By Mark DelCogliano
Basil of Caesarea's debate with Eunomius of Cyzicus within the early 360s marks a turning aspect within the fourth-century Trinitarian controversies. It shifted concentration to methodological and epistemological disputes underlying theological variations. This monograph explores this type of basic issues of competition: the correct idea of names. It bargains a revisionist interpretation of Eunomius's conception as a corrective to past methods, contesting the frequent assumption that it's indebted to platonist assets and displaying that it used to be constructed through drawing upon proximate Christian assets. whereas Eunomius held that names uniquely predicated of God Communicated the divine essence, in reaction Basil constructed a "notionalist" thought in which all names characterize essentially notions and secondarily homes, now not essence.
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Additional info for Basil of Caesarea’s Anti-Eunomian Theory of Names: Christian Theology and Late-Antique Philosophy in the Fourth Century Trinitarian Controversy
The name is “of greater worth than the subsistence of the Almighty” and “has adorned God Almighty with incomparable superiority” because it overstates what God really is. So ‘unbegotten’ is not causing the divine substance (as Mortley thinks) but presenting it as something that it is not by deceptive embellishments (which is what the word καλλωπίσασα, “has adorned,” can connote). Therefore, if God’s names are not revelatory of substance, the superiority of human beings over God when naming him ‘unbegotten’ consists in their ability to make God greater than he is in actuality.
One could add here the inaugural issue of Word and Spirit: A Monastic Review 1 (1979), which was dedicated to Saint Basil the Great. 16 introduction papers dealt with Basil’s Trinitarian theology or Pneumatology,40 two addressed his debate with Eunomius more directly. 42 In the same year, Thomas A. 43 The study of debate between Basil and Eunomius was for a long time hampered by the lack of critical editions and translations into modern languages. In the 1980s, this situation was greatly remedied.
Second, I will point out inconsistencies in Eunomius’s theory to demonstrate that even in its limited scope it lacks integrity. I will show that Eunomius’s theory “works” only when applied to names for the Father but falls apart when applied to names for the Son, and that he effectively conflates name, meaning, and substance despite claims to the contrary. Third, I will illustrate how Eunomius formulated a general, naturalist theory of names in the Apologia apologiae by grounding his original theory in a theory of the divine origin of all names in order to refute Basil’s objections to the initial formulation of his theory in the Apologia.
Basil of Caesarea’s Anti-Eunomian Theory of Names: Christian Theology and Late-Antique Philosophy in the Fourth Century Trinitarian Controversy by Mark DelCogliano