The significance of the distinction between essence and energies of God according to St. Basil the Great

Martzelos, Georgios (2013)


Concerning the important positions that Professor D. Bradshaw has expressed in regards to the formation and development of the distinction between the essence and energies of God in the Orthodox tradition , we considered it useful, within the limited framework of an article, to give from a historico-dogmatic point of view special treatment to the ontological and gnoseological significance of this distinction according to St. Basil the Great. This will clarify his decisive contribution to the development and formation of the above distinction within the Orthodox tradition. As was already emphasized in a related study of ours, it is indeed a noteworthy contribution, because Basil was the first of the great Fathers of the Church to develop, not only ontologically, but also gnoseologically, this distinction, constituting the basis for its further development, both by the other two Cappadocians, and by the subsequent great Fathers of the Church, especially St. Gregory Palamas . The teaching of Saint Basil the Great οn the distinction between essence and energies of God is not the outcome of philosophical conjecture, but rather the continuation of the biblical and of the patristic tradition that came before him. Although this teaching was developed in the 4th Century by Saint Athanasius of Alexandria on an ontological basis and especially in the context of his struggle against the Arians , Saint Basil further developed it from an ontological and gnoseological perspective, in his confrontation with the Eunomians and Pneumatomachians of his age.

Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as