Thursday, 7 February 2019
Manuel Mira: Despised sacraments. Roots of the messalian thought in Basil of Caesarea's tractate De Spiritu Sancto.
The term "messalianism" is a label used to name different ascetics groups at the end of the fourth century. In the descriptions of the messalian thought made by Timotheus of Constantinople, the contempt of the sacraments is one of the main traits. The tractate De Spiritu Sancto shows a discussion between Basil of Caesarea and some anonymous theologians in which the former defends the transformative power of baptism against the later, who do not see in this sacrament anything more than a washing or an external purification. This paper aims to look for the relationship between the messalians and the theologians against which Basil fights, and also to uncover a debate on the efficacy of the sacraments that moves forward at the last quarter of the fourth century.