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Essence And Activity (Energeia) In St. Gregory's Anti-Eunomian Polemic

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is devoted to the Eunomian controversy, and discusses how the concepts of ousia and energeia function within Eunomius of Cyzicus' theory of causation and how St. Gregory of Nyssa responds to Eunomius' reasoning. In modern literature on 'Palamism', the word energeia is often translated as energy. In Eunomian theology, there is a hierarchy of three essences or primary beings. The unbegotten God is the first, the only one that is God in the proper sense. The second is caused by the first, and the third is brought to being by the second. The Eunomian system requires a dimension of extended succession 'between' God's eternity and the temporality of material beings to make room for the Son and the Spirit. The chapter ends with some considerations about possible links between Gregory of Nyssa and the Palamite doctrine of uncreated energies.

Keywords: energeia; Eunomius of Cyzicus; Gregory of Nyssa



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