The interrelatedness of doctrine and ascetic life: St Basil of Caesarea’s proof of the divinity of the Holy Spirit

Rozumna, Yuliia (2018) The interrelatedness of doctrine and ascetic life: St Basil of Caesarea’s proof of the divinity of the Holy Spirit. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis comprises the comprehensive study of St Basil of Caesarea’s theology of the Holy Spirit. It is argued that St Basil believes in the divinity of the Spirit, even though he never calls him ‘God’ or ‘of the same nature’ (homoousion) with the Father and the Son. This silence can be explained by the fact that the nature of the Spirit is such that it cannot be revealed. The Spirit reveals the Son, but stays hidden himself. In the present age we can only judge about the nature of the Spirit from Scripture, his actions in the world, and in the lives of prominent ascetics. In this thesis we demonstrate that St Basil defends the divinity of the Spirit not only from traditional ideas of agency of the Spirit in inspiration of Scripture and in baptism, and not only in sanctification, but also from his role in creating the world, angels and humanity, his role in teaching true doctrines and guiding the Christians, in supporting humans in their ascetic struggles, and in providing knowledge of the Father and the Son. St Basil affirms the divine nature of the Spirit by describing his divine activities in all spheres of human life and in the history of humanity, by asserting his equal honour (homotimia) with the other two Persons and his sharing in communion (koinonia) of the Father and the Son. Moreover, it is argued that for St Basil the ascetic life is grounded in the right doctrines, especially doctrine on the Spirit, and that one can understand the true doctrines only by living an ascetic life, that is, the life in the Spirit. We show that St Basil’s teaching on the divinity of the Spirit is evident in his ascetic works, but also that his dogmatic letters and treatises speak of the ascetic life. Finally, it is demonstrated that the theologian addresses his ascetic ideals to the whole of the Church and not just to monastics. He explains the truth of the doctrine of the Spirit to lay people, clergy, and ascetics. The Spirit is divine and communicates divine life through and in himself.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Cunningham, Mary
O'Loughlin, Tom
Keywords: St Basil's Arguments for the Divinity of the Holy Spirit and Role of the Spirit in Ascetic Life
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal theology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 51735
Depositing User: Rozumna, Yuliia
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2018 04:40
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 12:01
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/51735

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