24 Reading diakonhsasa for the diakomisasa of the Paris ed. and diakomhsasa of Oehler's text, the latter of which is obviously a misprint, but leaves us uncertain as to the reading which Oehler intended to adopt. The reading diakonhsasa answers to the diakonoj genomenh above, and is to some extent confirmed by diakonhsai occurring again a few lines further on. S. Gregory, when he has once used an unusual word or expression, very frequently repeats it in the next few sentences.
29 S. John i. 5 (A. V., following the Vulgate). The word katelabe is perhaps better rendered by "overtook." "As applied to light this sense includes the further notion of overwhelming, eclipsing. The relation of darkness to light is one of essential antagonism. If the darkness is represented as pursuing the light, it can only be to overshadow and not to appropriate it." (Westcott on S. John ad loc.)
1 This Book is entitled in the Munich and Venice mss. "an Antirrhetic against Eunomius' second Essay (logon)": in the Paris Editions as "Essay XII. (logoj I B) of our Father among the Saints, Gregory of Nyssa against Eunomius (1615), against Eunomius' second Essay (1638)." The discrepance of number seems to have arisen from the absence of any title to Book VI. in the Munich and Venice mss. But the Book preceding this, i. e. Book XII., is named as such by the Paris Editt. of 1638: and cited elsewhere as such. Photius, after saying that Gregory far excelled, in these books, Theodore (of Mopsuestia), and Sophronius, who also wrote against Eunomius, particularly praises this last book.
6 eusebeiaj. That this is the predominant idea in the word will be seen from the following definitions: "Piety is a devout life joined with a right faith" (Oecumenius on 1 Tim. iv. p. 754). "Piety is the looking up to the one only God, Who is believed to be and is the true God, and the life in accordance with this" (Eusebius, P. E. i. p. 3). "Piety is the science of adoration" (Suidas).
8 Essence, substance, ousia. Most of this controversy might have been avoided by agreeing to banish the word ousia entirely from this sort of connection with the Deity. Even Celsus the Neo-platonist had said, "God does not partake of substance" (ousiaj). "Exactly," Origen replies, "God is partaken of, viz., by those who have His spirit, rather than partakes of anything Himself. Indeed, the subject of substance involves questions complicated and difficult to decide; most especially on this point. Supposing, that is, an absolute Substance, motionless, incorporeal, is God beyond this Substance in rank and power. granting a share of it to those to whom according to His Word He chooses to communicate it? Or is He Himself this Substance, though described as invisible in that passage about the Saviour (Coloss. i. 15) `Who is the image of the invisible God,0' where invisible means incorporeal? Another point is this: is the Only-Begotten and First-Born of all Creatures to be pronounced the Substance of substances, the Original Idea of all ideas, while the Father God Himself is beyond all these?" (c. Cels. vi. 64). (Such a question as this last, however, could not have been asked a century later, when Athanasius had dispelled all traces of Neo-platonic subordination from the Christian Faith. Uncreated Spirit, not Invisible First Substance, is the mark of all in the Triune-God. But the effort of Neo-platonism to rise above every term that might seem to include the Deity had not been thrown away. Even "God is Spirit" is only a conception, not a definition, of the Deity; while "God is substance" ought to be regarded as an actual contradiction in terms.)
9 i. e. who hold the Father and the Son to be one and the same Person, i. e. Sabellians. "He here overthrows the heresy of Sabellius, by marking the persons of the Father and the Son: for the Church does not imagine a Son-Fatherhood (uiopatorian), such as the figment of that African" (Ammonius caten. ad Joh. I. i. p. 14).
11 Eunomius arrived at the same conclusions as Arius, but by a different path. "The true name of God is 'Agennhtoj, and this name is incommunicable to other essences." He attacked both the Arians and the orthodox. The former he reproached for saying that we can know God only in part: the latter for saying that we know God only through the Universe, and the Son, the Author of the Universe. He maintained, on the contrary, that it was unworthy of a Christian to profess the impossibility of knowing the Divine Nature, and the manner in which the Son is generated. Rather, the mind of the believer rises above every sensible and intelligible essence, and does not stop even at the generation of the Son, but mounts above, aspiring to possess the First Cause. Is this bold assertion, Denys (De la Philosophie a'Origène, p. 446) asks, so contrary as it is to the teaching of the Fathers, a reminiscence of Origen, or a direct borrowing from Plato or the Neoplatonists? The language in which it is expressed certainly belongs to the latter (upokiyaj, epekeina, poqoj, to prwton, glixomenoj): but Origen himself, less wise in this matter than Clement, was not far from believing that there was a Way above Him Whom S. John calls the Way, a Light above the Light that "lighteth every man that cometh into the world," an "Eternal Gospel" above the present Gospel; and that these were not inaccessible at once to human creatures. Only they could not be reached in themselves, and without a Mediator, until Christ, having vanquished His enemies, had given back the kingdom to the Father, and God was "all in all."-This doctrine of the 'Agennhtoj, then, made it necessary for Basil and Gregory to throw their whole weight against Eunomius, rather than against Macedonius, who, as inconsequent through not dealing alike with the Second and Third Person, could not be so dangerous an enemy.
12 As being another. Oehler reads wj eteron: the Paris editt. have estin eteron, due to the correction of John the Franciscan, whose ms., however, (the Pithoean) had wste (wj ti?). These words of Eunomius are found in Basil lib. i c. Eunomium, tom. i. p. 711 (Paris 1638), even more fully quoted than here: and wj eteron is found there.
13 Gregory here refers to the apparent "retrograde" motion of the planets, i. e. that, while passing through part of their orbits, they appear to us to move in a direction contrary to the order of the Zodiac. In what follows he represents the views of the ancient astronomy, imagining a series of concentric spheres, allotted to the several planets, the planetary motions being accomplished by the rotation of the spheres. Beyond the planetary spheres is the sphere allotted to the fixed stars, within which the others revolve. See Gale, Opusc. Mythol. (1688), p 550; and Introduction to Colet's Lectures on Corinthians, pp. xl-xliii.