« My SBL Paper on November 24, 2105 | Main | Μονογενής in the Church Fathers: A Response to Kevin Giles, Part 2 »

12/30/2016

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Kevin Giles

Dear Lee, Thank you for your work. You are a delight to debate with; gracious, intelligent, sharp, etc etc. I am looking forward to seeing to your work to follow. I very much look forward in particular to your article where you show that for the Greek fathers the texts that use monogenes and the word itself were basic to their biblical case in support of their doctrine of eternal generation.

If you can show that in the church fathers consistently understood monogenes to mean "only begotton, I will be delighted.

Thank you for your meticulous linguistic work. This is not my specialty.

You are a good man. I feel great warmth towards you.

In grace and peace,

Kevin Giles

Kevin Giles

PS. On looking at my book on the eternal generation of the Son, I note that in my comments on the use of the word monogenes in the Greek fathers I begin my discussion on the word with Justin Martyr, include Bishop Alexander of Alexandria (Athanasius' predecessor - a fine theologian) and Eunomius. You list none of thse important sources.

Kevin Giles

Lee

Justin Martyr seems to understand μονογενής as involving the notion of begottenness: “I have already proved that He was the only-begotten of the Father of all things (μονογενὴς γὰρ ὅτι ἦν τῷ πατρὶ τῶν ὅλων οὗτος), being begotten (γεγεννημένος) in a peculiar manner Word and Power by Him, and having afterwards become man through the Virgin” (Dialogue with Trypho 105; ANF 1.251). Note the use of the perfect participle of γεννάω which draws out and further specifies the meaning of μονογενής. I fully realize that some would argue just the opposite by claiming that this is redundant. But linguists say that redundancy is typical in language, and so a redundant interpretation is more likely than a non-redundant one.

As far as Alexander of Alexandria and the Arian Eunomius, see subsequent posts. The Arian Eunomius thought μονογενής meant "begotten of only one person," but then of course that means the -γενης stem signified "begotten" to him (see Basil, Against Eunomius 2.20-21, where he quotes Eunomius on this point and rebuts his interpretation of the word).

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