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Gregory of Nyssa's contra eunomium and onomatodoxy in Russian theology

Lara Sels (UGent)
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Abstract
In 1913 the Russian theologian Sergej Viktorovič Troickij (1877-1972) started a series of articles in issues 37-52 of the “Supplements to Church News” (Russ.: Pribavlenii k Cerkovnym Vedomostjam); later, in 1914, a compilation of these articles was published in Petersburg under the title “On the Names of God and the ‘Deifiers of the Name’ (Russ.: imjabožniki)” . In this book Troickij used Gregory of Nyssa's arguments Against Eunomius to refute a contemporary heresy, viz. onomatodoxy (Russ.: imjaslavie). ‘The Name of God is God Himself’ was the catchphrase of the onomatodox movement, which originated on Athos and came to be grafted on a Palamite stem. The controversy illustrated an ancient cleft in Russian Orthodoxy, viz. that between the theology of the Academies on the one hand and the monastic hesychast spirituality on the other. In this heated debate, Gregory of Nyssa's arguments enabled Troickij to state: “If the teachings of the ‘deifiers of the Name’ (imjabožniki) then coincide with those of Eunomius, who was condemned by the Holy Fathers and by the whole Church on the Second Ecumenical Council, a reference to this parallel will be sufficient to totally undercut the teachings of the imjabožniki.” The article aims to elucidate the way in which Gregory of Nyssa's arguments Contra Eunomium – especially the ones that relate to his views on language and (the divine) names – were used against the onomatodoxes in a controversy that opposed the bishop of Nyssa to a devotional practice rooted in Palamite mystical realism. An assessment of Trockij's reading of Gregory proves illustrative for the reception of the Cappadocian Father's thought in 20th-century Russian theology.
Keywords
Onomatodoxy, Gregory of Nyssa, Contra Eunomium

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Chicago
Sels, Lara. 2014. “Gregory of Nyssa’s Contra Eunomium and Onomatodoxy in Russian Theology.” In Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae, ed. Johan Leemans and Matthieu Cassin, 124:660–674. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.
APA
Sels, Lara. (2014). Gregory of Nyssa’s contra eunomium and onomatodoxy in Russian theology. In Johan Leemans & M. Cassin (Eds.), Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae (Vol. 124, pp. 660–674). Presented at the 12th International colloquium on Gregory of Nyssa (Contra Eunomium III), Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.
Vancouver
1.
Sels L. Gregory of Nyssa’s contra eunomium and onomatodoxy in Russian theology. In: Leemans J, Cassin M, editors. Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill; 2014. p. 660–74.
MLA
Sels, Lara. “Gregory of Nyssa’s Contra Eunomium and Onomatodoxy in Russian Theology.” Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae. Ed. Johan Leemans & Matthieu Cassin. Vol. 124. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2014. 660–674. Print.
@inproceedings{1899810,
  abstract     = {In 1913 the Russian theologian Sergej Viktorovi\v{c} Troickij (1877-1972) started a series of articles in issues 37-52 of the {\textquotedblleft}Supplements to Church News{\textquotedblright} (Russ.: Pribavlenii k Cerkovnym Vedomostjam); later, in 1914, a compilation of these articles was published in Petersburg under the title {\textquotedblleft}On the Names of God and the {\textquoteleft}Deifiers of the Name{\textquoteright} (Russ.: imjabo\v{z}niki){\textquotedblright} . In this book Troickij used Gregory of Nyssa's arguments Against Eunomius to refute a contemporary heresy, viz. onomatodoxy (Russ.: imjaslavie). {\textquoteleft}The Name of God is God Himself{\textquoteright} was the catchphrase of the onomatodox movement, which originated on Athos and came to be grafted on a Palamite stem. The controversy illustrated an ancient cleft in Russian Orthodoxy, viz. that between the theology of the Academies on the one hand and the monastic hesychast spirituality on the other. In this heated debate, Gregory of Nyssa's arguments enabled Troickij to state: {\textquotedblleft}If the teachings of the {\textquoteleft}deifiers of the Name{\textquoteright} (imjabo\v{z}niki) then coincide with those of Eunomius, who was condemned by the Holy Fathers and by the whole Church on the Second Ecumenical Council, a reference to this parallel will be sufficient to totally undercut the teachings of the imjabo\v{z}niki.{\textquotedblright} The article aims to elucidate the way in which Gregory of Nyssa's arguments Contra Eunomium -- especially the ones that relate to his views on language and (the divine) names -- were used against the onomatodoxes in a controversy that opposed the bishop of Nyssa to a devotional practice rooted in Palamite mystical realism. An assessment of Trockij's reading of Gregory proves illustrative for the reception of the Cappadocian Father's thought in 20th-century Russian theology.},
  author       = {Sels, Lara},
  booktitle    = {Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae},
  editor       = {Leemans, Johan and Cassin, Matthieu},
  isbn         = {9789004268258},
  issn         = {0920-623X},
  keyword      = {Onomatodoxy,Gregory of Nyssa,Contra Eunomium},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Leuven, Belgium},
  pages        = {660--674},
  publisher    = {Brill},
  title        = {Gregory of Nyssa's contra eunomium and onomatodoxy in Russian theology},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/9789004268258\_027},
  volume       = {124},
  year         = {2014},
}

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