Biblical Exegesis in Fourth-Century Trinitarian Debates: Context, Contours, & Ressourcement

Michael A. G. Haykin
Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY

In his masterful study of the unfolding of early Christian thought, Jaroslav Pelikan notes that the “climax of the doctrinal development of the early church was the dogma of the Trinity.”[1] And the textual expression of that climax is undoubtedly the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed that was issued at the Council of Constantinople (381), in which Jesus Christ is unequivocally declared to be “true God” and “of one being (homoousios) with the Father” and the Holy Spirit is said to be the “Lord and Giver of life,” who “together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified.” The original Nicene Creed, issued by the Council of Nicaea in 325, had made a similar statement about the Son and his deity, but nothing had been said about the Holy Spirit beyond the statement “[We believe] in the Holy Spirit.” When the deity of the Spirit was subsequently questioned in the 360s and 370s, it was necessary to expand the Nicene Creed to include a statement about the deity of the Holy Spirit. In the end this expansion involved the drafting of a new creedal statement at the Council of Constantinople.[2] In short, this creedal settlement understood God to be one being (ousia) who exists in three co-eternal persons (hypostaseis): Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.[3]

Some historians have argued that these fourth-century creedal statements represent the apex of the Hellenization of the church’s teaching, in which fourth-century Christianity traded the vitality of the New Testament church’s experience of God for a cold, abstract philosophical formula. The great German historian Adolf von Harnack (1851–1930), for instance, famously declared that the doctrine of the Trinity was “a work of the Greek spirit on the soil of the Gospel.”[4] But nothing could be further from the truth.[5] The Nicene and Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creeds helped to sum up a long process of reflection that had its origin in the texts of the New Testament. As Douglas F. Ottati, long-time professor of theology at Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, once put it, “Trinitarian theology continues a biblically initiated exploration.”[6] Or, in the words of the early twentieth-century theologian, the American Presbyterian Benjamin B. Warfield: the “doctrine of the Trinity lies in Scripture in solution; when it is crystallized from its solvent it does not cease to be Scriptural, but only comes into clearer view.”[7]

Pre-Nicene Trinitarianism

A Trinitarian understanding of God had shaped the life of the church from the very beginning of the Christian Faith. Consider, for example, the portion of a third-century hymn discovered in the 1920s at Oxyrhynchus, about 100 miles southwest of Cairo and a few miles west of the Nile.

May none of God’s wonderful works
keep silence, night or morning.
Bright stars, high mountains, the depths of the seas,
sources of rushing rivers:
may all these break into song as we sing
to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
May all the angels in the heavens reply.
Amen! Amen! Amen!
Power, praise, honour, eternal glory to God,
the only Giver of grace.
Amen! Amen! Amen![8]

This hymn of worship clearly implies what the fourth-century councils of Nicaea and Constantinople would affirm to be the nature of God, namely, his triunity.

In the previous century, when Irenaeus (c.130–c.200) of Lugdunum (modern-day Lyon) debated with Valentinian Gnostics and Marcionites in the Rhône River valley about the nature of God, his vision of the Godhead was one that has been rightly described as “explicitly Trinitarian.”[9] He called the Son “our Lord and God.”[10] And he employed the adjective “eternal,” drawn from Hebrews 9:14, to describe the Holy Spirit, thereby implying the Spirit’s deity.[11] Over against Gnostic speculation that this world and its inhabitants came into existence through the work of a being who was not the true God, Irenaeus asserted that God made all things without the assistance of anyone outside of himself. And yet he did have help, namely, what Irenaeus calls “the hands of the Father,” namely, “the Son and the Holy Spirit,” a metaphor that implies their deity.[12]

Another important theological debate of this era, this time with modalism, forced the North African theologian Tertullian (fl.190–215) to demonstrate, in the words of the French historian Jean Daniélou, “that there can be number in God without jeopardising the unity of the divine substance.”[13] Tertullian was forthright in the dual affirmation that “Father and Son and Spirit are unseparated from one another,” and that “the Father is one [person (persona)], and the Son another, and the Spirit another.”[14] Among other texts, Tertullian argued from Genesis 1:26, where God says, “Let us make man after our image and likeness” to prove that the Father was “speaking with the Son who was to assume manhood, and the Spirit who was to sanctify man.”[15] On the basis of this prosopological exegesis—reasoning from the fact that the persons (prosōpa/personae) within the Godhead address one another—Tertullian argued that there must be three within the one Godhead. “‘Two gods’ or ‘two lords’ we never let issue from our mouth,” the African theologian asserted, for “both the Father is God and the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God, and each several one [of them] is God.”[16] The God who has revealed himself in the Scriptures must be understood as Trinitas, a word that Tertullian appears to have coined in the context of his battle with modalism.[17]

Challenging Trinitarianism and the response of Nicaea

At the beginning of the fourth century, though, there emerged a studied rejection of the full deity of the Son and the Spirit. Through the teaching of Arius (260/280–336), an elder and popular preacher in the Church of the Baucalis near the harbour in eastern Alexandria, Christian communities throughout the Roman Empire, especially in the eastern regions, were plunged into a lengthy, bitter controversy about the person of Christ and his Spirit that dominated much of the fourth century.[18]

Arius’ career before 318, when his views became controversial, is shadowy. It was in that year that he publicly claimed that only the Father was truly God. As he wrote in a letter to Alexander (d.328), the bishop of Alexandria, God the Father alone, “the cause of all, is without beginning.” The Son was created by the Father as “an immutable and unchangeable perfect creature,” and thus cannot be “everlasting or co-everlasting with the Father.”[19] The Son, must therefore have had a beginning, while God is without beginning.[20] And since there was a time when the Son did not exist, there must have been a time when it was inappropriate to call God “Father.” In fact, Arius was so committed to the transcendence of the Father that he was prepared to assert that the “Father remains ineffable to the Son, and the Son can neither see nor know the Father perfectly or accurately.”[21] As for the Holy Spirit, by Arius’ reckoning, he was even less divine than the Son, for he was the first of the creatures made by the Son and thus did not share the being of either the Father or the Son.[22] Arius claimed to be following Scripture, and it is important to note that this is where the key battle had to be fought. As Rowan Williams has rightly noted, the history of theology in this patristic era is a history of exegesis.[23] To articulate his position, Arius cited texts like Proverbs 8:22, where Wisdom is cited as saying in the Septuagint, “the Lord created me”; John 14:28, “my Father is greater than I”; or Colossians 1:15, where Christ is called “the image of the invisible God” and the “firstborn of every creature.”[24] Arius was also deeply fearful of modalism or Sabellianism—so-named after Sabellius, a third-century errorist, whose views had been condemned for all but eliminating any distinction between the persons of the Godhead. In seeking to avoid the heresy of Sabellianism, though, Arius fell into the equally pernicious error of denying the full deity of the Son and the Spirit.

Alexander’s initial response was to emphasize that the Son was indeed as eternal as God the Father. According to Arius, Alexander taught, “Always God always Son,” namely that is the Son is co-eternal with the Father.[25] Thus there never was a time when the Father was without his Son. As such, he must be fully God.[26] Alexander summoned Arius to a meeting of all the church leaders of Alexandria and urged him to reconsider his views. When Arius refused, an open breach became unavoidable. In 321 Alexander convened a council of about one hundred elders from Egypt and Libya, which drew up a creed that repudiated Arius’ novel views. When Arius and those who supported him refused to accept this document, the council had no choice but to excommunicate them. But Arius had no intention of letting things rest. He began to correspond with other church leaders outside of North Africa and thus took the definitive step that spread the conflict to the rest of the church in the eastern Roman Empire.

What was especially difficult about this conflict was the “slippery” nature of Arius’ views and, of course, his appeal to the Bible. For instance, he could call Jesus “God.” But what he and his partisans understood by this term was very different from what Alexander and his friends meant by the term. For Arius, Jesus was “God” but not fully God like the Father, for he did not share all of the attributes of the Father. In Arius’ theology, the Son is ontologically subordinate to the Father and is really a creature, albeit the highest of all creatures.[27]

Eventually, in the summer of 325, a council was called to provide definitive closure to the issue. Around 220 bishops and elders met at Nicaea, most of them from churches in the eastern Roman Empire. The creedal statement that they issued, known to history as the Nicene Creed, was designed to end the dispute with its unequivocal declaration that the Lord Jesus Christ is “true God of true God, begotten (gennēthenta) not made, of one being (homoousios) with the Father.” As “true God,” the Son is confessed to be as truly God in whatever sense the Father is God. Whatever belongs to and characterizes God the Father belongs to and characterizes the Son. A key phrase in this creed is undoubtedly the statement that the Son is “of one being (homoousios) with the Father.”[28] Here, the full deity of the Son is asserted, the term homoousios emphasizing the fact that the Son shares the very being of the Father. He is therefore not a creature, contrary to the view of Arius and his fellow supporters. As a refutation of Arius’ theology, the language of this text is “intended to be a strong statement of divine unity” between the Father and the Son.[29]

But what of avoiding the danger of modalism, the bugbear from the previous century that third-century theologians like Tertullian had battled and that fourth-century preachers like Arius feared? Well, the term “begotten” serves to differentiate the Son from the Father, but that term alone was not sufficient to avoid deep-seated concerns about the defenders of Nicaea being crypto-modalists. It should be noted also that the creed said nothing about the Spirit being divine. This was due to the fact that the heart of the controversy lay with regard to the nature of the Son. Clearly something explicit needed to be confessed about the Spirit’s deity, but that confession would not come without further controversy.

The attack on Marcellus of Ancyra for modalism

In spite of the hopes of those who drafted this confessional text, the Nicene Creed did not end the controversy. Eusebius of Nicomedia (d. c.342), an habitué of the imperial court and supporter of Arius, had the ear of the professing Christian emperor, Constantine (c.280–337), and he was able to convince Constantine that the condemnation of Arius was far too harsh. In fact, so prominent a role did Eusebius play in the rehabilitation of Arius, that recent scholars have argued that the anti-Nicene party is better denominated “the Eusebians” rather than the Arians. Various Arian leaders and even Arius were brought back into favour from 327 onwards and the leading enthusiasts for Nicaea sent packing.[30] Among the latter were Athanasius of Alexandria (c.299–373) and Marcellus of Ancyra (c.285–374). Athanasius had succeeded Alexander as bishop of Alexandria in 328.[31] A native Egyptian, Athanasius was a theological genius and, until his death in 373, the most formidable opponent of Arianism in the Roman Empire. Marcellus, on the other hand, has been remembered usually in histories of the Ancient Church simply for the statement in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed that Christ’s “kingdom will have no end,” which is generally thought to be a refutation of his interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:28. But Marcellus and his theological defence of Nicaea are of much greater import and merit far more attention.

A decade after the Council of Nicaea, Athanasius was deposed at the Synod of Tyre (335). Marcellus responded to this deposition with a treatise against a prominent member of the Arian party, the Cappadocian Asterius the Sophist (d.341), who had defended Eusebius of Nicomedia.[32] Marcellus presented this work, now known as Against Asterius, to the Emperor Constantine, but it was not well received, and in 336 Marcellus was also deposed as a heretic by a synod at Constantinople. This was the first of a number of condemnations of Marcellus that, in the words of Michel Barnes, appeared “almost annually and… [stretched] into the early 350s.”[33] Probably the high-water mark of these denunciations was at the Synod of Philippopolis (343), where Marcellus was denounced as “the most detestable of all heretics.”[34] And his heresy? Modalism. The fears of the Arians or anti-Nicene party that the Nicene Creed was indeed a modalist statement seemed to be confirmed in one of its leading defenders.

What exactly Marcellus did believe is not easy to determine as virtually none of his writings have survived. One of his main opponents, the historian Eusebius of Caesarea (c.260–339), did cite passages from Marcellus’ Against Asterius which he then refuted. From these, it is clear that Marcellus “propounded a radical monotheism” that spoke of God as one being (ousia) and one person (hypostasis). While Marcellus regarded the Son (whom he consistently called the Word in accord with John 1) and Spirit (and he did not have a developed ontology of the Spirit) as eternal, his emphasis on the unity of God hampered his ability to speak about what is triadic in God.[35] In other words, to authors like Eusebius of Caesarea, Marcellus certainly appeared to be a modalist.

Athanasius’ Trinitarianism

If Marcellus was quick to seize upon the homoousios of the Nicene Creed as the sine qua non of orthodoxy—though, as noted, he interpreted it in a modalistic direction—his friend Athanasius, who never formally broke with him,[36] took the best part of thirty years to realize the importance of this phrase.[37] It was not until the 350s that Athanasius began to use the term homoousios frequently, a fact well seen in some letters that he wrote to a friend, Serapion of Thmuis (d. after 362), in 358 and 359, while on the run from persecution by the Arian emperor Constantius II (317–361). From John 16:15, Jesus’ statement that “all that belongs to the Father is mine”, and John 17:10, Jesus’ words to the Father, “all you have is mine,” Athanasius reasoned that the Son shares all of the divine attributes of the Father. “The Father is light,” he wrote, “the Son is radiance and true light. The Father is true God; the Son is true God.”[38] John 16:15, Athanasius further noted, could never have been said by a creature, no matter how highly exalted. It is only appropriate from the mouth of one who is “one in being with (homoousios) the Father.” Thus Athanasius summed up: “of that which the Father has, there is nothing which does not belong to the Son.” It is thus “impious” to say that “the Son is a creature.”[39] Shaping Athanasius’ overall Trinitarian exegesis of the Bible was his determination to find the overall “meaning” or “purport” (skopos) of what the Bible taught about God.[40]

These letters also reveal that the divinity of the Holy Spirit was becoming a topic of intense theological conflict, for Serapion informed Athanasius that there were individuals in his community of Thmuis who confessed the Son’s deity but who were maintaining that the Holy Spirit is a creature, albeit of angelic nature.[41] In his response, Athanasius insisted that the Holy Spirit cannot be a creature, since creatures come from nothing and there must have been a point when they came into being. Athanasius found evidence for this in Genesis 1:1.[42] By contrast, according to 1 Corinthians 2:12, the Holy Spirit is said to be from God:

What kinship could there be… between the Spirit and the creatures? For the creatures were not; but God is being, and the Spirit is from him. That which is from God could not be from that which is not, nor could it be a creature, lest, by their judgment, he also from whom the Spirit is should be considered a creature.[43]

Athanasius’ intent in this passage is to point to the gulf that lies between the Holy Spirit and the creatures. The created realm comes “from nothing,” but 1 Corinthians 2:12 indicates that the Spirit is “from God,” who is uncreated being and as such the Spirit must also be uncreated. Again, the Alexandrian bishop argued:

The creatures come from nothing and their existence has a beginning; for “in the beginning God made the heaven and the earth” [Genesis 1:1], and what is in them. The Holy Spirit is, and is said to be, from God, so said the Apostle. But if the Son cannot be a creature because he does not come from nothing but from God, then of necessity the Spirit is not a creature, for we have confessed that he comes from God. It is creatures that come from nothing.[44]

Here the phrase “from God” is applied to both the Spirit and the Son: if they are both from God, neither of them can be created. Since the opponents of the Spirit’s deity in Thmuis confess the full divinity of the Son, and this, in part, because he was from God, Athanasius was hopeful that they would see the parallel with the Spirit: he too must be divine because he is from God. Athanasius’ exegesis of 1 Corinthians 2:12 ensured that the Spirit has an uncreated nature, and so has a right to be worshipped alongside the Father and the Son.[45]

Athanasius’ defense of the Spirit’s divinity in the letters to Serapion helped him realize that the creedal formulation of Nicaea needed to be supplemented by a statement about the Spirit. Thus at the Council of Alexandria, held in 362 and over which Athanasius presided, it was declared:

All who desire peace with us [ought]… to anathematize the Arian heresy, to confess the faith that was confessed by the Holy Fathers at Nicaea, and also to anathematize those who say the Holy Spirit is a creature and separate him from the being of Christ. For a true departure from the loathsome heresy of the Arians is this: [a refusal] to divide the Holy Trinity, or to say that any member of it is a creature. For those who pretend to profess the faith confessed at Nicaea, but who dare to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, do nothing more than deny the Arian heresy in words, while they hold it fast in thought.[46]

However, it was only after the death of Athanasius in 373, that a definitive exposition of the Spirit’s deity was published by a theologian whom Athanasius once described as “the pride of the Church,”[47] namely, the Cappadocian theologian Basil of Caesarea (c.330–379).

Basil of Caesarea and his pneumatological journey

In many respects, Basil’s main contribution to the history of dogma is his pneumatological thought.[48] Basil was born into a long-standing Christian family: one of his grandmothers had been converted through the ministry of Gregory Thaumaturgus (c.210/215–c.270/275), who had studied under the brilliant Alexandrian exegete Origen (c.185–254), and both sets of grandparents suffered during the persecution of Diocletian (c.245–c.312). Basil’s own conversion in 356 had come in the context of the early monastic movement that introduced him to an environment in which there was a heightened interest in the Holy Spirit as the sanctifier of God’s people. Basil’s experience of the Spirit in the monastic life was definitely a key factor in his growing interest in the question of the Holy Spirit’s nature and person. This personal interest coincided with a rapid increase in the 360s and 370s of ontological questions about the being of the Spirit, of which Athanasius’ dispute with the individuals in Thmuis in the late 350s appears to have been a forerunner. Those who opposed an expansion of the Nicene Creed to include a confession of the Spirit’s deity during this era became known as Pneumatomachi, “fighters against the Spirit,” a coinage based on Acts 5:39.

For example, after the death of Silvanus, the bishop of Tarsus, in 369, certain Pneumatomachi emerged in the Christian community there, ardent advocates for the creaturehood of the Spirit. The rest of the community was polarized into two groups: “zealots,” who wanted to disfellowship anyone who could not unequivocally declare the Spirit to be God and “moderates,” who were uncertain about what to say about the Spirit’s being. In an attempt to prevent a schism between these two latter groups, Basil wrote to the former and told them:

The present circumstances hold a great propensity for the destruction of the churches, of which I have been aware for some time now. Edification of the Church and correction of error, sympathy towards the weak and protection of those brethren who are sound are all non-existent. Moreover, there is no remedy available either to heal this sickness which plagues us or to prevent that which threatens. All in all the condition of the Church is like that of an old coat (to use an unambiguous example, even if it appears somewhat trite), which is easily torn by the slightest occasion of use and which cannot be restored to its original condition. Consequently, in such circumstances, there is a need for great zeal and much diligence, so that the churches might receive some benefit. This benefit, in a word, is the unification of those parts which have long been separated.

Now union would occur if we were willing to accommodate ourselves to those who are weaker, where we can do so without harm to souls. Therefore, since many voices have been raised against the Holy Spirit and many tongues have been whetted to blasphemy against him, I ask you, in so far as you can, to reduce the blasphemers to a small number and receive into communion those who do not say that the Holy Spirit is a creature. Thus, the blasphemers may be left alone, and either become ashamed and return to the truth or remain in their sin and become discredited because of their small number. Hence, let us seek nothing more beyond proposing the faith of Nicaea to those brothers who wish to join us. And if they accept that, then let us demand also that they must not call the Holy Spirit a creature and that those who do so should not be received into communion. But I do not think it is appropriate to ask for anything beyond these requirements. For I am convinced that if something more needs to be added for clarification, the Lord, who in all things works for the good of those who love him [Romans 8:28], will grant it through the continued sharing of the same way of life and through peaceful discussions.[49]

Basil concurred with the opinion of the orthodox zealots of Tarsus that zeal is good, but, he stressed, only so long as it is directed towards a worthy goal. Due to the dissension and disregard for other believers which already characterized far too much of the Church in the eastern Mediterranean, Basil was convinced that a worthy goal was to avoid further fragmentation, which would be the case if Basil’s addressees had their way. Rather, the efforts of the latter should be directed towards the unification of all who were not clearly heretical. But this unification could only come about if those to whom Basil was writing, and others of similar zeal, were willing to accommodate themselves to those whose beliefs were not as settled. Basil then proceeded to indicate how this principle was to be put into practice. Basil’s addressees should receive into communion all who confessed the Nicene Creed and who refused to describe the Spirit as a creature. In this way those who were openly blaspheming the Spirit through their description of him as a creature would be discredited due to their small number.

The irenicism of the closing sentence in this letter, with its reference to “peaceful discussions,” continued for a couple of years to be Basil’s approach to discussions about the Spirit’s divinity. But Basil was not to escape conflict. It came through his mentor in the monastic life and an old friend, Eustathius of Sebaste (c.300–c.377), who came under suspicion due to the theological ambiguity of his pneumatological position.[50] Eustathius had been the leading figure in the monastic movement in Asia Minor at the time of Basil’s conversion and Basil was deeply indebted to him. However, although they held much in common with regard to the ascetic life, there were large differences when it came to Trinitarian doctrine. Eustathius was largely unconcerned about questions of dogma such as the nature and status of Spirit, and it was undoubtedly because he was not a theologian that no written works of his have been transmitted. As Wolf-Dieter Hauschild has described the keynote of his pneumatology: “the Holy Spirit was… a charismatic reality primarily to be experienced.”[51] He appears to have been quite happy to affirm the Nicene Creed as it stood, but he had a deep aversion to expanding it to include a dogmatic assertion with regard to the Spirit. He was, for lack of a better term, committed to a Binitarianism that was hostile to any conglorification of the Spirit with the Father and the Son. His refusal to clearly take a position as the Spirit’s deity is well captured by a remark he reputedly uttered at a synod in 364 when the question of the Spirit’s ontological status was raised: “I neither choose to name the Holy Spirit God nor dare to call him a creature.”[52]

Basil, though, retained his friendship with Eustathius, clearly with the hope of bringing his old friend around to a position of full orthodoxy. But Basil’s irenicism made his own orthodoxy suspect to some. In late 372 and early 373, Theodotus of Nicopolis (d.375), a leading bishop in northern Asia Minor and an orthodox zealot, began to bring pressure on Basil to clarify his own position on the Spirit and also his relationship with Eustathius. Meletius of Antioch (d.381), another leading supporter of the Nicene Creed, shared Theodotus’ view. Basil, by associating with a suspected heretic, was himself dogmatically suspect! Basil found himself in an unenviable position. On the one hand, he was beginning to be criticized by Eustathius’ followers for doctrinal convictions regarding the Spirit that were increasingly unacceptable to many of Eustathius’ Pneumatomachian partisans. On the other hand, his close ties to Eustathius were making him dogmatically suspect to a number of his episcopal colleagues and some of his monastic friends.[53]

So Basil arranged to meet with Eustathius in June of 373. In a two-day colloquy, Basil and Eustathius appeared to have come to an agreement on pneumatological issues. In order to satisfy Theodotus, Meletius and the other bishops, Basil convinced Eustathius to sign a statement that has been transmitted as Letter 125 in the Basilian corpus. The key part of this text runs thus:

[We] must anathematize all who call the Holy Spirit a creature, and all who so think; all who do not confess that he is holy by nature, as the Father is holy by nature and the Son is holy by nature, and refuse him his place in the blessed divine nature. Our not separating him from Father and Son is a proof of our right of mind. For we are bound to be baptized in the terms we have received and to profess belief in the terms in which we are baptized, and as we have professed belief in, so to give glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thus we must hold aloof from the communion of all who call him creature, as from open blasphemers. One point must be regarded as settled; the remark is necessary because of our slanderers. We do not speak of the Holy Spirit as unbegotten, for we recognise one Unbegotten and one Origin of all things, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Nor do we speak of the Holy Spirit as begotten, for by the tradition of the faith we have been taught one Only-begotten. We have been taught that the Spirit of truth proceeds from the Father, and we confess him to be of God without creation.[54]

This statement is probably modeled on Athanasius’ Tome to the Antiochenes. However, whereas Athanasius’ focus was on the inseparable nature of the triune God, Basil’s emphasis was placed on the natural holiness of the Spirit. Since the Spirit is holy without qualification, he cannot be a creature and must be indivisibly one with the divine nature. The confession of this unity was both the criterion of orthodoxy and the basis upon which communion could be terminated with those who affirmed that the Spirit was a creature. As to the details of the Spirit’s origin, the phrase “without creation” was considered sufficient. As well as supplying an effective defense against the Pneumatomachian assertion that the Spirit must be a creature because he is neither unbegotten nor begotten, it provides a non-speculative statement on the mode of the Spirit’s existence. This pneumatological position thus defined the precise limits beyond which Basil was not prepared to venture, even for a friend such as Eustathius.[55] Finally, the baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19 has clearly played a key role in shaping Basil’s thinking: to be baptized into “the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” implies faith in the three persons of the Godhead and also determines doxological ultimacy—the Father along with the Son and the Holy Spirit are to receive equal honour and worship.

At the meeting at which this document was drawn up and initially agreed to by both Basil and Eustathius, another meeting was planned later that year at which time this document would be formally ratified in the presence of Theodotus and Meletius. But Eustathius never came to that meeting. Instead, he renounced his signature on the statement and, at a series of Pneumatomachian synods, denounced what he described as the doctrinal innovations of Basil. And for the next two years he openly slandered Basil as a Sabellian and consequently a heretic. Basil was so stunned by this turn of events and what amounted to the betrayal by a close friend that he kept silence until the winter of 374–375. Eventually, when he was convinced that some reply to Eustathius and his Pneumatomachian party had to be made, he responded with a series of letters and his magnum opus, On the Holy Spirit (375).

Biblical exegesis in On the Holy Spirit

The Pneumatomachi were maintaining that it was proper only to give glory to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. A specific question had come to Basil from a close friend whom he had mentored, Amphilochius of Iconium (c.340–395), asking whether or not it was also proper in corporate worship to glorify the Father with the Son together with the Holy Spirit.[56] The aversion of the Pneumatomachi to the conglorification of the Spirit with the Father and the Son thus became the occasion Basil needed to make a detailed reply to the views of Eustathius and the Pneumatomachi.

The core of Basil’s On the Holy Spirit was essentially a detailed exposition of much of the biblical testimony about the Spirit’s person.[57] A number of key themes informed Basil’s argument. From the presence of the Spirit in the baptismal formula of Matthew 28, he argued that the mention of “Father, Son, and Spirit” in this formula “testifies to their union and fellowship.” Thus he went on to state, “The Lord has delivered to us a necessary and saving dogma: the Holy Spirit is to be ranked with the Father.”[58] Then, from a variety of biblical texts that speak of the Spirit’s activities Basil showed how the Spirit “is indivisibly and inseparably joined to the Father and the Son” since he does what only God can do. The Spirit sanctifies the angels, for example, and enables them to remain steadfast in their allegiance to God, something he could not do unless he is divine. The holiness of the angels is not inherent, but results from their communion with One who is innately holy, namely the Spirit.

How can the Seraphim sing, “Holy, holy, holy,” without the Spirit teaching them to constantly raise their voices in praise? If all God’s angels praise him, and all his host, they do so by cooperating with the Spirit. Do a thousand thousands of angels serve him? Do ten thousand times ten thousand stand before him? They accomplish their proper work by the Spirit’s power.[59]

Basil also pointed to the titles given by Scripture to the Spirit to argue for his deity. For instance, the ascription of the term “Lord” to the Spirit in 2 Corinthians 3:16–18 was indisputable proof of the “excellence of the Spirit’s glory.”[60] It is noteworthy that Basil did not explicitly call the Spirit “God” nor did he speak of the Spirit as “one in being” (homoousios) with the Father and the Son. While his argument clearly indicates his belief in the full deity of the Spirit, his refusal to use the term homoousios seems to indicate an ongoing concern about the modalistic danger of this term. Nicene Trinitarian orthodoxy had to be affirmed over against Arian subordinationism but without any hint of modalism.[61]

Then, the Spirit is the One who gives saving knowledge of God, but only God can reveal God. In Basil’s words:

When, by means of the illuminating power, we fix our eyes on the beauty of the invisible image and through that image are led up to the supremely beautiful spectacle of the Archetype, the Spirit of knowledge is inseparably present there [with the Father and the Son]. To those who love the vision of the truth the Spirit supplies in himself the power to behold the image. He does not give the revelation from without, but in himself leads to the knowledge [of the image]. For just as “no one knows the Father except the Son” [Matthew 11:27], so “no one can say Jesus is Lord except in the Holy Spirit” [1 Corinthians 12:3]. For it does not say “through the Spirit” but “in the Spirit.” …And, as it is written, “in your light we shall see light” [Psalm 36:9], that is, in the illumination of the Spirit [we shall see] “the true light that enlightens every man that comes into the world” [John 1:9]. Thus, in himself he makes known the glory of the Only-Begotten, and in himself provides the knowledge of God to the true worshippers. Therefore, the way of the knowledge of God is from the one Spirit through the one Son to the one Father.[62]

Here Basil is building on such passages as Hebrews 1:3 and Colossians 1:15 in which the Son is described as the image of the Father, whom Basil calls the “Archetype.” During the course of the Arian controversy, it had become a commonplace to argue that the Son’s being the image of the Father meant that there was a community of nature between the Son and the Father. But knowledge of the image and by extension its archetype is impossible without the Spirit who reveals the Son—here Basil is drawing upon 1 Corinthians 12:3. Moreover, this knowledge is given by the Spirit “in himself.” Knowledge of God does not come through an intermediary like an angel, but is given by God by/in himself, namely in the Spirit, who must therefore be divine. This text then tells us why the Spirit is inextricably joined to the Father and the Son. His epistemic relationship to the Father and the Son speaks of an ontological union.[63] As Basil noted in one of his letters: “Therefore we never divorce the Paraclete from his unity with the Father and the Son; for our mind, when it is lit by the Spirit, looks up to the Son and in him as in an image beholds the Father.”[64]

Now, if the Spirit is God, how does his relationship to the Father differ from that of the Son to the Father? This was a vital question for fourth-century Greek theologians, since, as has been noted, they ever feared the specter of Sabellianism that denied the hypostatic differences between the persons within the Godhead. Basil turned to such Scripture texts as John 15:26, 1 Corinthians 2:12, and Psalm 33:6 to argue that the Spirit “proceeds from the mouth of the Father, and is not begotten like the Son.”[65] Basil quickly qualified this image. The terms “breath” and “mouth” must be understood in a manner befitting to God. The comparison of the Spirit with breath does not mean that he is the same as human breath, which quickly dissipates upon exhalation, for the Spirit is a living being with the power to sanctify others. This image well reflects the nature of our knowledge about God. On the one hand, it indicates the intimate relationship of the Father and the Spirit so the Spirit has to be glorified with the Father and the Son. On the other hand, the image reminds us that the Spirit’s mode of existence is ineffable, even as the being of the Godhead is beyond human comprehension.[66]

Basil died at the beginning of 379 and never saw the triumph of his theological position, which took place two years later through the work of his younger brother Gregory of Nyssa (c.335–c.394)

The Council of Constantinople (381) and its Creed

With the death of the Emperor Valens (328–378), patron and protector of the Arians, in the disastrous rout at Hadrianople in Thrace in 378, the purple passed to a Spaniard, Theodosius I (347–395), who, in his theological convictions, was committed to Nicene Trinitarianism. Determined to establish the Church on the bedrock of the Nicene Creed, Theodosius traveled to Constantinople, entering the city on November 24, 380, whereupon he called a council to meet in Constantinople the following May.

Theodosius desired the theologians at the council to see if they could persuade the Pneumatomachi to abandon their deficient view of the Spirit. In the words of the historian Socrates, Theodosius and “the bishops who shared the same faith spared no efforts” to bring the Pneumatomachi “into unity with them.”[67] However, the gulf which lay between the orthodox and the Pneumatomachi, thirty-six bishops under the leadership of Eleusius of Cyzicus—Eustathius appears to have been dead—was so wide, that it could not have been bridged without one side sacrificing all that they held dear. Thus, the Pneumatomachi, after rejecting the proposed union, left the council. After their departure, the council approved a confessional statement that may well have been crafted in the discussions with the Pneumatomachi. Moreover, it is quite probable that one of the leading figures behind the composition of this creedal statement was Basil’s younger brother, Nyssen. Gregory had drunk deeply from the well of both Scripture and his brother’s doctrine of the Spirit. Like his brother, he was overwhelmingly convinced that the Spirit is a full member of the Godhead. Yet, also like his brother, he was hesitant to employ the term “God” with regard to the Spirit.

Without a doubt, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed is one of the most significant texts from the early Church. The third article, which deals with the Spirit, runs thus:

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father; with the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified; he has spoken through the Prophets.

The biblical grounding of this article is patent upon inspection. The use of the term “Lord” for the Spirit, as in 2 Corinthians 3:16–18, for example, had been a key part of Basil’s argument for the deity of the Spirit. Then, to call the Spirit “the giver of life” is to ascribe to him a work that only God can do. This term may reflect the pneumatology of Genesis 1:2, but more likely it is a reference to the Spirit’s role in giving new life in Christ as found in a passage like John 3:3–8. The clause “who proceeds from the Father” is taken from John 15:26. One significant change, though, has been made: in place of the preposition “from the side of” (para) in John 15:26 there is the preposition “from within” (ek), a change based on 1 Corinthians 2:12. This clause serves to differentiate the person of the Spirit from the person of the Son. Whereas the Son is begotten of the Father, the Spirit proceeds from the Father. It is also noteworthy that the verb “proceeds” is in the present tense, which is “tantamount to saying that like the Father he [i.e. the Spirit] had no beginning.”[68]

The “all-important clause, as J. N. D Kelly puts it, is the affirmation that the Holy Spirit “with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified.”[69] If the Spirit’s conglorification and co-adoration with the Father and the Son is affirmed, it must be because he is fully God. As it stands, it would have been impossible for the Pneumatomachi to have subscribed to this statement.[70] One of Basil’s closest friends, Gregory of Nazianzus (c.330–c.389/390), was the president of the council at this point and he was critical of the creedal statement because it did not say explicitly that the Spirit is God or declare the homoousion of the Spirit.[71] Why the omission of such terms? Adolf-Martin Ritter has argued plausibly that it was this creed that was employed to seek reconciliation with the Pneumatomachi.[72] Nevertheless, behind the reserved language was a very clear stance on the deity of the Spirit.[73] The final clause, “who spoke through the prophets,” is based on verses like 2 Peter 1:20–21 and Ephesians 3:5. While it may thus have primary reference to the Old Testament prophets, it is important to note that Basil could describe the inspiration of the whole Bible as prophetic. Undoubtedly he considered the prophetism of the Scriptures a proof of the divinity of the Spirit who inspired them.[74]

While the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed must be viewed as a norma normata (“a rule that is ruled”) it is a rule that faithfully reflects the biblical view of God and, as such, it stands as one of the great landmarks of Christian theology.

A coda

Just before the council convened in Constantinople, Gregory of Nazianzus was installed as the bishop of the city, and Nyssen, who had come to Constantinople for the impending council, was asked to preach at the induction. Also present at the installation of Nazianzen were some monks from Mesopotamia, including, according to Reinhart Staats, quite possibly the author known as Macarius.[75] Gregory of Nyssa had a deep admiration for these brothers, for they were men

full of the Spirit, namely, [these] men from Mesopotamia. There, the charismata are still a living reality; there the preached Word is confirmed by the Spirit… [Similarly, with] the apostles, the miracles assisted and the Word was considered to be credible because of the charismata. I… mean that mighty deeds possess much persuasive power… But what must be thought of the present situation? Do you not see similar works of faith? I consider the great deeds of our fellow servants as such wonders. …According to their outward appearance they are old men, venerable persons to see, with shiny white hair and their mouths shut in silence. They do not struggle with words, they do not study rhetoric; but they have such great power over the spirits that, with one command, they expel demons not by the art of rhetoric, but through the power of faith.[76]

Pace Adolf von Harnack, the men—like Nyssen, his brother Basil and their hero Athanasius—who fought for the doctrine of the Trinity in the fourth-century, were not primarily enamoured of philosophical reflection that they neglected the Scriptural admonition to be full of and to walk in the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). This passage well reveals Nyssen’s deep admiration for Spirit-filled men like Macarius whose hearts’ desire was to live in such a way as to give glory to the One whom Macarius joyfully confessed as the “consubstantial Trinity.”[77]

  1. The Christian Tradition: Vol. 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100–600) (Chicago, IL/London: The University of Chicago Press, 1971), 172.
  2. For the text of these two creeds, see J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds (2nd ed.; London: Longmans, Green and Co Ltd., 1960), 215–216, 297–298. See also Johannes Roldanus, The Church in the Age of Constantine: The theological challenges (Abingdon, Oxfordshire/New York, NY: Routledge, 2006), 123–126.
  3. Joseph T. Lienhard, “Basil; of Caesarea, Marcellus of Ancyra, and ‘Sabellius’,” Church History, 58 (1989): 159.
  4. Adolf von Harnack, Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte (1909 4th ed.; repr. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1965), I, 20. See Stephen M. Hildebrand, The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea: A Synthesis of Greek Thought and Biblical Truth (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2007), 7. Hildebrand also identifies Edwin Hatch as another scholar who argued along this line.
  5. As noted by Lewis Ayres, Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
  6. “Being trinitarian: The shape of saving faith,” The Christian Century, 112, no. 32 (November 8, 1995): 1045.
  7. “The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity” in his Biblical and Theological Studies, ed. Samuel G. Craig (Philadelphia, PA: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1952), 22.
  8. Cited Mark A. Noll, Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997), 47.
  9. J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (4th ed.; London: Adam & Charles Black, 1968), 107.
  10. Against Heresies 1.10.1.
  11. Against Heresies 5.12.2.
  12. Against Heresies 4.preface.4; 5.6.1; 5.28.4. Cf. also Against Heresies 2.30.9; 4.20.4. On the phrase “the hands of the Father,” see also Joseph Haroutunian, “The Church, the Spirit, and the Hands of God,” Journal of Religion, 54 (1974): 154–165; D. Jeffrey Bingham, “Himself within Himself: The Father and His Hands in Early Christianity,” Southwestern Journal of Theology 47 (2005): 137–51.
  13. Jean Daniélou, The Origins of Latin Christianity, ed. and trans. D. Smith and J. A. Baker (London: Darton, Longman & Todd/Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1977), 363
  14. Against Praxeas 9.
  15. Against Praxeas 12.
  16. Against Praxeas 13.
  17. For example, see Against Praxeas 11–12.
  18. For studies of this controversy, see especially Pelikan, Christian Tradition, 1:172–225; R.P.C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God. The Arian Controversy 318–381 (1988 ed.; repr. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2005); John Behr, The Formation of Christian Theology, Vol. 2: The Nicene Faith (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Press, 2004), 2 vols. On Arius, see Rowan Williams, Arius: Heresy and Tradition (2nd. ed.; London: SCM Press, 2001) and Behr, The Nicene Faith, 1:130–149. For a succinct statement of the philosophical and theological roots of Arianism, see Roldanus, Church in the Age of Constantine, 74–77 and for an excellent sketch of the entire controversy, see Michel René Barnes, “The Fourth Century as Trinitarian Canon” in Lewis Ayres and Gareth Jones, ed., Christian Origins: Theology, Rhetoric and Community (London/New York: Routledge, 1998), 47–67.
  19. Letter to Alexander of Alexandria, trans. William G. Rusch, The Trinitarian Controversy (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1980), 31–32].
  20. Arius, Letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia, trans. Rusch, Trinitarian Controversy, 29–30.
  21. Cited Athanasius, Encyclical Letter to the Bishops of Egypt and Libya 2.12. For a discussion of this assertion, see Williams, Arius, 105–107.
  22. Cited Athanasius, Orations against the Arians 1.6; R. P. C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318–381 (1988 ed.; repr. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005), 103.
  23. Williams, Arius, 108.
  24. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God, 102–103; J. Warren Smith, “The Trinity in the Fourth-Century Fathers” in The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity, ed. Gilles Emery and Matthew Levering (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 118.
  25. Arius, Letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia, trans. Rusch, Trinitarian Controversy, 29–30.
  26. For a concise summary of Alexander’s views, see Roldanus, Church in the Age of Constantine, 77.
  27. Smith, “Trinity in the Fourth-Century Fathers,” 110.
  28. For some fourth-century concerns about the term homoousios, see Barnes, “Fourth Century as Trinitarian Canon,” 49.
  29. Barnes, “Fourth Century as Trinitarian Canon,” 51.
  30. Roldanus, Church in the Age of Constantine, 82–84; Joseph T. Lienhard, Contra Marcellum: Marcellus of Ancyra and Fourth-Century Theology (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1999), 2–4.
  31. On the career and thought of Athanasius, see especially Alvyn Petersen, Athanasius (Ridgefield, CT/Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1995); Khaled Anatolios, Athanasius: The Coherence of His Thought (New York, NY: Routledge, 1998); Behr, The Nicene Faith, 1:163–259; and Peter J. Leithart, Athanasius (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011) .
  32. For Asterius’ thought, see Hanson, Search for the Christian Doctrine of God, 32–41. For the chronology of Marcellus’ life, I am following Lienhard, Contra Marcellum, 1–9.
  33. Barnes, “Fourth Century as Trinitarian Canon,” 51.
  34. Lienhard, Contra Marcellum, 6.
  35. For Marcellus’ early theology, see Lienhard, Contra Marcellum, 47–68; Joseph T. Lienhard, “Two Friends of Athanasius: Marcellus of Ancyra and Apollinaris of Laodicea,” Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 10 (2006): 60–61; Christopher A. Beeley, “Eusebius’ Contra Marcellum. Anti-Modalist Doctrine and Orthodox Christology,” Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 12 (2009): 435–437. See also Sara Parvis, Marcellus of Ancyra and the Lost Years of the Arian Controversy 325–345 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 30–37.
  36. Barnes, “Fourth Century as Trinitarian Canon,” 56; Lienhard, “Two Friends of Athanasius,” 58–61.
  37. Barnes, “Fourth Century as Trinitarian Canon,” 53–59, passim.
  38. Letter to Serapion 2.2, trans. C.R.B. Shapland, The Letters of Saint Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit (London: Epworth Press, 1951), 153.
  39. Letter to Serapion 2.2–3, trans. Shapland, Letters of Saint Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit, 153–154.
  40. See M. B. Handspicker, “Athanasius on Tradition and Scripture,” Andover Newton Quarterly, n.s., 3 (1962): 13–29; James D. Ernest, “Athanasius of Alexandria: The Scope of Scripture in Polemical and Pastoral Context,” Vigiliae Christianae, 47 (1993): 341–361. Also see James D. Ernest The Bible in Athanasius of Alexandria (Leiden: Brill, 2004)
  41. Letter to Serapion 1.1.
  42. Letter to Serapion 1.22.
  43. Letter to Serapion 1.22, trans. Shapland, Letters, 121, revised.
  44. Letter to Serapion 3.2, trans. Shapland, Letters, 171.
  45. For a fuller discussion of Athanasius’ exegesis of this passage, see Michael A. G. Haykin, The Spirit of God: The Exegesis of 1 and 2 Corinthians in the Pneumatomachian Controversy of the Fourth Century (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), 78–83.
  46. Athanasius, Tome to the Antiochenes 3, trans. Michael A. G. Haykin.
  47. Athanasius, Letter to Palladius.
  48. For an excellent study of Basil’s life and thought, see, Paul Jonathan Fedwick, The Church and the Charisma of Leadership in Basil of Caesarea (Toronto, ON: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1979), 133–155. The work by Philip Rousseau, Basil of Caesarea (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998) needs to be used with care. For a complete bibliography of works on Basil, see Paul Jonathan Fedwick, Bibliotheca Basiliana Universalis. A Study of the Manuscript Tradition, Translations and Editions of the Works of Basil of Caesarea. Vol. V: Studies of the Basil of Caesarea and His World: An Annotated Bio-Bibliography (Turnhout: Brepols, 2004). For the historical details that follow in this sub-section, see Haykin, Spirit of God, 24–50.
  49. Basil of Caesarea, Letter 113, trans. Michael A. G. Haykin.
  50. On Eustathius and his pneumatology, see especially Wolf-Dieter Hauschild, “Eustathios von Sebaste,” Theologische Realencyklopädie, 10 (1982): 548–549 and Haykin, The Spirit of God, 27, n.86. On Eustathius’ career, see also Jean Gribomont, “Eustathe de Sébaste,” Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, IV/2 (1961): 1708–1712; C. A. Frazee, “Anatolian Asceticism in the Fourth Century: Eustathios of Sebastea and Basil of Caesarea,” The Catholic Historical Review, 66 (1980): 16–33.
  51. “Eustathios von Sebaste,” 548–549.
  52. Socrates, Church History 2.45.
  53. Haykin, Spirit of God, 31–36.
  54. Basil, Letter 125.3, trans. Michael A. G. Haykin.
  55. Haykin, Spirit of God, 37–38.
  56. Basil, On the Holy Spirit 1.1, 3.
  57. Basil, On the Holy Spirit 10–28.
  58. Basil, On the Holy Spirit 10.24, 25, trans. David Anderson, St Basil the Great: On the Holy Spirit (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1980), 45, 46.
  59. Basil, On the Holy Spirit 16.37, 38, trans. Anderson, On the Holy Spirit, 60, 64.
  60. On the Holy Spirit 21.52, trans. Anderson, On the Holy Spirit, 81.
  61. Barnes, “Fourth Century as Trinitarian Canon,” 62.
  62. Basil, On the Holy Spirit 18.47, trans. Michael A. G. Haykin. See also On the Holy Spirit 26.64 for similar argumentation.
  63. Hildebrand, Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea, 187, 190–191.
  64. Basil, Letter 226.3, trans. Michael A. G. Haykin.
  65. On the Holy Spirit 18.46, trans. Anderson, On the Holy Spirit, 73. Se also On the Holy Spirit 16.38.
  66. Haykin, Spirit of God, 143–147.
  67. Socrates, Church History 5.10.
  68. Harold O.J. Brown, Heresies (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1984), 142–143.
  69. Early Christian Creeds, 342.
  70. A.-M. Ritter, Das Konzil von Konstantinopel und sein Symbol. Studien zur Geschichte und Theologie des II. Ökumenischen Konzils (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1965), 301.
  71. John A. McGuckin, St Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2001), 367–368.
  72. Ritter, Das Konzil von Konstantinopel, passim.
  73. Behr, The Nicene Faith, 2:378–379.
  74. A. de Halleux, “La profession de l’Esprit Saint dans le symbole de Constantinople,” Revue Théologique de Louvain, 10 (1979): 30–31; Hildebrand, Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea, 109–114.
  75. Reinhart Staats, “Die Basilianische Verherrlichung des Heiligen Geistes auf dem Konzil zu Konstantinopel 381. Ein Beitrag zum Ursprung der Formel ‘Kerygma und Dogma’,” Kerygma und Dogma, 25 (1979), 232–253. For major studies of Macarius’ life and theology, see Hermann Dörries, Die Theologie des Makarios-Symeon (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1978); Columba Stewart, ‘Working the Earth of the Heart’: The Messalian Controversy in History, Texts, and Language to ad 431 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991); Marcus Plested, The Macarian Legacy: The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
  76. Trans. Johannes van Oort, “The Holy Spirit and the early Church: The experience of the Spirit,” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 68, no.1 (2012): 5–6, altered (; accessed November 8, 2016).
  77. Macarius, Homily 17.15.