Is Nyssa a Social Trinitarian?

No, says Anatolios ( Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine , 232-3 ): “we do not find an extended and focused discussion of the likeness between the unity-in-distinction in the human realm and that in the divine realm as a central theme in Gregory’s theology, certainly not to the extent that we find in modern proponents or even in Richard of St. Victor.”

Yet, Anatolios thinks we should not soften the force of Gregory’s use of analogies between divine and human. For starters, “categorical dismissals of Gregory’s adverting to some likeness between the unity of the divine hypostaseis in the one nature and the communion of human nature among individuals have to take account of Gregory’s distinct sense of the unity of human nature.” Plus, “the consideration that Gregory explicitly contrasts human and divine types of co-activity does not render the likeness between human communion and trinitarian unity a ‘disanalogy,’ since an aspect of unlikeness is inherent to the notion of analogy. An analogy does not simply do away with the radical otherness between God and creation but functions to illuminate a certain likeness within that radical unlikeness.”

Anatolios points to a passage in Gregory’s homilies on the Song of Songs that provides “a significant counterpoint of the likeness between human and divine co-activity.” He “evokes an eschatological vision wherein the diversity of human action will be harmonized by the Holy Spirit into a unified clinging to the good that is imitative of the mutual indwelling of the Father and Son.” In Gregory’s own words, they “all should be one, united by the one and only Good through the Holy Spirit.” After citing Ephesians 4:3-4, he adds that “it is even better to state the divine words of the gospels themselves: ‘That all may be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, that they also may be one in us’ (John 17:21).”

"This misses the issue. Only a very ill-informed Catholic or Orthodox (of whom, sadly, there ..."

Canon and Church
"FYI our Uniting Church of Australia has its Pitt Street Uniting Church led by a ..."

Canon and Church
"I quite agree. But our knowledge of Jesus comes from the narrative traditions which were ..."

Canon and Church
"If God is indeed real and good then anyone whom does not teach good is ..."

Canon and Church

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!