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Divine Substance$
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Christopher Stead

Print publication date: 1977

Print ISBN-13: 9780198266303

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198266303.001.0001

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The Word Homoousios

The Word Homoousios

(p.190) VIII The Word Homoousios
Divine Substance

Christopher Stead

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the use of the word homoousios, usually translated as ‘consubstantial’ or ‘coessential’, which appears to have been introduced by Gnostic Christians in the 2nd century. The first half of the 3rd century did not bring any important change in the usage of the term by Christian theologians. In the majority of cases it occurred in quotations or reminiscences of Gnostic writers. But towards the end of this period, the first tentative use of the term to formulate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity can be traced. The chapter also considers the beginnings of controversy over its application to persons of the Trinity.

Keywords:   homoousios, Christian writers, Gnostic Christians, theology, Trinity

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