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CAPPADOCIAN LEGACY

ACriticalAppraisal
Editedby
DoruCostacheandPhilipKariatlis
StAndrewsOrthodoxPress
Sydney,2013
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 1 5/09/13 12:10 AM
Textcopyright2013remainswiththeauthors
Allrightsreserved.ExceptforanyfairdealingpermittedundertheCopyrightAct,
nopartofthisbookmaybereproducedbyanymeanswithoutpriorpermission.
Inquiriesshouldbemadetothepublisher.
NationalLibraryofAustraliaCataloguing-in-Publicationentry
Title: Cappadocianlegacy/DoruCostacheandPhilipKariatlis(eds).
ISBN: 978-0-9775974-9-9(paperback)
Notes: Includesbibliographicalreferencesandindex.
Subjects: Gregory,ofNazianzus,Saint.
Basil,Saint,BishopofCaesarea,
approximately329-379.
Gregory,ofNyssa,Saint,
approximately335-approximately394
Theology--Earlyworksto1800
Christiansaints--Biography--Earlyworksto1800.
OtherAuthors/Contributors:
Costache,Doru,editor.
Kariatlis,Philip,editor.
DeweyNumber:230
StAndrewsOrthodoxPress
242ClevelandStreet,Redfern,NSW,2016
www.standrewsorthodoxpress.com.au
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 2 5/09/13 12:10 AM
Contents
PREFACE..................................................................................................................................................5
1.THECAPPADOCIANSWITHINTRADITION
TheCappadocianFathersasFoundersofByzantineThought
DavidBradshaw.....................................................................................................................................11
WeretheFathersProponentsofaFamilialImagoTrinitatis?
AdamG.Cooper.................................................................................................................................. 23
2.THELEGACYOFSTBASILTHEGREAT
StBasiltheGreatsExpositionofNiceneOrthodoxy
JohnAnthonyMcGuckin......................................................................................................................47
WhyDidntStBasilWriteinNewTestamentGreek?
JohnA.L.Lee............................................................................................................................................61
Light(/)anditsLiturgicalFoundationintheTeaching
ofStBasiltheGreat
AdrianMarinescu..................................................................................................................................77
ChristianWorldview:UnderstandingsfromStBasiltheGreat
DoruCostache.........................................................................................................................................97
StBasilsTrinitarianDoctrine:AHarmoniousSynthesisof
GreekPaideiaandtheScripturalWorldview
PhilipKariatlis..................................................................................................................................... 127
TheRecapitulationofHistoryandtheEighthDay:
AspectsofStBasiltheGreatsEschatologicalVision
MarioBaghos........................................................................................................................................ 151
StBasiltheGreatasEducator:ImplicationsfromtheAddresstoYouth
DimitriKepreotes................................................................................................................................ 169
3.THELEGACYOFSTGREGORYTHETHEOLOGIAN
TheTeachingsofGregoryofNazianzusontheTrinity
ArchbishopStylianosofAustralia................................................................................................ 187
Self-KnowledgeandKnowledgeofGod
accordingtoStGregorytheTheologian
GeorgiosMantzarides....................................................................................................................... 203
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GregorytheTheologianASpiritualPortrait
ArchbishopStylianosofAustralia................................................................................................ 215
SeekingOuttheAntecedentsoftheMaximian
TheoryofEverything:StGregorytheTheologiansOration28.
DoruCostache...................................................................................................................................... 225
Whatthen?IstheSpiritGod?Certainly!StGregorysTeaching
ontheHolySpiritastheBasisoftheWorldsSalvation
PhilipKariatlis..................................................................................................................................... 243
ScriptureintheWorksofStGregorytheTheologian
MargaretBeirne.................................................................................................................................. 261
StGregorytheTheologiansExistentialMetanarrativeofHistory
MarioBaghos........................................................................................................................................ 275
FeaturesoftheTheandricMysteryofChristin
theChristologyofStGregorytheTheologian
AnthonyPapantoniou....................................................................................................................... 299
4.THELEGACYOFSTGREGORYOFNYSSA
DivineProvidenceandFreeWillinGregoryofNyssa
andhisTheologicalMilieu
BronwenNeil........................................................................................................................................ 315
DazzlingDarknessTheMysticalorTheophanic
TheologyofStGregoryofNyssa
PhilipKariatlis..................................................................................................................................... 329
ApproachingAnApologyfortheHexaemeron:
ItsAims,MethodandDiscourse
DoruCostache...................................................................................................................................... 349
SpiritualEnrichmentthroughExegesis:StGregoryofNyssa
andtheScriptures
MargaretBeirne.................................................................................................................................. 373
ReconsideringApokatastasisinStGregoryofNyssas
OnTheSoulandResurrectionandtheCatecheticalOration
MarioBaghos........................................................................................................................................ 387
INFORMATIONABOUTTHECONTRIBUTORS.................................................................. 417
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97
ChristianWorldview:UnderstandingsfromStBasil
theGreat
DoruCostache
Abstract:ThisarticleexploresaspectspertainingtoStBasilscontri-
butionstotheChristianworldvieworcosmology.Lessresearchedin
recent times, at least from this viewpoint Basilian thinking can sur-
prise contemporary readers by its fresh and balanced approach. In
fact,itofferssolutionstocurrentinterests,inthewaythatitbridges
the scientiic anu theological woiluviews anu uepicts a univeise full
ofdivinepresenceandmeaning.Theanalysisproceedsbydiscussing
St Basils contributions to science and theology, followed by his vi-
sion of the cosmos as a theological school anu inally his vision of the
world as a synergetic framework where divine and cosmic energies
creativelyinteract.
In recent times, when not simply pushed into a cone of shadow, St Basil
the uieats legacy is ieuuceu to his signiicant contiibutions to uoctiine
ecclesiastical politics, asceticism, ethics and exegesis. Within this almost
general indifference, three monographs by Philip Rousseau,
1
Anna Silvas
2

andStephenHildebrand
3
standaloneintheirattemptstohighlightforthe
Idedicatethisarticletothememoryofmylatementor,RevdProfessorDumitruPopescu
(1929-2010;UniversityofBucharestandRomanianAcademy),apassionateresearcherof
St Basils thought and the inspiration for my interest in Christian cosmology. A previous
version of this article was published in Phronema 25 (2010): 21-56. The text below rep-
resentsarevisedandexpandedversion.Atvariousstagesofitselaboration,thispaperhas
qreotly beneiteJ from tbe observotions of Anno Silvos }obn lee AJrion Horinescu Pbilip
KariatlisandthePhronemareviewers,towhomIamdeeplygrateful.MarioBaghosrecti-
ieJ my stylistic sbortcominqs mony tbonks
1
PhilipRousseau,BasilofCaesarea(Berkeley-LosAngeles-London:UniversityofCali-
forniaPress,1998).
2
Anna M. Silvas, The Asketikon of St Basil the Great, The Oxford Early Christian Studies
Series(Oxford:OxfordUniversityPress,2005).
3
Stephen M. Hildebrand, The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea: A Synthesis of
GreekThoughtandBiblicalTruth(Washington:TheCatholicUniversityofAmericaPress,
2007).
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98
Englishspeakingreadershipthecomplexityofhispersonalityandwork,
beyondthevarietyoftheirrespectiveapproaches.Evenso,andquitesur-
piisingly within contempoiaiy tienus to biiuge tiauition anu scientiic cul-
ture, his contributions to the Christian worldview herein, Weltanschau-
ung,representationofreality,orcosmologyinaverybroadsensedonot
elicit much inteiest Foi example when his elaboiations in this ielu come
under the scholarly scope, they are readily abandoned for the sake of the
ethical connotations that can be inferred from it.
4
Very recently, however,
Peter Bouteneff addressed St Basils contributions to the Christian worl-
dviewinrelationwiththefamousHomiliesontheHexaemeron.
5
Muchhas
yet to be discussed. In the following, I shall try to articulate the Basilian
approachtoworldview,whichisofrelevancetotheongoingconversations
betweentheologiansandscientists,andtothemoregeneralthemeofthe
Christianexperienceintheworld.
Withoutclaimingtobeexhaustive,thispaperwilladdressthreemain
topics St Basils attituue towaius science the signiicance of the woilu as a
theologicalschool(teaching-ground)andtheinteractivenatureofreality.
Bridging Scientiic Knowledge and Cbristian Worldview
It is peihaps a tiuism to afiim that beyonu its impeifections
6
StBasilof-
feredinhisHomiliesontheHexaemeron(whosedateofpublicationisstill
disputed)
7
agemofChristianscholarshipthatremainednormativethrough-
out the medieval period.
8
Indeed, whilst the opinion that he attempted a
completecosmology
9
shouldbetakencarefully,thegreatCappadociandis-
4
Seee.g.Rousseau,BasilofCaesarea,320-37.
5
PeterC.Bouteneff,Beginnings:AncientChristianReadingsoftheBiblicalCreationNarra-
tives(GrandRapids:BakerAcademic,2008),133-36.
6
See e.g. the famous passage in Hexaemeron 8.2 (PG 29, 168BC) where St Basil had to
interrupthisdiscourseinordertoreturntoapreviouslyoverlookedtopic.
7
Cf Paul } Feuwick A Chionology of the Life anu Woiks of Basil of Caesaiea in P } Feu-
wick (ed.), Basil of Caesarea: Christian, Humanist, Ascetic pait one Toionto Pontiical
Institute of Neuiaeval Stuuies Stanislas uiet Intiouuction to Basile de
Csare,HomliessurlHexamron,Greektext,intro.andtrad.byS.Giet,SourcesChr-
tiennes(Paris:Cerf,1949):5-84,esp.6-7;JohannesQuasten,Patrology,Vol.3(Westmin-
ster:ChristianClassicsInc.,1986),216;Rousseau,BasilofCaesarea,363.
8
Cf uiet Intiouuction }ohn Neyenuoiff ByzantineTheology:HistoricalTrendsand
DoctrinalThemes(NewYork:FordhamUniversityPress,1979),133.
9
Cf Emmanuel Clapsis St Basils Cosmology Diakonia 17:3 (1982): 215-23, esp. 216;
}ohn Anthony Ncuuckin Patteins of Biblical Exegesis in the Cappauocian Fatheis Basil
the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and Gregory of Nyssa, in S. T. Kimbrough, Jr. (ed.),
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99
playeu a bieauth of woiluly knowleuge mainly scientiic in natuie
10
which
hesuccessfullyinterpretedwithinagenuineChristianframework,scriptur-
al,liturgicalandspiritual.Insodoing,hegreatlycontributedtoaprocess
thathadbeeninitiatedbytheapostoliceffortstodisseminatethegospelin
theHellenisticworld,aprocessthatcontinuedlongafterthefourthcentury.
FollowinginthefootstepsoftheearlyChristianapologists,andprom-
inentlythesecondcenturyeruditebishopTheophilusofAntioch,
11
StBasil
aimed to provide his congregation and readership with a comprehensive
explanationofthecreatedrealm,heavenlyandearthly,humanandbiologi-
cal,astronomicalandmineral.Thislaboriousdepictionstemmedfrom,and
unfolded around, the Genesis creation narrative. In contrast with earlier
approacheswhichengagedancientcultureinapolemicalmannerand
althoughtheargumentativenotesofhisdiscoursearefarfromremaining
inaudible,whatmotivatedStBasilseffortwereprimarilypastoralandsalv-
iic conceins
12
aspointedoutbyBouteneff.
13
Beingacaringpastor,heun-
dertook to depict for his congregation a meaningful universe, marked by
divinewisdomandpresence,yetauniversethatcouldalsobedescribedby
theavailable sciences.Thisappraisal wasinoppositiontothepessimistic
worldviewoftheManichaeanmyths,whichelicitedtheconjugatereaction
ofStBasil,hisfriend,StGregorytheTheologian,andhisyoungersibling,St
GregoryofNyssa.TheircontributionstofourthcenturyChristiantheodicy,
focusedondismantlingtheconceptofevilasanontologicalcategory,can-
notbediscussedhere;however,IshallreturntotheManichaeanchallenge
andStBasilsresponsetoit.Likewise,thelatterssavantdigressionsabout
OrthodoxandWesleyanScripturalUnderstandingandPractice(Crestwood,NY:StVladi-
mirsSeminaryPress,2005):37-54,esp.46;Rousseau,BasilofCaesarea,320.
10
Cf.Hildebrand,TheTrinitarianTheologyofBasilofCaesarea,114-17,121-22;Quasten,
Patrology vol Anuiew Louth The Cappauocians in Fiances Young Lewis Ayies
Andrew Louth (eds.), The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2004): 289-301, esp. 294. Against the common opinion,
uiet Intiouuction believeu that St Basils awaieness of the natuial sciences
wasmediocreandlargelymediatedbyhandbooks.
11
0n Theophilus as a souice foi St Basil see uiet Intiouuction Constantin voi-
cu nv(tuiadespreCreareaLumiilaSf.VasilecelMare,inEmilianPopescuandAdri-
an Marinescu (eds.), Sfntul Vasile cel Mare: nchinare la 1630 de ani, second edition,
Stuuia Basiliana Bucuie,ti Basilica esp Foi uetails on
TheophilusapproachtoGenesisandcosmology,seeBouteneff,Beginnings,68-72.
12
Thisaspectisshownattheendoftheprologue;cf.Hexaemeron1.1(PG29,5C).Seealso
Hexaemeron Pu A which speaks of the euiication of the Chuich by the out-
comesoftheinterpretiveeffort.InHexaemeron3.10(PG29,77AB),StBasilinvitedthe
auuience to ponuei what was saiu by the pieachei foi the beneit of theii lives
13
Cf.Bouteneff,Beginnings,133.
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100
the natural realm where directed against remnants of paganism like the
interestofmanyChristiansinastrology.Indeed,againstastrologicalbeliefs,
St Basil invokeu both Sciiptuie anu the accepteu scientiic uesciiption of
reality.
As impiessive as it might have been foi the iist auuience anu up until
thedawnofmodernity,thisdescriptiveapproachcouldnotbemaintained
asStBasilsmajorcontributiontotheChristianworldview.Likemanyother
aspectsofancientculture,thesciencesonwhichhisHexaemerondepended
had become obsolete.
14
Nevertheless, before moving to discuss the more
importantcontributionofStBasiltothisarea,weshouldnotethattherel-
evanceofhishomiliestoChristiantraditionandexperiencewasnotdimin-
isheu by theii scientiic basis iunning out of uate Illustiating a genuinely
Christianconstrualofthecosmos,theBasilianhomiliesshareintheinde-
pendentcharacteroftheChristianworldview,which,asshownbyVladimir
Lossky,
15
builds upon the ecclesial mindset and theoretically remains un-
affectedbyanyculturalparadigmitengages.Thus,itistheChristiansub-
stancethatmakestheHexaemeronmeaningful.Forinstance,anyChristian
fromthepast,presentorthefuture,canbeinspiredbyStBasilssenseof
wonuei befoie the inetuning of the univeises paiameteis taken as a sign
ofGodswisdom,
16
therealisticassessmentofthenaturalmortalityofcre-
ation,
17
andtheethical paradigmsinferredfromvariousanimal andplant
behaviours.
18
Furthermore, when considered through the lens of the an-
thropiccosmologicalprinciple,
19
StBasilsinsistenceontheontologicaland
14
Cf Colin uunton Between Allegoiy anu Nyth The Legacy of the Spiiitualising of uene-
sis,inTheDoctrineofCreation(Edinburgh:T&TClark,1997):47-62,esp.58-9;Clapsis,
St Basils Cosmology
15
Cf.VladimirLossky,TheMysticalTheologyoftheEasternChurch(Crestwood,NY:StVlad-
imirsSeminaryPress,2002),104-106.
16
Heexplainsthisstateofcoherenceofthevisiblerealminlightofthedivinesourceofor-
der,(literallytheoriginoftheorderofvisible
things).Hexaemeron1.1(PG29,4A).
17
Cf.Hexaemeron Pu C See an analysis of this theme in Clapsis St Basils Cos-
mology,217-18.
18
Seee.g.Hexaemeron5.6(PG29,108BC);9.3(PG29,192B-196B).Cf.Bouteneff,Begin-
nings,136;Hildebrand,TheTrinitarianTheologyofBasilofCaesarea,117;PhilipRous-
seau HumanNatureandItsMaterialSettinginBasilofCaesareasSermonsontheCre-
ationTheHeythropJournal49(2008):222-39,esp. voicu nv(tuia
despreCreareaLumii,186.
19
Cf.JohnD.BarrowandFrankJ.Tipler,TheAnthropicCosmologicalPrinciple(Oxfordand
NewYork:ClarendonPressandOxfordUniversityPress,1986),16-20;TrinhXuanThu-
an,Lamlodiesecrte:EtLHommecralUniverse(France:Fayard,1988),287-88,292-
96; JohnD. Barrow, The Constants of Nature:FromAlphatoOmega the Numbers that
EncodetheDeepestSecretsoftheUniverse(NewYork:PantheonBooks,2002),141-76.
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101
teleologicalinterconnectivityofhumanandcosmicrealms
20
remainsvery
much valiu both scientiically anu theologically
Cbristion worlJview onJ scientiic poroJiqms
There are, nevertheless, other important aspects in the Basilian Hexaem-
eron which should not be overlooked given their relevance to the ecclesi-
al experience, and the current conversations in science and theology. An
outstandingcontributionishisproofthattheChristianworldviewcancre-
ativelyintersectwiththeculturalpatternsandcosmologicalparadigmsof
a given time. St Basils understanding of this matter, perfectly epitomised
bythepolygonal characterofhiseducation, Christianand Classical,
21
was
baseu on the conviction that the positive inteiaction of the scientiic anu
theologicalworldviewsisonlypossiblewhenthetwopartiesacknowledge
both their own epistemological limitations and each others competen-
cies. The Hexaemeron abundantly illustrates this principle. The homilies
display both an expert use of the available sciences in explaining natural
phenomena anu a masteiful inteipietation of the scientiic uata within the
scriptural and theological framework.
22
This remarkable accomplishment
suggeststhatStBasilwasfullyawareoftheanalyticalanddescriptivechar-
actei of the scientiic enueavoui anu iespectively the heimeneutical anu
interpretive character of the theological approach. Thus, in contrast with
the unswerving rejection of pagan culture by earlier authors such as Ter-
tullian,
23
andapartfromhisownrhetoricalturns,
24
heaccommodatedboth
appioaches that is theological anu scientiic in his unueitaking to map
thecontoursofreality.Thisnuancedsynthesisgivesproperaccountforthe
tensions noticed by Stanislas Giet in both St Basils appreciation for and
reticence toward science, tensions which the former considered as point-
ingtouncertaintyandoscillation
25
yetwhich,fromtheperspectiveofthis
synthesis,witnesstheCappadociansefforttodiscernthecompetenciesof
thetwoworldviews.Gietsimpassecouldhavebeenavoidedifhemadea
20
Cf.Hexaemeron1.4(PG29,12BC).
21
Foi St Basils euucation see }ohn A L Lee Why Biunt St Basil Wiite in New Testament
Greek?Phronema25(2010):3-20,esp.10-13.
22
Cf Baviu C Linubeig Eaily Chiistian Attituues towaiu Natuie in uaiy B Feingien
(ed.),ScienceandReligion:AHistoricalIntroduction(BaltimoreandLondon:TheJohns
HopkinsUniversityPress,2002):47-56,at51.
23
Cf Linubeig Eaily Chiistian Attituues towaiu Natuie Quasten Patrology,vol.2,
247,320-21.
24
Cf Linubeig Eaily Chiistian Attituues towaiu Natuie
25
Cf uiet Intiouuction
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102
further distinction, between the sciences so much appreciated by St Basil
andtheatheistideologiesheabhorred,anuancetowhichIshallreturnin
duecourse.
St Basil uisplayeu amazement foi anu appioval of the scientiic iep-
resentation of the world, as pointed out by scholars,
26
implicitly dismiss-
ing such facile generalisations as the perception of a patristic worldview
that developed wholly at odds with the cosmology and anthropology of
the Greek ancients.
27
Be consiueieu the geneial scientiic knowleuge of
LateAntiquityasalegitimatedescriptionofreality.Heneverobjected,for
instance, to the geocentric model or any other feature pertaining to the
Aristotelian-Ptolemaic cosmography.
28
Furthermore, whilst repudiating
on theological grounds the atheist convictions of some ancient sages, he
showeu no ieal intention to uebate the valiuity of theii scientiic theoiies
Togivejustoneexample,inafamouspassageinwhichheconsideredthe
iamiications of atomism
29
headvocatedtheideaofapurposefuluniverse
without questioning the scientiic woith of the theoiy St Basils conciete
appreciationforsciencecanbeperceivedmoresoinhispenchantfornat-
uralistic explanations. Without becoming oblivious of Gods ever-creative
andall-pervadingenergy,heelaboratedatlengthonthenaturalcharacter
as presented by the various sciences of human, biological and cosmic
phenomena. This interest in, and acknowledgment of, nature, which he
26
Cf Aichbishop Chiysostomos anu Bieiomonk Patapios Science anu Knowleuge in
the Patristic and Monastic Traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Transdiscipli-
narity in Science and Religion 2 (2007): 183-94, at 190; Emmanuel Danezis, Efstratios
Theouossiou anu Nilan Bimitiijevic The Bexaemeion of St Basil the uieat anu the Cos-
mologicalViewsofHisTime,inBasarabNicolescuandMagdaStavinschi(eds.),Science
and Orthodoxy, a Necessary Dialogue (Bucharest: Curtea Veche, 2006): 103-109, esp.
Louth The Cappauocians Auiian Naiinescu nv(tuia uespie lumin
,i func(ia ei lituigic n lume la Sf vasile cel Naie Be la Sfnta Sciiptui
la Sf uiigoiie Palama ,i Piintele Bumitiu Stniloae in P Semen anu L Petcu eus
Prin(i CopoJocieni Ia,i Publishing Bouse of A I Cuza 0niveisity esp
Baniel F Stiamaia Suiveying the Beavens Eaily Chiistian Wiiteis on Astiono-
my,StVladimirsSeminaryQuarterly46:2-3(2002):147-62,esp.147,152.
27
Cf uiegoiy Telepneff anu Bishop Chiysostomos The Tiansfoimation of Bellenistic
ThoughtontheCosmosandManintheGreekFathers,ThePatristicandByzantineRe-
view9:2-3(1990):123-34,at123.
28
Seee.g.Hexaemeron1.3-4(PG29,9A-12C);3.3(PG29,56C-60A)etc.Lossky,TheMys-
tical Theology, 105, suggested that in modern times the geocentric paradigm could be
justiieu in teims of the geocentiic conuition of uivine ievelation Also he maintaineu
that our vision of the universe is geocentrically and anthropocentrically conditioned,
giventhathumankindisthecentreofperspectiveandthesourceofanyrepresentation
ofreality.Inthelightofhisappreciationforthesciences,wecaninferthathadhelived
inourtimesaliteralgeocentrismwouldhaveseemedunacceptabletoStBasil.
29
Hexaemeron1.2(PG29,5C-9A);cf.Hexaemeron1.11(PG29,25A-28B).
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 102 5/09/13 12:10 AM
103
sharedwiththeothertwoCappadocianfathers
30
andsuccessfullyhanded
on to future generations of Byzantine theologians,
31
emerges with clarity
through the following examples. He believed for instance that Moses re-
ceived from nature itself ( ) his love of justice (
),
32
whilst maintaining that the Holy Spirit pre-
pares()oractivatesthewatersnature(
),itsnaturalcapacity,forthegerminationoflife();
33

likewise,heexhibitedtheconvictionthattheheat( )produced
bythesunpertainstoitsnature,sincethesunisnaturallyhot(
),andisnotreceivedfromelsewhere.
34
TheHexaemeronisfull
of similar naturalistic illustrations; I shall return to the topic of St Basils
understandingofnatureinthelastsectionofthisarticle.
Dissociatingsciencefromideology
The appreciation of nature and science is nevertheless but one virtue of
the Hexaemeron. Taking on the previous discussion of St Basils approach
toatomism,itshouldbenotedthatwhilstpresentingtheologyandscience
as two complementaiy ielus of knowleuge the saint ielentlessly attackeu
the iueological wiaps in which scientiic infoimation was as it still is pio-
moted to the broad public.
35
For this purpose, he adopted an intelligent
strategy in relation to the sciences and their associated ideologies, which
evokes the similar efforts undertaken by the early Christian apologists to
bridge theology, science and philosophy, by criticising pagan religiosity.
36

Moreprecisely,heendeavouredtodismantletheatheistpresuppositionsof
somephilosophicalschoolsofLateAntiquity,likethematerialisticone,and
aimeu at counteiacting the attempts to uepict scientiic enquiiy othei-
wisetheologicallyneutralasantagonistictotheChristianworldview.This
30
Cf. Jaroslav Pelikan, Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural
Theology in the Christian Encounter with Hellenism (NewHavenandLondon:Yale Uni-
versityPress,1993),100,105etc.
31
Forinstance,asimilarapproachtonaturewasreiteratedinthefourteenthcenturyby
St Gregory Palamas, who explicitly borrowed from St Basil. Cf. Doru Costache, Queen
oftheSciences?TheologyandNaturalKnowledgeinStGregoryPalamasOneHundred
andFiftyChapters,TransdisciplinarityinScienceandReligion3(2008):27-46,esp.32-3,
38-9etc.SeemoreexamplesinMeyendorff,ByzantineTheology,132-34.
32
Cf.Hexaemeron1.1(PG29,5B).
33
Cf.Hexaemeron2.6(PG29,44B).
34
Cf.Hexaemeron3.7(PG29,69C).
35
Cf.Pelikan,ChristianityandClassicalCulture,100.
36
Cf Richaiu A Noiiis The Apologists in Young Ayies anu Louth eus TheCambridge
HistoryofEarlyChristianLiterature(citedaboven.10):36-44,esp.36-7,39,42-3.
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 103 5/09/13 12:10 AM
104
appioach is typiieu by his comment iepiouuceu below about the haimful
impact of atheistic iueologies upon scientiic uiscouise St Basil was actu-
ally convinced that the inconsistencies he traced within and between the
vaiious scientiic theoiies oiiginateu in the iueological anu iiieligious as-
sumptionsofmanyoftheirauthors.
ThesagesamongtheGreekshavestruggled[toelaborate]many[the-
ories]aboutnature(),butnotoneidea()oftheirs
remainedunmovedandunshaken,thelatteroverthrowingtheprevi-
ousone.[]IgnoringGod,theycouldnotconceivethatanintelligent
cause ( ) preceded the genesis of all (
), drawing their conclusions from their initial ignorance
[concerningGod].
37
Atthispoint,heseemstohavefollowedTheophilus,
38
eitherdirectly,which
is not unlikely given the afinities between the above text consiueieu in
itsentirety,
39
andthediscourseoftheAntiochenebishop,or,alternatively,
through the mediation of St Athanasius the Great.
40
One way or the oth-
ei it is signiicant that in his appioach to science St Basil was conceineu
neitherwithremediatingtheinconsistenciesofthepaganworldviewsnor
with piouucing a supposeuly moie ieliable scientiic cosmogiaphy
41
This
37
Hexaemeron1.2(PG29,8A).SeeasimilarcriticisminHexaemeron3.3(PG29,57AB).
38
Cf.Theophilus,ToAutolycus3.3(PG6,1124B):yearningforvainandemptyglory,all
[the Greek sages] neither have themselves known the truth nor have they guided oth-
ers to the truth. Precisely the things they said demonstrate their utter inconsistencies
(andmanyamongthemdemolishedtheirownopinions( .
Fornotonlydidtheyrefuteoneanother,butsomeevenmadenulltheirownopinions.
Thus,theirreputationresultedinembarrassmentandfolly,beingdespisedbythosewho
understand.Foreithertheyspokeofthegodsandthentaughtatheism(,or
whilst speaking of the making of the woilu )theysaidintheend
thatallthingsemergespontaneously(... ).Andwhilst
speaking of pioviuence , again it seemed to them that the cosmos is
withoutprovidence( .Forabriefreferenceto
thispassageseeGietsnoteinBasildeCsare,HomliessurlHexamron(citedabove
n.7),92,n.3.
39
See paiticulaily the sentence The cieation )oftheskyandearthmustbecon-
veyeu not as having happeneu spontaneously ),assomehaveimagined,but
as having its cause fromGod.Hexaemeron1.1(PG29,6A).
40
InOntheIncarnation2(PG25,97C-100A),StAthanasiusnoted:somesaythatallthings
areself-originated( ),sotospeak.TheEpicureansare
among these; they deny that there is any providence () behind the evident
and visible things. [] Others take the view expressed by Plato []. He said that God
had made all things out of pre-existent and uncreated matter (
).
41
Seee.g.Hexaemeron3.8(PG29,73C);9.1(PG29,188C-189A).
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 104 5/09/13 12:10 AM
105
conclusionbringsusbacktothepastoralmotivationsbehindtheHexaem-
eron Inueeu St Basils scholaily pioiciency anu scientiic expeitise uiu not
takeprecedenceinhispositionasashepherdoftheChurch,nomatterhow
passionate about general knowledge he was.
42
His point against ignoring
Godscontinuousactivitywithincreationandthereductionofthecosmic
algoiithm to what we call touay natuial factois ultimately iemaineu theo-
logical.Thisconsistentapproachundoubtedlydrawsonhisunderstanding
of uenesis as a theological not scientiic naiiative
43

Beforeproceedinganyfurther,onemoreaspecthastobeaddressed.
Aujacent to his effoit to uisentangle the scientiic enueavoui fiom atheistic
ideologies,StBasilrepeatedlydenouncedtheillegitimatealliancebetween
them as a factor causing the fading of values and meanings in society. He
pointedout,forinstance,thefailureofsomeancientcosmologieslikethat
of the Stoics with its iecuiient cycles of conlagiation anu iebiith
44
to
appreciate the beauty of creation as indicative of the divine wisdom that
pervadesrealitytogetherwiththeuniversesvocationtopermanenceand
fulilment
45
Beautycannotbetheoutcomeofrandomforcesoranaccident;
forthisreason,StBasilcouldacceptneithertheprospectofitsdisappear-
ancenortheideaofaneschatologicaldissolutionoftheuniverse.Against
theweaknesscharacterisingancientcosmologies,fromtheoutsethenoted
withclarityyetavoidingpolemicalovertonesthatthenotionofrenewal
anuoi peifection as a inal puipose of the cosmos is entiencheu in the veiy
iist woius of the cieation naiiative
The anticipated statement of the dogmas concerning the worlds
consummation ( anu tiansfoimation ) is
nowhandedonasanutterancethroughtheelementsoftheinspired
teaching:InthebeginningGodmade.
46
42
InhisanalysisoftheBasilianHexaemeron Clapsis St Basils Cosmology has
excellentlypointedoutthesaintscarenottoimposeonthecongregationasdogmacon-
ceptsborrowedfromtheouterwisdom.
43
Cf.Hexaemeron1.2(PG29,8B);1.11(PG29,28B);6.2(PG29,120D);9.1(PG29,188D);
On the Origin of Humanity 1.4 (PG 30, 13CD; for an English version of this homily, see
St Basil the Great, On the Human Condition, trans. and intro. by Nonna Verna Harrison
(Crestwood, NY: St Vladimirs Seminary Press, 2005), 31-48, at 33). A similar attitude
occurredagenerationlaterinStJohnChrysostomsHomiliesonGenesis2.2(PG53,28).
SeealsoBouteneff,Beginnings Stiamaia Suiveying the Beavens
44
Cf.Hexaemeron3.8(PG29,73C).
45
Seee.g.Hexaemeron3.10(PG29,73CD).
46
Hexaemeron 1.3 (PG 29, 9B). St Basils unwavering commitment to the dogma of cre-
ationleavesnoroomforspeculationslikethoseofDanezis,TheodossiouandDimitrije-
vic The Bexaemeion of St Basil the uieat which suggest that he enteitaineu
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 105 5/09/13 12:10 AM
106
ThisdeclarationshowsasinaccurateRousseausviewoftheeschatological
fulilment of cieation as a ietuin to a woilu that was invisible anu eteinal
an ancient fatherland which he construed as a heavenly, disembodied
paradise.
47
OversteppingtheBasiliandependenceonthePlatonicandOri-
genisttraditions,anaspectthatwillbeaddressedshortly,Rousseaufailed
tonoticetheCappadociansprudentuseofthesesources.Whatmattersat
thisstage,however,isthatthephraseancientfatherland(infactnotused
intheHexaemeron)
48
referstothescripturalparadiseasdepictedinGene-
sis2andnotaheavenlyrealm.Moreover,theinterpretationoftheeschaton
intermsofadisembodiedandinvisibleconditionwouldquestionthecon-
sistencyofStBasilscritiqueoftheStoicworldview.
49
Toconcludethisdiscussion,itisnoteworthythatStBasildemonstrat-
ed throughout his Homilies on the Hexaemeron wisdom and discernment,
abundantly(yetwithoutpedanticreferences)integratingfeaturesofClas-
sicalandLateAntiquecultureinhisinterpretiveapproachtoGenesisand
likewiseinhisarticulationoftheChristianworldview.Moreprecisely,un-
dertakingtoretelltheGenesisstoryforanaudienceconditionedbytheHel-
lenisticparadigm,heplacedthewholenarrativewithintheculturalsetting
of the time and made skilful use of its powerful tools. In the process, as
a result of his dissociation of science from its ideological entanglements,
hemanagedtoreinterpretwithinagenuineChristianframeworksomeas-
pects peitaining to the scientiic uimension of the paiauigm making ioom
for values, meaning and the perspective of a purposeful universe. Correl-
atively whilst valiuating some aspects of scientiic cosmogiaphy as useful
vehiclesfortheecclesialviewofreality,StBasilcoulddistancehimselffrom
thequestionableaspectsoftheculturalcontextandanyemotionalattach-
menttoitsfragilecertainties.
theideaofaneternalmatter.TheirinterpretationiscontradictedbytheBasilianrefuta-
tionoftheconceptoftheuncreatedmatterinHexaemeron2.2(PG29,29C-32B).ForSt
Basilsviewsonmatter,seeBouteneff,Beginnings uunton Between Allegoiy anu
Nyth voicu nv(tuiadespreCreareaLumii,189.
47
Cf.Rousseau,BasilofCaesarea,320.
48
Cf.OntheHolySpirit27.66(PG32,192A).Theonlyparallelinthehomiliesistherefer-
encetotheJerusalemaboveastruefatherland( ;
an image evoking Revelation 21-22). Cf. Hexaemeron 9.2 (PG 29, 192B). Nevertheless,
this cannotbetakenasaheavenlyordisembodiedreality.
49
Foi a iefutation of such possibility see }ohannes Zachhubei Stoic Substance NonEx-
isting Matter? Some Passages in Basil of Caesarea Reconsidered, Studia Patristica 41
(Leuven-Paris-Dudley:Peeters,2006):425-30.
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 106 5/09/13 12:10 AM
107
Biawing on a coheient anu eficient knowhow such achievements
caninspirethecontemporaryconversationsbetweenscientistsandtheolo-
gians.Itisremarkableinfacthowthisapproachhasbeenfruitfullyreiter-
atedinthelastcenturybyaseriesofOrthodoxscholarsintheirattemptsto
engage the new scientiic paiauigm
50
TheWorldasaTheologicalSchool
AnotherpointofinterestisStBasilsassessmentoftheworldintermsofa
schoolorateaching-ground( ),
51
wherean
instruction about God is supplied. This theme appears to be a theological
corollaryoftheanthropicprinciple,referredtoabove,towhichStBasilwas
committed like any other reader of the Scriptures: the cosmos was fash-
ionedforusandinawaythatfacilitatesourknowingGod.Hisconviction
thatthecosmosasawholeandtheterrestrialecosysteminparticularhave
many things to teach us
52
comesasnosurprise,sincetheuniverseiscreat-
edforhumanityandshapedaccordingtotheparametersofitsexistence.
53

Incontrastwithearlierapproaches,illustratede.g.byGiet,
54
recentscholars
havenotoverlookedthetopicoftheworldasaschool.Nevertheless,whilst
quoting the phrase teaching-ground both Rousseau
55
and Bouteneff
56

retained its common ethical sense yet payed attention to neither its her-
meneutical function within the Hexaemeron nor the liturgical nuances it
entails.Iproposethethemeoftheschoolasthethemeandthehermeneu-
ticalcentreoftheBasilianworkconsideredhere,andnotmerelyapaideu-
ticdigression.AstheunderlyingthemeoftheHexaemeron,theideaofthe
schoolshapestheentirediscourseofthehomilies,explainingforinstance
whytheexplorationofthecosmosandtheGenesisnarrativeultimately
50
Cf Clapsis St Basils Cosmology Lossky The Mystical Theology, 106; Mey-
endorff,ByzantineTheology,134;PanayiotisNellas, Beiicotion in Cbrist 0rtboJox Per-
spectives on the Nature of the Human Person (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimirs Seminary
Press, 1997), 97-9, 102-103; Christos Yannaras, Elements of Faith: An Introduction to
OrthodoxTheology(Edinburgh:T&TClark,1991),46.
51
Cf.Hexaemeron1.5(PG29,13B).
52
Hexaemeron9.3(PG29,196B)speaksofthemediationoftheuntaughtlawofnature
( ).Untaughtmeansnotacquiredbyformaleducation.
53
See e.g. Hexaemeron Pu C Foi the scientiic unueistanuing of this aspect
see Barrow, The Constants of Nature, 160-65; Basarab Nicolescu, Nous, la particule et
lemonde,2
nd
edition(Monaco:ditionsduRocher,2002),101-105;Thuan,Lamlodie
secrte,294.
54
SeeBasiledeCsare,HomliessurlHexamron(citedaboven.7),106-107.
55
Cf.Rousseau,BasilofCaesarea,334.
56
Cf.Bouteneff,Beginnings,133,136.
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 107 5/09/13 12:10 AM
108
becameforStBasilaquestforthemarksoftheCreatorswisdomandthe
theologicalmeaningofhumanlife.Thisaspectissuggestedfromtheoutset
bytheprologueoftheHexaemeron,bywayofasuccinctdepictionofMoses
journey,towhichIshallreturn.Attheendofthisdiscussion,therichnessof
theBasilianconceptofatheologicallymeaningfulandpurposefulcreation
willbecomeevident.
AwayofreadingtheScriptures
The topic of the world as a teaching-ground seems to derive from St Ba-
sils understanding of the scriptural narratives, like the Genesis accounts
of creation and paradise, as teachings or pedagogical parables; an aspect
discussed by Bouteneff.
57
In a text attributed to the great Cappadocian, it
isstated:thestoryofthefashioningofmanisalesson[]forour
life.
58
Thevalueofthisstatementcanbechallengedonthegroundsofits
doubtfulBasilianauthorship;
59
however,itostensiblyrehearsesthesaints
elaborationsonthesymbolicshapeofthehumanbeing,
60
whichheoffered
asaninterpretationforGenesis1:24(LXX).Givenatleasttheconcordbe-
tweenthesetwotexts,onecaninferbywayofgeneralisationthatStBasil
construedthecreationnarrativeasinspiringapedagogicalviewoftheuni-
verse, and that in turn this construct conditioned his idea of the cosmos
asatheologicalschool.Thisassumptionwillleadusthroughthefollowing
analysis.
57
Cf.Ibidem,135.
58
OntheOriginofHumanity1.17(PG30,33A).Forthebinomialconstructofhistoria(nar-
rative) and theologia salviic teaching in St Basil see Rousseau Human Nature and
ItsMaterialSetting,225-26,232.ForthemeaningofhistoriaortohistorikoninStBasil
and other early Christian authors, see Hildebrand, The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of
Caesarea,107-109.WithoutreferencetoStBasil,seethetopicofhistoriaaspresentedby
Fiances Young Alexanuiian anu Antiochene Exegesis in Alan } Bausei anu Buane Fieu-
erickWatson(eds.),AHistoryofBiblicalInterpretation,Vol.1:TheAncientPeriod(Grand
RapidsandCambridge:WilliamB.EerdmansPublishingCompany,2003):334-54,esp.
341-47.
59
Cf.Quasten,Patrology,Vol.3,217.Foralittlemorethanasentenceconcerningtheau-
thenticityofthehomiliesOntheOriginofHumanity see Nonna veina Baiiison Intio-
ductiontoOntheHumanCondition(quotedaboven.43),14-5.Rousseau(BasilofCaes-
area,318etc.)speaksoftheelevengreatsermonsonthecreationoftheworld,thatis,
theHomiliesontheHexaemeron,thustacitlyaddingthetwosupposedlyspurioushomi-
liestothenineauthenticones.Cf.idem,HumanNatureandItsMaterialSetting,222.
60
Cf.Hexaemeron9.2(PG29,192AB).
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 108 5/09/13 12:10 AM
109
TheBasilianapproachtothecosmosviascripturalinterpretationvery
likely drew on Origen the Alexandrian.
61
For Origen, theology primarily
consistedinbiblicalexegesis,
62
anaspectwellillustratedbyhisarticulation
ofcontemplationofthephysicalreality,astageintheprocessof
spiritual formation
63
as mediated by the ethical and spiritual interpre-
tation of the Bible.
64
For example, Origens First Homily on Genesis
65
goes
as far as to propound that at some interpretive level the narrative of cre-
ation speaks of the mystical remaking of the human being, all the details
of the cosmic environs having anthropological correspondents. Somehow
in a similar manner, as an outcome of his pedagogical approach to the
same Genesis account St Basil presented the world which includes the
terrestrial ecosystem and the far reaches of space alike as a privileged
place wheie people aie given inueinite possibilities to leain about uou anu
themselves.
66
BetweenOrigenandStBasilsrespectiveapproachesthereis
a range of continuities and discontinuities that cannot be addressed here
infull.
67
Nevertheless,apartfromitsemphaticallycosmologicaldimension
whichcontrastswiththealmostacosmisticOrigenianviewofthecreation
61
Foi St Basils heimeneutical afiliation with 0iigen see Bouteneff Beginnings,124-25;
uunton Between Allegoiy anu Nyth Chailes Kannengiessei HandbookofPatristic
Exegesis:TheBibleinAncientChristianity(LeidenandBoston:Brill,2006),740;Andrew
Louth,TheOriginsoftheChristianMysticalTradition:FromPlatotoDenys(Oxford:Clar-
enuon Piess Ncuuckin Patteins of Biblical Exegesis in the Cappa-
docian Fathers, 44-5; Rousseau, Basil of Caesarea, 320; Norman Russell, The Doctrine
of Beiicotion in tbe 6reek Potristic TroJition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004),
206-207.
62
Cf. John Behr, The Formation of Christian Theology, Vol. 1: The Way to Nicaea (Crest-
wood,NY:StVladimirsSeminaryPress,2001),169;Bouteneff,Beginnings,96;Fearghus
0 Feaighail Philo anu the Fatheis The Lettei anu the Spiiit in Thomas Finan anu vin-
cent Twomey (eds.), Scriptural Interpretation in the Fathers: Letter and Spirit (Dublin
andPortland:FourCourtsPress,1995):39-59,at56;AndrewLouth,TheOriginsofthe
ChristianMysticalTradition,54.
63
Cf.Louth,TheOriginsoftheChristianMysticalTradition,59-61.
64
Muchlater,yetinthesamevein,StMaximustheConfessoraddedthatthemediationof
Scripturetowardanaccuratenaturalcontemplationispossiblegiventhattherespective
uivine piinciples of Sciiptuie anu cieation coinciue See eg his Book of Bificul-
ties,10.17(PG91,1128CD).
65
Origen, Homilies on Genesis and Exodus, The Fathers of the Church Series, trans. R. E.
Heine(Washington,DC:TheCatholicUniversityofAmericaPress,1982),47-71.Seealso
Origen,Omilii,Comentarii,i AJnotri lo 6enez,bilingualedition,intro.,trans.andnotes
by Auiian Nuiaiu Ia,i Poliiom Foi ielevant notes to the oiigins of St
Basils iuea of the school see Allan E }ohnson Constiucting a Naiiative 0niveise 0ii-
gensHomily1onGenesis,StudiaPatristica41(citedaboven.49):175-79.
66
Seee.g.Hexaemeron3.10(PG29,77B).Cf.Bouteneff,Beginnings,136.
67
Forfurtherdetails,seeBouteneff,Beginnings,121,124-131.
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 109 5/09/13 12:10 AM
110
narrative,
68
StBasilsdiscourseisnotaltogetherdeprivedofspiritualcon-
notations.
69
TheprologueoftheHexaemeron,forinstance,takesasastart-
ingpointthetraditionalparametersofthemysticalapproach.
70
Indeed,theprologueofthehomiliessharesintheconventionaltraits
of mystical literature, to which Rousseau seems to have hinted when an-
alysing the connections between the Spirit, Moses, Genesis and the in-
terpreter.
71
But let us have a closer look at the text. Indirectly, by way of
rhetorical interrogations, the passage of interest
72
exhorts the reader of
uenesis to walk the ascetic path to the extent that his oi hei soul is puiiieu
It likewise implies that only puiiication enables one to
be a piopei iecipient of the supeiioi teachings suggesteu oi signiieu
by the otherwiseunsophisticatedphraseology(
, small voices) of the narrative. For the impure ones, the high-
er message of the account would remain elusive.
73
Surprisingly, however,
theprologuedoesnotpromise,asonewouldexpectaftersuchimportant
statements,eitheraspiritualinterpretationofGenesisoramysticalsurvey
of the woilu In fact alongsiue theii oveiall uesciiptive anu scientiiclike
character,thesermonsdonotdisplaymorethandoxologicalexpressionsof
awebeforethewisearchitectureofcreationandtobesurefrequentethical
digressions
74
(touchingontheformativescopeofthehomiliesandconverg-
ingtowardsthethemeoftheschool).
68
Asdiscretelysuggested,withoutmentioningOrigen,inHexaemeron3.9(PG29,73CD).
69
Seee.g.Hexaemeron2.1(PG29,28C),asacomplementtotheprologue,discussedbelow.
70
TheingeniousBasilianreiterationofOrigenshermeneuticalmethodwithinthecanon-
ical framework of mainstream fourth century Orthodoxy seems to have inaugurated
a process of critical yet positive reception that despite the sixth century anathemas
againstOrigenreachedcompletionwithStMaximustheConfessorintheseventhcen-
tury.Cf.AndrewLouth,MaximustheConfessor(LondonandNewYork:Routledge,1996),
24-5.
71
Cf Rousseau HumanNatureandItsMaterialSetting,226.
72
Cf.Hexaemeron1.1(PG29,4A-5A).
73
Onthecompatibilitybetweenreaderandthespiritualmeaningofthetext,seeHildeb-
rand,TheTrinitarianTheologyofBasilofCaesarea,111.
74
0n such ethical uigiessions in the tenth anu eleventh homilies see Rousseau Human
NatureandItsMaterialSetting,223.Itisunfortunatethatwhilstdiscussingtheethical
dimensionofStBasilsthinking,Hildebrand(TheTrinitarianTheologyofBasilofCaesar-
ea, 117-21) makes no reference to the Hexaemeron. The ethical digressions of St Basil
coiiesponu to 0iigens seconu highei sense of the biblical naiiatives See Elizabeth A
Bively Lauio Reconsiueiing 0iigens Two Bighei Senses of Sciiptuial Neaning Iuenti-
fying the Psychic and Pneumatic Senses, Studia Patristica 34 (Leuven: Peeters, 2001):
306-17.
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 110 5/09/13 12:10 AM
111
We inu heie theiefoie a uisciepancy within the economy of the woik
namely,atensionbetweenthespiritualisingprologueandtheprimarilyde-
scriptive content of the homilies. This challenging incongruity, overall ig-
noredbyrecentscholarsoftheHexaemeron,cannotbeunintentional.The
saintssilencewithreferencetotheloftiercontemplationsalludedtointhe
prologue (and related texts like Hexaemeron 2.1, mentioned above),
75
to-
getherwithhistiradeagainstallegory,
76
mayhavebeenrequiredbythein-
tentiontoaccommodatehislesseducatedaudiencesandreaders,asnoted
inscholarship.
77
Itisnotimpossible,however,thatthisapproachillustrated
StBasilsadherencetothedisciplinaarcani.
78
Ifthiswerethecase,bydelib-
eratelyrefrainingfromincursionsintobroadersemantichorizonshewould
havebuiltabarrieragainstindiscretionsregardingmysticalteachings.Fur-
thermore, in a positive rehearsal of the disciplina within the practice of
spiritualguidance,bynotprovidingalltheanswershewouldhaveintend-
edtoincitethereadertowardfurtherenquiry,oraspiritualexaminationof
thecosmosandthescripturalnarrative.
79
Inhisownwords,bythissilence
[concerning the formation of the elements], [the Genesis] history enticed
oui minu to exeicise oui aptituue in oiuei to ielect on the iest
80
Hemay
havealsoimpliedtheneedofasimilarapproachforthereaderofhisown
homilies which weie meant as a tool to woik with anu not a inal answei to
theconundrumsofGenesis.
81
StBasilscommitmenttothedisciplinamight
elucidatethemysteryofthediscrepancybetweentheprologueandtherest
oftheHexaemeron.
75
SeealsothecommentsbyHildebrand,TheTrinitarianTheologyofBasilofCaesarea,110-
11.
76
Cf.Hexaemeron9.1(PG29,188BC).OnStBasilscomplexattitudetowardsallegory,see
Hildebrand,TheTrinitarianTheologyofBasilofCaesarea,133-39.
77
Cf.Bouteneff,Beginnings,130;Hildebrand,TheTrinitarianTheologyofBasilofCaesarea,
139-41.
78
See }uliette Bay Auheience to the Bisciplina Aicani in the Fouith Centuiy StudiaPatris-
tica35(Leuven:Peeters,2001):266-70,esp.269,withaclearreferenceStBasilsuseof
thedisciplineofsecrecyinOntheHolySpirit,27.66.SeealsomyarticleThe Innei Siue of
theVisible:ApostolicCriteriaandSpiritintheOrthodoxTradition,inTeodosiePetrescu
(ed.), 0moqiu Profesorului Nicoloe v Bur lo Je oni Constan(a Euituia Aihiepisco-
piei Tomisului, 2006): 386-91, esp. 387-88. This aspect is likewise ignored by recent
researchersoftheHexaemeron,maybedeceivedbythestrongexpressionsofitsauthors
commitmenttotheliteralinterpretation.
79
ApointmadebyHildebrand,TheTrinitarianTheologyofBasilofCaesarea,112,yetwith-
outreferencetothedisciplinaarcani.
80
Hexaemeron2.3(PG29,33C).
81
Cf.Hexaemeron3.10(PG29,77AB).
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 111 5/09/13 12:10 AM
112
Approachingthecreation
All things considered, only now can we make sense of St Basils indirect
invitation, suggested by the sketched picture of the spiritual journey of
Moses,
82
to undertake the three-stage course of perfection which leads,
through ascetic detachment and natural contemplation, to the mystical
vision of God. Such spiritual exigencies, evocative of the Origenian path-
waytoperfection,
83
wouldbeutterlymisplacediftheintentofthehomilies
wereonlytheliteralinterpretationofGenesistogetherwithanempiricex-
plorationoftheworld.Bythisstrangeprologuetherefore,StBasilimplies
thatinemulatingthetransformativejourneyofMosesthereadercanreach
mysticalvisionandaccesstheinneraspectsofbothScriptureandnature.
Withintheplotoftheprologue,Mosespersonaltrajectoryappearstohave
become not only an inspirational paradigm but also a hermeneutical key
necessarytounlocktheinnermeaningsofboththescripturalandcosmic
narratives.Aspointedoutinthebeginningofthissection,wecansurmise
that, together with the tradition of the spiritual exegesis of Genesis as a
starting point for natural contemplation, what inspired the saint to refer
totheworldasaschoolwaspreciselyMosesexperienceinthewilderness.
In his own words, after dedicating forty full years to the contemplation
of the things that are ( ) Moses eventually reached
the climax of the mystical life and saw God.
84
The prophets experience
pioves the possibility of inuing uou within his cieation This leau seems to
coniim my asseition conceining the maik of the disciplinaarcaniuponthe
Hexaemeron. The homilies are meant to stir in the reader the desire for a
similarcontemplativeapproachtowardGodscreationthroughthelensof
thescripturalaccount,forwhichtheuniverseappearsasamanifestationof
divinewisdom.
As epitomised by the experience of Moses, St Basils commitment to
a spiritual hermeneutic explains why both the cosmos and the scriptural
narrativeonthecosmogenesisaretakenintheHexaemeronassourcesfor
a Christian pedagogy rooted within a holistic worldview. One step clos-
82
Cf. Hexaemeron 1.1 (PG 29, 5ABC). This passage, and not only the homonymous work
by Philo, might have inspired St Gregory of Nyssa to write his Life of Moses, where he
expandsonsimilarideas.SeeTheLifeofMoses2.22-6,2.157,inTheClassicsofWestern
SpiritualitySeries,trans.,intro.andnotesbyAbrahamJ.MalherbeandEverettFerguson
(NewYork-Ramsey-Toronto:PaulistPress,1978),59-60,93.Forthereiterationofthis
imageintheNyssenswork,seeGietsnoteinBasiledeCsare,HomliessurlHexam-
ron(citedaboven.7),90-1,n.2.
83
SeeadescriptioninLouth,TheOriginsoftheChristianMysticalTradition,54-5.
84
Hexaemeron1.1(PG29,5B).
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 112 5/09/13 12:10 AM
113
ei to oui topic a signiicant aspect emeiges fiom the pievious consiuei-
ations,namelythatpreciselybytakingthespiritualapproachStBasilwas
abletoascribepositiveconnotationstothethemeoftheworldasateach-
ing-ground. He offered a new and balanced version of the concept, thor-
oughly extricated from any pessimistic Origenist-like appraisal of the
cosmos as a transitory place of learning through the pain and misery so
relatedtomateriality.
Along with its scriptural inspiration, this positive approach might
oncemoreindicatethesaintsrelianceonthecanonicalversionofAlexan-
drinetradition,representedforexamplebyStAthanasiustheGreat.
85
For
StAthanasius,intruth,creationembodiesadivinesyntax,eachthing,living
or not, representing a written character. Given their syntactic coherence,
theensembleofalltheselettersconveysthroughthecolossaltomeofthe
universeinvastomundivolumine,tousetheCartesiancoinageonetheo-
logical message. In itself an ingenious version of the so-called cosmologi-
cal proofofGodsexistence,thisunderstandingpresentscreatedorderin
teims of a theologically signiicant stiuctuie In St Athanasius own woius
The knowledge of God ( ) can be also
reachedfromthevisiblethings( ),giventhatby
itsorderandharmony( )creationpoints
to,andloudlydeclares,itsLordandCreator,asthoughthroughletters
().
86
Creation appears here as an implicit Scripture,
87
a book oi witness of
the divine revelation, a complex web of theophanies which plays an anal-
85
0n the Athanasian inluence upon St Basils thought see Kannengiessei Handbook of
PatristicExegesis,741;NormanRussell, Tbe Boctrine of Beiicotion,207-208.
86
Against the Pagans 34 (PG 25, 69A); see also Against the Pagans 35 (PG 25, 69B). St
Athanasius himself seems to have depended on the identical elaborations of Origen in
hisCommentaryonGenesis1.1-9and3.20.SeeOrigen,Omilii,Comentarii,i AJnotri lo
6enez,464-69,506-509.
87
The symmetry between the world as a scripture and Scripture as a world was more
intensely pondered by St Maximus the Confessor; cf. Book of Bificulties, 10.17-8 (PG
BA The phiase implicit Sciiptuie is inspiieu by Fi Bumitiu Stniloaes
ruminationsonScriptureandnature.SeehisTeoloqio Boqmotic 0rtoJox,Vol.1,third
euition Bucuie,ti Institutul Biblic ,i ue Nisiune al Biseiicii 0itouoxe Romne
anu his scholia on the Naximian text in Sfntul Naxim Nituiisitoiul Ambigua,
Piin(i ,i Sciiitoii Biseiice,ti Bucuie,ti Institutul Biblic ,i ue Nisiune al Biseiicii
OrtodoxeRomne,1983),126-29,n.132-38.Thetextualnatureofcreationisvariously
auuiesseu by contempoiaiy Romanian thinkeis such as Anuiei Ple,u limbo psrilor
Bucuie,ti Bumanitas Anui Sciima TimpulRuguluiAprins:Maestrulspiri-
tuol n troJi(io rsriteon seconu euition Bucuie,ti Bumanitas See also my
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 113 5/09/13 12:10 AM
114
ogous role to St Basils metaphor of the teaching-ground. The Hexaemer-
on commences on a similar note, by reiterating the possibility of know-
ing God through the order of the visible realities (
).
88
It is apparent therefore that, possibly inspired by the
metaphor of a meaningful cosmos in Psalm 18:1-4 (LXX)
89
and the reve-
latory world as sketched by Romans 1:19-20,
90
the fathers never reduced
cieation to eithei the state of a natuie uepiiveu of uivine piesence oi a
hollowspacemarkedbypointlessness.Asmateriasignata,toparaphraseSt
ThomasAquinas,
91
cosmicexistencebearstheimprint,orsignature,ofthe
cieatoi Logos anu is theiefoie theologically signiicant This tenet has been
defended by the Church fathers in utter contrast to the dualistic systems
of late antiquity, like Gnosticism and Manichaeism characterised by the
oppositionofspiritandmatterwhichconstruedthematerialworldasan
irrationalandworthlessdomain.
92
Thecosmosasaschool
Before continuing our analysis of the topic of the world as a theological
school,itisworthpointingtootherfactorsthatequallycontributedtothe
arrangement of the hexaemeronic homilies around this theme. Contrary
to Rousseaus opinion, that the Hexaemeron had little to do with circum-
stance and that St Basil was in fact interested in expounding the human
jouiney fiom oiigins to fulilment
93
the importance ofthesefactors po-
lemicalinnatureandoutsidethescopeofthespirituallifeshouldnotbe
articleColocviul fi sfi,it Ra(iunea ue a i a ciea(iei n cugetaiea piintelui Bumitiu
Stniloae in Teouoi Bakonsky anu Boguan TtaiuCazaban eus Bumitru Stnilooe
sauparadoxulteologieiBucuie,ti Anastasia,2003):183-241.
88
Hexaemeron1.1(PG29,4A).Inrejectingfromtheoutsettheideaofaspontaneousgen-
eration,StBasilemployedsimilartermstothoseusedbyStAthanasiusinOntheIncar-
nation Pu CA See also Naiinescu nv(tuia uespie lumin
89
QuotedinHexaemeron3.9(PG29,76B).
90
QuotedinHexaemeron1.6(PG29,16C).
91
Cf. De Ente et Essentia 2. Whereas for St Thomas the phrase refers to matter as con-
sideredunderdetermineddimensions(Jico moteriom siqnotom quoe sub Jeterminotis
dimensionibus consideratur) or individualised as a concrete being, for me, taking as a
pretextthemetaphorinJohn8:6,8,itdesignatestheaspectofmatterasimprintedand
shapedbytheLogos.
92
On Gnostic dualism and its dilemmas, see Ioan P. Couliano, The Tree of Gnosis: Gnostic
Mythology from Early Christianity to Modern Nihilism, trans. by H. S. Wiesner and the
author(NewYork:HarperSanFrancisco,1992),135-37.
93
Cf.BasilofCaesarea,319.Althoughthisassessmenthassomemerittoit,itisneverthe-
lessobviousthatasaconcernedshepherdStBasilwasnotinsensibletocontext.
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 114 5/09/13 12:10 AM
115
overlooked.Sofar,wehavedeterminedthatStBasildrewonOrigensand
St Athanasius ielections on the oiuei of cieation as a souice foi the knowl-
edgeofGod;also,thatnaturalcontemplationisconsequentlyusefulinthe
processofonesspiritualformation,asintheexampleofMoses.Neverthe-
less the iuea of the school likewise playeu a signiicant iole in St Basils
refutationoftheManicheanmythofcreation,whichpresentedtheworldas
broughtintobeingbyanevildeityandthereforevoidofpositivequalities.
94

ThisexplicitreferencetotheManicheanmythandotherdualismspointsto
theseworldviewsasStBasilsmainpolemicaltargetandnottheArianher-
esy, as maintained by both Bouteneff
95
and Rousseau.
96
Indeed, Arianism
togetherwithJudaismwerequestionedbythesaint,butfortheirfailureto
interpretGenesis1:26asaTrinitarianreference
97
andnotinrelationtothe
underlyingthemeandfocusofthehomilies.
Another external factor is the popularity of astrological fairy tales,
which imagineu humanity as goveineu by the skys coniguiation iathei
than ueineu by fiee choice Such beliefs came to be uncompiomisingly ie-
futed by St Basil, who asserted in accordance with Genesis 1:14 that
thecelestialbodiesservepeople(theanthropicprinciple,again)insteadof
ruling their lives. Furthermore, he skilfully pointed out the inadvertences
rootedinthepseudoscienceofastrology.
98
Finally,thethemeoftheschool
seemstohaveaimedatcounteracting,asshownintheprevioussection,the
atheistic ideologies that hijacked ancient cosmology and denied the idea
of a purposeful universe. In the homilies, indeed, the theme of the school
seemstobeintegratedintoStBasilseffortstodemonstratethepurpose-
fulnessthatpervadescreation.Thefollowingpassageendorsesthisunder-
standing.
the cosmos has not been conceived vainly and without reason
99

given that it is assembleu foi some beneicial puipose anu the gieat
use of all beings. Thus, since it truly is a teaching-ground for con-
94
Cf.Hexaemeron 2.4(PG29,36BCD);cf. the note by Quasten,Patrology, Vol. 3, 217.On
Manichaeism,seeCouliano,TheTreeofGnosis,161-88.
95
Cf.Beginnings,131.
96
Cf.BasilofCaesarea,321.
97
Cf.Hexaemeron9.6(PG29,204C-208C).
98
Cf.Hexaemeron6.5(PG29,128B-129B);seealso6.6-6.7(PG29,129C-133C).OnStBa-
silsattitudetowardsastrology,seeRousseau,BasilofCaesarea Stiamaia Suivey-
ing the Beavens uunton Between Allegoiy anu Nyth
99
He reiterates this statement in Hexaemeron 5.8 (PG 29, 113A): nothing is without a
cause, nothing is there spontaneously. There is an ineffable wisdom in all (
, ).
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 115 5/09/13 12:10 AM
116
scious souls ( ) and a school of divine
knowledge ( ), through the guidance (
)ofthevisibleandsensiblethingsthemindisledtothe
contemplationoftheinvisibleones.
100
TogetherwiththeOrigenistandPlatonicovertonesofthisphraseology,such
astheperceptionofthevisiblerealmasguidingsoulstowardtheinvisible,
the logic of the quoted passage cannot escape us. Elaborating within the
scripturalsetting,StBasilrejectedanypossibilityofinterpretingtheworld
outsidetheperspectiveofGodastheoriginofallthatis;weobservedmore
ofthisaspectintheprevioussection.Consequently,giventhewisdomre-
lecteu in the inteiconnecteuness of the iealms he ieacheu the conclusion
thattheuniverseisteleologicallyconditionedandthereforeendowedwith
purpose.
101
These two stances, however, are not readily digestible within
ourtimes.Evencontemporarycosmologistswhoseerationalityasthein-
frastructure of reality address the teleological condition only reluctantly,
and,remainingentrappedbythenaturalismofpreviouscenturies,donot
daretogazeuponthedivinesourceofthisrationality,i.e.theLogosofGod.
In turn, the assertion concerning purpose outrages many contemporary
minds,accustomedtoperceivetheworldasanaxiologicallyneutralspace
tobeexperimentedwithorareservoirofresourcestobegreedilyexploited
forthesakeofourcomfortorthirstforpower,forthatmatter.Neverthe-
less,workingfromwithintheecclesialtraditionandhavingbeenexposed
tothemysticalteachingsofthesaints,
102
StBasilproposedaverydifferent
pictureoftheworldasGodscreation.
Guidedbythescripturalnarrative,theeyesoffaithinGodascreator
exploie the univeise in ways that have nothing in common with scientiic
inquisitiveness, economic interests (which can suffocate souls, depriving
them of the sense of awe for the meaningful beauty of things)
103
and lei-
surelypursuits,whicharesowidespreadtoday.StBasilsapproachdenotes
aprofoundsensitivityfortheworldscorollaofwonderstoechoLucian
Blagas verse entailing a careful respect and an apophatic reverence for
100
Hexaemeron1.6(PG29,16BC).Elsewhereinthisvolume,IhaveshownthatStGregory
ofNyssareiteratedthesameunderstandinginhisApologyfortheHexaemeron.Without
referencetoStBasil,similarideasemergeinNicolescusunueitaking to biiuge scientiic
worldviewandtradition,Nous,laparticuleetlemonde,185-90.
101
uiet Intiouuction founu in St Basils aiticulation of teleology tiaces of Aiistote-
lianism.
102
SeeOntheHolySpirit27.66,citedabove.
103
Cf.Yannaras,ElementsofFaith,50-2.
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 116 5/09/13 12:10 AM
117
bothnatureanditsmaker.
104
Thisdeferentialapproachisillustratedforin-
stancebythesaintsconsistentreferencetoGodassupremebeautyanda
skilfulartisan,correspondingtothedesignationoftheuniverseasastruc-
turedorder,(literally,ornamentorbeauty).
105
Asanexpressionof
divine wisdom, the world is not therefore to be treated with sang-froid,
anatomically,withoutregardforitsintrinsicvalueanditscontinuousrela-
tionshipwiththecreator.Symptomatically,whenfacingthereductionisms
ofhistime,StBasilexclaimed:letusceasetalkingabouttheessence(
) [of things], since we have been convinced by Moses that God
hascreatedtheskyandtheearth.
106
Indoingsoheinfacturgedhisaudi-
encesandreadershiptoceaselookingforabstractconceptswhichcanso
easily mislead by oversimplifying reality and to rejoice at the sight of a
complexworldthatspeaksofitscreatorthroughtheconcretebeautyofits
makeup.Heurged,
Iwantyoutoimprintinyourselfanutmostsenseofwonderforwhat
is made ( ), so that irrespective of where you are, the
presenceofsomeofthosebelongingtothegenusofgrowingthings
(;plants)clearlyremindsyouofthecreator(
).
107
Thus,aswellasbeingourmaternalabode,tothecontemplativeeyetheuni-
verseunfoldsasanartisticstructure( ),symphonic
andharmonious,
108
anepiphanyofGodswisdomandbeauty.Evokingthe
experienceofGodspeople,StBasildesignatedtheworldascreationslitur-
gicalcommon/generalchoir()that
104
Cf uunton Between Allegoiy anu Nyth Lossky TheMysticalTheology,33,50;
idem,OrthodoxTheology:AnIntroduction(Crestwood,NY:StVladimirsSeminaryPress,
1978),51;Rousseau,BasilofCaesarea323.
105
Forinstance,inHexaemeron1.2(PG29,9A)hedesignatedGodasthemuchyearnedfor
beauty( ),whereasinHexaemeron1.11(PG29,28A)hemen-
tionedthebeautyofthevisiblethings().Theuseofsuch
categorieswasmadelegitimatebytherepeateduseof intheSeptuagint(cf.
uenesis uiet Intiouuction tiaces the use of beauty
intheHexaemeronbacktoPlatosTimaeus.OnthefunctionofbeautyinStBasil,seemy
article Apologetic Noial ,i Nistic Tiei Nouuii ale viziunii Eclesiale asupia Cieaiei
Noua Reprezentare a Lumii: Studii Interdisciplinare Bucuie,ti XXI Eonul Bogmatic
mainly Cf Naiinescu nv(tuia uespie lumin
106
Hexaemeron1.11(PG29,28A).SeealsoBouteneff,Beginnings,33,andRousseau,Basil
ofCaesarea,322.
107
Hexaemeron5.2(PG29,97C).
108
Cf.Hexaemeron1.7(PG29,17B,20A);Hexaemeron4.1(PG29,80B).Withoutreferring
tothethemeoftheschool,Rousseau,BasilofCaesarea anu Clapsis St Ba-
silsCosmology,218-19,cametosimilarconclusions.
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 117 5/09/13 12:10 AM
118
continually intones the hymn to its maker.
109
Better than any theological
school,bydoxologicallyreferringtoGodinanunceasingmannercreation
teachesus,inwordlessways,toacknowledgehimandtointerpretevery-
thinginthelightofhispresenceandintention.Therevelationofthistruth
caninspireus,bringingbackjoyandhopetoasocietywhich,byfunction-
inglikeacommonandpublicschoolofindecency(
),
110
hasfallenintoadeepstateofdepression,con-
sideringbothlifeandtheworldaspointless.Whenlearningthewisdomof
cieation the innei ueseit of faithless souls can be tiansiguieu thiough the
acknowledgmentoflifeasagift,whichhastobeembracedwitheucharistic
giatituue In this vein at the enu of his iist homily St Basil bioke out in
doxology,whilstshowinghowthecosmicschoolworksbywayofvertical
analogies.
Let us glorify the noble artist ( ) for all that wisely
andartistically( )hasbeenaccomplished.From
thebeautyofthevisiblethings()letus
formanideaoftheonethatissupremelybeautiful( ),
and from the majesty of these delimited bodies that are accessible
throughsenses( )
let us make an analogy for him who is boundless, supremely mag-
niicent )andwhosurpassesallunder-
standingbythefullnessofhispower.
111
St Basils exposition of the woilu as a school has vaiious iamiications foi
thecurrentChristianexperience,amongwhichthebestrepresentedinthe
Hexaemeron are the ethical paradigms and the numerous invitations to a
doxologicalacknowledgmentofGodsgifts.OnefurtheraspectIshallmen-
tionhere.Giventhattheschoolofcreationisopentoall,theCappadocian
stronglybelievedtogetherwithStPaul(cf.Romans1:19-20;2:14)that
virtue could be achieved both in the lives of unbelievers and people sep-
arated from the Church.
112
Drawing on the early Christian approaches to
paganphilosophy,thisconviction(alreadyillustratedbyhisAddresstothe
Youth coniims the eficacy of cieation as a teachinggiounu in its poten-
tial to prepare all nations and cultures for the encounter with Christ, the
Logosofeverything.Hiselaborationsontheworldasatheologicalschool
109
Cf.Hexaemeron3.9(PG29,76C).
110
Hexaemeron4.1(PG29,80A).SeefurthercommentsinRousseau,BasilofCaesarea,234.
111
Hexaemeron1.11(PG29,28AB).Concerningtheattitudeofwonderleadingtoworship
inStBasilsHexaemeron,seeRousseau,BasilofCaesarea329;cf.Bouteneff,Beginnings,
136.
112
Cf.Hexaemeron5.7(PG29,112BC).
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 118 5/09/13 12:10 AM
119
witnessthereforetoanall-embracing,pan-Christianhumanismthattran-
scendsreligiousandculturalboundaries.
TheInteractiveAspectofReality
From the many themes pertaining to the ecclesial worldview addressed
byStBasil,Iturntoatopiclargelyignoredbycontemporaryscholarship,
namelytheinteractiveorsynergeticaspectofnature.ForthegreatCappa-
docian, rather than representing a self-contained reality, closed within it-
self,theuniversethisgreatandvariedworkshopofthedivinefashioning
action( )
113

constitutes a vast anu open ielu in which both uivine anu cosmic iays cie-
ativelyconverge,synergising.Toagreatextent,apartfromitsparameters,
theconceptofsynergyisrelatedtothatoftheworldasatheologicalschool.
Indeed,itisonthelevelofthisinteractionthattheuniversemanifestsits
characterasanepiphanyofGod.Withoutreferencetothetopicoftheschool,
thisaspectwasalreadypointedoutbyLossky
114
whencommentingonthe
Basilian iuea of the uivine eneigies as belonging to the iealm of economy
and therefore as mediating Gods accessibility to us. Although this detail
is signiicant foi the unueistanuing of the cosmos as a teachinggiounu of
divineknowledge,Iwillnotexplorethisconnectionanyfurther.
I have already mentioned the saints realistic assessment of created
nature in terms of an inconsistent, bounded and perishable reality. Be-
ing ontologically contingent and fragile by its very nature,
115
the universe
canneithersurvivenorevolvewithouttheconstantsupportofthevivify-
ing waves of divine energy, that is, the creators power (
).
116
In stating this, St Basil seems to have reiterated St Athana-
sius exposition of the cosmos as depending on the permanent and per-
vadingactivityofGod.ForStAthanasius,indeed,giventhattheuniverseis
funuamentally luiu anu moital )bynature,
itnecessarilyreliesuponthelordship,providenceandorganisingworkof
113
Hexaemeron4.1(PG29,80B).
114
Cf.TheMysticalTheology,82.
115
Seeaboven.17.
116
Cf.Hexaemeron1.9(PG29,24B);infact,thewholechapterisofinteresthere.Heoften
returnedtothisaspectofdependence,likeinHexaemeron8.1(PG29,164C).Formore
examples,seeRousseau,BasilofCaesarea Clapsis St Basils Cosmology
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 119 5/09/13 12:10 AM
120
theLogos( )tomain-
tainitsbeing.
117

NotwithstandinghisagreementwiththegreatAlexandrian,bystrong-
lypointingtotheinteractivecharacterofrealityStBasilmanagedtogobe-
yondtheclassicalconceptofadivinepowerunilaterallyexertedupon,and
within, the universe. He repeatedly noted, it is true, that the physical lim-
itationsofthecosmosareobviousonthelevelofitsgenerativecapacities,
whichwouldremainlatentifnotactivatedbythedivinewillandpower.For
instance, he spoke of a soil that is cold, sterile and in continuous labours,
whosefertilityisactivatedonlybythewordofGodwhichmakesitactive
for the generation of living beings.
118
That said, although still struggling
withtheancientconceptofinertmatteractivatedmechanicallybyexterior
foices he was convinceu that the cosmic oi natuial eneigies have a ueinite
roletoplaywithintheunfoldinghistoryoftheuniverseandlife.Forexam-
ple, he asserted the earth to have been endowed with germinating pow-
ers which function without the assistance of external factors;

likewise, he
presentedthewatersasnotbeingidleandinfactplayingtheirpartinthe
origination of life.
119
These different and even opposing statements, some
pointingtotheuniversesdependenceonGodandsometonaturesinner
poweis it well togethei when consiueieu fiom the vantage point of the
principleofsynergy.StBasilsbeliefinnatureasadynamicandinteractive
eventissuperiortoanyreductionistideologieswhich,forinstance,consid-
ercreationassupernaturalandevolutionasnatural,andbothasinherently
antagonistic. There is nothing in St Basil that echoes either the naturalist
evolutionismorthesupernaturalistcreationismofourtimes.Commenting
on a selection of passages from Hexaemeron 5,
120
John Meyendorff perti-
nentlyobservedthat,followinginthefootstepsofthegreatAthanasius,St
Basilbelievedinthenaturalgenerativecapacityofcreatedreality.
afiiming cieation in time Basil maintains the ieality of a cieateu
movementanddynamismincreatures.Thecreaturesdonotsimply
receive their form and diversity from God; they possess an energy,
certainlyalsoGod-given,butauthenticallytheirown.
121

117
Cf.AgainsttheHeathen,41(PG25,84AB).Seecommentsonhisideaofcreation,provi-
denceandthefragilityoftheuniverse,inAlvynPettersen,Athanasius(London:Geoffrey
Chapman,1995),24-6.
118
Cf.Hexaemeron5.2(PG29,97B);8.1(PG29,164CD).
119
Cf.Hexameron5.1(PG29,96A);7.1(PG29,148B).
120
ErroneouslyrenderedasPG29,1160D.Infact,itisareferenceto97Bandsomeother
portionofthetextwhichIcouldnotidentify.
121
Meyendorff,ByzantineTheology,133.
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 120 5/09/13 12:10 AM
121
Meyendorffcontinuedbyaddingthat,ascanbefoundearlierinStAthana-
siusandlaterinStMaximus,theCappadocianfatherbelievedinacontinu-
ousexertionofdivineprovidencethatbothbringsintobeingandmaintains
theuniverseinexistence,butnotattheexpenseoftheworldsowncreat-
eddynamism,whichispartofthecreativeplanitself.
122
Withinthesame
context,Meyendorffreachedtheimportantconclusionthatthenaturaldy-
namism of cieation makes possible the scientiic enquiiy anu also fiom a
different angle, legitimises the theological interpretation of reality, given
thatthedesignofthecosmospointstoGod.Gietreachedindependentlya
similar conclusion, that neither St Basil nor St Gregory of Nyssa found an
irreduciblecontradictionbetweenscienceandfaith.
123
Thesecrucialnotes
inuiiectly coniim my inuings uiscusseu in the pievious two sections of the
paper.
Now, returning to the generative capacities latent within the world
andtheirdivineactivation,thebestillustrationofthesynergeticprinciple
isperhapsStBasilsmusingonthephrasetheearthwasinvisibleandun-
organisedfromGenesis1:2(LXX).
[The earth] was in painful labours () with the genera-
tion of all things through the power stored in it (
)
124
by the demiurge, waiting for the auspicious times
( ) when, by a divine call, it would bring out
intotheopen( )thethingsengendered(
)withinit.
125
This poweiful metaphoi both evokes anu tiansiguies the ancient mythical
imageryoftheweddingofskyandearth,
126
infactstillbearingitspower-
ful erotic connotations. In St Basils plastic depiction, God, somehow rep-
122
Cf.Ibidem,134.
123
uiet Intiouuction
124
The term may also anu peihaps piefeiably be ienueieu as latent potential-
ity, as previously suggested. See its various meanings in H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, A
Greek-EnglishLexicon,witharevisedsupplement,revisedbyH.S.JonesandR.McKenzie
(Oxford:OxfordUniversityPressandClarendonPress,1996),452.
125
Hexaemeron2.3(PG29,36B).Whenhighlightingthecharacterofthegenerativecapac-
ityoftheearthasadivinegift,Rousseau(BasilofCaesarea uiu not see the signii-
cantnoteonsynergyintroducedbythismetaphor.
126
Seealsotheimageryoftheintercourseoftheelements(earth,waterandair),asexplic-
itlyreferredtoinHexaemeron4.5(PG29,89C).
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 121 5/09/13 12:10 AM
122
resented as a masculine principle, lovingly impregnates created matter
127

andthusactivatesitsmaternalorgenerativecapacity.
128
Asaresultofthis
unfathomable interaction which cannot be properly addressed with-
out recourse to such poetical devices matters metaphorical pregnancy
becomes the origin of the terrestrial ecosystem and the entire cosmos as
well.
129
With oi without metaphois the piegnant mattei was enuoweu
bytheCreatorwithagenerativepotentialwhichwouldremaininertifde-
prived of Gods discrete energy. We encounter the same idea in the very
beginningofthechapter,withinanewrefutationofwhattheauthorheld
to be Nanichaeism Theie St Basil suggesteu that the eficacious powei
ofGod )inconjunctionwiththereceptive
characterofmatter )
130
arethetwonecessary
factorscontributingtotheestablishmentofthewholeorderofcreation.As
alreadypointedout,thesearenotisolatedstatements.Presentedbywayof
a different metaphor, the dynamic interaction between divine and cosmic
energies recurs in the ninth homily,
131
to which I shall soon turn, with an
emphasisonthecontinuouscharacterofthisongoingphenomenon.Never-
theless,beforeadvancingtothisdifferentsettingwhichreferstothesixth
dayafurtherremarkisinorder,tostrengthenthepositionoftheprinciple
ofsynergywithintradition.Thepretextforthisnoteisofferedbythefact
thatitdealswiththesamecontextinthenarrativeofcreation.Ageneration
afterStBasil,StJohnChrysostomdisplayedasimilarunderstandingofGen-
esis1:2yetwithreferencetothemetaphoroftheSpirithoveringoverthe
waters.Forhim,themoving()primordialwater,vibratingand
fullofalivingpowerofsomesort( )couldnotbeget
life of itself, being in need of the vivifying energy ( )
oftheSpirit.
132
Theconsensusbetweenthetwofathersisobvious.Infact,
whenaddressingthesamemetaphor,StBasilappliedanidenticalinterpre-
tation,onlysupportedbyhispreferenceforaSyriacversionthatpictured
theSpiritasanecosystemicagentwho
127
Lossky, Mystical Theology, 214, referred to a work whose title he did not indicate (he
mentioned though PG 31, 908CD), where St Basil spoke of a loving potential/power
()oranaturalpropensityofcreationtobelovedbyGod.
128
ThisimageryispossiblysuggestedbythewordsofStPaulinRomans8:22.
129
Forfurthernotesonthispassage,seeCostache,Apologetic Noial ,iMistic,44.
130
Cf.Hexaemeron Pu B The teim can be also ienueieu by passive
yet in this context ieceptive seems moie appiopiiate given St Basils iuea of a woilu
opentotheworkofGod.
131
Cf.Hexaemeron9.2(PG29,189B-D).Theconceptofpermanencehasbeenalreadysug-
gested by Hexaemeron Pu A with the initial woius of uou continuing to
functionasaninherentlawofnaturefortheearth.
132
SeehisHomiliesonGenesis3.1(PG53,33C).
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 122 5/09/13 12:10 AM
123
thoroughlywarmedup( anu viviieu the natuie of the
waters(),likeintheimageofabird
hatching the eggs, endowing them with some sort of living power
( ).
133
TogetherwithfollowingStBasilslineofthought,Chrysostomclearlyincor-
poratedBasilianterminology(e.g., )inhisowninter-
pretationofthescripturaltext.Inthelightofandbeyondthesemetaphors,
themessageconveyedbyStsBasilandJohnisthattheentireformationof
theworldunfoldsasacontinuoussynergeticact,adynamicconvergenceof
created and uncreated factors.
134
Returning to St Basil, there is indication
thathehastakenbothdepictionsoftheearthspregnancyandtheSpirit
hoveringoverthewatersasapplicabletoanystagewithintheuniverses
complex unfolding between the Alpha and the Omega. If this is the case,
then Genesis does not only depict past events. Instead, it points to a uni-
verse still in the making, still journeying towards its eschatological hori-
zon,theeighthdayofcreation.
135
StBasilrehearsedthisthemeintheninth
homily:
ThinkofthewordofGodrunningthroughcreation[
],stillactive()nowasithasbeenfromthebeginning
( anu eficient until the enu in oiuei to biing the woilu to
fulilment ).
136
Thetextleavesnoroomfordoubt:StBasildepictedthedivinewordoren-
ergyasanuninterruptedwavethatpervadestheentirespace-timecontin-
uum, thus playing a vital yet discrete role in the universes evolution. We
can infer that for him the metaphors in Genesis 1:2 referred to a chaotic
133
Hexaemeron Pu B uiet Intiouuction believeu this imageiy to be boi-
rowedfromTheophilusofAntioch.Forfurthernotesonthisimagery,seeMoniqueAle-
xandre,le Commencement Ju livre 6enese lv le version qrecque Je lo Septonte et so r-
ception,ChristianismeAntique3(Paris:Beauchesne,1988),86-7;Costache,Apologetic
Moral,iMistic,45;Hildebrand,TheTrinitarianTheologyofBasilofCaesarea,113.
134
Later,StMaximusendorsedthisperceptionwhenspeakingoftheparticipationofcre-
ationinGodbyitsverynaturalmovement:
;Book of Bificulties,7(PG91,1080B).
135
OfwhichhespeaksmoreinOntheHolySpirit27.66(PG32,192AB);thetopicisanalysed
indetailelsewhereinthisvolume,byMarioBaghos.Forapatristicdevelopmentofthe
eschatologicalinterpretationofGenesis,seeStSymeontheNewTheologian,FirstEthical
Discourse,inOntheMysticalLife:TheEthicalDiscourses,vol.1:TheChurchandtheLast
Things,trans.fromtheGreekandintro.byA.Golitzin(Crestwood,NY:StVladimirsSem-
inaryPress,1995),21-80.
136
Hexaemeron9.2(PG29,189B).
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 123 5/09/13 12:10 AM
124
stateofthecosmosonitswaytoorganisation,implyingtheexistenceofa
reservoir of potentialities whose content is actualised or realised gradu-
allythroughoutthehistoryofcreationfrombeginningtoend.Allthings
considered,weareledsofartoadoubleconclusion:thatStBasilbelieved
inahumbleorkenoticGodwhocondescendstoworkthroughthenatural
possibilitiesoftheuniverse,withwhichhehimselfendowsthelatter,and
atthesametime,thatthecosmosexistsandthrivesonlybybeingsustained
byGodscreativepower.
Thecontentofthisongoingprocess,interpretedasaninteractiveex-
perience, came to be more thoroughly explored by St Basil in his treatise
OntheHolySpirit,hislastmajorpublishedtext(in376)
137
anu a signiicant
work on the sense of tradition. According to St Basil, and given the pneu-
matologicalfocusofthework,thedivineoikonomiaconcerningtheworld
ieaches fulilment by means of the Boly Spiiit piesenteu as a souice of
both life anu holiness Theie is no space within the conines of cieation that
isdeprivedoftheSpiritspresence;thereisnocreaturethatdoesnothave
itsoriginintheworkoftheSpirit;thereisnoperfectionofcreationoutside
thelife-givingandenlighteningenergyoftheSpirit.Co-workerwiththeLo-
gosinthemakingoftheuniverse,theSpiritimmediatelyanswerscreations
thirstforthefullnessofbeing,forlifeandholiness.
138
This,inturn,indicates
thatnothingcanattainnaturalperfectionwithoutthedivinegiftoftheSpir-
it;theinteractiveorsynergeticprinciplethatpervadestheBasilianworks
is thus coniimeu Inueeu foi St Basil the oiganisation of the univeise of
our earth and the life on it, is possible only in the active presence of the
LogosandtheHolySpirit.Representinginitselfasuccincttreatiseonthe
identity and economy of the Spirit, the ninth chapter of the work depicts
themultitudeofgraceshebestowsuponcreation:
[All things are] watered by his breath and helped on to reach their
properandnaturalpurpose( ).Per-
fectingallotherthings,[]heisthegiveroflife()[]
andomnipresent.[]Bynatureunapproachable,heisapprehended
throughgoodness( illing all things with his
137
Cf.Rousseau,BasilofCaesarea,318.Quasten(Patrology,Vol.3,210)gaveabout375as
a piobable uate of publication See also Feuwick A Chionology of the Life anu Woiks of
BasilofCaesarea,3-21.
138
Rousseau(BasilofCaesarea,337,343)linkedtheworkoftheSpiritmostlytothesote-
riologicalandsacramentalteachingsofStBasil,ignoringitsecosystemicfunction.Fora
morenuancedandcomprehensiveapproach,seeLossky,TheMysticalTheology,100-101
(referring to On the Holy Spirit 16.38), 157 (referring to On the Holy Spirit 19.49), 163
(referringtoOntheHolySpirit16.37),166(referringtoOntheHolySpirit9.22).Seealso
Naiinescu nv(tuia uespie lumin
StAndrewsBook2013_R.indd 124 5/09/13 12:10 AM
125
power( ),[]inessencesimple,inpowers
various,whollypresentineachandwhollyeverywhere
139
The immense variety of the Spirits manifestations, energies ()
orgraces()
140
throughwhichhispresenceincreationcomestobe
manifested,isreiteratedinchapter19.48-49.
141
Again,StBasiladoptedhere
theapophaticapproach,pointingtotheinexhaustibilityoftheHolySpirits
gifts. He maintained that if we cannot know the many blessings currently
bestowedbytheSpirit,wecouldevenlessanticipatethepower()
throughwhichhewilloperateintheagestocome.
142
Althoughtheempha-
sisofthetreatisefallsmainlyontheeschatologicaldimensionsofrenewal
anu fulilment
143
itisobviousthatforStBasiltheuniversedependsonthe
HolySpiritssupportthroughoutitsentireduration.
144
Thethemeofthesynergeticcharacterofrealityopensupinteresting
avenues.Forinstance,itinvitesareassessmentofthepopularrepresenta-
tion of divine activity in the world, the meaning of the philosophical con-
stiuct of natuie anu the oiigin of the pointless conlict of cieationism vs
evolutionism By way of concluuing let us biiely auuiess these matteis
onebyone.
SomeChristianworldviewsimagineGodasanomnipotententitysitu-
ateu outsiue cieation absolutely tianscenuent anu wholly uetacheu fiom
both the universe and us. Furthermore, they accept as the only signs of
this entity the creation of the world and a series of arbitrary manifesta-
tionsexmachina,thatis,miracles,takenaseventsthroughwhichthelaws
ofnatureareabrogated.Thecomplicationsentailedbythisunderstanding
cannot be treated here. What we learn from St Basil, however, is that, al-
though apophatic, the mode of Gods activity in the world is not episodic
butcontinuous;itdoesnotsuspendthelawsofnaturebutisanessential
partofthem;itisnotanostentatiousmanifestationofpowerbutahumble
139
OntheHolySpirit9.22(PG32,108BC).SeeabriefnoteonthisinRussell,TheDoctrineof
,209.
140
Cf.PG32,156D.
141
MostlytheparagraphsinPG32,156D-157C.
142
Cf.PG32,156D.
143
SeePG32,157BC.
144
For a more detailed presentation of the treatises teaching on worldview and related
topics see my aiticle Expeiiena Buhului Sfnt n viziunea Siniloi vasile cel Naie ,i
Grigorie Palamas, in Emilian Popescu and Adrian Marinescu (eds.), Sfntul Vasile cel
Mare:nchinarela1630deani ieviseu seconu euition Bucuie,ti Basilica
61,esp.146-53.
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126
(or kenotic) expression of a God that adapts himself to the limitations of
hiscreation.Fromthisreinterpretationemergesadifferentunderstanding
of natuie 0sually iepiesenteu as an autonomous ieality existing outsiue
God, nature is for St Basil a created entity, indeed, but by no means sepa-
ratedfromitscreator.Natureistheoutcomeofcontinuousinteractionsbe-
tweencreatedanduncreatedenergies;thesupernaturalisattheverycore
ofthenatural.Itistrue,thewavesofdivineenergythatpervadecreation
elude our measuring devices, but so are many of the subatomic ingredi-
entsofrealityastheorisedbycontemporaryphysicists.Nevertheless,these
wavesarenotaselusiveasweusuallythinktheyare:StBasilsdepictionof
thetransformativeexperiencesofthesaints
145
allowsforanunderstanding
of theii bouies as accuiate measuiement tools of uivine piesence The iist
two points lead at last to a reconsideration of the premises of the painful
waifaie of cieationism anu evolutionism At the oiigin of the conlict lie two
basic concepts: the idea of a Deus ex machina that sporadically suspends
theorderofnature,defendedbycreationists,andtheideaofanaturecom-
pletely autonomous anu selfsuficient uefenueu by evolutionists St Basil
pointedtoadifferentportrayalofreality,forwhichthehumbleGodisper-
manentlyatworkwithinandthroughthenaturalpossibilitiesofauniverse
that ultimately remains open to, and dependent on, him. Both ideologies,
therefore,namelycreationismandevolutionism,buildonpremisesthatdo
notdrawontheecclesialworldview.
***
Mostly ignored and forgotten by contemporary scholars, St Basils
contributions to Christian cosmology remain a source of inspiration. The
purposeofthisarticlewastomakeobvioustheperennialandchallenging
characterofhiselaborations,whichcanencourageafreshapproachinthe
questformeaningandpurposewithinaculturesuffocatedbynihilismand
atheism.Indeed,hispassionateapproachtolife,theworldandrealitynot
tomentionthepowerfultopicoftheworldasatheologicalschoolmight
serve as an implicit exhortation for our culture to acknowledge creation
as Gods gift and to adopt a corresponding lifestyle. Finally, it can only be
hoped that his contributions concerning the interactive aspect of reality
willbefurtherandseriouslyconsideredintheunfoldingconversationsbe-
tweenscientistsandtheologians.
145
Cf.OntheHolySpirit9.23(PG32,109ABC).
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