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Divine Simplicity And The Plurality Of Attributes (CE II 359–386; 445–560)

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Chapter Summary

In CE II 67-358 and again in 387-444 Gregory clarifies the status of human knowledge, conceptuality and language in regard to the divine. The pattern of Gregory's argument recurs in regard to the attributes of 'eternity' at the end of CE I and 'simplicity' earlier in CE II. His claim at CE II 29 that simplicity is the same for Father and Son connects with his common sense scepticism about talk of greater and lesser degrees of being: a thing either is or is not - and with the idea that the divine nature, being infinite, cannot receive addition. The unclarified status of 'unbegotten' generates murkiness. Eunomius set up a tricky target in identifying God's unbegottenness with his essence, and this was compounded when Basil added imperishability as an attribute enjoying the same status as unbegottenness.

Keywords: divine simplicity; Eunomius; God's unbegottenness; Gregory of Nyssa



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