Gregory of Nyssa and the Concept of Divine Persons

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Oxford University Press, 17 feb. 2005 - 186 pagini
The concept of personhood is central to a wide range of contemporary issues, ranging from reproductive rights to the death penalty and euthanasia. We may think that the concept of person is a modern development. In fact, however, this idea does not originate with our discovery of human rights, consciousness, and individuality. In this study Lucian Turcescu shows that the fourth-century theologian Gregory of Nyssa developed a very sophisticated concept of the person in the context of his attempts to clarify the paradox of the Trinity-a single God comprising three distinct persons. Turcescu offers the first in-depth analysis of Gregory's writings about the divine persons. He shows that Gregory understood personhood as characterized by uniqueness, relationality, and freedom. He reasoned that the three persons of the Trinity have distinctive properties that make them individuals, that is, capable of being enumerated and circumscribed. But this idea of individuation, inherited from the neo-Platonists, falls short of expressing a clear notion of personal uniqueness. By itself it would suggest that a person is merely a collection of properties. Gregory's great contribution was to perceive the importance of relationality to personhood. The three divine persons know and love each other, are in communion with each other, and freely act together in their common will. This understanding, argues Turcescu, adds up to a concept of personal uniqueness much like our modern one. Turcescu's work not only contributes to our knowledge of the history of Trinitarian theology but can be helpful to theologians who are dealing with issues in contemporary ethics.
 

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Cuprins

Introduction
3
1 The Notion of Person in Antiquity
7
2 Philosophical Concepts That Shaped Gregory of Nyssas View of the Individual
25
To His Brother Peter On the Difference between Ousia and Hypostasis
47
To Eustathius On the Holy Trinity To Ablabius On Not Three Gods and To the Greeks Based on the Common Notions
61
5 Against Eunomius and the Refutation of the Confession of Faith of Eunomius
79
Against the Macedonians
109
Conclusions
115
Abbreviations
119
Notes
123
Bibliography
153
Index
169
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Despre autor (2005)

Lucian Turcescu is Associate Professor and Chair of the Religious Studies Department at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and President of the Canadian Society of Patristic Studies.

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