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Tradition and Polemic in Basil of Caesarea’s Homily on the Theophany

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AbstractThe bulk of Basil of Caesarea’s neglected Homilia in sanctam Christi generationem is a commentary on select verses of Matthew 1:18-2:11. He explicitly approves or rejects other interpretations, though without ever naming their authors. This study does not merely identify his sources and interlocutors, but more importantly examines how he engaged with previous and contemporary theologians and exegetes in a critical, selective, and creative manner. It shows that while Basil may have borrowed from Eusebius of Caesarea and refuted Eunomius, his primary conversation partner was Origen. Basil’s use of Origen is by no means uniform, but ranges from wholesale adoption to outright rejection. Hence it is in his appropriation of Origen that Basil’s critical, selective, and creative engagement with exegetical traditions is most clearly seen. This study concludes with a typology of seven ways in which Basil engaged with Origen in this homily.

1. FN11) Hubertus R. Drobner, The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction, Translated by Siegfried S. Schatzmann (Peabody 2007) 273.
2. FN22) De spiritu sancto 29.
3. FN33) On the issue of Athanasius’s influence on Basil, see R. P. C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God (Edinburgh 1988) 678-9; Lewis Ayres, Nicaea and its Legacy (Oxford 2004) 221; and Stephen M. Hildebrand, The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea: A Synthesis of Greek Thought and Biblical Truth (Washington D.C. 2007) 80 n. 10. For studies, see e.g. Jeffery N. Steenson, “Basil of Ancyra and the Course of Nicene Orthodoxy” (D.Phil. diss. Oxford, 1983) 289-331 (Homoiousian influence on Basil); Marina Silvia Troiano, ‘Il Contra Eunomium III di Basilio di Cesarea e le Epistolae ad Serapionem I-IV di Atanasio di Alessandria: nota comparativa,’ Augustinianum 41.1 (2001) 59-91; Peter W. Martens, “Interpreting Attentively: the Ascetic Character of Biblical Exegesis according to Origen and Basil of Caesarea,” Origeniana octava (Leuven 2003) ii,1115-21.
4. FN44) Mark DelCogliano, “Basil of Caesarea on Proverbs 8:22 and the Sources of Pro-Nicene Theology,” Journal of Theological Studies n.s. 59 (2008) 183-190; idem, Basil of Caesarea’s Anti-Eunomian Theory of Names (Leiden 2010) 171-6 (Basil use of Origen’s notion of epinoia); idem, “Basil of Caesarea, Didymus the Blind, and the Anti-Pneumatomachian Exegesis of Amos 4:13 and John 1:3,” Journal of Theological Studies n.s. 61 (2010) 644-58; idem, “The Influence of Athanasius and the Homoiousians on Basil of Caesarea’s Decentralization of ‘Unbegotten’,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 19 (2011) [forthcoming].
5. FN55) CPG 2913. This homily has been somewhat neglected in scholarship, due in no small part to Julien Garnier’s decision to place it among the dubia in the Maurist edition of Basil’s opera omnia (1721-1730); on this edition, see Paul Jonathan Fedwick, Bibliotheca Basiliana Vniversalis (Turnhout 1993) i,272-89 (hereafter=BBV). De Sinner’s reprint of the Maurist edition in 1839 is considered the best from a technical standpoint; see Fedwick, BBV ii,291-4. In this reprint edition, Chr. appears in vol. ii, pp. 859-66. When the Maurist edition was reprinted by J. P. Migne, several errors were introduced into Chr. (PG 31,1458-1475). The ubiquity of Migne has allowed Garnier’s judgment about the dubious authenticity of this homily to endure until the present. It is even placed among the Basilian dubia by M. Geerard, Clavis Patrum Graecorum (Turnhout 1974) ii,167, though this judgment was later corrected in the light of a recent growing consensus for its authenticity: M. Geerard and J. Noret, Clavis Patrum Graecorum: Supplementum (Turnhout 1998) 122. On the authenticity of Chr., see Hermann-Karl Usener, Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen. Das Weihnachsfest, 2 aufl. (Bonn 1911), 249 n. 6; Georg Söll, “Die Mariologie der Kappadozier im Licht der Dogmengeschichte,” Theologische Quartalschrift 131 (1951) 163-88, 288-319, and 426-57 at 178-85 (where further studies are cited); Paul Jonathan Fedwick, “A Chronology of the Life and Works of Basil of Caesarea,” in idem, ed., Basil of Caesarea: Christian, Humanist, Ascetic. A Sixteenth-Hundredth Anniversary Symposium (Toronto 1981) 3-19 at 9; idem, BBV ii/2,1051-6; and Luigi Gambero, L’omelia sulla generatione di Cristo di Basilio di Cesarea, Marian Studies n.s. 13-14 (University of Dayton 1981-1982) 1-220, at 58-68. References to Chr. are according to the paragraph numbers established by Garnier and the line numbers of Gambero’s edition; e.g. Chr. 6,245-250.
6. FN66) Chr. 6,305 (198 Gambero). See Fedwick, “A Chronology of Basil” 9.
7. FN77) Chr. 3,93-119 (184 Gambero).
8. FN88) Henri Crouzel, “La théologie mariale d’Origène,” in idem, François Fournuer, and Pierre Périchon, eds., Origène. Homélies sur s. Luc, SChr 87 (Paris 1962) 11-64 at 34-5; Luigi Gambero, Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought, Translated by Thomas Buffer (San Francisco 1999) 76.
9. FN99) Chr. 3,98-101 (184 Gambero); Origen, Hom. Lk. 6,3 (SChr 87,144 Crouzel et al.).
10. FN1010) Chr. 3,111-119 (184 Gambero); Origen, Hom. Lk. 6,4 (SChr 87,146 Crouzel et al.).
11. FN1111) Origen did not quote Ignatius exactly. In Eph. 19,1 the second-century martyr had written (Loeb Classical Library 24,238 Ehrman): “And the virginity of Mary and her giving birth was concealed from the ruler of this age, likewise too the death of the Lord, three mysteries of a cry accomplished in the silence of God.”
12. FN1212) When Basil refers to “one of the ancients,” Louis-Sébastien Le Nain de Tillemont, Memoires pour servir à l’histoire ecclésiastique des six premiers siècles (Venice 1732) ix,301, thought he meant Origen. But Fronton du Duc, who published the first bilingual edition of Basil’s opera omnia with Fédéric Morel in 1618 (on this edition, see Fedwick, BBV i,259-70), identified the ancient writer as Ignatius; du Duc’s comment can be found in De Sinner’s reprint of the Maurist edition at ii,1112. Gambero thinks Basil has cited Ignatius directly (L’omelia 112 and 184 n. 1), but this seems unlikely. See Claudio Zamagni, “Les Questions et réponses sur les évangiles d’Eusèbe de Césarée. Étude et édition du résumé grec,” (Ph.D. diss., Lausanne, 2003) 77, for a list of other patristic writers who borrowed the Ignatian text from Origen.
13. FN1313) See Gambero, Mary and the Fathers 77.
14. FN1414) The same two reasons of Origen are given also in the 11th Fragment on Luke, which, however, is of contested authenticity; see Crouzel et al., Origène 35 n. 1. Origen also alludes to the passage of Ignatius in Fragment 13 of his commentary on Matthew; see GCS 41/1,20-21. Eusebius expands upon Origen’s two reasons in Ad Stephanum 1,3-5. See also Jerome, in Matt. 1,18.
15. FN1515) Chr. 3,93-98 and 101-111 (184 Gambero).
16. FN1616) See David G. Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy in Ancient Christianity: The Jovinianist Controversy (Oxford 2007).
17. FN1717) For other interpretations of these two reasons of Basil, see Gambero, L’omelia 126-8.
18. FN1818) For a discussion, see Gambero, L’omelia 129-34.
19. FN1919) Chr. 4, 120-134 (184-6 Gambero). All translations of this homily are my own; a full, collaborative version will appear in Susan R. Holman and Mark DelCogliano, Basil of Caesarea: On Fasting and Feasts, forthcoming in the Popular Patristics Series published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press.
20. FN2020) Ad Stephanum 1,6-7. One cannot rule out the possibility that Eusebius himself drew upon a text of Origen that is no longer extant; see Zamagni, “Les Questions et réponses” 79. Fragments 17-18 from Origen’s commentary on Matthew (GCS 41/1,23) seem to suggest, as discussed in nn. 22, 24, and 28 below, that Eusebius has followed Origen. It may well be the case that Basil too drew upon the lost section of Origen’s commentary on Matthew that dealt with 1:18-20 (see also n. 38 below). But the issues on which Basil focuses, the order in which they are presented, and some terminology closely follow Eusebius. In his note on Ad Stephanum 1,5, Zamagni, “Les Questions et réponses” 78, suggests that at times Basil, among others, drew upon Eusebius’s discussion of the actions of Joseph. Gambero, L’omelia 130-1, noted the parallels between Eusebius and Basil without claiming the dependency of the latter upon the former.
21. FN2121) Ad Stephanum 1,6,83-84 (SChr 523,86 Zamagni); this same reason is repeated at 1,6,96-97.
22. FN2222) Here Eusebius may be following Origen; see Fragment 18 of the commentary on Matthew (GCS 41/1,23).
23. FN2323) Ad Stephanum 1,6,92-93 (SChr 523,86-8 Zamagni).
24. FN2424) Once again, Eusebius may have based his own comments on Origen. In Fragment 18 of his commentary on Matthew (see n. 22 above), Origen rejected the idea that Joseph feared because he thought Mary had fornicated. In Fragment 17 he says: “Joseph feared that the transgression (παρανοµία) of fornication might be imputed to the virgin” (GCS 41/1,23).
25. FN2525) Gambero, L’omelia 133-4, sees this line as a rebuttal of Joseph’s words in Protevangelium Jacobi 14,1, where he attributes a “sin” (ἁµάρτηµα) to Mary upon discovering her pregnancy.
26. FN2626) Chr. 4, 128-130 (186 Gambero). Note that the Origenian word παρανοµία (see n. 24 above) has possibly been transmitted to Basil through Eusebius.
27. FN2727) Ad Stephanum 1,7,125-130 (SChr 523,90 Zamagni).
28. FN2828) Here again Eusebius appears to have been influenced by Origen; see Fragment 17 of his commentary on Matthew (GCS 41/1,23).
29. FN2929) Chr. 4,153-156 (188 Gambero): “And no one should be misled by the captiousness of the Jews, who claim the prophet used the word ‘maiden’ instead of ‘virgin’, as in, ‘Behold, a maiden shall conceive.’” For a survey of these debates, see Adam Kamesar, “The Virgin of Isaiah 7:14: The Philological Argument from the Second to the Fifth Century,” Journal of Theological Studies n.s. 41 (1990) 51-75.
30. FN3030) Chr. 4,156-172 (188 Gambero).
31. FN3131) Chr. 4,164-168 (188 Gambero): “Seeing that Ahaz did not ask a sign in the depth or in the height [Is 7:11], so that you could learn that he who descended to the lower parts of the earth is he who ascended above all the heavens [Eph 4:9-10], the Lord himself gave a sign.”
32. FN3232) Chr. 4,172-180 (188 Gambero).
33. FN3333) Cels. 1,34-35; see Henry Chadwick, Origen. Contra Celsum (Cambridge 1953) 34 n. 2; and Crouzel, “La théologie mariale” 27. Kamesar, “The Virgin of Isaiah” 58-62, denies that Origen is the source of the argument for subsequent Greek fathers, claiming rather that they share a common source.
34. FN3434) Presumably here Origen refers to Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion.
35. FN3535) Basil is unique in citing Deut 22:28-29; see Kamesar, “The Virgin of Isaiah” 55-6.
36. FN3636) Crouzel, “La théologie mariale” 27; Kamesar, “The Virgin of Isaiah” 59.
37. FN3737) Chr. 4,174-176 (188 Gambero): “For we have found in the customary usage of scripture that ‘maiden’ (νεᾶνιν) is often used instead of ‘virgin’ (παρθένου).” It is such a tweaking of Origen’s argument that led Kamesar to deny that Basil and other Greek fathers were directly indebted to Origen. But this conclusion seems to me to underappreciate that Eusebius of Caesarea, Basil, and others could use Origen critically.
38. FN3838) Chr. 4,168-169 (188 Gambero): “And this sign is something incredible and wonderful (παράδοξόν τι καὶ τεραστικόν), and quite contrary to the ordinary nature of things.” In Fragment 20 of Origen’s commentary on Matthew (GCS 41/1,24), Origen refers to Mary’s conception of Jesus as “something great and incredible” (τὸ µέγα καὶ παράδοξον), a description not found in Cels. 1,34-35. The similar use of the word παράδοξον could indicate that Basil knew the lost portion of Origen’s commentary on Matthew.
39. FN3939) Chr. 4,146-153; 186-8 Gambero.
40. FN4040) Basil is unique in making such an appeal in this context; see Kamesar, “The Virgin of Isaiah” 57. On the significance of customary or common usage for Basil’s exegetical and theological methodology, see Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Transformation of Divine Simplicity (Oxford 2009), 114-22; and DelCogliano, Basil of Caesarea’s Anti-Eunomian Theory of Names, 158-63.
41. FN4141) For good overviews of patristic Mariological debates, see Walter J. Burghardt, “Mary in Western Patristic Thought,” in Juniper B. Carol, ed., Mariology (Milwaukee 1955-1957) vol. 1, 109-55; idem, “Mary in Eastern Patristic Thought,” in Carol, Mariology, vol. 2, 88-153; Philip J. Donnelly, “The Perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God,” in Carol, Mariology, vol. 2,228-96; Hilda Graef, Mary: A History of Doctrine and Devotion (London 1963-1965; repr. 1985) 1-161; Hans von Campenhausen, The Virgin Birth in the Theology of the Ancient Church, Studies in Historical Theology 2 (London 1964); and Gambero, Mary and the Fathers. On the in partu debate specifically, see Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy 171-204.
42. FN4242) For summaries of Basil’s Mariology, see Söll, “Die Mariologie der Kappadozier;” Graef, Mary 62-4; Gambero, L’omelia 115-72; and idem, Mary and the Fathers 141-50 (see p. 143 n. 3 for further references to secondary literature).
43. FN4343) Protevangelium Jacobi 9,2; Origen, Comm. Mt. 10,17; Hom. Lk. 7,4. In the former, Origen explicitly appeals to the Protevangelium Jacobi. This solution was frequently repeated, most often without the appeal to the Protevangelium; e.g. Eusebius of Caesarea, Comm. in psalmos 68,9. For discussion, see Crouzel, “La théologie mariale” 36-40.
44. FN4444) E.g. Athanasius, First Letter to Virgins 10; Epiphanius, Panarion 78,10.
45. FN4545) The well-known theory that the brothers and sisters of Jesus were actually his cousins is subsequent to Basil; it was first advanced by Jerome. Ancient solutions to the problem of the siblings of Jesus and their drawbacks are nicely laid out by John McHugh, The Mother of Jesus in the New Testament (Garden City 1975), 200-254.
46. FN4646) Note that in Basil’s version, Matt 1:25 reads: He did not know her until she had given birth to her firstborn son. Modern critical editions of Matt 1:25 do not include the words ‘her firstborn’ (αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον). But there is ample evidence for this reading among mss. that display the so-called Byzantine textform, and Basil surely considered these words authentic. See Jean François Racine, The Text of Matthew in the Writings of Basil of Caesarea, Society of Biblical Literature New Testament in the Greek Fathers 5 (Atlanta 2004) 41 and 287. The Byzantine form of Matt 1:25 probably represents a harmonization with Luke 2:7.
47. FN4747) Chr. 5,185-194 (188-90 Gambero).
48. FN4848) See Mark DelCogliano and Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, St. Basil of Caesarea: Against Eunomius, The Fathers of the Church 122 (Washington, D.C. 2011), 38-46. In particular, see Eun. 2.18.
49. FN4949) Other scholars have seen Chr. as a reaction to Eunomius, without detailed analysis; see Iosephus M. Germano, “Et non cognoscebat eam donec . . . : Inquistio super sensu spirituali seu mystico Mt 1,25,” Marianum 35 (1973) 184-240 at 194; Burghardt, “Mary in Eastern Patristic Thought” 114; and Donnelly, “The Perpetual Virginity,” 276-7.
50. FN5050) Philostorgius, Hist. eccl. 6,2; Pseudo-Chrysostom, Opus imperfectum in Matthaeum (PG 56,635-636). For speculations on the motivations of Eunomius’s Mariology, see Richard P. Vaggione, Eunomius of Cyzicus and the Nicene Revolution (Oxford 2000) 118 n. 251; and Philip R. Amidon, Philostorgius: Church History, Society of Biblical Literature Writings from the Greco-Roman World 23 (Atlanta 2007) 80 n. 3.
51. FN5151) See Germano, “Et non cognoscebat eam donec,” 190-200, for details.
52. FN5252) Contra Campenhausen, The Virgin Birth 65.
53. FN5353) Chr. 5,194-203 (190 Gambero).
54. FN5454) Comm. Mt. 12,34,1-14.
55. FN5555) Comm. Mt. 12,34,19-25.
56. FN5656) Pseudo-Chrysostom made a similar anti-Eunomian argument, but appealed to the phrase donec vixit, non est ei locutus as well as 1 Cor 15:25 and 1 Tim 4:13. In other words, this anonymous author has not cannibalized Origen as Basil did.
57. FN5757) Fragment 22 (GCS 41/1, 24).
58. FN5858) Germano, “Et non cognoscebat eam donec,” 194, suggests that Basil has used Origen based on a similar use of διηνεκές and its cognates. While this term is found in the Garnier edition of Chr. used by Germano, the phrase τὸ διηνεκὲς σηµαίνει is correctly excised by Gambero; see p. 190 n. 2 for the reasons. Hence there is no verbal connection between the Origenian fragment and Chr.
59. FN5959) It is also attributed to Eusebius and Isidore of Pelusium.
60. FN6060) Ephrem, Commentario ad Diatessaron 2,9-11 (CSCO 145, 21) (cites only Ps 109:1 as testimony); Jerome, Adversus Helvidium de perpetua virginitate b. Mariae 6 (PL 23,198) (cites Is 46:6 and Ps 109:1 among others, including Matt 28:20); Chrysostom, Homilia in Mt. 5,3 (PG 57,58) (cites Gen 8:7 among others); Ambrose, Expositio evangelii secundum Lucam 2,6 (PL 15,1635) (cites only Is 46:4 and Ps 109:1); Isidore of Pelusium, Ep. 1,18 (PG 78,192-3) (cites only Ps 109:1, Gen 8:7, and Is 46:4). In his letter against the Arabian Antidicomarians preserved in Panarion 78, Epiphanius does not refute an objection to Mary’s perpetual virginity based on the ‘until’ of Mt 1:25.
61. FN6161) Chr. 5,205 (190 Gambero).
62. FN6262) Pseudo-Chrysostom appealed to Ex 4:22 (Israel my firstborn) to make the point that ‘firstborn’ does not mean being the first one born (presumably the first of more than one born), but rather being the only one born. Others made a similar argument; see e.g. Jerome, Commentarii in Mt at PL 26,26. This is not Basil’s argument.
63. FN6363) E.g., ‘only-begotten’ does not mean begotten from only one parent, but being the only one begotten (Eun. 2,21); ‘father’ does not imply corporeality and passion, but providing to another the beginning of being in a nature like one’s own (Eun. 2,22).
64. FN6464) Hom. Lk. 14,7-8.
65. FN6565) Hom. Lk. 14,7-8 (SChr 87,226 Crouzel et al.); trans. Joseph T. Lienhard, Origen. Homilies on Luke, Fragments on Luke, Fathers of the Church 94 (Washington, D.C. 1996) 60.
66. FN6666) Chr. 5,207-209 (190 Gambero): “Charges had been brought against him by the people, on the grounds that by his actions he established that incredible and famous sign: a virgin gave birth and her virginity not was destroyed.”
67. FN6767) Chr. 5,211-213 (190-2 Gambero).
68. FN6868) Commentariorum series in evangelium Matthaei 25 (GCS 38,42,14-43,18 Klostermann / Treu). Note that this section survives in Greek.
69. FN6969) E.g. Hex. 8,6.
70. FN7070) See Crouzel, “La théologie mariale” 40-4; Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy 184-7.
71. FN7171) On the tradition of connecting Num 24:17 and Matt 2:2, see Jean Daniélou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity, Translated by John A. Baker (London and Chicago 1964) 214-24, esp. 214-9; Gilles Dorival, “«Un astre se lèvera de Jacob». L’interprétation ancienne de Nombres 24, 17,” Annali di storia dell’esegesi 13 (1996) 295-352; idem, “L’astre de Balaam et l’étoile des mages,” Res orientales 12 (1999) 93-111; and Johan Leemans, “To Bless with a Mouth Bent on Cursing: Patristic Interpretations of Balaam (Num 24:17),” in George H. van Kooten and Jacques van Ruiten, eds., The Prestige of the Pagan Prophet Balaam in Judaism, Early Christianity and Islam, Themes in Biblical Narrative: Jewish and Christian Traditions 11 (Leiden 2008), 287-99.
72. FN7272) Chr. 5,217 (192 Gambero). See Dorival, “L’astre de Balaam” 97. Connecting magi with Persia was common among both non-Christians and Christians; e.g. Sextus Empiricus, Phyrrhoniae hypotyposes 3,205; Clement, Stromata, 1,15,71; Origen in Fragment 24 of his commentary on Matthew at GCS 41/1,26. A minority of church fathers located the homeland of the magi in Arabia.
73. FN7373) Chr. 5,218-220 (192 Gambero). E.g. Herodotus, Historiae 1,107-8; 1,120; 7,19; 7,37; Philo, De legibus specialibus 2,18,100-1; etc.
74. FN7474) Chr. 5,220 (192 Gambero).
75. FN7575) Chr. 5,228-230 (192 Gambero): “And so, as the magi searched for the place in Judaea mentioned in this ancient prophecy, they came to Jerusalem to learn where the king of the Jews had been born.”
76. FN7676) Dorival, “Un astre se lèvera de Jacob” 314-6; Leemans, “To Bless with a Mouth Bent on Cursing” 292-4.
77. FN7777) Origen, Hom. Num. 13,7 and 15,4; Cels. 1,60. But see Fragment 24 of his commentary on Matthew (GCS 41/1,26), where Origen is as vague about the connection between the magi and the prophecy of Balaam as Basil is.
78. FN7878) Chr. 5,228-233 (192 Gambero).
79. FN7979) Cels. 1,60; Fragment 24 of the commentary on Matthew (GCS 41/1,26). See also Dorival, “Un astre se lèvera de Jacob” 316-21 and 340.
80. FN8080) Cels. 1,60,16-21 (SChr 132,238 Borret); trans. ANF 4,422.
81. FN8181) Chr. 5,234-241 (192 Gambero).
82. FN8282) Hom. Num. 13,7,4 (SChr 442,150 Doutreleau); trans. Thomas P. Scheck, Homilies on Numbers: Origen (Downers Grove 2009) 78-9.
83. FN8383) See also Dorival, “Un astre se lèvera de Jacob” 346-8; Leemans, “To Bless with a Mouth Bent on Cursing,” 295-6.
84. FN8484) Chr. 6,241-258 (192-4 Gambero); cf. Gregory of Nyssa, in diem natalem Christi (PG 46,1133d). See Hex. 6,5-7 for Basil’s arguments against horoscopic astrology.
85. FN8585) A. A. Long, “Astrology: arguments pro and contra,” in Jonathan Barnes, ed., Science and Speculation: Studies in Hellenistic Theory and Practice (Cambridge 1982) 165-192 at 165-7.
86. FN8686) Chr. 6,243-244 (192 Gambero).
87. FN8787) Origen, Cels. 1,58,25-17 (SChr 132,236 Borret). Eusebius follows Origen in Dem. ev. 9,1,2 (GCS 23,404 Heikel) and 9,1,11 (GCS 23,405 Heikel).
88. FN8888) Basil spells this out in more detail later in the homily at Chr. 6,282-288 (196 Gambero).
89. FN8989) A good passage that exhibits Basil’s understanding of distinguishing marks (τὸ ἴδιον or ἰδίωµα) is Hex. 4,5 (GCS n.f. 2, 64, 24-65, 10 Mendieta / Rudberg). For further discussion of distinguishing marks, see Radde-Gallwitz, Divine Simplicity, 132-7; and DelCogliano, Basil of Caesarea’s Anti-Eunomian Theory of Names, 190f.
90. FN9090) Chr. 6,262-272 (194 Gambero).
91. FN9191) Chr. 6,267-272 (194 Gambero).
92. FN9292) Origen, Jo. 13,155-156; Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecl. Prop. 1,13; Dem. ev. 9,3. The text was applied to Christ in other ways; see Origen, Hom. Cant. 1,10; 2,2; 2,9; Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. 14,3.
93. FN9393) Origen, Cels. 1,60,33-35 (SChr 132,240 Borret). Here Origen is following Irenaeus, Haer. 3,9,2.
94. FN9494) Chr. 6,272-282 (194-6 Gambero).
95. FN9595) Cels. 1,58,18-20 (SChr 132,236 Borret): the star partook “of the nature of those celestial bodies which appear at times, such as comets, or those meteors which resemble beams of wood, or beards, or wine jars, of any of those other names by which Greeks are accustomed to describe their varying appearances” (trans. ANF 4,422).
96. FN9696) Cels. 1,59,6 (SChr 132,236 Borret); trans. ANF 4,422. See also the last line of Fragment 24 of Origen’s commentary of Matthew (GCS 41/1,26).
97. FN9797) Cels. 1,59,8-13 (SChr 132,236 Borret); trans. ANF 4,422. Eusebius writes in a similar vein in Dem. ev. 9,1,13 (GCS 23,406 Heikel).
98. FN9898) Chr. 6,274-277 (194-6 Gambero).
99. FN9999) Like Origen, he notes that comets are similar temporary astrological phenomena named according to their appearance (see n. 95 above), but this is a point made by Greek thinkers at least as far back as Aristotle, Mun. 395b10-13.
100. FN100100) Chr. 6,277-282 (194-6 Gambero). Here Basil summarizes an ancient meteorological theory concerning the formation of stars which has its ultimate origin in Aristotle, Meteorol. 1,7 (344a4f.).
101. FN101101) Aware of Basil’s rejection of astrology in Hex. 6,5-7, Gambero, L’omelia 196 n. 1, finds Basil’s explanation of the star of Bethlehem both odd and inspired by Origen. He suggests (following Söll, “Die Mariologie der Kappadozier” 179) that Basil has made a concession to popular beliefs. This assessment seems to blur the distinction between the pseudo-science of astrology and ancient meteorological science. Basil can reject astrology but still appeal to scientific knowledge without the taint of acquiescence to popular beliefs. Indeed, Basil’s scientific accounts of stars and comets hardly qualify as such. In addition, I have shown that Basil uses Origen quite selectively in this instance.
102. FN102102) There is no sure evidence for Basil’s independent use of Eusebius, Dem. ev. 9,1, which itself is heavily indebted to Origen.
103. FN103103) See nn. 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, and 38 above.

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