Gregory of Nyssa and the Concept of Divine Persons
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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1 The Notion of Person in Antiquity
2 Philosophical Concepts That Shaped Gregory of Nyssas View of the Individual
To His Brother Peter On the Difference between Ousia and Hypostasis
To Eustathius On the Holy Trinity To Ablabius On Not Three Gods and To the Greeks Based on the Common Notions
5 Against Eunomius and the Refutation of the Confession of Faith of Eunomius
Against the Macedonians
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A. H. Armstrong Ablabium aÈnurvpoß Alexander of Aphrodisias argument Arian Aristotelian Aristotle Aristotle’s Categories Arius Athanasius Basil of Caesarea biblical Brill called Cambridge Cappadocians category of relation center of consciousness chapter Christian collection of properties common communion concept of divine concept of person correlativity Danie´lou definition difference distinguished divine nature Do¨rrie doctrine eternal Eunomius Eunomius’s Eustathius example Fatherhood forms of individuals God’s Graecos Greek text Gregor von Nyssa Gregory of Nazianzus Gregory of Nyssa Holy Spirit Hu¨bner human hypostasis John later Leiden means Metaph mode of existence Neoplatonic notion of person NPNF Origen ousia oy›si¬a and y\po¬stasiß passage patristic Petrum philosophical phrase Platonic Plotinian Plotinus Plotinus’s Porphyry pro¡ß pro¬ß pro¬svpon proso¯pon reference relatives Rist scholars Sextus Empiricus Son’s speak species Stead Stoic Stoic category Stramara theology things three divine persons Three Gods trans treatise Trinitarian tro¬poß th∆ß ungenerated University Press Widdicombe word