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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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Book One of De Trinitate

Book One of De Trinitate

(p.151) 7 Book One of De Trinitate
Hilary of Poitiers on the Trinity

Carl L. Beckwith (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a close reading of Book One of De Trinitate. Book One never formed a part of De Fide but was added in 358 when Hilary made the other revisions and updates to Books Two to Six. As such, Book One was not retouched by Hilary in 358 but was newly composed by him and deliberately placed as the opening book of De Trinitate. Hilary uses Book One to outline the theological method necessary for a proper discussion of who God is—a method that Hilary sees his modalist and subordinationist opponents compromising. Hilary articulates this theological method through the literary trope of his own troubled soul searching for truth. Book One discusses such issues as the authority of scripture, the priority of faith, and use of analogy and metaphorical language in theological discourse.

Keywords:   conversion, faith, reason, scripture, philosophy, analogy, metaphor, Photinus of Sirmium, Marcellus of Ancyra, subordinationism, modalism, synopsis of books

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