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The Heteroousian Theory Of Names In Its Christian Context

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Chapter Summary

Heteroousians' theory of names had only superficial parallels with both Platonist theories and the Platonist-inspired theories of Philo and Eusebius, making it highly unlikely that any of them had a determinative influence upon the Heteroousian theory in its initial formulation. To counterbalance that denial, this chapter offers a positive account of their sources. The chapter argues that the development of Heteroousians' initial theory of names is best explained by situating it within its proximate Christian context. It also argues that the centrality of the doctrine of divine simplicity in Eunomius's theory of names represents not only a borrowing from Athanasius but also a clever deployment of the Alexandrian bishop's own argument against him.

Keywords: Athanasius; Christian context; Eunomius's theory of names; Heteroousian theory of names



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