The Category of Being

Paul M. Collins

in Trinitarian Theology: West and East

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780198270324
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683985 | DOI:
The Category of Being

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Martin Heidegger identifies three presuppositions in relation to the question of being that the ancient world understood with regard to the category of being: the universality of the concept of being, that being is indefinable, and that the concept of being is self-evident. It is remarkable that ontological terminology in Christian theology uses words that were understood primarily in a materialistic sense in the ancient world. The word ousia officially comes into the vocabulary of the Church with the use of homoousios in the creed of the Council of Nicaea. Its use was contested at the Council as much for its materialistic overtones as for any other reason. Tertullian had used substantia when referring to the Godhead, which may be said to be the Latin equivalent of ousia. This chapter explores the category of being and the views of John Calvin and Karl Barth regarding divine action and fellowship. Barth's concept of being-in-act in the Church Dogmatics is also discussed, along with the question of being in the thought of John Zizioulas.

Keywords: Church Dogmatics; Karl Barth; John Zizioulas; being; John Calvin; divine action; fellowship; ousia; substantia; Godhead

Chapter.  9215 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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