Friday, 10 April 2015

Seumas Macdonald: Contested Ground: Basil's use of Scripture in Against Eunomius 2

In light of ongoing reconfigurations of our understanding of the Trinitarian debates that dominate the 4th Century theological agenda, this paper specifically examines Basil's second book of Against Eunomius, for the interplay between polemical doctrinal argument, and hermeneutic strategies applied to Scripture. This paper demonstrates that Basil's argumentation is not only about competing models of Trinitarian theology, but an attempt to contest the way in which Scripture is read and interpreted, as part of a broader pattern in the period, of doctrinal debate as exegetical debate. Specifically, Basil's contesting of the classic ‘battleground' verses of Acts 2:26, along with John, as well as Basil's employment of a theory of language and meaning, supply a theoretical basis for the larger claim that pro-Nicenes are not merely asserting ‘correct theology' but a ‘correct understanding' that emerges from ‘correct practices of reading'. In this way even a work that both has its primary content as doctrinal concerns, and a structure that closely follows and refutes another treatise, still contests the prior question of ‘How then shall we read?'

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