In this article the author examines Gaius Marius Victorinus’ contribution to the development of the doctrine of divine simplicity, which occupies the central place in his philosophical and theological doctrine. Although this doctrine was developed by Victorinus in the context of Arian controversy and his apology of the principle of consubstantiality contained in the Nicaean Creed, its origins go back to the Neoplatonic metaphysics, with its opposition between "here" and "there", that is two worlds with their own logics. In connection with this, the doctrine of Plotinus on the simplicity of the One, the Mind and intelligible essences is briefly reviewed. The basic principles of the doctrine of Divine simplicity are the coincidence of substance and existence in God, so that the very substance of God is His being; the inapplicability of the opposition "substance – accidents" to God, in connection with the fact that God is a substance without accidents and that in Him "to have" is identically "to be"; the identity of all Divine attributes with the Divine substance, such as action, movement, will, form, truth, etc., and, as a consequence, the identity of all attributes to each other. Particular attention is paid to the analysis of the attributes of existence, life and thought, on the example of which the principles of unity and distinction of the Divine names and attributes are uncovered, which include synonyms, common and proper acts, potential and actual being, hiddenness and manifestation, as well as the doctrine of the "implication and predominance" of the attributes as an anticipation of the medieval theory of appropriation. In conclusion it is mentioned that Marius Victorinus for the first time in the history of Christianity brought Neoplatonic doctrine of Divine simplicity into Christian theology, applying it to explaining such basic Christian dogmata as God’s existence, substance and attributes, consubstantiality of Divine hypostases, discretion of hypostatic differences. The author also poses a question of the influence of Victorinus’s doctrine on the formation of the subsequent Western Christian theological tradition and its basic differences from the Eastern Christian tradition.
ancient philosophy, metaphysics, substance, accidence, potency, act, Neoplatonism, Christian theology, Patristics, trinitarian doctrine, Marius Victorinus, St Augustine
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Fokin Alexey Academic Degree:
Doctor of Sciences*
in Philosophy; Place of work:
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences; Goncharnaya Str. 12/1, Moscow 109240, Russian Federation; Post:
Leading Research Fellow; ORCID: 0000-0001-5411-6437
*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.