Commonplacing: The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea

Stephen M. Hildebrand, The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea: A Synthesis of Greek Thought and Biblical Truth (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2007) is, despite its rather impressive title, a readable, understandable, and helpful evaluation of the most prescient points of Basil’s theological contributions. Hildebrand’s discussion of Basil’s thought as evidenced by his choice of words in argumentation rightly revolves around two sets of words: homoouisios/homoiousios (ομοουσιος/ομοιουσιος) and prosopon/hypostasis (προσοπον/υποστησις). The first set refers to the famous debate on the “substance” (ousia) of Christ and whether it is similar to (homoi-ousia) or the same as (homo-ousia) that of God the Father. Hildrebrand clearly and consisely outlines Basil conversion from the former to the latter. The second set indicates the debate over the position of Christ in the Godhead. A thoroughly enjoyable read if you have interest in the history of theology. Knowledge of Greek is helpful, but not required since the terms are transliterated.

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