A thesis snapshot

This is my introductory paragraph and my written description of contents:

The following study compares the exegetical practices of two authors, Basil of Caesarea and Hilary of Poitiers, in two of their most significant works, Contra Eunomium and De Trinitate, in order to demonstrate that one of the features of fourth century theologians that are traditionally identified as ‘Orthodox’ or ‘Pro-Nicene’ is their common exegetical practice. It thereby explores the larger question, of whether pro-Nicene exegesis is a consistent phenomenon, in light of a small question, of the extent of similarity between Basil and Hilary writing in the early 360s.

The study proceeds in two sections. In the first, I survey recent revisionism around the concept of pro-Nicenism and the general historiography of the fourth century theological debates, examine the work of Hanson, Behr, Ayres, and Anatolios, and move towards a synthesis of this recent revisionism. This provides the basis for the construction of the idea of pro-Nicenism and the context in which pro-Nicene exegesis may be configured. In the following chapter, I provide a historical contextualisation of the fourth century debates leading up to the writing of the two focus texts, a survey of approaches to Basil and Hilary, in these two texts and in relation to exegetical practice and Trinitarian doctrine, and lastly a brief synopsis of the argument structures of the two texts.

In the second part, we turn to a series of analyses of primary themes, practices and texts in the two authors, placing their treatment of Scriptural passages in comparison to each other, as well as situating them in relation to other key authors of both pro-Nicene and non-Nicene theologies. These analyses focus on key texts and themes, including Partitive Exegesis (chapter three), the Johannine prologue (chapter four), the language of ‘made’ applied to the Son and its associated texts (chapters five and six), the relationship between power and nature and ‘equality’-texts (chapter seven), and John 14:28 as a problem text (chapter eight).

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