheology

privation and negation 85

Judaism 32

Justin the Martyr 33, 236

K

Kopecek, T. A. 6, 7, 8, 9, 99, 167, 240

L

Larchet, J.-C. 11, 120, 130, 131, 138, 141, 142, 182, 187, 193, 240

Larid M. 12, 240

limits of knowledge 26

Lloyd A.C. 14, 132, 133, 240

Lossky V. 240

Louth, A. 27, 29, 47, 69, 70, 205, 207, 209, 215, 240

Ludlow M. 12, 119, 240

Lyman, J. R. 34, 71, 76, 240

M

Marius Victorinus 58, 59, 60, 77, 79, 80, 84, 87, 228, 236

Marrou, H.I. 49, 50, 235, 240

Maspero G. 12, 179, 203, 205, 240

Mates B. 99, 240

Meinwald C.C. 39, 240

Meredith A. 13, 241

monotheism 24, 53

Moreschini C. 214, 241

Mortley, R. 9, 10, 13, 33, 56, 63, 64, 65, 68, 92, 150, 151, 156, 216

Moses 23, 28, 30, 32, 43, 44, 128, 206, 207, 217, 235

N

natural reason 25

Nautin, P. 58, 77, 241

Negative theology 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 26, 31, 33, 34, 35, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 46, 47, 49, 50, 60, 63, 64, 69, 70, 71, 76, 77, 85, 86, 87, 151, 156, 193, 195, 198, 203, 205, 225, 227, 228, 230, 231

Neo-Arians 7

Neoplatonic doctrine 13

Numenius of Apamea 31, 70

O

Origen 34, 46, 47, 48, 52, 54, 56, 58, 69, 71, 145, 146, 205, 207, 215, 217, 227, 236, 239, 240

Osborn, E. 27, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 45, 241

P

Palmer, D. W. 33, 35, 38, 241

Parmenides 12, 39, 82, 241

passions asproperty (ἰδίαν)

Pelikan J. 212, 241

Peripatetics 119

Philo of Alexandria 26, 28, 52, 139, 164, 227, 236, 237, 239

God

incomprehensibility of God’s essence 29, 30

incomprehensibility of God’s essence 45

Philoponus 104, 237

Pinault H. 214, 241

Plagnieux J. 214, 241

Plato 9, 27, 32, 35, 37, 39, 40, 41, 46, 49, 52, 56, 63, 80, 81, 84, 107, 121, 130, 132, 133, 144, 150, 152, 154, 155, 207, 213, 215, 224, 237, 239, 240, 241, 242

Epistulae 237

Meno 100, 237

Parmenides 39, 40, 237, 239

Phaedo 215, 237

Phaedrus 237

Respublica 237

Sophista 237

Symposium 41, 237

Timaeus 13, 40, 56, 70, 152, 154, 155, 237

Platonic tradition 9, 130

Plotinus 13, 45, 49, 50, 55, 63, 65, 67, 69, 127, 131, 132, 133, 134, 136, 137, 152, 159, 161, 186, 187, 188, 215, 237, 242

Posidonius of Apamea 31

Priest G 39, 241

Proclus 10, 12, 39, 64, 231

Purification 42, 213, 214, 215

Pythagoras 32, 35

R

Radde-Gallwitz A. 90, 92, 100, 105, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 234, 241

Rist J. 166, 241

Robertson D.G. 172, 173, 195, 241

Robertson, J. M. 48, 70, 71, 77, 241

Rousseau P. 168, 242

Runia, D. T. 30, 44, 45, 242

Russell, N. 207, 242

S

Schneider C. 10, 242

Simmons, J.A. 5, 242

sin 29, 36, 71, 72, 73, 75, 228

Smith A. 152, 242

Socrates Scholasticus 237

Spidlik T. 214, 242

Stang Ch.M. 242

Stead C. 50, 51, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 73, 74, 76, 203, 205, 242

Stobaeus 66, 238

Stoics 37, 83, 172

St Paul 24, 25, 31, 100, 140, 141, 148

Syntagmation 89, 90, 98, 99, 114

T

Tarrant, H.A.S. 39, 242

Tatian 34, 238

Theodosius 9

Theophilus of Antioch 35, 142, 238

V

Vaggione R.P. 7, 12, 13, 97, 115, 116, 117, 138, 140, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 166, 167, 168, 235, 243

Valens 7, 8

Valentinian Gnosticism 65

Van den Hoek A. 42, 243

W

Williams, R. 50, 51, 54, 55, 67, 68, 69, 89, 119, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 235, 238, 243

Wolfson, H. A. 27, 42, 51, 52, 53, 54, 57, 62, 89, 243

Y

Yarnold E. 225, 243

Z

Zachhuber, J. 14, 235, 243