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The Competing Philosophical Frameworks Apparent in the Neo-Arian Thoughts of the Late Fourth Century C.E.: A Case Study

Trostyanskiy, Sergey

In this article I would like to articulate the role of Stoic philosophy as a possible underlying philosophical framework that supported the so called 'Neo-Arian' theology represented by Aetius and Eunomius, the fourth century protagonists of the Arian movement. This movement can be thought of as a result of self-reassessment and regrouping of Arianism in the second half of the fourth century C.E. This time was marked by the Trinitarian debate reaching the state of philosophical subtlety as a number of great rhetoricians joined the controversy. As of today we know a lot about the historical course of events of the controversy and of its major protagonists. However, the very nature of their reasoning is still unclear due to the general lack of knowledge about the competing philosophical paradigms of the time. That is why it is no surprise that contemporary scholarship is quite uncertain about the philosophical roots of the controversy and about the nature of reasoning used during the clash between two competing views on the inner life of the trinity and the relationship between its hypostases. To overcome such uncertainty an appeal is made to the arguments made by the adversaries of Aetius and Eunomius and to the classifications that come out of their circles. Thus many scholars out of anxiety naturally retire to the safe resort of the ancients to make sense of a highly eclectic philosophical theology of Neo-Arians.


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Union Seminary Quarterly Review
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Union Theological Seminary
Union Theological Seminary
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September 16, 2015