The polemical context and background of Hilary's trinitarian theology

Mark Weedman, Marquette University


While scholars have long recognized Hilary's association with Basil and the Homoiousians, they have been unable to determine the extent of Basil's influence on Hilary's thought. To what extent did Hilary absorb this new perspective, and to what extent did Hilary's thought develop as a result? This is the classic question of Hilary scholarship. In this thesis, I will answer that question by showing that there is fundamental change in Hilary's thought from before his exile to during it, and that this change reflects the direct influence of Basil of Ancyra. I will make my case by examining Hilary's writings in their polemical context. Scholarly debate over the question of Hilary and the Homoiousians has either paid little attention to the changing circumstances in which Hilary wrote, or it has ignored the polemical dynamics of the late 350s (i.e. by assuming the presence of a flat "Arianism," instead of the multiplicity of parties and perspectives that actually existed). However, the intertwined narratives of Western engagement in the Controversy, the circumstances of Hilary's exile, the fortunes of the Homoiousians, and the escalating activities of the Homoians are all crucial for understanding the development of Hilary's thought. By placing that thought in its proper context, we can see not only that he was influenced by Basil, but we can even trace the stages by which that influence occurred.

Recommended Citation

Weedman, Mark, "The polemical context and background of Hilary's trinitarian theology" (2004). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3153488.