John Behr provides a series of original, comprehensive, and insightful sketches of theology of the key protagonists of the Nicene faith in the fourth century. Part one, “True God of True God,” begins with a reflection on the nature of Christian theology—challenging common presuppositions—and an analysis and survey of the fourth century controversies. He follows with studies of Alexander, Arius, the Council of Nicaea, and, Athanasius. John Behr provides a series of original, comprehensive, and insightful sketches of theology of the key protagonists of the Nicene faith in the fourth century. Part two, “One of the Holy Trinity,” provides analyses of the work of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa, together with their opponents, in particular Eunomius and Apollinarius.
“Orthodoxy, as examined in The Way to Nicaea, has less to do with recapturing a pristine past than envisioning the future, contemplating the crucified and exalted Christ who is still the Coming One.” (Page 8)
“The way to Nicaea is not plotted retrospectively from Nicaea, as if it were itself the starting point, but with reference to the revelation of God in Christ, the subject of the Christian confession from the beginning; if Nicaea is a definitive moment in Christian identity, it is because it preserves the truth of the definitive moment.” (Page 2)
“It is noteworthy that the terms hypostasis and ousia do not appear in the Creed of Constantinople, while the formula ‘three hypostases one ousia’ appears in the pages of the Cappadocians only a few times.27 As I have already suggested, Trinitarian theology, let alone Nicene orthodoxy, cannot be reduced to this formula.” (Page 10)
“That is, the Son is, entirely, a total participation in the Father’s essence; there is no part of the Son that is not always already a participation in the Father.” (Page 237)
“‘the story is the story of how orthodoxy was reached, found, not of how it was maintained.’” (Page 9)
John Behr is a contemporary Eastern Orthodox priest and theologian, and Dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, where he teaches Patristics . He was ordained to the diaconate on September 8, 2001 (the feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos) and the priesthood on September 14, 2001 (the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross). Behr was previously the editor of the Popular Patristic Series released by St. Vladimir’s Press.