Joseph S. O’Leary
The Homoousion as Shield of the Son’s Divinity
Eastern Thelogical Journal 8 (2022) 2, 145-163
A flurry of revisionist theses about the Nicene Creed, which foreground the alleged theological initiative of the Emperor Constantine, who allegedly saw Christianity as an instrument for boosting “pagan monotheism” and whose thought was allegedly nourished by Hermeticism, mediated by his tutor Lactantius seem rather to refer us back to standard accounts of the Creed, and to the roles of Alexander of Alexandria and Ossius of Cordoba. Close study of the actual text of the Creed, including the anathemas, confirms that the homoousion fits perfectly into a string of clauses, all intended to defend the full divinity of the Son against the Arian claims. The texture of the Creed and the all too human circumstances of its composition deserve our close study, as illustrating how the brokenness and fragility of historical formations paradoxically testify to the reality they attest.