Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Transformation by Andrew Radde-Gallwitz

By Andrew Radde-Gallwitz

Divine simplicity is the concept, because the final precept of the universe, God needs to be a non-composite harmony now not made from components or various attributes. the assumption was once appropriated through early Christian theologians from non-Christian philosophy and performed a pivotal function within the improvement of Christian notion. Andrew Radde-Gallwitz charts the growth of the assumption of divine simplicity from the second one in the course of the fourth centuries, with specific recognition to Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa, of the main refined writers in this subject, either instrumental within the development of the Trinitarian doctrine proclaimed as orthodox on the Council of Constantinople in 381. He demonstrates that divine simplicity used to be no longer a philosophical appendage awkwardly hooked up to the early Christian doctrine of God, yet a suggestion that enabled Christians to articulate the consistency of God as portrayed of their scriptures. Basil and Gregory provided a special construal of simplicity in responding to their valuable doctrinal opponent, Eunomius of Cyzicus. difficult permitted interpretations of the Cappadocian brothers and the normal account of divine simplicity in contemporary philosophical literature, Radde-Gallwitz argues that Basil and Gregory's fulfillment in reworking rules inherited from the non-Christian philosophy in their time has an ongoing relevance for Christian theological epistemology at the present time.

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But what criteria were used for assigning passages to one subject as opposed to another? In this chapter, I argue that, from as early as the controversies surrounding Marcion, simplicity entered into the criteria for making such judgements. It did so along with other assumptions about God: that God is one or good or just, for instance. Additionally, basic logical rules, such as the law of non-contradiction, were operative, such that if one assumes God to be F, and this passage attributes to God something that contradicts God’s-being-F, then one must describe this passage as having a different subject.

But such terms form only one class of theological concepts. Despite their agnosticism about defining what it is to be God, Basil and Gregory do predicate a number of terms of the divine substance. These terms refer to God’s intrinsic properties, goodness, light, life, power, wisdom, and so forth. These properties, I will argue, must be understood differently from ideas and terms derived through conceptualization. They are not identical with God’s nature, but neither are they merely 24 ‘Divine Simplicity as a Problem’, 267.

While his arguments are not without problems, he has undoubtedly put his finger on the pressures the doctrine of simplicity places on theological epistemology. Moreover, the two versions of divine simplicity he opposes correspond to the versions I am arguing that the Cappadocians reject. 20 You must deny the former because you cannot say God is identical with his action of, say, raising you to eternal bliss and with his action of damning your office mate to hellfire. And if one continues to maintain the identity thesis, arguing that these are the same actions from a general point of view, then one must deny God’s prevenient grace.

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