St. Basil the Great and Apollinaris of Laodicea,

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St. Basil the Great and Apollinaris of Laodicea,

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G. L. PRESTIGE, D.D. Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral




HENRY CHADWICK Fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge



SP-C-K 1956

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First published in 1956 by S.P.C.K. Northumberland Avenue, London W.C.2 Made and Printed in Great Britain by William Clowes and Sons, Limited London and Beccles




Contents page vii

Editor’s Preface Basil and Apollinaris


Translation of the Correspondence Appendix






38 “Eustathian


Appendix B: Ancient Misrepresentation of Apol-









he four letters ascribed to Basil and Apollinaris are

preserved in only two manuscripts of Basil’s corre¬ spondence: Parisinus gr. 1020 S and Monacensis gr. 497; they were first printed from the Paris manuscript by Cotelier in the seventeenth century (the Munich manu¬ script remaining unknown) and are now found appended to the Corpus of Basil’s letters as Epp. 361-4.1 Cotelier regarded the letters as spurious; and it has remained the prevailing view that they are forgeries put into circulation by Eustathius of Sebaste and his circle. The view that this correspondence is not authentic has not passed entirely unchallenged: late in the last century Draseke strongly argued in their favour, convincing Adolf Julicher and Dr C. E. Raven among others;2 but his book contained otherwise so much speculative and unconvincing matter that it is not altogether astonishing that his opinion on these letters failed to persuade many;3 and with the support of Loofs and Lietzmann4 the unfavourable judge¬ ment may be said to hold the field. 1J. B. Cotelier, Ecclesiaegraecae monumenta, ii (Paris, 1681), pp. 84-92. The Maurists’ reprint is reproduced in Migne, P.G., 32, 1099-1108. An edition with English translation is given by R. J. Deferrari in the Loeb Classical Library: St Basil, The Letters, IV (1934), pp. 330-47. 2 J. Draseke, Apollinarios von Laodicea (Texte und Untersuchungen, vii, 1892), pp. 100-21; A. Julicher in Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1893, p. 85; C. E. Raven, Apollinarianism (1923), pp. 133-6. 3 The authenticity of the correspondence was also argued inde¬ pendently by the Russian scholar Bolotoff whose views are reported by N. Bonwetsch in Theol. Studien und Kritiken, lxxxii (1909), pp. 625-8. 4 F. Loofs, Eustathius von Sebaste (1898), p. 74; H. Lietzmann, Apollinaris von Laodicea (1904), pp. 20-1.


Preface The prevailing opinion has long demanded cridcal scrudny, and the present study therefore raises questions of no little moment. It must be a matter for profound regret that Dr Prestige did not live to complete his work. But there is every reason for gratitude that his labours were sufficiently






possible and that we have from his pen this last book, so thoroughly characteristic of its author in its vigorous expression and penetrating insight. In preparing the manuscript for the printer at the invitation of Mrs Prestige I have altered as little as pos¬ sible; though on many points of detail I would take a different view, in general I have not thought myself entitled to alter his text to conform to my opinion. In particular, I am not able to follow him in the view that Ep. 364 refers to the Tomus ad Antiochenos (p. 11). From Dr Prestige’s rough notes it appears that he had considered but rejected the view that Apollinaris here refers to Athanasius’ letter to Jovian (.P.G. 26, 813-20). It is not clear what relation he thought existed between Ep. 364 and the Refutatio hypocriseos Meletii et Eusebii Samosatensis (P.G. 28, 85-90), a document preserved in many manu¬ scripts of Athanasius and probably connected with Paulinus of Antioch; this sternly criticizes a declaration of faith made by a council of twenty-seven bishops at Antioch in the autumn of 363 which sought to interpret ohoouctios in the sense of oiaoios kcct’ ouctiav, and to accept it with the provisos that in the divine generation there was

no notion of utiSos and that the term


was not to be

understood koct& Tiva xppo-iv ‘EAAt|vikis|v. (The text of the Antiochene letter with its signatories is preserved by Socrates, H.E. iii, 25.10-17, and Sozomen, H.E. vi, 4.7-10.) Both these points recur in the Refutatio; in Ep. 364 the latter phrase is explicitly cited—though corruptions in the text of both documents have obscured these facts. I vm

Preface should therefore conclude that Ep. 364 presupposes the declaration of Meletius of Antioch and his council of 363, and probably also the Refutation to the existence of which Apollinaris’ letter to Basil is thus the earliest witness. From Basil’s Ep. 266.2 it appears that in 377 Peter, Bishop of Alexandria but at that time a refugee in Rome, rebutted Basil’s plea that Pope Damasus should recognize Meletius as lawful Bishop of Antioch by an attack upon the doctrine of Meletius and Eusebius of Samosata; if, as seems likely, he based his criticisms upon the Refutatio, this document must have acquired considerable currency. It seems to have been Dr Prestige’s original intention to append to his discussion a critical text of the four letters. The investigation of the relevant manuscripts, however, has been carried out by Father Henri de Riedmatten, o.p., and his edition is to be published in the Journal of Theological Studies, New Series, VII (1956). The full material for the considering of the question will not be available until we have a critical edition also of Athanasius’ letter to Jovian, of the Refutatio hypocriseos Meletii, and of the Tomus ad Antiochenos. It is therefore a matter for great regret that the Berlin Academy edition of Athanasius has been at a standstill since 1941. When eventually these texts appear, it will become possible to treat the question on a wholly secure basis. But in the meanwhile Dr Prestige’s study gives us plenty to think about, and represents a notable advance in the study of a crucial period in the Arian controversy. H. Queens’ College Cambridge June 1955






V '






Basil and Apollinaris series of four letters ostensibly exchanged between Basil and Apollinaris is printed near the end of the collection of Basil’s correspondence (Epp. 361 and 363, Basil to Apollinaris, 362 and 364, Apollinaris’ replies). They are usually dismissed off-hand as


spurious. This conclusion demands serious reconsidera¬ tion, and grounds are here presented for pronouncing them to be genuine. The question cannot be judged without a brief historical review, since one part of the argument rests on the extra¬ ordinarily convincing way in which the contents of the letters accommodate themselves in detail to known circum¬ stances. Basil was born at Caesarea in Cappadocia about 330. He crowned an academic career of notorious distinc¬ tion by spending five years at Athens, from 351 to 356. Here he and his friend Gregory (of Nazianzus, a small town in the south-west of Cappadocia, near which he was born) pursued their studies in common and resolved to lead an ascetical life (Greg. Naz. Or. 43.igff.). In 356 Basil returned to Caesarea, very much on top of the world, and had his head turned somewhat by the effusiveness of the reception given him by his fellow-townsmen: this is indi¬ cated by Gregory {Or. 43.25) and more forcibly by Basil’s younger brother, another Gregory (later Bishop of Nyssa), in his account of the life of Macrina, their remarkable elder sister {P.G. 46, 965 C). Macrina intervened and promptly put a stop to all Basil’s affectations. Basil was recalled to his ascetical vocation, baptized, and ordained 1

St Basil the Great and Apollinaris reader by Dianius the Bishop of Caesarea, for whom he retained tender affection (Greg. Naz. Or. 43.27; Bas. de Sp. sto 29.71),1 and set out on a prolonged tour of the Middle East in order to study the ascetical life in actual practice. On his return to Caesarea in 357 or 358 he found that Gregory was tied by obligations to his parents, so he meditated forming an ascetical retreat with Gregory near the latter’s home; this plan fell through when, on a visit to his mother’s estate in Pontus, he discovered an ideal spot for his design close to her home (described enthusiastically in Bas. Ep. 14). With his usual disregard for other people’s views he seems to have expected Gregory to join him there, but Gregory still considered himself bound by his obliga¬ tions to his ageing parents. Nevertheless Gregory paid him visits, and together they compiled the Philokalia, a valuable and important selection from the works of Origen, the famous Alexandrian thinker and father of theological speculation, who had died just over a century before, about 254-5. In this Pontic retreat Basil’s studied inaccessibility only enhanced the new reputation he was gaining as superior and organizer of ascetics, now no longer encouraged to live in social and spiritual isolation but banded into com¬ munities and providing hospitals, orphanages, alms-houses, etc. Meanwhile in the great world, under the patronage of the Emperor Constantius, an Arian reaction was in full force. Its Western leaders, Valens and Ursacius, held a. small synod at Sirmium in 357, at which they came out into the open. The crucial term of the Nicene creed had been that which affirmed the Son to be of one substance (■homoousion) with the Father—that is, God in precisely the same degree as the Father. Conservative thought had come 1 For the tension between Basil and Dianius consequent upon the latter’s acceptance of the creed of Constantinople (360), cf. 51, and discussion below, p. 4.



Basil and Apollinaris to regard this term with suspicion; in any case it was not taken from the words of Scripture. The Arianizers, who did not believe the Son was God at all in the same sense as the Father, now seized their chance to forbid the use not only of the homoousion, but also of the term homoiousion (“of similar substance”) which was also capable, with care, of bearing the true Nicene sense, and of the term “substance ” (ousia) itself. In other words, they forbade the orthodox to employ the language of the scientific thought of their age in order to explain or defend their convictions. Two years later Constantius’ decision to hold a general council gave Valens and Ursacius a chance to enforce these decisions; the council was divided into two sections, Eastern and Western, to make Court domination easier, and a deputa¬ tion of ten bishops from each section was to meet subse¬ quently at Court to iron out any differences. In preparation for this event, a creed was drawn up, again at Sirmium, in May 359 (the so-called “Dated Creed”), repeating the prohibition of the term “substance” but asserting that the Son was “similar in all respects”—the last three words were added by the more orthodox conservatives who were present, and in the teeth of the Arianizers.1 The two sections of the council met, the Westerns at Ariminum, the Easterns at Seleucia in Cilicia. The Emperor Constantius was busy at Constantinople; the deputies from the councils were kept waiting at Nice near by. At Seleucia the proceedings had been opened, late in September 359, with an Arian declaration that the Son was a creature and as such could not be similar to the the Father; this statement, which represented the “Anomoean” or Dissimilarian position that the Son was “un¬ like” (anomoion) the Father, was rejected by the council, but gave some indication of the intentions of the authori¬ ties. Weeks were consumed in negotiation and intrigue. 1 Epiphanius, Panarion, lxxiii, 23 (Holl, iii, p. 295). 3

St Basil the Great and Apollinaris Finally, after pressure had been applied and a thoroughly dishonest repudiation of Arianism had been made by the Western Arians, a revised version of the Dated Creed, con¬ siderably less orthodox than the original, was accepted by the deputies of both sections at Nice, the adhesion of the Easterns being given only late on the night of the last day in the year. A new council was promptly held at Constanti¬ nople in January 360; the Court party of moderately Arianizing “Homoeans” or Similarians was in control. The creed of Nice (it is important not to confuse this with the original creed of Nicaea) was ratified, though the anti-Arian anathemas which had been appended to induce the orthodox to sign were now conveniently dropped. In deference to Constantius, the extreme Dissimilarian teacher and champion of Arianism, Aetius, was condemned. And on various technical grounds the leaders of the orthodox conservatives, who had presented so long and vain a resist¬ ance, were then deposed from their sees and sent into exile. Among them was the respected and influential Bishop of Ancyra, in whose fate Basil held a peculiar interest. For Basil had actually been present at the late proceed¬ ings, as deacon attendant on his namesake Basil of Ancyra, one of the deputies from Seleucia to Nice and Constanti¬ nople. His friend Gregory was apparently back with his parents; Basil himself had been induced to leave his ascetics in the wilderness, accept deacon’s orders, and plunge, in however subordinate a capacity, into the burn¬ ing lake of ecclesiastical politics. Now the councils were over, his episcopal patron was deposed, and he returned to Caesarea. There emissaries from Constantinople arrived, and persuaded Basil’s beloved and substantially orthodox bishop Dianius to sign the council’s creed. Basil, horrified and shocked, retired once more to Pontus,1 1 (Bas.) Ep. 8, which used to be taken as indicating a prior flight to Nazianzus, has now been shown to have been written some twenty years later by Evagrius Ponticus.


Basil and Apollinaris which he








letter (Ep. 9) to Maximus the philosopher—a rather odd creature—explaining that he could not swallow the mere “similar” of the late creed of Constantinople, but was willing to accept the formula “ undeviatingly similar in substance”. He also expressed his firm intention of staying in his present quiet and obscurity, but warmly invited Maximus to make the journey which he himself declined to undertake, and pay him a visit. They could then, he noted, have a good theological talk without the necessity of committing themselves to paper, “particularly since we have




make public

property of


views”. In this state of ascetic retirement and theological re¬ straint Basil continued for another couple of years. In November 361 Constantius died and Julian, who had enjoyed the acquaintance of Basil at Athens, became sole Emperor. Apparently he invited Basil to Court, but the cautious Basil advanced no further than to Caesarea, where he attended the death-bed of Dianius and seems to have had a considerable hand in the election of his successor Eusebius, an event which highly displeased Julian (p. 12). Eusebius insisted on ordaining Basil to the priesthood, but soon found himself in danger of eclipse by his too energetic, too accomplished, and too popular subordinate. Basil had the sense to remove himself once more to the ascetic seclusion of Pontus. Their difference was reconciled three years later, in 365, through the good offices of Gregory; Basil returned to Caesarea, used greater tact in his virtual management of the affairs of the diocese, and on the death of Eusebius in 370 was elected his successor. (For the methods by which he achieved this, cf. below, p. 28.) His quarrel (to which allusion must be made later) with his old

ascetic associate

Eustace of Sebasteia,

who had

pursued an equivocal theological career and was now


St Basil the Great and Apollinaris relapsing into Arianism, burst into flame in 375 and burned furiously. One of the forms it took was the accusa¬ tion levelled by Eustace that Basil had at one time corre¬ sponded with Apollinaris, whose teaching on the Trinity and (with greater justice) on the person of Christ was beginning to fall under some suspicion, and who signalized his unfortunate heresy shortly afterwards by creating a schismatical sect. If the accusation was well-founded, the series of four letters attributed to Basil and Apollinaris may be genuine: otherwise they must be forgeries. It is therefore time to turn to an examination of the letters themselves and see what marks of authenticity they bear. Ep. 361 opens with a reference to a previous exchange of letters about Scriptural problems, of which nothing else is known. It then mentions a much more important matter— the campaign of theological disturbance which had thrown the whole world into confusion: this may naturally be taken to refer to the Arianizing revival, initiated in 357 at Sirmium and culminating in the




Ariminum-Seleucia in 359, which was described in similar terms by the bishops assembled at Ariminum in a letter to Constantius (ap. Ath. de syn. 10, 724 B, C). The identifica¬ tion of the “confusion” with the Arianizing councils is confirmed by mention of the policy adopted by the persons criticized: they were attacking the use of the term “sub¬ stance” in order to get rid of the homoousion in the Nicene creed. The writer then asks for further light on the proper meaning of the homoousion and suggests a view of his own, of which, since it was certainly the view entertained by Basil, more will be said later. The writer ends with the remark that his “friend Gregory” had chosen to live with his parents. Gregory’s decision was a sore point with Basil, who (as usual) wanted his friends to throw everything to the winds in order to fall in with such plans as he himself


Basil and Apollinaris might have formed for their higher welfare and the good of the Church; consequently this remark carries a strong suggestion that the letter, whether actually written by Basil or not, was certainly intended to be taken as coming from him; in that case it cannot have been addressed to Apollinaris by somebody quite different and subsequently ascribed to Basil by mistake. Now all this fits in most remarkably with the supposition that Basil wrote the letter in the autumn of 359 from Seleucia, where he was attending the council as a sup¬ porter of his namesake, the Bishop of Ancyra. It explains also the sudden anxiety for information about theological terms: they were under discussion at Seleucia by Basil’s principals. And one small clue at the beginning of the letter now acquires importance: the writer says that Apollinaris was the only capable adviser he had who was, among other qualifications, “accessible”. Laodicea, where Apollinaris lived, was about a hundred and twenty miles from Seleucia by sea in a straight line, on a coast that was thick with shipping; communication was much quicker from Laodicea than from Pontus. Another small clue may possibly indicate that the writer’s interest in Apollinaris was not solely theological but partly ascetical: at the end of the letter he sends greeting to the “ brethren ” in Apollinaris’ company, asks for their prayers for his own salvation, and refers to the fact (already mentioned) that his fellow-ascetic Gregory had decided to make his home with his parents and not with Basil’s community in Pontus. The “brethren” are presumably monks, and the presence of monks in association with Apollinaris is confirmed by the fact that he sent monks as his observers to the synod of Alexandria in 362 (Ath. tom. ad Ant. 9). Was Apollinaris organizing a community of ascetics at Laodicea in the same way as Basil was in Pontus ? And is this the reason why, in addition to addressing one another as “master”, 2


St Basil the Great and Apollinaris the writer calls Apollinaris “brother” in Ep. 363, and Apollinaris calls him “brother” in Ep. 364? The position of Apollinaris at this time is interesting but obscure. The Bishop of Laodicea was that same George who, reacting from a life-long inclination towards Arianism, was at Seleucia at the moment in alliance with Basil of Ancyra. He is probably not the same George as appeared as an active agent of the Court party next January, after the Council at Constantinople, and induced Dianius to sign the Arianizing creed (Bas. Ep. 51.2); the credit for this is assigned with better reason to that George, of Alexandria, who was lynched at Christmas, 361, and it seems likely that George of Laodicea died a natural death about the end of 359. He had excommunicated Apollinaris in 346 for making friends with Athanasius and giving him com¬ munion ; Apollinaris is clearly represented as being already then a priest (Sozomen, H.E. 6.25). Apollinaris maintained his friendship with Athanasius, and George maintained the excommunication; in the unsettled conditions of the times it is probable that Apollinaris simply continued his career as teacher and lecturer, while ministering to a small local congregation of dissident Nicenes. On the assumption that the correspondence between him and Basil is authen¬ tic, it may safely be conjectured that Basil said nothing about it at Seleucia (indeed his decision to keep his personal feelings dark is openly expressed in Ep. 363) J he would have consulted Apollinaris as a distinguished teacher who was notorious for his support of Athanasius and his strong adherence to the Nicene creed, and was thus in a position to explain the reasons why the Nicene party attached so much importance to the homoousion; but he had no intention of identifying himself with the leader 1 Philostorgius,

H.E. iv, 12, says of Basil’s presence at Seleucia:

Sw&n£i [i£v toO AiyEtv ttoAAcov irpocpEpcov, tm 6e Trjs yvcbpris d0apa£l irpos tous koivovs OttoctteAAopevos aycovas.


Basil and Apollinaris of an orthodox opposition to George, the present ally of the bishop to whose staff he was himself attached. Ep. 362 is the reply to Ep. 361. It is composed in a specially rough and rugged style, and may perhaps be taken as representing the author’s draft of what he meant to say, which he retained when he dispatched a fair copy to his correspondent. It sets out a powerful theological argument, thoroughly in keeping with the known views, terse style, and pregnant argument of Apollinaris. The treatment is based on the doctrine of Identity of Substance in the Godhead (for which see my God in Patristic Thought, pp. 213-22, 231-3), which Athanasius seems to have introduced into Greek theology and Apollinaris reinforced and handed on. The argument is not yet in all respects worked out so fully, or so lucidly expressed, as in later writings of Apollinaris; and it is combined with an odd survival of subordinationism which must be discussed at a later stage, and is obviously inherited from the Origenistic tradition as maintained, for instance, by the great Eusebius of Palestinian Caesarea, the father not only of ecclesiastical history but also of theological conservatism, who subscribed the Nicene creed in 325 only after receiving adequate explanations of its purport, and died in 339. But these points need merely to be taken as signs of a comparatively early period in the development of Apollinaris’ thought. All the essentials of his Trinitarian doctrine are already present. Ep. 363 is Basil’s ostensible reply. It had been delayed for some time: the writer says he was delighted with what Apollinaris had written, but had deliberately let the correspondence drop. Now, however, he could no longer maintain silence, because he was “in travail” and wanted further advice. Was Apollinaris willing to resume discus¬ sions, or not? It is natural to inquire what new occasion might have


St Basil the Great and Apollinaris arisen to induce Basil to re-open theological discussion with the leader of the Nicene party in Syria. The answer, in general terms, is that Constantius, the real force behind the triumph of the Arianizing party, died at the end of 361; that Julian had without delay decreed a general toleration for religion; and that, with ecclesiastical politics in the melting-pot once more, Basil had to consider the question of resuming those public activities which he had discarded in 360. But an answer in particular terms is suggested by Ep. 363 itself: he was “in travail” with some project, and the most obvious interpretation is that he had determined to produce his controversial treatise against Eunomius. Eunomius also was a Cappadocian by birth (though Basil tried to score off him by calling him a Galatian, adv. Eun. 1.1, 208 B, and cf. editorial note); he was a potent Dissimilarian in theology, who became Bishop of Cyzicus for a short time at the Arianizing re¬ settlement of 360, and in 361 published a defence of his own views, still preserved and printed in vol. I of Basil’s works. Basil’s reply probably appeared somewhere be¬ tween 363 and 365; the fact that it contains a violent attack on the “totalitarian” purge conducted by the predominant Arianizers in 360, which made it impossible for the orthodox to issue any criticism or condemnation of Arian tenets (adv. Eun. 1.2), shows how fully sensible Basil was of the opportunity afforded by Julian’s succession to the throne. But in any case a date near the beginning of the second quarter of 362 is almost demonstrably pre¬ supposed in the fourth letter of the series, written in answer to Ep. 363. This letter, Ep. 364, opens with a gracefully turned re¬ proach to Basil for having failed either to send the usual acknowledgements for the receipt of Ep. 362, or to assist its author in the cruel battle raging against orthodoxy. The writer had made inquiries for Basil in Cappadocia, having 10

Basil and Apollinaris heard from people who had seen him in Pontus that he was intending to return shortly to Caesarea; but without success, as Basil’s intention to leave Pontus, though apparently on the point of being fulfilled, had not yet been carried out. (For Basil’s stay in Pontus, 362-5, cf. above, p. 5.) Between this attempt to communicate with him and the arrival of Basil’s messenger, a visit had been paid to the writer’s neighbourhood by bishops coming from Egypt, who had distributed a letter. From the description given of its contents there can be little doubt that the letter was the Tomus ad Antiochenos1 (included in the published works of Athanasius); this was a synodical epistle issued shortly after the synod of Alexandria, which assembled after Athanasius’ return in February 362 ;2 moreover, it is known that the synodical letter from Alexandria was taken to Antioch by Eusebius of Vercellae and Asterius of Petra, two of the bishops who had attended the synod, who presumably met the writer of Ep. 364 either at Antioch or at the neighbouring Laodicea. The writer of Ep. 364 con¬ cludes that nobody was so obviously to be expected to assume the advocacy of such teaching as Basil, together with Gregory—who, like his friend, had also been pre¬ serving strict epistolary silence! Not unnaturally, in view of this, the writer gives only an implicit response to Basil’s question; he is clearly willing to co-operate in defence of Nicene doctrine, but refers his correspondent to the tom. ad Ant. for his standard of orthodoxy. If the correspondence is authentic, the course of events during the first half of 362 will have run as follows. 1 The points emphasized in Ep. 364 are: unison with Nicaea, cf. tom. 3, 4; the necessity for giving explanations, cf. tom. 5-7; the subtlety of the opposition, cf. tom. 3, 772 B; the homoousion implies deity, cf. tom. 8, 9, 773 F; definite inclusion of the Holy Spirit, cf. tom. 3, 772 A and passim, and in particular compare Ep. 364, 466 C “the fathers included him in the same confession of faith . . . because he is included in the same deity” with tom. 6, 774 B. 2 Cf. C. B. Armstrong in J.T.S. xxii (1921), pp. 206-21, 347-55.

St Basil the Great and Apollinaris Julian,

promptly on his




toleration and followed this step with permission to exiled bishops to return to their homes—though not to resume the sees of which they had been deprived. Athanasius will have held the synod of Alexandria, a most notable attempt at Christian reconciliation and reunion, in March or April; delegates from Apollinaris are known to have attended. Before Basil heard of its results, while he was still in Pontus debating the desirability of a return to Caesarea, he wrote to Apollinaris about his projected theological undertaking. Meantime Apollinaris had met the bishops deputed to bring the synodical letter to Antioch and in reply to Basil’s letter sent him an account of the synod’s theo¬ logical outlook, calculated both to encourage supporters of the Nicene party in their hopes of shaking off the Similarian yoke, and to elicit Basil’s own co-operation. Dianius, Basil’s beloved Bishop of Caesarea, fell ill, wrote to Basil that he had never meant to reject the Nicene faith, and asked him to return (Bas. Ep. 51.2); perhaps Dianius had already heard of the great attempt at theological recon¬ ciliation. Basil “dismissed all anxiety of heart” (ibid.) and returned to Caesarea; Dianius died, possibly about the latter part of May. A rather disedifying election and conse¬ cration of his successor followed (Greg. Naz. Or. 18.33); Gregory’s father played a chief part, but apparently Basil and Gregory were at the bottom of the business; and Julian was furious when he heard about it. Shortly after (as mentioned in Greg. Naz. Or. 18.34 init.) Julian himself passed through Caesarea on his way to Antioch; since fye reached Antioch about mid-July he probably was at Caesarea about the beginning of the month (details of his journey in Gwatkin, Arianism, note K, pp. 226-7). The whole reconstruction fits together very neatly: it is hard indeed to believe that any ancient forger could have presented the historical background of the correspondence 12

Basil and. Apollinaris with such minute and delicate consistency without forcing his points on the reader, but indicating his knowledge of events in allusions so casual and unstudied. It remains to consider what is meant by the “war on orthodoxy” mentioned at the beginning of Ep. 364. It might conceivably be taken to refer to Julian’s decree that Christians should not teach the classics.1 It is well known that Apollinaris and his father took effective steps to pro¬ vide material for a liberal Christian education within the terms of Julian’s decree by turning the Bible into classical forms, Homeric, Pindaric, Euripidean, and Platonic (Socr. Ii.E. iii, 16). Another decree, enforcing public confirma¬ tion of educational appointments, is dated June 362 {Cod. Theod. xiii, 3.5); this is clearly too late to be intended. The date of the former decree is unknown, but seems most un¬ likely to have fallen early enough to afford time for the waging of a “war on orthodoxy” in which Basil’s help was needed, and indeed sought, before April or at latest May when Ep. 364 was ostensibly written. Moreover, Julian’s prohibition was directed rather against Christianity in general than against “orthodoxy”. It seems necessary to explain the allusion by ecclesiastical events in the im¬ mediate neighbourhood of Laodicea. At Antioch, where schism was endemic, Meletius had been enthroned as bishop in 361, and on proving too orthodox had promptly been replaced by an Arian. But the Nicene party under the priest Paulinus, who enjoyed the warm support of Athanasius, had held aloof from both bishops, so that there were three mutually discordant bodies of Christians in the town; it was the main practical purpose (unhappily unfulfilled) of the tom. ad Ant. in 362 to reconcile the followers of Paulinus and Meletius to one another. It appears (though the evidence is circumstantial rather than direct) that a somewhat similar situation had 1 Cf. J. Bidez and F. Cumont, luliani Epistulae et Leges (1922), p. 69. 13

St Basil the Great and Apollinaris arisen in the neighbouring Laodicea shortly before, and that Apollinaris had been consecrated by unknown hands as bishop of the dissident Nicenes, and recognized by Athanasius. Here was ample material for a battle royal between the “orthodox” and other parties, in which the support of Basil and his ascetics might have been invalu¬ able. George of Laodicea disappears from history after 359, and his see was filled in 360 by the respectable Similarian Pelagius, who continued to occupy it for at least twenty years. Nevertheless Apollinaris is called Bishop of Laodicea by Jerome (de Vir. Illust. 104), and Jerome ought to know, since he attended a number of lectures delivered by Apollinaris at Antioch in 373 or 374 (Jerome, Ep. 84.3). That Apollinaris was approved by Athanasius is implied in the conclusion of the tom. ad Ant. (9), which states that the letter had been signed by the various bishops present, by two deacons representing an absent bishop, and by two deacons representing Paulinus, “some monks sent by Apollinaris the bishop for the purpose” having also attended the synod. Apollinaris was thus a bishop early in 362. Further, Athanasius had a hand in getting him recognition from Rome, just as he did for Paulinus, who was consecrated

bishop for the dissident Nicenes


Antioch not long before the synod of Alexandria was held. The date of Apollinaris’ acceptance by the West is un¬ known: we hear of it, by sheer accident, in a remark dropped by Leontius {fraud. Apoll., ad fin., P.G. 86, 1976 A) about Apollinaris’ disciple Timothy. This person, says Leontius, “managed by means of Apollinaris to get a commendatory letter to the Westerns from the great Athanasius on the ground that he was opposing the profanity of Arius, and brought back a letter from them addressed to (Apollinaris) as bishop”: after the death of 14

Basil and Apollinaris Athanasius Timothy was “sent to Rome again” but merely got himself deposed, together with Apollinaris, for his pains. His second visit therefore took place in 378, but there is no clue to the date of his first visit. The allusion to Arian profanity is interesting. Paulinus and his “Wee Free” congregation of continuing dissidents refused to accept Meletius as Bishop of Antioch, not because he was himself unorthodox—he was in fact sound in his theology— but because he had been appointed by the Arianizers. Exactly the same thing seems to have happened at Laodicea: Pelagius turned out well, won golden opinions from orthodox leaders in the East, including Basil {Ep. 254), but would appear to have been rejected by Apolli¬ naris and the strict Nicene minority on the same ground as Meletius, taint.

that his appointment carried an


There is a further point of contact between the situation at Antioch and that at Laodicea. As Paulinus had for years before his consecration presided as priest over a small bishopless congregation of orthodox dissidents, so had Apollinaris at Laodicea; George, as we have seen already, excommunicated him in 346 for communicating with Athanasius, and steadfastly refused to restore him (Sozomen, H.E. 6.25). Finally, it may be worth noticing that Socrates [H.E. 2.46) had heard some story that the separation between Apollinaris and George was connected with the latter’s conduct after Seleucia. If this is not purely due to confusion between George of Laodicea and George of Alexandria (already confounded in the previous chapter of Socrates), it may, though it cannot possibly relate to their original quarrel, reflect the occurrence of some specially significant action about this time. In other words, the basis of the story may be just that the dissident Nicenes made Apollinaris their bishop about the end of George’s episcopate. At any rate, that is apparently what 15

St Basil the Great and Apollinaris happened, though probably not earlier than Christmas 361, when death had removed the heavy hand of Constantius. In short, on the death of Constantius the strict Nicene minorities, first at Laodicea and then a few months later at Antioch, resolved not to go on any longer without bishops of their own. Both those bishops were recognized by Athanasius and by








generally or by Basil. Basil was fervent in his support of Meletius against Paulinus (e.g. Ep. 67, Ep. 214.2, Ep. 216). At no time, he affirms in 377 (Ep. 258.3), had he consented to communion with a single one of the bishops subse¬ quently introduced into Antioch, not because he judged them unworthy, but because he had no ground for con¬ demning Meletius. There is something unexpected about his use of the plural. Apart from Meletius and Paulinus, the only other bishops heard of at Antioch in this period are the official (and Arian) Bishop of Euzoius who was plainly “unworthy”, and Vitalis whom Apollinaris pre¬ sumably consecrated when he formed his sect about 376, a proceeding which Basil vehemently reprehended


265.2, 409 C). Is Basil glancing at Apollinaris himself in the neighbouring Laodicea? At any rate, he treated Apollinaris exactly as he treated Paulinus. Challenged in 375 with having held association with Apollinaris he defies his opponents to produce evidence that he had ever sent a formal “canonical letter” to Apollinaris or received such from him, or that he had ever had dealings with the clergy of Apollinaris or admitted one of them to communion in prayer (Ep. 224.2). This passage definitely implies that Apollinaris was a bishop, and that Basil had treated him as a schismatical bishop. Its significance is heightened by Basil’s own admission that he had originally thought Apollinaris to be “one of us”, and had expected to enjoy his support as “comrade-in-arms for the truth” (Ep. 16

Basil and Apollinaris 265.2).

Theologically he might have been a second

Athanasius, but in Basil’s eyes he was not the legitimate bishop of the see of Laodicea. Our review of the historical situation has led us some way from the text of the four disputed letters. We must now return to that for an examination of the literary evidence. The first point to be made is that, so far as it is possible to judge on negative grounds, Ep. 361 looks as if it must have been written before the writer had seen Athanasius’ treatise de Synodis, composed about October and November 359, while the Ariminum-Seleucia council was still in being. Ep. 362 likewise shows no sign of having been influ¬ enced by what Athanasius had written. On the other hand, Basil’s Ep. 9 does seem to show traces of a previous reading of the de Synodis. As this admirably suits the chronology already worked out for the correspondence, the confirma¬ tion has some interest. In Ep. 361 Basil (to give the author his ostensible name) expresses a decided preference for the phrase “undeviatingly similar in substance” over the homoousion; he also asks whether the term “substance” had in fact never been applied to God in Scripture, and in what “sound” sense the homoousion could be applied to the Son. Now Athanasius in his treatise, which was composed with the express object of conciliating and encouraging conservative theologians such as Basil’s influential namesake and patron the Bishop of Ancyra, shows that phraseology like Basil’s really implies homoousion (de Syn. 41, 756 A).1 He also answers both Basil’s questions. He says that texts such as “I am 1 There was nothing objectionable about Basil’s phraseology except that it was capable of being explained away in an Arianizing sense; it had actually been employed by the bishops at the council of Nicaea as a test of orthodoxy, and also been accepted with qualifica¬ tions or reservations by those who objected to the homoousion at the same council (Ath. de Decret. 20).


St Basil the Great and Apollinaris that I am” (Ex. 3.14) must be taken to refer to “the actual substance of him that is”, yet admits quite frankly that the Nicene phrase “from the substance” was unscriptural (de Syn. 35, 750 D; 36, 751 E ff.). And in a later passage {de Syn. 53, 766 D ff.) he enters on a long discussion of the expression homoousion, to see “whether it ought to be used at all, and whether it is appropriate, and a suitable expression to apply to the Son”. Had Basil seen these passages, he could hardly have needed to appeal from Athanasius, for whom he had a deep regard, to Apolli¬ naris. Similarly Apollinaris (to give him also the name assigned



titles of the

actual correspondence)

touches at two points of Ep. 362 on matters with which Athanasius dealt. The first is that of “identity” or “like¬ ness” in substance between different men (464 B, cf. 465 A), which Athanasius treats in de Syn. 53; the second is that of the Son’s equality with the Father (464 E), on which Athanasius has a long discussion in de Syn. 49. In neither passage does Apollinaris, who also had the most profound reverence for Athanasius, and was in close touch with him, betray any sign of having read what his master had written. So far as it goes, this all tends to confirm a date for Ep. 361 and Ep. 362 coincident with the opening of the council at Seleucia. Basil wrote Ep. 9, to Maximus, apparently in the follow¬ ing year, when he had had plenty of time to read Athana¬ sius. He now remarks {Ep. 9.3, 91 A) that the phrase “undeviatingly similar in substance” amounts to the same thing as the homoousion, provided the homoousion be understood in a “sound” sense, and that the fathers at Nicaea were consistent in employing the term: this is what Athanasius contends in de Syn. 41 (755 D-756 A). And there is a speculative fascination in the suggestion that perhaps it was the discussion by Athanasius (de Syn. 43, 44) of Dionysius of Alexandria which led Maximus to interest 18

Basil and Apollinaris himself in Dionysius and to ask Basil (Ep. 9.2) for informa¬ tion on the subject. The next task is to indicate such links as may exist be¬ tween the disputed Ep. 361 and undisputed writings of Basil. To start with, it has an obvious association with Ep. 9. In Ep. 361 Basil is critical of the homoousion, in Ep. 9 he has come to tolerate it. But a comparison of the exact phraseology in the two letters is revealing.

In Ep. 361 he

writes: Tiva Tijv Siavoiav eyst Kai tt«s av uyicos Asyorro; . . . 9&S yap 90cm pr|8spiav sv tco paAAov Kai ijTrov Tijv 5ia9opav syov, toutov psv ouk elvai, . . . opoiov 8s kot’ ouaiav aKpi(3cos carapaAAaKTOOs, op0cos av oipai AsysaOai. In Ep. 9.3 the undoubted Basil writes: to opoiov kot’ ouaiav, ei psv TrpoaKsipsvov sysi to oarapaAAaKTeos, Ssyopai Tpv 9COV9V cbs sis toutov tco opoouaicp 9spouaav Kara Tijv uyifj 8t|Aov6ti tou opoouaiou 8iavoiav. . . . outs oOv 9COTOS npos 900s • • • sTnvofjaai Tiva 7rapaAAayf)v 8uvaTov. He has slightly modified his view; but he is dealing with the same ideas in the same sort of language, in a manner closely parallel to the earlier treatment of the subject showing the kind of flexibility that is to be expected of the same author writing on different occasions. A similar correspondence in ideas and actual language occurs

between Ep.


and Basil’s



Eunomius, written within the next three years or so. (It will be shown later that the same work has verbal affinities with Ep. 362.) In Ep. 361 he writes: irspi tou opoouafou . . . Tiva tt)v 8iavoiav syei Kai ttcos av uyicos AsyoiTO, £9’ chv outs ysvos koivov UTrspKsipsvov Gscopsrrai outs uAikov UTTOKsfpsvov Trpouirapxov, ouk OTropspiapos tou TrpoTSpou sis to 8suTspov; . . . f)psTs psv yap U'rrsiAf)9apsv, oirsp av slvai 553 B-D, “having previously said ‘ I and the Father are one thing’ (John 10.30), he added ‘I am in the Father and the Father in me’ (John 14.10), in order to show the identity of the deity and the oneness of the substance. For they are one thing, not in the sense that one thing has been divided into two parts, . . . nor that the one thing is given two names so that the same individual is sometimes Father and sometimes becomes his own Son. . . . But while they are two inasmuch as the Father is Father and not likewise Son, and the Son is Son and not likewise Father, yet their specific nature [cpucns] is one (for the offspring is not dissimilar from him that begat him, since he is his image), and everything that is the Father’s is the Son’s. Hence the Son is not ‘another God’; he is not extraneous afterthought. . . . Though the Son is other as offspring, yet as God he is identically the same thing; and he and the Father are one thing because their specific nature is individual and peculiar to themselves and the single deity is identical”; ibid. 3.6, 555 A, “the being of the Son is the entirety of the Father’s deity, and the Son is the whole of God ; ad Afr. 8, 898 B, “but when something belongs to, and is the same thing as, the substance of God, and is by specific nature an offspring from that, what else can it be but. . . of-one-substance with him who begat it?” It should be noted that both Athanasius and Apollinaris call Father and Son “the same thing” [tccut6v], not “the same indi¬ vidual” [t6v canrdv], as Basil wrongly asserts of the latter, Ep. 265.2, 409 D.


St Basil the Great and Apollinaris identicality secure the indivisibility of the new substantive entity


each has mutual relations and single¬

ness of “pattern”,1 and is the same thing in another way and another in the same way, if one may strain terms which cannot be stretched far enough to express the facts; and the Lord confirms our conclusion by representing the Father as “greater” while equal, and the Son as possessing equality while subordinate

(cf. John 10.29-30, 36-8;

14.28). This teaches us to picture the Son as light of identical form, but reduced intensity; we are not to change the substance, but to regard the same thing at full intensity and after reduction. Those who refuse to accept any identity in the substance introduce the extraneous idea of “similarity ” and apply it to the Son; which indeed holds good so far as concerns men who are “assimilated” to God. But those who realize that “similarity” properly applies to created objects express the connection of the Son to the Father in terms of “identity”2—but a reduced identity. That he is not the actual Father, or a part of the Father3 (which is ' 1 Cf. Athanasius de syn. 49 init., 762 D, “it is for this reason that the ground of his being equated with the Father is indicated in terms that imply singleness of ‘pattern’, and that the scriptures ascribe the same attributes to the Son as to the Father, with the sole exception of his being called Father”. For the meaning, see Eustathian Draft 4, p. 51 n. 6. 2 Cf. Athanasius de decret. 20, 226 A, B, “they were compelled in their turn to gather up the purport of the scriptures and re-state and rewrite their previous expressions with greater lucidity, by calling the Son of-one-substance with the Father, in order to indicate that the Son does not merely resemble him but, in resembling him, is identically the same thing [tccutov], deriving his being out of the Father; and to show that the similarity and absence of modification displayed in the Son are different from what is called ‘imitation’ of God in the case of us men—which we acquire from the practice of virtue by keeping the commandments.” Ibid. 24, 229 B, “recognize that we are discussing non-physical objects, and do not separate the unity of the nature and the identical sameness of the light.” 3 Cf. Athanasius ad Serap. 1.16, 664 E, “nor is the Son a part of the Father”.


Translation of the Correspondence impossible), is established by the principle that the Son is God in another way:1 he is God, not in the same way as the Father is God, but as being out of him—not prototype but image. He is of-one-substance in a quite exclusive and individual sense; not like members of the same species or bits partitioned from the same lump, but as the one and only offspring from the single stock and “pattern”2 of the deity, .issuing in an inseparable and non-physical manner, in such wise that what begets continues to be its generative self [ioiorris] while issuing as a begotten self.3 3

Ep, 363 To Apollinaris Basil to my master and most revered brother Apollinaris. We failed to take the opportunity that was open to us of addressing your reverence, although we should have liked to write to you after our former correspondence; for though it was open to you to clamp down silence on any pleasure felt over our correspondence, we were pleased.4 Really we 1 The translation here follows the readings of the MSS., as com¬ municated to me by Fr de Riedmatten: iva uf| ccutoj 6 Trcrrrip f| p4pos Ttarpos, dSuvcrrcoj, TrapicrTorrca to aAAcos uios. 2 For “pattern” see above, and note. 3 Cf. Athanasius or. c. Ar. 3.5fin., 555 A, “since then the Son is the image of the Father, one necessarily concludes that the deity and proper self [iSioTiy] of the Father constitute the being of the Son.” Ibid. 1.29, 433 D, “ a handiwork is extraneous to its maker, as has been said, but a son is own offspring of his father’s substance; therefore a handiwork need not always have existed—the craftsman starts making it when he wants to—but an offspring is not subject to such a decision, but is the proper self [ISioTqs] of its father’s substance; . . . nobody could be called, or be, a father unless he had a son in existence.” 4 Fr de Riedmatten informs me, after examining photostats of the two MSS., that one has a partial lacuna and shows signs of confusion, and the other reads ETTiCTTEiAavTES cror croi yap evov aicoTtr) ktA. Does Basil mean that Apollinaris in his previous letter {Ep. 362) had not shown sufficient sense of the joy it should have been to him to be consulted by young Basil ? Or did Apollinaris in his fair copy of Ep. 362 (of which our text presumably represents the rough draft which the author retained) perhaps add a request that Basil should not broadcast its contents?


St Basil the Great and Apollinaris thought you “alone have wit” but of the expositors “mere phantoms flit to and fro” (Odyssey, x, 495), on such secure ground of reasoning did you conduct your explanation. Now the craving to understand the divine oracles takes yet deeper possession of my soul. So, although I hesitate to submit certain of my difficulties to you for fear you think I am exercising an immoderate liberty of speech, yet I cannot endure to remain silent again, as I am in travail and longing for further help. It therefore clearly seemed best to ask you whether you permit us, of your great kindness, to put some questions about our difficulties, or whether we must hold our peace. Whichever directions you return we shall in future observe. May we be assured of your continual health and spirits and prayers on our behalf. 4

Ep. 364 Apollinaris to Basil Apollinaris to my master and longed-for brother Basil, greeting in the Lord. Think of the situation in which I have been myself, master, and say what has happened to your longed-for voice or the normal letter. Why do you not come to our help in person or at least shout encourage¬ ment from afar, since this great war has broken out against orthodoxy, and we are like men in the middle of the battle-front, calling to our friends owing to the violence shown by the enemy? As for you, we have no means of seeking you out, since we cannot discover where you may happen to be staying. I inquired for you in the city of the Cappadocians, as a report came from people who had met you in Pontus that you had announced your intention to return there shortly; but I did not find you where I hoped. But now on hearing that you are still staying in the same parts I have immediately entrusted this letter to my


Translation of the Correspondence informant. When you receive it, do not make his departure in your company a reason for not replying. Let me tell you that in the meantime a visit has been paid us by bishops coming from Egypt, and a letter has been distributed in harmony with ancient formularies, both those of divine authority and those drawn up at Nicaea in unison with these. It was necessary to take up the same points again, together with an explanation, owing to the fallacious misinterpretation of established decisions. This used formerly to be expressed in flat contra¬ dictions, but nowadays they dissemble the contradiction by a pretence of interpretation.1 Hence came that malicious suppression of the homoousion on the ground that, on any Greek interpretation,2 the concept is inappropri¬ ate; and the introduction, instead of the homoousion, of “similar in substance”. This has been deliberately in¬ vented, though the terminology is slovenly and the meaning is ill-intentioned; for similarity applies to qualities inhering in the substance, not3 to substantive objects. The motive is to suggest a substance that bears the same sort of similarity that a statue might bear to the Emperor.4 In reply to this the letter said—as would naturally be said by people of orthodox understanding and intention— that the homoousion declares the Son to be, not similar to God, but God, as being a genuine offspring and of the same substance as his begetter. The subject of the Spirit was introduced at the same time, to the effect that the fathers included him in the same confession of faith as the Father and the Son, because he has his being in the same deity.5 1 Cf. Athanasius ep. ad. Jov. i, 781 A. 2 The printed text reads dpvTicnv. I conjecture that this is a corrup¬ tion for £^f|yt|aiv or some such word. [See also above, p. viii.] 3 The negative is omitted in the printed Benedictine text. 4 The illustration of the Emperor and his statue is employed with precisely the opposite intent by Athanasius or. c. Ar. 3.5, 554 ^ 5 For the preceding paragraph, cf. Ath. ep. ad. Jov. 4, 782 B, C.


St Basil the Great and Apollinaris Who was so obvious a person to act as spokesman for this orthodox view as your most worthy self, together with my master Gregory?—who likewise writes no letter from any address and sends no single piece of information. Farewell, most longed-for master.




“Eustathian” Draft Letter from Apollinaris to Basil possibly composed on receipt of the latter’s treatise against Eunomius (Translated from the corrected text printed in the Appendix) TO APOLLINARIS ABOUT THE DIVINE SUBSTANCE1

i. I welcomed it when I observed the token of the faith in you, learned brother,2 which consists in not departing from the divine doctrines for the sake of human specula¬ tions.3 About such great subjects a man might encounter many difficulties, and controversies too, but not out of the sort of difficulties you and I have.4 The truth of the divine teaching is ambiguous.5 Consequently, if people all pursued their inquiries in this way,6 there would be profit 1 This draft letter forms the “Document” circulated by Eustace of Sebasteia against Basil in 375. The heading is due to a confusion between the Document, composed by Apollinaris, and a letter which Basil admitted having formerly written to him. 2 ctSsAtpe qnAopccOEcrraTE. Apollinaris commends Basil for being (piAoAoyos Ep. 362 init., and calls him “brother” Ep. 364 init. 3 Cf. Bas. adv. Em. 1.1, 207 B “upsetting the purity and simplicity of the teaching of the divine Spirit with this extraneous and vain wisdom, and misleading the innocent with fallacious argument” “not departing”, pf] |iE0i'cmxcr0ca, cf. Tfj te &Ar)0Eia auviaTaaOai, ibid. C. “speculations”. Noted as fault of the Arianizers by Basil in Ep. 361, 463 B. 4 Basil refers to his “difficulties” (using the same term) twice in Ep. 363. 5 Cf. Bas. adv. Eun. 1.14, 226 E “in this way [by being too litera¬ listic] he will find himself gathering impressions from the scriptures which are not merely false but mutually incompatible.” 6 I.e., “as you and I do”. Cf. Bas. adv. Eun. 1.1, 207 A “if all were willing . . . not to argue contrary to the truth of the gospel”.


St Basil the Great and Apollinaris from the exercise1 and no loss in respect of orthodoxy [£ucre|3£icc]; but people who out of their ignorance con¬ demn the divine oracles for unintelligence of falsehood have both led themselves astray from orthodoxy and, as you state,2 done injury to others. 2.

You were inquiring3 with reference to the homoousion,

“what meaning does it bear?”, since those persons entirely reject the view that the Son is “of one substance” with the Father; and, though it is the term from which they pretend to shrink, as not being found in Scripture, they attack the fact as impossible, the purpose of their objections being to get it repudiated.4 On hearing of this you were inquiring how things could be “of one sub¬ stance . . . which neither fall under a common genus nor are composed of some single underlying material, and as to which there is no partition of the original to make the second”.5 You have not distorted the significance of the homoousion; for you were not trying to upset it,6 because the Father and the Son are not “of one substance” in the same way as begotten physical beings.7 At any rate you wrote, “Whatever one takes the Father’s substance to be, one is bound to take the substance of the Son to be that 1 “exercise”. Cf. Bas. adv. Eun. i.i, 207 C “though we are entirely unexercised in that form of studies”. (The words “truth”, “teach¬ ing”, and “falsehood” all occur in the same context.) 2 “as you state”. Cf. Bas. adv. Eun. quoted in note 3, p. 47. 3 Sc. in Ep. 361, from which the following quotation and allusions are taken. 4 Cf. Bas. adv. Em. 1.1, 207 B “under pretence of Christianity he drags in a denial of the deity of the Only-begotten.” 5 Ep. 361, 463 C, D. “single underlying material” is taken from Ep. 362, 464 C and replaces the “material substratum” of Ep. 361. 6 I.e. Basil accepted the sense of the homoousion while hesitating about using the word. The same may be said of his treatise against Eunomius, where the term seems to occur only in 1.20, 231 D. “upset”—as Eunomius is said to be “upsetting” the faith, Bas. adv. Eun. quoted in note 3, p. 47. 7 Basil denounces Eunomius for introducing notions of physical begetting into the discussion of the Trinity, adv. Em. 2.5-6, 241 E-242 A, et alibi.


“ Eustathian ” Draft Letter from Apollinaris to Basil too,” assuming merely the difference that he is begotten instead of unbegotten.1 3. But you were hesitating to accept the term. You suggested that it was correct to call him “undeviatingly similar” to the Father on the assumption that the Father and the Son are “light displaying no difference of greater or Jess intensity,” but not to call them “of one substance”, “since each consists in a particular determinate sub¬ stance”.2 “The Father is source and the Son comes out of that source”.3 In what way then is the Son of one sub¬ stance with his source? “There is no partition of the original to make the second, as with physical beings, but a begetting. The Father’s self [16i6tps] in his character of Father has not been partitioned to make the Son, but the Son’s has come forth as a ray [etrecprivs] out of the Father’s; it is the same thing in otherness and another thing in identicality”.4 “Each has mutual relations and singleness of ‘ pattern ’; it is the same thing in another way and another in the same way”.5 In begetting without partition he [sc. the Father] issued in his entirety into the Son’s individuality [t6ico|ia] while continuing in the Father’s individuality.6 In the same way as you might perhaps say 1 Ep. 361, 463 D. 2 Ibid. 463 D, E. This ends the references to Ep. 361; the following quotations come from Apollinaris’ answer, Ep. 362. 3 Ep. 362, 464 D. 4 Ibid. D, E. For the extremely important parallels in Athanasius covering the whole of the present passage see Ep. 362 notes in loc. The point of the argument about “partition” is that a human father, in the act of begetting offspring, transmits to another a portion of his own physical content: he gives “something of himself ” to form the nucleus of his son, and to that extent diminishes the content of his own being. In the divine generation there is no such apportionment of content; the whole is given and the whole remains. 5 Ep. 362, 464 E. For “singleness of pattern”, which practically means “having the same content”, see note 6, p. 51. 6 Cf. Ep. 362/10., “what begets continues to be its generative self [1Si6tt|s] while emerging as a begotten self”. And cf. Bas. adv. Eun. 2.28, 265 C “Fatherhood and Sonship are individualities [ISicbnoTa].


St Basil the Great and Apollinaris political wisdom issues into domestic wisdom when, though it continues in the political “pattern”, it transfers the concept of justice and honour arising from the political sphere into the domestic sphere,1 so, I suggest, a man might arrive as near as he can to a mental picture of the Holy Trinity, if he conceives three particulars genuinely existing in one single deity through a progression which implies no partition and through distinguishing features [yvcoptcxpcrra] which involve neither alienation of the substance nor destruction of the identity.2 4.3 Consequently we are forced at all points to conceive the sameness in conjunction, or rather in union, with the otherness, and to speak of a first sameness and a second and a third; and to recognize that what the Father is in the first place, that the Son is in the second place,4 and the Spirit is in the third place; and again, that what the Spirit is in the third place, that the Son is in the second place according as “the Lord is the Spirit” [2 Cor. 3.17], and the Father is in the first place according as “God is the Spirit” [John 4.24]; and—to strain the signification of the inexpressible5—that the Father is the Son in a paternal way, and the Son is the Father in a filial way, and likewise with the Spirit, according as “the Trinity is one God ”.6 I 1 Basil adv. Eun. 2.16, 252 A suggests two illustrations of a similar type: the transfer of craftsmanship from instructor to pupil, and the co-existence of mental activity with the thought conceived. 2 “distinguishing features” and “involve alienation of the sub¬ stance”. Cf. Bas. adv. Eun. 2.28, 265 D. The Father’s substance is not alienated, since he retains it in its entirety: the identity is not de¬ stroyed, since the Son possesses the same substance in its entirety. 3 This paragraph down to “the trinity is one God” contains the passage quoted by Basil, Ep. 129.1, from the “Document” circulated by “the Sebastenes”. 4 Cf. Basil in Ep. 361, quoted above §2 ad Jin. 5 Cf. Ep. 362, 464 E, “if one may strain terms which cannot be stretched far enough to express the facts”. 6 This remark is framed in the same form as the last two Biblical quotations. Does the writer mean it as a reminder to himself, in working up his draft notes, to elaborate a finished reference to Matt.


“ Eustathian ” Draft Letter from Apollinaris to Basil put it thus because they will not be persuaded1 that what is unbegotten is the same, in an unbegotten and prior way,2 as what is begotten; and that what is begotten is the same, in a begotten way, as what is unbegotten. For he [sc. the Son] individually possesses the Father in himself,3 and he is in the Father [cf. John 14.10], which establishes the oneness of the two [cf. John 10.30], as recorded earlier.4 Though they are two in the particular point of being be¬ gotten and unbegotten,5 this difference is unified by the non-difference which (without making their union com¬ posite) accompanies the difference and results, not in producing a counterfeit of the single “pattern” [iSect],6 28.19 (quoted as proof of divine unity in Detailed Confession 24) ? But cf. ibid. 18 init., “so too we assert that the Trinity is one God, not in the sense of recognizing one compounded out of three . . . but in the sense that what the Father is by way of source and begetter, that the Son is because he is image and offspring of the Father”—a passage which seems to echo the present context. (Text in Lietzmann, p. 173.) For the substance of the present exposition cf. Detailed Confession, especially §§, 15, 25, 33. 1 Sc. the Eunomians. Cf. Eunomius quoted by Bas. adv. Eun. 1.16, 228 C, “ being unbegotten ... he could never submit to generation so as to impart a share in his own nature to the thing begotten, and would eschew all conjunction and association with the thing begotten.” Basil makes a superficially similar remark, adv. Eun. 2.28, 264 D, but with a vital difference. He is denying that the unbegotten Person can be transformed into the begotten Person, not asserting that the unbegotten Person is incapable of reproducing his substance in the begotten Person. 2 Cf. Bas. adv. Eun. 2.17, 253 A, “it is silly to inquire for anything prior to what is without beginning and unbegotten”—i.e. the unbegotten is the ultimate. 3 Cf. Bas. adv. Eun. 2.17, 252 C, “the Son then exists from everlast¬ ing, being joined in begotten form to the unbegottenness of the Father”, and cf. Athanasius or. c. Ar. 3.9, 559 A. 4 “as recorded earlier”, sc. by the evangelist. Athanasius likewise calls attention to the order and connections of these two texts, or. c. Ar. 3.3, quoted in note 3, p. 41, on Ep. 362. 3 Cf. Bas. adv. Eun. 2.28, 265 B, “one should, take being begotten or unbegotten as particular points of distinction superadded to the substance guiding one to a clear, explicit notion of Father and Son”. 6 The i8eoc of the godhead, here translated “pattern”, is obviously equivalent to the “substance” or “deity”. It refers to the “content”


St Basil the Great and Apollinaris but in revealing the one in the other [cf. John 14.9].1 We rather than the triple “forms” of the divine being, to the inner reality rather than the outward expressions. Therefore, though the word literally means “form”, it cannot here mean “appearance”, as opposed to “reality”, and must mean something much more con¬ crete than “species”, “kind”, or “class”: in fact it must describe something like the Platonic “form”, which means the truth of a thing as revealed by the ultimate analysis of reality. Hence “pattern” seems the least misleading translation; at least it is a concept familiar to present-day thought, and helps to bring out the metaphor of counterfeiting the unique “shape” of the divine substance in an inferior medium. The use of 15scc here must be connected with that of si So; Trjs ©EOTfiTOS in Ep. 362, 465 B, (“the one and only offspring from the single stock and pattern of deity”), and also in Athanasius; and with the use of evosiSqs (represented in the translation by “singleness of pattern”) in Ep. 362, 464 E, and in the following sentence of the present text. Plato used eiSos as equivalent to iSsoc, while Aristotle also employed it in the sense of “formal cause” or “essence”. When Athanasius applies it to the content of deity the idea behind its use is (as in the present passage) that of taking an impression in wax with a seal, and is ultimately derived from Heb. 1.3. So Athanasius says that the Son is the “image” of the Father because he has the Father’s “pattern”. But in the view of Athanasius, whereas the wax reproduces merely the design of the seal, not the substance on which the design is engraved, in the case of God the divine “pattern” actually is the divine “substance” and what the divine “Image” reproduces is the Father’s content. The relevant passages are de syn. 52, 765 E, “we conceive the unity of the Son with the Father not as implying that their teaching is similar, but as relating to their substance and as being a fact; we therefore do not speak of two Gods but of one God, there being but one pattern of deity; just as with the light and the radiance”; and or. c. Ar. 3.16, 566 A, “for the Word is God, and he alone has the pattern of the Father; ... he said ... ‘You have never either heard his voice or seen his pattern, and you have not his Word abiding in you’ (John 5.37, 38) ... in order to show that God’s Word himself is image and impression and pattern of his own Father.” Cf. or. c. Ar.

3-5> 6, 15Basil has an interesting passage on the seal and the image, adv. Eun. 2.16, 251 D-252 A, “we must conceive the image of the unseen God not as subsequently modelled upon the archetype like ordinary images executed by hand, but as bound up with the existence and reality of the original which gave it its reality; it has being because the archetype has being; it is not an imitative impression; as with a seal, the entire nature of the Father has been reproduced in the Son.” 1 Cf. Bas. adv. Em. 2.17, 252 B, “he reveals in himself the entire Father”, and cf. Athanasius or. c. Ar. 3.6, 555 C.

“ Eustathian ” Draft Letter from Apollinaris to Basil must take “singleness of pattern”1 as implying, not that the particular is something other within the generic,2 but that it is identical together with the generic. And if it [sc. the generic] is contained in the particular in the same mode (since the particular is not subsumed 3 in the generic, but either is as one) God the Word has come forth as a ray out of the Source.4 1 “singleness of pattern”. The reference is to the previous quotation from Ep. 362 made in § 3. For its meaning see note 6, p. 51. The writer is warning his readers against understanding this term in a generic sense. 2 Basil discusses the relation of the universal and the particular, with reference to the godhead, adv. Eun. 2.28, 265 B, C. “Particulari¬ ties, being superadded to the substance like impresses or shapes, distinguish what is common by means of individual peculiarities, but they do not make a breach in the continuity of the substance. For instance, deity is common, fatherhood and sonship are individualities; from the correlation of each, the common and the particular, there comes to us a grasp of the truth, so that on the mention of unbegotten light we understand the Father, and on that of begotten light we get the notion of the Son. . . . For this is the character of individualities, to reveal the otherness along with the identity of the substance. ’ 3 “subsumed” [epiTEpiexsToa] is a term of Greek logic and de¬ scribes the gathering up of various particular instances under a common head or genus. Apollinaris is arguing that the three divine Persons are not three separate particulars classified under an abstract concept of generic deity (which would in fact be tritheism). On the contrary, the substance of the Son, in the concrete, is the substance of the Father, though presented Sonwise: the one and only God is at the same time both Father and Son. Hence in the case of God the “generic” and the “particular” are identical. “The same mode (Tpo-rros)” recalls the technical term employed by Basil and subsequent theologians of the Cappadocian-Constantinopolitan tradition to describe the distinguishing features of the three divine Persons. They called these “modes of existence” (-rpoTroi uTr&p£;ECOs). See my God in Patristic Thought, pp. 245-8. But that is not the sense here, where the argument is that the divine substance is wholly and equally embodied in each Person in the same manner. 4 The argument is so tightly compressed in the latter part of this letter that it may be well to offer a more extended paraphrase of the text: , “The fact that he is unbegotten is a special feature peculiar to the Father. Similarly the fact that he is begotten is a special feature peculiar to the Son. These facts constitute a genuine difference between the one and the other.


St Basil the Great and Apollinaris “But the difference between them is not absolute. Associated with it is a ‘non-difference’ which unites the two in one. “This ‘non-difference’ does not involve a mechanical union of the two, in the sense that they are joined together like two separate components of a single structure and built up into a ‘composite’ whole. [If the godhead were composite it would not be ultimate: deeper analysis would be bound to reveal some unitary principle underlying both components: the really ultimate must be really unique. Both the Catholics and the Arians were agreed about that.] “ Nor does it imply that a copy of the divine original is stamped out in fresh material with the original die. Such a copy would be a ‘counterfeit’. The ‘essence’ or ‘pattern’ of the godhead is unique. “What it does mean is that each Person is revealed in the other [on the principle that ‘he that hath seen me hath seen the Father’]. “We have said that the different Persons display ‘singleness of pattern’. This expression is not meant to suggest that ‘pattern’, as applied to God, is an abstract, generic term, referring to the common characteristics found in all the members of a class or genus. [In that case there would be three Gods.] “The divine Word is indeed contained within the divine Source. But he also issues forth outside that Source. Each of the two is there¬ fore distinct. Yet the two are one, like the sun and its ray. God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and each of these Persons is identically the same God.” Apollinaris is here setting forth in his own way the Athanasian doctrine of Identity of Substance. Put in crude material metaphor, this affirms that it is not enough to describe each Person as consisting of precisely similar pieces of stuff: each Person consists of one and the same identical piece of stuff as the others. Regarded externally as possessing distinctive features and mutual relations, God is three objects. Regarded internally as expressing a single unique reality, God is one object. The Cappadocians were shy of emphasizing the identity of content, for fear of Sabellianism, which was the bogy of the conservative East. They therefore had to find some other way of emphasizing the divine unity and avoiding the conclusion that there are three Gods. They found this by developing the doctrine of “modes of existence ”, and the doctrine of “ coinherence ” (see God in Patristic Thought, chapter XIV) which they also learned from Athana¬ sius. “Co-inherence” means that each Person, so to speak, permeates the others, so that where one is, all are. Basil’s brother, Gregory of Nyssa, seems to have been responsible for making the most significant advance along these lines.




The Text of the “Eustathian Document”


he text of this Document was first printed in 1779 by J. A. Mingarelli in the thirty-third volume of

A. Calogiera’s series JVuova Raccolta d> Opuscoli Scientifici e Filologici, published at Venice: a copy is contained in the British Museum, and in the Cambridge University Library. The re-discovery of this edition was made by Fr H. de Riedmatten, o.p., to whom I am indebted for the information. Mingarelli took his text from a MS. which is still preserved in the Angelica Library at Rome.1 The text was republished from the same MS., together with a long essay, in a small book by L. Sebastiani at Rome in 1796. Sebastiani appears to have been completely unaware that his own edition was not the first. A copy of his booklet is also contained in the British Museum Library. His text was reprinted, with some minor errors corrected, by Dr Loofs in his Eustathius von Sebaste . . . (1898), pp. 72-3. The Document is apparently that circulated by Eustace of Sebaste during his campaign against Basil the Great in 375. Part of it is quoted at second hand by Basil in Ep. 129.1, cited below as “Bas”. The quotation contains two serious corruptions but is otherwise accurate, and it preserves an important clause omitted in the MSS. of the Document itself. 1 Mingarelli’s introduction shows that he perceived the document was intended to be addressed by Apollinaris to Basil, not vice versa.




St Basil the Great and Apollinaris The Document quotes from an earlier correspondence between Basil and Apollinaris, preserved among Basil’s collected letters in the Benedictine edition, but there regarded as spurious (in my judgement, wrongly). The relevant items are cited below under their numbers in that collection (“Ep. 361” and “Ep. 362”). Fr de Riedmatten has discovered four MSS. which con¬ tain the Document. I am wholly indebted to him for such knowledge as I have of their several texts, and deeply grateful to him for permission to use the information he has supplied. The MSS. are as follows: Arsenal 234, Paris, cent. XI: cited as A. Angelica 13, Rome, cent. XI: cited as B. (This is the MS. used by Mingarelli and Sebastiani.) Coislin. 237, Paris, cent. XI: cited as C. Vatican, gr. 713, Rome, cent. XIII: cited as D.

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