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Title page for ETD etd-04032013-001832

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Kotsiris, Leonidas
URN etd-04032013-001832
Title Even as we are one: a study on the question of will in Trinitarian theology until 381
Degree PhD
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Professor Robin M. Jensen Committee Chair
Professor J. Patout Burns Committee Co-Chair
Professor David A. Michelson Committee Member
Professor Lenn E. Goodman Committee Member
Professor Paul J. Dehart Committee Member
  • Tertullian
  • Justin
  • Plotinus
  • Gnosticism
  • Irenaeus
  • Origen
  • Arius
  • Eusebius
  • Council of Antioch
  • Council of Sardica
  • Athanasius
  • Gregory Nazianzus
  • Theology
  • Nicaea
  • will
  • Gregory of Nyssa
  • Ambrose
Date of Defense 2013-03-13
Availability unrestricted
This study explores the theological background to an highly acrimonious facet of the fourth century disputes provoked by Arius, namely the place of the will in Trinitarian discourse. By late antiquity, the will had assumed a special place in a number of thinkers as both a check against materialist determinism and the locus of personal intentionality and accountability. Focusing on the work of a number of early Christian thinkers, namely Justin, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen, I trace how this wider concern with the will was integrated, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, into the peculiarly Christian theology of a strongly sovereign Triune God, and the belief that one of the Persons in this deity lived a human life of obedience “unto death” in a created world fallen through its own errant volitional agency. For added context, I also examine the role of will in the non-Christian systems of Valentinus and Plotinus. Finally, I explore at length how this mixed legacy of pre-Nicene Christianity on the matter of will in the Trinity finally was resolved in the fierce fourth century debates over Arius.
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