Classical Theism, Philosophy, and Religion Forum

You are not logged in. Would you like to login?



3/22/2018 2:40 pm  #11


Re: Ousía and hypostasis from the philosophers to the councils

8. Post-Chalcedon problem A: ambiguity in ousía or in homoousios.

The issue addressed in this section is not a problem at all at the theological level (in contrast with the issue addressed in the next section), but basically a matter of semantics. I find it worthwhile, however, since it provides closure to the question with which we opened the article.

Recalling (for the last time!) that ousía had entered the philosophical discourse as a question to be answered, and for which Aristotle had provided two different answers, one in the Categories and another in the Metaphysics, the second of which could in turn be interpreted in two different ways:

C: the individual, particular, concrete subject or "hypokeimenon", “that which underlies or lies beneath”;
M1: the essence or form, understood as particular;
M2: the essence or form, understood as universal.

it is clear that, after the proposal on philosophical terminology by St. Basil and St. Gregory of Nyssa was accepted by the Church, C was no longer one of the possible meanings of ousía, but became associated exclusively with hypostasis.

But after Chalcedon, the question of whether the sense of ousía was M1 or M2 was still open, as can be seen in the definition by Chalcedon that the Incarnated Logos is "homoousios with the Father as regards the divinity" and "homoousios with us as regards the humanity".

Given that "homoousios" means "of the same ousía", and that:

- whereas the Father and the Son are numerically the same one and only divine Ousía,
- Jesus and each of us are numerically distinct instances of the human ousía,

the statement of the double consubstantiality of the Incarnated Logos implies either that (solution 1):

- ousía is meant univocally, in a particular sense (M1) for both the divine Persons and created entities, and
- "same ousía" is meant ambiguously, in a numerical identity sense for the divine Persons and in a qualitative identity sense for created entities;

or that (solution 2):

- ousía is meant ambiguously, in a particular sense (M1) for the divine Persons and in a universal sense (M2) for created entities, and
- "same ousía" is meant univocally, in a numerical identity sense for both the divine Persons and created entities.

Since using ousía in a universal sense is Platonism, my personal solution is 1. In this case, if we wanted to avoid the ambiguity in "homoousios", we would have to reserve "homoousios", "consubstantial" for numerical identity and use "isoousios", "equisubstantial" for qualitative identity, so that the definition would state "consubstantial [homoousios] with the Father as regards the divinity" and "equisubstantial [isooousios] with us as regards the humanity".

Now, what is the Church's solution for this problem? For the Roman Catholic Church, we can find out from the definition by the Ecumenical Council of Trent, session 13, that "by the consecration of the bread [...], a conversion is made of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord," as clearly in both cases "substance" is meant in a particular sense.

 

Last edited by Johannes (3/24/2018 5:44 pm)

 

3/24/2018 3:49 pm  #12


Re: Ousía and hypostasis from the philosophers to the councils

9. Post-Chalcedon problem B: why is it that Jesus' objective, concrete, really existing human nature is not a hypostasis?

Strictly speaking, this problem is Post-Ephesus, since that Council had already defined the doctrine of the one hypostasis of Christ, although in a way less explicit than that of Chalcedon. Quoting from the Third letter of Cyril to Nestorius, read at the council of Ephesus and included in its proceedings [1] [2]:

St. Cyril of Alexandria, in his Third letter to Nestorius, wrote:

"For we do not divide up the words of our Saviour in the gospels among two hypostases or persons."

"All the expressions, therefore, that occur in the gospels are to be referred to one person, the one enfleshed hypostasis of the Word. For there is one Lord Jesus Christ, according to the scriptures."

"II. If anyone does not confess that the Logos Who is from God the Father has been united to flesh according to hypostasis, [...] let him be anathema."

"IV. If anyone distributes between two persons or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they have been said by the holy writers of Christ, or by Him of Himself, [...] let him be anathema."

The question of why Jesus' human nature is not a hypostasis could be just left as a theological mystery, as in fact Cyril did in his Second letter to Nestorius, also read at the council of Ephesus and included in its proceedings [2]:

"the Logos became man by uniting to Himself according to Hypostasis, in an ineffable and incomprehensible manner, flesh ensouled with rational soul."

Still, it is wholly legitimate to try to understand [3] how the two natures subsist in one hypostasis. As detailed by Pavouris (2001) [2], the first steps to such an understanding were made by John of Caesarea aka John the Grammarian (fl 510-520) and by Leontius of Jerusalem (fl. probably between 538-550). Quoting from [2]:

On John the Grammarian, Pavouris (2001) wrote:

the Grammarian teaches that the union in Christ was effected 'according to synthesis'. [...] This union 'according to synthesis' is also called 'enhypostatic'. This christology of the 'enhypostaton' is the major contribution of the neo-Chalcedonians to christological doctrine. The primary meaning of the term is 'union of two or more ousiai in one hypostasis'. Yet, like Leontius of Jerusalem, the Grammarian allows for a second meaning, that of true existence. Thus, he accepts the axiom that all ousiai are 'enhypostatic' as long as this means that they really exist. Only in this sense does he agree to call Christ's human ousia 'enhypostatic': in so far as it subsists in the Logos' one Hypostasis and therefore truly exists.

On Leontius of Jerusalem, Pavouris (2001) wrote:

"Leontius makes absolutely clear that only the divine nature has always had its own hypostasis. The human nature, however, has never had a hypostasis of its own. An obvious question is raised by the 'Nestorian': [...] if having a hypostasis primarily means being real - an assumption that Leontius accepts - will a human nature without a hypostasis not be 'anhypostatic', i.e. non existing? Leontius replies that one should distinguish between

a) 'anhypostaton', i.e. something that does not have a hypostasis at all,
b) 'idiohypostaton', i.e. something that exists in its own hypostasis, and
c) 'enhypostaton', i.e. something that subsists in somebody else's hypostasis on account of their union.

Christ's human nature is neither 'anhypostatic' nor 'idiohypostatic'; it is 'enhypostatic', that is, it exists in the pre-existent hypostasis of the Logos. [...] It is not true, says Leontius, that the 'specific human nature' of Christ preceded its hypostasis. [...] As soon it came into being the human nature was enhypostasised, not in a hypostasis of itw own but in the pre-existent hypostasis of the Logos."

This is as close as one can get to understanding the hypostatic union without assuming the real distinction between essence and act of being or existence. To note, even within Thomism the real distinction is always a postulate, an axiom. Twetten [4], in the best treatment of this subject that I am aware of, concludes that "All nine of Aquinas' arguments for the Real Distinction that we have reviewed seem vulnerable to the Question-Begging Objection. Aquinas seems never to have been aware of the objection." (p. 80). He then proposes an argument of his own, based on hylemorphic theory (pp. 85ff). That argument is of no use to me, first because I hold that hylemorphism is a valid description of entities only when the form in question is spiritual, such as the human soul, and secondly because I also hold that the human soul after death is the same person it was with the body, even though in a diminished state, so that his argument would not work for me even in the case of human natures.

Assuming the real distinction between essence and act of being, we can make a general definition of hypostasis that applies to both divine Persons and contingent entities and can be used to formulate the dogmas of trinitarian and christological orthodoxy.

Recalling that hypostasis meant the individual, particular, concrete, really existing subject or "hypokeimenon", and adopting the particular sense of ousía (M1):

ousía = essence or form in a particular sense
 
hypostasis = act of being in a particular mode + ousía

act of being = {Subsistent Act of Being (one), contingent act of being (many)}

modes of the Subsistent Act of Being = {fontal plenitude and paternity, filiation, passive spiration or procession}

modes of a contingent act of being = {created}  -- or none at all

divine Ousía (one) = Subsistent Act of Being (one)  -- per absolute divine simplicity

God the Father = Subsistent Act of Being in fontal plenitude and paternity mode

God the Son before the Incarnation = Subsistent Act of Being in filiation mode

God the Son after the Incarnation = Subsistent Act of Being in filiation mode + Jesus' human ousía

Holy Spirit = Subsistent Act of Being in passive spiration or procession mode

In contrast:

Peter = Peter's contingent act of being + Peter's human ousía

Thus:

- Jesus is not a human person because his human ousía exists by the Subsistent Act of Being in filiation mode, the Hypostasis of the Son.
- Peter is a human person because his ousía exists by Peter's contingent act of being.

Summarizing:

- In creatures, there is a one-to-one correspondence between created hypostasis and created ousía in the particular sense (M1).

- In the Godhead, three Hypostases are one and the same Ousía (in a numerical identity sense), Each in a different mode.

- After the Incarnation, God the Son is one Hypostasis in two ousíai.
 

Last edited by Johannes (3/24/2018 5:50 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

3/24/2018 4:00 pm  #13


Re: Ousía and hypostasis from the philosophers to the councils

References

Section 1

[1] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CE%B5%E1%BC%B0%CE%BC%CE%AF

[2] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E1%BD%A4%CE%BD

[3] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CE%BF%E1%BD%96%CF%83%CE%B1

[4] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CE%BF%E1%BD%90%CF%83%CE%AF%CE%B1

[5] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CE%BF%CF%85%CF%83%CE%AF%CE%B1

[6] Studtmann, Paul, "Aristotle's Categories", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/entries/aristotle-categories/

[7] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hupokeimenon

[8] Cohen, S. Marc, "Aristotle's Metaphysics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/aristotle-metaphysics/

[9] Loux, Michael J., "Primary Ousia: an essay on Aristotle's Metaphysics Z and H", Cornell University Press, 2008.
https://books.google.com/books?id=1DOIpuLnrnIC

[10] Cohen, S. Marc, "Z.13: Substances and Universals", 2008.
https://faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/433/Z13Lecture.pdf

Section 2

[1] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E1%BD%91%CF%80%CF%8C

[2] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CF%83%CF%84%CE%AC%CF%83%CE%B9%CF%82

[3] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/substantia

[4] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sub#Latin

[5] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/stans#Latin

[6] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sto#Latin

[7] Ute Posskel, "Evidence of Greek philosophical concepts in the writings of Ephrem the Syrian", Peeters Publishers, Louvain, 1999.
https://books.google.com/books?id=rZ3gGQuJUS4C

Section 3

[1] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CF%87%CE%B1%CF%81%CE%B1%CE%BA%CF%84%CE%AE%CF%81

[2] Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., The Trinity and God the Creator: A Commentary on St. Thomas' Theological Summa, Ia, q. 27-119, 1943, translated by Frederic C. Eckhoff, B. Herder Book Co., 1952. Reprinted by Aeterna Press, 2016.
https://isidore.co/calibre/browse/book/3085
https://www.ewtn.com/library/theology/trinity.htm
https://books.google.com/books?id=yGmkDAAAQBAJ

[3] "Subsistence." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com.
http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/subsistence

[4] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/subsisto

[5] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sisto

Section 5

[1] http://www.earlychurchtexts.com/public/creed_of_nicaea_325.htm

[2] http://www.fourthcentury.com/urkunde-24/

[3] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CF%80%CF%81%CF%8C%CF%83%CF%89%CF%80%CE%BF%CE%BD

Section 6

[1] Thomas G. Weinandy, Athanasius: A Theological Introduction, Ashgate Publishing, 2007.
https://books.google.com/books?id=SGOpA_MjSUgC

[2] https://www.elpenor.org/athanasius/in-illud-omnia.asp?pg=7

[3] Lewis Ayres, Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology, Oxford University Press, Oxford, Oct 28, 2004.
https://books.google.com/books?id=iT4VDAAAQBAJ

[4] http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2818.htm

[5] The Letters of Saint Jerome, Aeterna Press, 2016.
https://books.google.com/books?id=iTwIDAAAQBAJ

[6] http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3001015.htm

[7] http://www.earlychurchtexts.com/main/jerome/jerome_ep_15_tres_hypostases.shtml
For the quoted passage, I used this Latin text to improve the accuracy of the English translation in the previous two references.

Section 7

[1] https://www.elpenor.org/basil/letters-3.asp

[2] https://www.elpenor.org/basil/letters-3.asp?pg=39

[3] https://www.scribd.com/document/212698195/Letter-35

[4] http://www.papalencyclicals.net/councils/ecum02.htm

[5] http://www.papalencyclicals.net/councils/ecum03.htm

[6] Richard Price and Michael Gaddis, The acts of the Council of Chalcedon, Liverpool University Press, 2005.
https://books.google.com/books?id=6IUaOOT1G3UC

[7] Pavouris, Raphael (2001), The condemnation of the Christology of the three chapters in its historical and doctrinal context: the assessment and judgement of Emperor Justinian and the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
http://theses.gla.ac.uk/1503/

Section 9

[1] http://www.papalencyclicals.net/councils/ecum03.htm

[2] Pavouris, Raphael (2001), The condemnation of the Christology of the three chapters in its historical and doctrinal context: the assessment and judgement of Emperor Justinian and the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
http://theses.gla.ac.uk/1503/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fides_quaerens_intellectum

[4] David B. Twetten, Really distinguishing essence from esse. Proceedings of the Society for Medieval Logic and Metaphysics, Volume 6, 2006. Pp 57-94.
http://faculty.fordham.edu/klima/SMLM/PSMLM6/PSMLM6.pdf

 

     Thread Starter
 

Board footera

 

Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum