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Against Eunomius (Fathers of the Church Patristic Series) Hardcover – March 28, 2011
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Thankfully, Mark DelCogliano and Andrew Radde-Gallwitz have translated Basil's Against Eunomius into English for the interested student. The volume under review is relatively slim coming in at just over 200 pages (207 plus front matter to be exact). 75 of those pages (3-78) consist of an excellent introduction that details the significance of this work (both the original and this particular translation), a biographical overview of Basil's life, the historical context of the writing, as well as its polemical and theological content, an inquiry into Basil's sources, an extremely helpful and well produced glossary of technical vocabulary, and finally a note on the authors' text and translation. DelCogliano and Radde-Gallwitz went above and beyond the call of duty in this introduction.
Basil's work itself is divided into 3 books that span 115 pages. The Father is the focus of book 1 while the Son and Spirit are the focus of books 2 and 3 respectively. We're all familiar with the term "gross insubordination," right?Read more ›
The book is divided into 3 books: Book 1 (50 pages) focusing on the Father, Book 2 (54 pages)focusing on the Son and Book 3 (11 pages) focusing on the Spirit.
Basil's argument against Eunomius is that we should use "Father" and "Son" as the names instead of "Begotten" and "Unbegotten", that they are of the same substance (thanks to the translators I learned that Basil uses homoousios only once in this letter) and they share in the one divinity but in this simplicity of only one divinity there are "distinguishing marks" that really differentiate the Father and the Son.
This oneness of substance and the distinction of the Father from the Son is doctrinally known as the "eternal generation". Since I'm researching this topic in 3rd and 4th century church history, focussing on the Cappodocians, that was my motivation for buying this book.
For anyone looking to see how the Trinitarian debate was shaped during the 360's onward would do well to read this work of Basils. As the authors note, there are many concepts which Basil writes down here (and also develops through his life) that shaped what became enshrined in the creed of 381.
Thanks Basil for your insights and thank you DelCogliano and Radde-Gallwitz for the translation.