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Eustratios Of Nicaea’s ‘Definition Of Being’ Revisited

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Chapter Summary

Pericles Joannou argued that the scholion, which he titled the "Definition of Being," showed Eustratios to be Byzantium's first nominalist, a conclusion he supported with his second article, a similar edition and commentary on the semeioma from the synodical proceedings against Eustratios. Joannou concludes his own analysis of the scholion by saying that here "we see how the doctrine of universals first penetrated theology in Byzantium before it was taught by Abelard several decades later in the West." He argues that in the case of Eustratios this penetration was of a decidedly nominalistic bent, which can be distilled to three points: 1) the restriction of existence to particular being reduces the ontological status of the universal to a mere concept; 2) essence and existence are indistinguishable, i.e, a particular being's participation in being in general is simultaneous and coextensive, and 3) the identity of a particular being's essence and existence.

Keywords: "Definition of Being"; Eustratios; Pericles Joannou



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