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Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Transformation of Divine Simplicity$
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Andrew Radde-Gallwitz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199574117

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574117.001.0001

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Conclusion: The Transformation of Divine Simplicity

Conclusion: The Transformation of Divine Simplicity

(p.225) Conclusion: The Transformation of Divine Simplicity
Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Transformation of Divine Simplicity

Andrew Radde‐Gallwitz

Oxford University Press

The Conclusion recapitulates the book's argument and argues that the achievement of Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa in transforming divine simplicity has ongoing relevance for Christian theology. It addresses both ancient and contemporary objections which posit that divine simplicity is incompatible with God acting in the world. The contemporary objection, as formulated by Christopher Stead, presents God's action as portrayed in scripture as an embarrassment for the philosophical theory of divine simplicity. However, the conclusion argues that both ancient and modern objections to the idea of a simple God acting in the complex world rest upon similar assumptions about ‘God’ and ‘world’ which the Cappadocian brothers help Christian theology to overcome. Basil and especially Gregory show the Christian tradition how to speak of God's action in the world as fully reflective of God's simple nature and its characteristic attributes or propria. The Cappadocian brothers thus are still relevant to how theologians construe the God‐world relation. Finally, the chapter attends to questions that remain unanswered, such as how divine simplicity as conceived by the Cappadocians is fully compatible with divine freedom.

Keywords:   transformation, propria, Christopher Stead, God‐world relation, divine freedom, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa

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