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Hilary of Poitiers on the TrinityFrom De Fide to De Trinitate$
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Carl Beckwith

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199551644

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199551644.001.0001

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Hilary's Understanding and Use of Scripture

Hilary's Understanding and Use of Scripture

(p.186) 9 Hilary's Understanding and Use of Scripture
Hilary of Poitiers on the Trinity

Carl L. Beckwith (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Hilary's understanding of scripture and its normative use in discussions about God does not proceed on apologetic grounds. The challenge faced by Hilary is that his Homoian opponents routinely insist that their theological assertions are rooted in scripture. Hilary regrettably acknowledges throughout De Trinitate that his opponents not only assign scripture a normative role in their arguments but also promote what he considers faulty theological positions by appealing to scripture only. Hilary recognizes that the dispute over scripture is not on its place in theological reflection but over its employment and the assumptions made about the text. This first half of this chapter surveys Hilary's understanding of scripture. The second half of the chapter looks at two key texts from the fourth-century Trinitarian debates: Proverbs 8 and the prologue to the Gospel of John. These texts demonstrate not only Hilary's theological and exegetical development in the various editorial stages of De Trinitate but also show his careful handling of scripture in securing a pro-Nicene theology.

Keywords:   scripture, exegesis, Word of God, analogy, metaphor, unity of Scripture, soteriology, Photinian, Photinus of Sirmium, Arius, Homoian, Proverbs 8, Gospel of John

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