Eclectic Thoughts on Holy Trinity: Person, Essence, Energy, and Stuff Like That

Eclectic Orthodoxy

by Robert F. Fortuin

There is an observation by David Hart in the essay ‘The Hidden and the Manifest’ worthy of further consideration. The comment occurs in his critique of Thomist and Neo-Palamite readings of patristic distinctions within God:

There is no such ‘thing’ as the divine essence; there is no such object, whether of knowledge or of ignorance … God is essentially Father, Son, and Spirit, and … there is no other reality prior to, apart from, or more original than the paternal arche. (The Hidden and the Manifest, p. 153)

To be sure ‘essence’ is a notoriously slippery term. It comes to Anglophones from the Latin root ‘esse‘, to be, as a 14th century philosophical and theological approximation to translate the ancient Greek ‘ousia‘. Ousia is theologically problematic because its primary meaning is distinctly materialistic: wealth, possession, substance. During the Nicene…

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About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
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