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Hilary of Poitiers’ De Trinitate and the Name(s) of God

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“Hilary of Poitiers’ De Trinitate and the Name(s) of God” investigates the implications of the ancient nomos/physis debate to Trinitarian theology. While the Cappadocians, countering Heteroousians, eventually demonstrated that naturalist understanding of naming did not work for Christian theology, Hilary still assumed that it did. Hilary is usually grouped with naturalists who held that names were not arbitrary and conventional impositions, but that they corresponded to the nature of what they designated. Yet, there are several complications with such a grouping, because not all naturalists (e.g., Cratylus, Stoics, Origen, Eunomius) say the same thing, focus on same issues, have theological interest in names, or agree with Hilary. Accordingly, this paper will argue that Hilary can be called a “naturalist” only in a qualified sense.

Affiliations: 1: The Catholic University of America 620 Michigan Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20064, Email:


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