Grammar of theology: logical argumentation from Origen to the Cappadocian Fathers


The article outlines the philosophical and linguistic background of the Post- Nicene theological debates concerning the relationship between the Father and the Son. A sharp focus dwells of the provenance of the term hypostasis, the phi­losophical and grammatical understanding of the terms hypokeimenon and ousia and the Stoic definition of the signifier and thing signified. The article shows new aspects of the anti-Eunomian polemics of the Cappadocian fathers, which come into sight due to comparison of theological concepts with Hellenic linguistic and grammatical theories. In such a way, the comparison demonstrates methodologi­cal and technical strand of the theological argumentation of the Cappadocian fa­thers and their affinity for the exegetic methodology of Origen.


theological concepts; linguistic theories; Stoicism; Origen; Cappadocian Fathers

Ammonius, In Aristotelis librum de interpretatione commentarius, ed. A. Busse: In Aristotelis de interpretatione commentarius, Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca IV/5, Berlin 1897.
Apollonius Dyscolus, De constructione orationis, ed. G. Uhlig, Grammatici Graeci, vol. 2/3, Leipzig 1910, 1-497, transl. and commentary by W. Householder: The syntax of Apollonius Dyscolus, Amsterdam 1981.
Apollonius Dyscolus, De pronominibus, ed. R. Schneider, Grammatici Graeci, vol. 2/1, Leipzig 1878, 3-116.
Arius Didymus, Epitome Fr 20, in: Posidonius Rhodius, Fragmenta, ed. and transl. I.G. Kidd: Posidonius, vol. II: The Commentary, part 1: Testimonia and fragments 1-149, Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries 14A, Cambridge 1989; vol. III: The Translation of the Fragments, Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries 46, Cambridge 1999.
Basilius Caesariensis, Epistulae, PG 32, 219-1112, transl. by B. Jackson, in: NPNF II/8, ed. Ph. Schaff – H. Wace, New York 1895, 109-327.
Dexippus, In Aristotelis categorias commentarium, ed. A. Busse: Dexippi in Aristotelis categorias commentarium, Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca IV/2, Berolini 1888, transl. by J. Dillon: Dexippus, On Aristotle Categories, London – New York 1990.
Diogenes Laertius, Vitae philosophorum, ed. H.S. Long: Diogenis Laertii vitae philosophorum, vol. 1-2, Oxford 1964.
Eunomius, Liber Apologeticus, ed. and transl. by R.P. Vaggione, in: Eunomius, The Extant Works, Oxford 1987, 34-74.
Gregorius Nazianzenus, Orationes 27-31, ed. P. Gallay, SCh 250, Paris 1978; 32-37, ed. P. Gallay, SCh 318, Paris 1985, transl. by C.G. Browne – J.E. Swallow, NPNF Ser. II, vol. 7, ed. P. Schaff – H. Wace, Buffalo NY 1894; transl. by L. Wickham – F. Williams: Faith gives fullness to reasoning: the five theological orations of Gregory Nazianzen, introduction and commentary by F.W. Norris, Leiden 1991; transl. by M. Vinson: Gregory of Nazianzus, Select orations, Washington D.C. 2003.
Origenes, Commentarii in Genesim, PG 12, 45-92.
Origenes, Commentarii in Joannem I-V, ed. C. Blanc, SCh 120, Paris 1966; VI, X, ed. C. Blanc, SCh 157, Paris 1970.
Origenes, Contra Celsum I-II, ed. M. Borret, SCh 132, Paris 1967; III-IV, SCh 136, Paris 1968; V-VI, SCh 147, Paris 1969; VII-VIII, SCh 150, Paris 1969; transl. by F. Crom¬bie, in: ANF IV, ed. A.C. Coxe – J. Donaldson – A. Roberts, Buffalo – New York 1885, 395-669.
Origenes, De oratione, ed. P. Koetschau, GCS 3, Leipzig 1899, 295-403, transl. by W.A. Curtis: [15.09.2016].
Origenes, In Jeremiam hom., ed. P. Husson – P. Nautin, t. 1, SCh 232 Paris 1976; t. 2, SCh 238, Paris 1977.
Simplicius, In Aristotelis categorias commentarium, ed. K. Kalbfleisch: Simplicii in Aristotelis Categorias commentarium, Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca VIII, Berlin 1907, 1-438.
Daniélou J., Eunome l’arien et l’exégèse néo-platonicienne du Cratyle, REG 69 (1956) 412-432.
Dillon J.M., The magical power of names in Origen and later Platonism, in: Origeniana tertia: the Third International Colloquium for Origen Studies, University of Manchester September 7th-11th, 1981, ed. R. Hanson – H. Crouzel, Roma 1985, 203-216.
Lampe G.W.H., A Patristic Greek Lexikon, Oxford 1976.
Wittgenstein L., Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, with an introduction by B. Russel, New York 1922.

Published : 2018-12-16

Usacheva, A. (2018). Grammar of theology: logical argumentation from Origen to the Cappadocian Fathers. Vox Patrum, 68, 95-105.

Anna Usacheva 
Aarhus University  Denmark