A General Notion on the De Spiritu Sancto Of St. Basil

A General Notion on the
De Spiritu Sancto Of St. Basil

Fr. Martin Velliamkulam





“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit”. This Pauline statement in the 1Cor12, 3 can be considered as the essential element of Christian faith. Faith in God is necessary for salvation .The one who is saved is through the confession of faith that Jesus as Lord (Rom10, 9; Phil 2, 11). It is certain that no one can become a Christian without the special assistance of the Holy Spirit. The Christian faith has its origin in the experience of God in Jesus, crucified and brought life by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2, 32-36).The resurrection of Jesus is an experience of the powerful intervention of the Spirit of God in the divine plan of salvation. Throughout the Scripture the role of the Spirit is pivotal.

This is a study about the translations of  St. Basil’s  De Spiritu Sancto. This treaties has both Syriac and Greek versions and both of them have English translations. Our aim is to find out the importance of these in the theological field. We will discuss the theological and Christological importance of Syriac translation, its pneumatology and its relation with Syriac theology. This will lead us to the reflection and importance of Eastern theology. Though there are many studies about the De Spiritu Sancto, there is a limitation for our work because there are only limited serious studies on the Syriac version. The only person who studied and tried his best to open up the discussion about the importance of Syriac translation is David G.K.Taylor. In this article I mainly make use his views on the Holy Spirit based upon De Spiritu Sancto. The method would be comparative and analytical: comparative, because we will try to present some of the most important relations and outstanding parallel differences between the two versions; analytical, because I intend to analyze the significance of the relationship and differences between them. I use in this study only the English Translations of the Greek and Syriac versions. Here we make use of the works of the famous book St. Basil., De Spiritu Sancto (translated by) BLOMFIELD JACKSON  in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers,  Vols.14 (second series),(eds.)Philip Schaff and Henry Wace,Vol. 8, Eerdmans Publishing company, Michigan1983.And Syriac translation by TAYLOR,D.G.k.,The Syriac version of the De Spiritu Sancto by Basil of Caesarea,(Tras.eng)in (eds.)American Catholic University and Catholic University Louvain, “Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium”, Vol.576,Scriptores syri 228, In Aedibus Peeters ,Louvain1999.Of which in our work we quote Blomfield Jackson’s as DSS and Taylor’s as Syr.1.When some places where I quote another translation By BASIL, OF CAESAREA, De Spiritu  Sancto( Translated and Revised by) ANDERSON,DAVID., ON the Holy Spirit , St.Vladimir’s Seminary Press ,Crestwood 1980 , I specially mention them .


De Spiritu Sancto is one of the most discussed treatises of St. Basil and it was written   in 375AD in the urge of his disciple as well as friend Amphilochius. However, some of the materials were probably composed out of the furious debates, occurred a couple of years back, with Eustathius of Sebaste,[1] once a good friend of St. Basil but now a bitter foe because of the doctrinal difference[2].  Especially, by 375AD, Eustathius of Sebaste was denounced as a Pneumatomachian. The letters of St. Basil, together with his most important doctrinal writings, -Adversus Eunomium and De Spiritu Sancto-, introduce us to his theological thinking.


We need a basic grasp of the situation of the first half of the fourth century, in order to understand the particular context leading toward the composition of De Spiritu Sancto as well as the circumstance of his various letters. In fact, this was an age of great misunderstanding and schism within the Church. In the words of St. Basil, he compared the present situation of the church as a naval battle in which “the ships driven to and fro by a raging tempest, while thick darkness falls from the clouds and blackens the entire scene, so that watchwords are indistinguishable in confusion, and all distinction between friend and foe is lost.”[3] Under this situation, he pointed out that “inspired Scripture is powerless to mediate; the traditions of the apostles cannot suggest terms of arbitration”[4] between different parties. This indeed is a good image to depict the general situation of the first half of the fourth century. Now, we should go deeper than just unfolding the occurrence of confusion, we should investigate the reason behind this confusion.

2.1. The Council of Nicea and Its Unfinished Tasks

The beginning of the fourth century brought a bright hope to the church. The maltreatment was gone with the Edict of Milan. Church could legally exist. The future seemed great. However, in Alexandria, a popular presbyter, Arius held on to absolute monotheism. The Bishop of Alexandria, Alexander believed that this was a form which is subordinationism and destroyed the divinity of the Son. As a result, Alexander convoked a synod and expelled Arius. Arius found refuge in Eusebius of Nicomedia who was willing to protect Arius despite the protest by Alexander. This eventually created a schism and the emperor Constantine, who wanted Christianity to be working as the bolster for his empire, would not allow this schism go on. Firstly, he tried to persuade both sides to reconcile with each other. When this failed, he decided to convoke a council of bishops in the city of Nicea, in Bythinia, in 325AD to settle the whole matter. Finally, by the intervention of the emperor, the whole thGUNTK53Gcouncil accepted to add the word όmoousioz to describe the Son in order to uphold His divinity.

  Nevertheless, this word was vague, for different people interpreted this word in a different way. The Western interpretation was that the Son has the unity of the substance with the Father. Therefore, the Son is eternal and divine. In addition, there were some Eastern bishops, notably Eustathius of Antioch and Marcellus of Ancyra, interpreted this term similar to this. Therefore, this term expresses “not only of the divinity of the Son, but also of the absolute unity between the Father and the Son – a unity without fundamental distinctions.”[5] Of course, the small minority of followers of Alexander would readily affirm that this term protected the divinity and eternity of the Son. But, the Arian party interpreted the term according to their own view. As a result, even though the majority, except two,[6] signed the creed composed in the council of Nicea, this did not mean that they agreed with each other. In sum, this council did not eliminate Arianism successfully nor cleared up the matter about the unity of God and divinity of the Son. Instead, this council created more confusion in the church by introducing the indefinite term   όmoousioz . Furthermore, the whole emphasis of the creed was on the divinity of the Son as well as the relationship between Father and the Son, it neglected the third person, Holy Spirit, in the Trinity. It did not make any clear statement about the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, it was silence about the distinction among the three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The central point of discussion on the Holy Spirit became the major focus in the coming years.

After this Council, the defenders of the Nicea did not enjoy their success for long. From 330AD till the death of Constantine, Arianism was revived by the imperial power of that time. In fact, Constantine was baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia on his death bed. The next emperor, Constantius, turned out to be a firm supporter of Arianism. Furthermore, in 355 AD, under the suggestion of his Arian counselors, he passed a creed which clearly indicated the inferiority of the Son. This creed was later called “the blasphemy of Sirmium”.[7] So it is clear that in the first half of the fourth century, the continued influence of the Arianism is due to the support of the imperial power and not due to the complexity of its theological arguments.

During this period, besides the supporters of the Nicea, there emerged three parties based upon three different theological outlooks. The first party was called Anomoeans which was from the Greek word avnomoioz  which meant “unlike”. They were the extreme Arianism. They denied that there was any similarity between the Father and the Son. “The Son may be called God, not because of his substance, but because he shares in the power or the activity of the Father. In the strict sense, only the Father is God, for God is by nature unbegotten and without origin, and the Son has his origin in the Father”.[8] The second party was Homoeans which was from the Greek word όmoioz  which meant “similar”. “For them, the relationship between the Father and the Son is one of similarity, but they never defined what that meant.”[9] They tried to evade the question about όmoousioz . Nevertheless, the leaders of this party were convinced Arians.[10] So in general they would support the Arian cause as long as the circumstance allowed. The third party was called Homoiousians which was from the Greek word  όmoiousioz  which meant “similar substance”. The majority of the church was belonging to this party. At the very beginning, this group was chiefly against Sabellianism. However, after the event of “the blasphemy of Sirmium”, more and more people in this party began to realize that they had to fight against not just Sabellianism but also Arianism. Because of this intention, at the end, people in this party found that their position was getting closer to those defenders of Nicea. The official birth of this party “took place in 358 AD, when a synod gathered in Ancyra under the leadership of Basil[11]produced the first homoiousian formula”.[12] In fact, these three parties, together with the supporters of the Nicea, formed the theological landscape around the death of the Arian emperor Contantius in 361AD. One year later, St. Basil was consecrated as a priest and started his official service in the church as a close associate of Eusebius of Caesarea.

 However, the battle between the Arians and the orthodoxy did not stop on the question about the divinity of the Son. It naturally led to the discussion on the Holy Spirit. In fact, once a person denied the divinity of the Son, surely he would deny the divinity of the Spirit. Nevertheless, not just Arians would deny the divinity of the Holy Spirit but also some of the theologians, who affirmed the divinity of the Son and the consubstantiality of the Son and the Father, also denied the divinity of the Spirit. They claimed that the Spirit was a creature. This denial was due to the fact that the council of Nicea never said anything definite about the Spirit. Therefore, in 362AD, Anthanasius convoked a synod in Alexandria to condemn not just Arianism but also Pneumatomachians, which meant enemies of the Spirit. This assertion did not clear up the multiple interpretations of the essential terms for the definition of the Trinity. This unfinished business awaited the work of the Cappadocian Fathers and was eventually settled in the Council of Constantinopole.

The controversy between Basil and Eustathius started when Basil became the bishop of Caesarea in 370AD. This led toward bitter accusations against each other. Basil was charged to be acting under Apollinarist influence and had Sabellianism tendency.[13]At the same time, Basil found out that Eustathius was willing to subscribe to any creed put in front of him. Basil was furious especially when Eustathius subscribed a creed with Arian intention.[14] Later on, when Eustathius openly denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit, Basil accused him and his followers to “use the words of the creed as physicians use a remedy for the particular moment, and substitute now one and now another to suit particular diseases.”[15]

Finally, in 375 AD, Basil wrote an open letter to Eustathius to justify the breach.[16]In the same year, he wrote his treatise on the Holy Spirit. Therefore, this treatise was the fruit of this long, bitter controversy with Eustathius as well as with Arianism. Furthermore, in order not to offend the majority of the church, the Homoiousian party, he chose the word carefully in this treatise. In fact, he never called the Holy Spirit God even though he believed that the Holy Spirit should receive the same honor and glory as the Father and the Son. This well versed treaty of the Holy Spirit can be understood only by going in to the structure of the treaty.


 In this section, we will discuss the structure and style of De Spiritu Sancto. The basic structure of this treatise is simple. Chapter 1 is the prologue and there are 2 – 29 chapters and chapter 30, the last chapter, is an epilogue. In the prologue, St. Basil stated a recent incident[17] as starting point to answer the question raised by Amphilochius. This question was concerned about the apparent conflict between two liturgical doxologies: the one used by Basil was ‘Glory to the Father with the Son and[18] the Holy Spirit’ and the other one was ‘through the Son in the Holy Spirit’. The whole treatise was developed around this central problem. In the epilogue, St. Basil gave his personal analysis about the current situation of the Church. It was indeed a very gloomy picture.  

 This writing is not homogenous. Chapters 2-8 differ from chapters 10-29, while chapter 9 stands apart and of chapters 1and 30 constitute the introduction and epilogue, respectively. The first part of the work deals with the controversial doxologies, and thus on the importance of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The second part deals with the discussion which Basil had held with Eustathius two years before. At the same time chapter 10 and the following, range much more widely than the issue of the doxologies and go into the whole set of problem which had been raised by the Pneumatomachians.[19]At the beginning of the ninth chapter, Basil announces that he is going to examine the common notions held on the Holy Spirit, “those taken from the Scriptures together with those received through the non-written traditions of the Fathers”.[20] The main points treated here are the correlation between unity of worship and unity of nature. This thesis is substantiated from different points of view: the words of the doxology ‘together with the Spirit’ are not unbiblical and can be just positively from tradition. The unity of the Spirit with Father and Son is also established by the baptismal liturgy. Thus it would be unjust to deny to the Spirit the same faith and the same adoration.

Through his letters and homilies Basil expounded there in a thorough way the significance of the praise of God and also refuted the reproach of tritheism. For a full evaluation of Basil’s teaching on the Holy Spirit it may be useful to distinguish between content and method. As regards the content, progress can be seen from an initial negative stand to a more and more positive one. While Basil chiefly pointed out that the Spirit is no creature , with the passage of time he more and more emphasized his natural communion with God , and that he is worthy of adoration. As regards his methods, it is worth noting the degree of significance that is attributed to the baptismal experience. Starting from this Basil was obviously moved to recall the coherence in the command to baptize.[21] In this context Basil distinguishes between kerygma and dogma, between what the church publically declares in councils, and what is taught in the baptismal instruction.[22]With regard to this distinction Basil’s so called oikonomia, i.e. his reservations in openly proclaiming the Holy Spirit as God and as homoousios, can be better understood.

The major part of the treatise can be divided into three parts. The first part consists of chapters 2-8. The second part has only chapter 9. The third part consists of chapters 10-29. This basic division is based upon quite formal observations. Firstly, in the first part, Amphilochius is mostly addressed as the second person while the adversary is mostly addressed in the third person. In the third part, however, the adversary is always addressed as the second person except probably in the chapters 28-29. Secondly, the content in the first part has to do with various themes: including the homoousios between the Father and the Son, while the content in the third part is dealing with the questions about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Thirdly, the most distinguished feature of the third part is that the whole section is cast in the form of a debate. After the challenge of the adversary, St. Basil will answer the challenge one by one. This feature is not seen in the second part.

Now let us describe briefly the content of each major section. In the first part of the treatise, St. Basil first gives a general comment upon the naivety of the philosophy about the syllables, especially upon the claim that from the syllables, like ‘from whom’ and ‘through whom’, one can infer the ranks within the Godhead. In fact, one can use this system to say that Jesus is not God. This comment leads Basil to affirm, in chapters 6-8, once again the conclusion from the council of the Nicea the deity of the Son. In fact, one can say that the consubstantiality of the Son and the Father is the foundation for the further discussion on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Chapter 9 is a chapter in its own. In fact, it can be said to be a summary of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit which Basil holds on to. This chapter can be said to be intended as an introduction to the following debates as recorded in the third part. In the third part, the whole section is cast into a debate format. In brief, this section is used to defend that the Holy Spirit should be co-honored and co-glorified with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is above the creature. He is neither a creature nor something in between God and creature. Indeed, He is to be ranked with Father and Son. They, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are inseparable from one another. They share the same divine nature and they are confessed in the baptismal formula. There are two versions for this work – Greek and Syriac. This shows that this treaty was well-known almost all the regions of that time. To understand these two versions we must look into the back ground of each version. First we look into the Greek version. 


Basil lived in two worlds: that of ancient Greek culture and learning (paideia) and that of Christian faith lived in the liturgy and expressed in the Scripture. His work as a bishop, theologian, and preacher was in large part to make these two worlds one. By making use of the ways of analyzing arguments, of refuting opponents, and of persuading others of his view of Christian faith he could do it better. In short we can say that Basil showed that Christianity had the strength and power to take to itself whatever was good among the Greeks, ennobling their culture with the name of Christ and yet remaining true to itself. St Basil did all this not standing outside of Greek culture, but with it.[23]  So this we can see when he wrote about the Holy Spirit. He wrote it in Greek and was translated to English. For our study we use the English translation of Rev. Blomfield Jackson,The book of saint Basil on the Spirit ,  De Spiritu Sancto, our reference for study is originally appeared in English as a part of The works of St. Basil, which was originally begun under the editorial supervision of Dr. Wace.[24]   This series used the De Spiritu Sancto which had already appeared in an English Form, with his letters and his homilies  Hexaemeron. ( this old form is considered to be by Aelferic , the Abbot of St.Albans in 969, and some identified with the Aelferic  who was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 996-1006. This is extant in Manuscript , numbered  Junius 23 in the Bodleian Library , and was collected with Manuscript Junius 47 in the same , a transcript of a Manuscript, in Hatton  Collection , by the Rev. Henry W.Norman for his edition and translation published in 1848)  The edition used has been that of the Benedictine editors as issued by Migne, with the aid, in the case of the De Spiritu Sancto, of that Published by Rev. C. F. H. Johnston. So we use the work of PHILIP SHAFF AND HENRY WACE editors, St.basil :Letters and select works,vol .VIII, in The Nicene and Post -Nicene fathers of the Christian Church, voll. 1-VIII,second series, The treatiise de spiritu sancto, the nine homilies  of the hexaemeron and the letters of saint basil the great arch bishop of Caesarea Trans. BLOMFIELD JACKSON, Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing company,Michigan1894 ,pp.1-50.

This translation has got its own importance, of being used the original Greek work made it perfect. As we see this work on the Holy Spirit by Basil was originally done in order to keep the word given to Amphilochius, the first cousin of Gregory of Nazianzus and friend and spiritual son of Basil, paid the first of his annual autumn visits to Caesarea and there he urged St. Basil to clear up all doubt as to the true doctrine of the Holy Spirit by writing treatise on the subject. Basil complied, and, on the completion of the work, had it engrossed on parchment (Letter ccxxxi.) and sent it to Amphilochius, to whom he dedicated it.

This translation has got 30 chapters, and each chapter starts with a nucleus or content as introduction and then follows the matter. Paragraphs and points are narrated by putting numbers in order to help those who study it .There are all together 79 numbers. On the one hand it is important to observe that first Basil introduces the objection and then goes on to centre his ideas. He affirms that the attack which seems to be directed against him is actually trying to destroy the Faith, especially which comes from the non-written testimony of the Fathers. According to Basil, the Lord handed down the conjunction of the Holy Spirit and the Father as a dogma necessary for salvation; those who separate Spirit and gave it a servile nature are setting their blasphemy above God’s law.

     But we must proceed to attack our opponents, in the endeavour to confute those ‘oppositions’ advanced against us which are derived from ‘knowledge falsely so-called.’ It is not permissible, they assert, for the Holy Spirit to be ranked with the Father and Son, on account of the difference of His nature and the inferiority of His dignity.  Against them it is right to reply in the words of the apostles, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’ For if our Lord, when enjoining the baptism of salvation, charged His disciples to baptize all nations in the name ‘of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,’ not disdaining fellowship with Him, and these men allege that we must not rank Him with the Father and the Son, is it not clear that they openly withstand the commandment of God?  If they deny that coordination of this kind is declaratory of any fellowship and conjunction, let them tell us why it behoves us to hold this opinion, and what more intimate mode of conjunction they have. If the Lord did not indeed conjoin the Spirit with the Father and Himself in baptism, do not let them lay the blame of conjunction upon us, for we neither hold nor say anything different.  If on the contrary the Spirit is there conjoined with the Father and the Son, and no one is so shameless as to say anything else, then let them not lay blame on us for following the words of Scripture”.[25]

 The main content of the Holy Spirit as we see is mainly centered on scriptural basis.  What does all of this to do with the scriptural center of Basil’s teachings about the Holy Spirit? He is asking a question about the baptism, why can we not be baptized in the Father alone? After all, he is divine, and knowledge of him is knowledge of God. There is the answer that we cannot be baptized in the Father alone because we cannot see or know the Father without the Son (Jn14, 9). Why, then, can we not be baptized only in the Father and the Son, with the Son mediating to us the knowledge of the Father? The reason is that, just as the Son is the mediator without whom one cannot have access to the Father, so, too, the Spirit is the mediator without whom one cannot have access to the Son. In scripture we see, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit” (1Cor12, 13). This verse and the idea behind it are quite significant in Basil’s theology.[26]The main motive of Basil is to prove the divinity of Holy Spirit.

Basil’s argument for the divinity of the Holy Spirit is rather simple. His argument starts with what spirit does to what he is. Basil mainly makes use of many scriptural passages. There is one scriptural idea that captures the essence of the relationship between the Spirit and the Father and Son. As hid argument goes he says the Spirit is divine because he is illuminator, sanctifier, and ruler. But Holy Spirit cannot perform these divine activities unless he is with the Father and Son, or rather to the Father through the Son. This way of thinking is expressed by 1Corinthians 12,3and 12,10,as well as by other texts , makes clear not only that the Son and the Spirit are joined but also how they are joined : “ No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.”And he explains the role of the Son in epistemic terms (“He who has seen me has seen the Father” [Jn14, 9]), so also does he explain the role of the Holy Spirit. No one can confess the Son; no one can have the sanctifying knowledge, without the Spirit. Not only does this explain the relationship of the Spirit to the Father and the Son, it also forms one of Basil’s most powerful arguments for the Spirit’s divinity, the Spirit is divine, because he epistemically unites the baptized to the Father through the Son. It is because he does this that he can be called illuminator, sanctifier and ruler.[27] Basil uses the rhetorical forms as he was expert in On the Holy Spirit .An analysis of the overall structure of On the Holy Spirit will disclose the crucial parts of Basil’s arguments.

Three main parts can be distinguished in Basil’s On the Holy Spirit .The first and last part is the treatises on prepositions. There are no laws governing the use of prepositions in the Bible whereby one preposition may be said to be used of the Father alone, another of the Son alone, and still another of the Holy Spirit alone. Moreover, it is not only by a single preposition that the Scripture express the relations among the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Throughout these parts of On the Holy Spirit that they are dominated by the rhetorical forms contradiction and refutation, Basil makes much use of the Scriptures. But his use of the Scriptures in this instance   does not illuminate its significance for his thought on the Holy Spirit because he does not here offer an alternative understanding of the Spirit ; that is , he does not offer his own thesis . Though Basil’s point in the first and last parts of the work is well made and well taken, the truly interesting part of On the Holy Spirit is the second part wherein he considers the Holy Spirit himself, part from the use of prepositions. [28]

 The second part of On the Holy Spirit is as clearly structured as the first: he alternates between thesis and refutation. In the first thesis (IX,22-23), Basil “examines what kind of idea about the Spirit we hold in common , as well as those which we have gathered from the Scriptures , or received from the unwritten traditions of the Fathers”.[29] This thesis is followed by an extended refutation of false ideas concerning the Holy Spirit (X,24;XV,36)[30]Next comes the second thesis (XVI,37-40) . Basil himself signals the change of the rhetorical form. “Let us return”, he writes, “to the point we first raised: that in everything the Holy Spirit is indivisibly and inseparably joined to the Father and the Son”. [31]Therefore follows , then, a second refutation of still more false ideas(XVII,41;XX,51) .[32]Finally comes the third thesis (XXI,52;XXIV,57). Basil again signals the change in the discourse . He writes: “why fight with such trifling arguments, and win such a shameful victory, when we can indisputably prove the excellence of the Spirit’s glory? If we repeat what we have learned from Scripture, every one of these Spirit fighters (Pneumatomachoi) will raise a loud and vehement outcry, stop their ears, pick up stones or any other weapon at hand, and charge against us. But we must care about truth, not our on safety”.[33]Such is the structure of the middle part, the heart of On the Holy Spirit. Basil offers three theses on the Holy Spirit, each separated from the next by an extended refutation of false ideas on the Holy Spirit. As is his custom, he will also formulate an alternative explanation to a position that he is refuting –we may call these “subtheses”. It is in these three major theses and in certain subtheses that Basil offers his own explanation of the nature of the Holy Spirit and the relationship of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son. The role of the Scriptures in these theses and subtheses , therefore , will shed light on the role of the Scriptures in Basil’s theological understanding of the Holy Spirit . [34]

Basil’s first thesis (IX,22-23)on the Holy Spirit can be divided in to two parts : a mediation on the meaning of the title “spirit” and a consideration of the Spirit in the economy of salvation , that is , the Spirit’s relationship with humanity and with the Father and the Son in the order of salvation . In the first part of the thesis , the mediation of the “spirit” , Basil draws upon many Scriptures  to show that the Holy Spirit is the sort of being who cannot be circumscribed ; who is not subject to change ; who is limitless in power ; intelligence , and goodness ; who is beyond time ; who is the source of holiness , perfection , and illumination ; and who is simple , distributing himself but remaining whole . [35]Here we can see that how Basil understands Holy Spirit as Spirit, its role in the history of salvation. And in the second part of the thesis he elaborates relationship with the Father and Son. On the other hand, it is important to observe that first Basil introduces the objection and then goes on to centre his ideas upon the baptismal form. He affirms that an attack which seems to be directed against him is actually trying to destroy the faith, especially that which come from non-written testimony of the Fathers. According to Basil, the Lord handed down the conjunction of the Holy Spirit and the Father as dogma necessary for salvation; those who separate the Spirit and give it a servile nature are setting their blasphemy above God’s law. Because of this he will fight.[36]

Basil asks two questions which he immediately responds to: Why are we Christians?  Because of Faith. How are we saved? When we are reborn through baptismal grace. And because this salvation is united to the faith in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, it is absurd to abandon this saving creed. To die with an incomplete baptism, Basil continues, is the same as not being baptized. He maintains that those who do not preserve the confession which they accepted when they denied their idols and turned to God close themselves to God’s promises. If the day of baptism is a day of re-birth to a new life, then, the most important word is that said ‘in the (reception of the) grace of the filial adoption’. How absurd it would be to abandon the tradition which comes from God and makes us children, just to follow the wiles of the enemies of faith! Basil expresses his wish to preserve in the faith until his death, and exhorts his adversaries to avoid separating the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, either in the profession of faith or in the glorification.[37]

Basil argues that condemnation awaits those who renege on the faith, because they ‘professed’ that they believed ‘in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’ ‘when they rejected the devil and his angels’. That is why they can have no other name than traitors, since they have abandoned the Alliance which was established for their salvation. Whoever relegates the Holy Spirit is as much of a traitor as he who reneges on the Father or the Son. Basil solemnly testifies that as faith in the Son is of no use for one who renounces the Father so he who denies the Holy Spirit makes vain his faith in the Father and the Son. This is so because the Scripture aver that it cannot be said that Jesus is the Lord except in the Holy Spirit (1Cor12, 3), and that no-one has seen the Father but the Son, who is in the bosom (Jn1, 18). Whoever denies the Holy Spirit, he concludes, is not paying real adoration to the Son, nor to the Father, who must be adored through the Son.[38]

As we have mentioned above, for Basil, a person must be morally cleansed before the Spirit can abide within. As he writes “the Spirit comes to us when we withdrew ourselves from evil passions, which have crept in to the soul through its friendship with the flesh, alienating us from a close relationship with God”. [39]But once this cleansing is done, the human soul enters a relationship with the Spirit and thereby with the Father and the Son. Basil continuous his writing by saying that, like the sun, He (the paraclete) will show you Himself the image of the unspeakable beauty of its prototype. That is to say, in the Spirit, we have knowledge of the Son, and in the Son, knowledge of the Father. Basil does not cite the Scriptures at all in this passage, but this idea of the Spirit’s epistemic role is central to Basil’s understanding of the Spirit, and he will enlist the support of the Scriptures for this idea later in On the Holy Spirit.[40]In DSS, [41]Basil’s opponents assert that the Holy Spirit has no important place in baptism, because there is also a baptism in Christ. But Basil answers that mentioning Christ, that is ‘the anointed’, is to mention too the Father who anoints, and the Holy Spirit who is the unction. This Trinitarian explanation of the name Christ appears in Catecheses Mystsgogicae four of the quotations of the Scripture used by Basil can be found too in this homily dedicated to the confirmation: Romans 6,3,Acts10,38,psalm44,8as well as Isaiah66,1.This objection is not introduced by a verb of speaking , who administered a baptism in Christ .

A quick survey of DSS[42]shows that Basil has to reply the objection that we should not ‘glorify’ the Holy Spirit ‘with’ the Father and the Son , though we ‘co numerate’ Him with Them, just as we don’t put the angels together with the Father and the Son, although Paul says to Timothy: “I speak to you before God and Christ and before His chosen angels”(1Tim5,21). Basil affirms that the mention of angels stands at a different level from that of the Holy Spirit: the angels are mentioned only as a witness of a promise, while the Holy Spirit is united to the Father and the Son as One who gives together with them freedom, divine filiation and live. As Basil’s adversaries invoke God in their objection, so too do the mystagogical homilies in enjoining neophytes to be true to their promises: in Catechesis ,Cyril quotes 1Timothy 6,13-14, besides the description of the Holy Spirit as giver of divine adoption and life is well documented in the mystagogical teachings. Basil’s adversaries use baptismal arguments, and Basil criticizes their interpretations of this rite. 

Basil next presents another objection of his opponents, according to which we are not obliged to believe in the divinity of the Holy Spirit just because we are baptized in him and because we believe in his existence. That we believe in God and Moses, and that some were baptized, in the cloud and the sea, in Moses (1Cor10,2) , does not mean we believe in Moses as a divinity . Basil explains that faith in the Holy Spirit is the same kind that we have in the Father and the Son, whilst faith in Moses, the cloud and the sea is faith in the types. These are frail human realities which represent superior divine realities. Basil then explains the value of the type of Adam, the rock, the water which sprung from the rock, the manna and the serpent in the desert.

He continues explaining the significance of the events which comprise the Israelite liberation from Egypt: the angel of the death that passed over the doors marked with blood from the Lamb, the passing of the Red Sea, the protection in the cloud… deeds that were all but human realities, but which prefigured Christ’s salvation, and through which we receive a special grace not given before. The reality of grace must not be scorned because of the littleness of the type. If this was , so we would not give any value of Christ’s death on the Cross  , because it can be compared with the ram’s sacrifice offered in Isaac’s place, nor would be prize His burial and resurrection because they are compared with Jonah’s sojourn in the whale’s stomach . This same error is committed when baptism is despised, that same baptism which gives Christ’s own life, just because it is compared to the passing of the Red Sea by the Israelites. [43] 

Basil finishes this chapter by accusing his opponents of not believing that God uses a progressive pedagogy. God shows as first the shadow of the types, to strengthen our intelligence and make us adapt, so that He can show the divine realities presently. Basil accuses them of being like little children because of this, children who can only grasp the immediate value of things. [44]   

In Basil’s second thesis (XVI, 37-40), he tries to establish the Spirit’s communion with the Father and the Son by considering the creation of angels. When you consider creation, he writes, I advise to first think of Him who is the first cause of everything that exists, namely, the Father, and the Son, who is the creator, and then the Holy Spirit, the perfector. For Basil each had a distinctive role in creation: the Father commands, the Son creates, and the Spirit sanctifies. Angels are perfected immediately at the time of creation not a gradual perfection. They are not created in such a way that they have holiness by nature; rather it is the Holy Spirit who makes them holy.[45] In fact, if the divinity of the Holy Spirit is denied, then, too, is the very holiness of the angels. Here too basil argues from the Scriptures: If we agree that the Spirit is subordinate, and then the choirs of angels are destroyed, the ranks of archangels are abolished, and everything is thrown in to confusion, since their life loses all law, order, or boundary. How can the angels cry “Glory to God in the highest” (Ps10, 34), unless the Spirit enables them to do so? “No one speaking by the Spirit of God ever say’s, ‘Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit (1Cor 12, 3). [46] For continuing his argument Basil says that the Spirit gave Gabriel foreknowledge (Lk1, 11). The Spirit gave wisdom to the angel who interpreted Daniel’s vision (Dn9, 22-27; 10,10ff). Because only the Spirit reveals mysteries (1Cor2, 10), angels cannot experience the blessed life of beholding the face of the Father without him (Col 1, 16) One cannot see the Father without the Spirit”. Here again Basil combines holiness with spiritual sight. To be holy is to behold the Father in the Spirit.[47]In the course of his Scriptural argument he cites 1Corinthians 12,3 for the divinity of the spirit from the holiness of angels , and one can  see that this expresses the key to understanding the rank and role of the Holy Spirit , namely , that his presence is necessary for one to have blessed knowledge or knowing holiness . 1 Corinthians 12, 3, however, is accompanied by another Scripture that contains the same basic idea, 1Corinthians 2, 10(“God has revealed to us through the Spirit”).

In the third thesis (XXI, 52; XXIV, 57) of this central part of On the Holy Spirit, Basil makes many arguments for the divinity of the Holy Spirit. In this part the main concern is to reveal the relationship of the Spirit to the Father and the Son. Here in this third part we will see many scriptural texts to prove the truth that is expressed by 1Corinthians 12, 3; and 12, 10. In 2Thessalonians 3, 5, Paul writes, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ”. Here comes the question that who is this Lord “who directs in to the love of God”.[48]Certainly it is the Holy Spirit whom Paul calls Lord, making this passage fit neatly in to Basil’s theological framework; for the Lord, the Holy Spirit, directs us to the Father through the Son but he must be divine to do so. By quoting 1Thessalonians 3,12and 2Corinthians 3, 14 -17 to make the same point, and his use of the latter especially reflects his interpretive hand.[49]Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that the same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. Now the Lord is Spirit (2Cor3, 14-17)”. [50]In this part he contrasts literal and spiritual interpretations of the law. Those who do not read the Scriptures in the Holy Spirit are ignorant of Christ’s coming and unaware that the archetype has replaced the types. The heart illumined by the Holy Spirit, however, “passes through the curtain of literal obscurity and arrives at unutterable truths”. [51]The central scriptural idea expresses best that who the Holy Spirit is and what he does to save and to perfect human beings. For this reason, Basil interprets other key texts in its light and not vice versa. On the Holy Spirit 18, 47 demonstrates this point.

Here Basil argues against those who rank the Spirit under the Father and the Son. After refuting them, he offers an additional proof of the Spirit’s divinity in the course of which he explains the Son’s relationship to the Spirit. The Spirit, says Basil, “is also called the Spirit of Christ, since He is naturally related to Him (XVIII, 46).Basil make use of some Scriptural texts where we can see the same idea. Romans 8, 9 – “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him” and John 16, 14 –“He will glorify me”. Basil maintains that only the Holy Spirit can adequately glorify Christ because he is the Spirit of truth, because “he Himself is truth shinning brightly”; only the Holy Spirit can make known the glory of Christ. He is the Spirit of wisdom, revealing Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God, in His own greatness. As the Paraclete he reflects the goodness of the Paraclete who sent him, and his own dignity reveals the majesty of him from whom he proceeds. These Scriptures, for Basil, express the epistemic relationship between the Son and the Spirit. [52]

According to Basil, we are saved only by beholding the Father, and we can behold the Father only in the Son, his image, and, in return, behold the image only in the Holy Spirit. According to Basil “if we are illumined by divine power, and fix our eyes on the beauty of the image of the invisible God, and through the image are led up to the indescribable beauty of its source, it is because we have been inseparably joined on the Spirit of knowledge. He gives those who live the vision of the truth the power which enables them to see the image, and this power is he Himself. [53]It is important to note that the Spirit is not the image of the Son; he does not communicate knowledge of the Son by offering us an image of the son to look at. Rather, the Spirit is the light by which one sees the image. The Spirit himself is not looked at, but it is he in whom and by whom one sees. After Basil gives this brief but powerful statement of the way of our salvation, he cites two scriptural texts: “No one knows the Father except the Son” (Mt11, 27); and “No one can say ‘Jesus is the Lord’ expect in the Holy Spirit” (1Cor12, 3). For Mathew 11,27 , Basil could have just as easily written , “He who has seen me has seen the Father”(Jn14,9). These two ideas, expressed by Mathew 11, 27 and 1Cor12, 3, capture the essence of Basil’s arguments for the divinity of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, respectively. Human beings know that the Son is divine because he communicates to them the divine knowledge of the Father, and they know that the Spirit is divine because without him they cannot have the divine knowledge of the Father through the Son. [54]

 The scriptural idea behind 1Corinthains12, 3 is the center of Basil’s understanding of the Spirit not only because it perfectly expresses what the Spirit is and does, but also because Basil interprets other key texts on the Spirit in its light. In On the Holy Spirit XVIII, 47 – just after he cites 1Corinthians 12, 3 –Basil explains that other Scriptures make the same point. He mentions John 4, 24 (“God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth”), Psalm 36,9 (“In thy light do we see light”) , and John1,9 (“The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world”) . Read in the light of 1Corinthians 12, 3, these passages take on a particular meaning. The Holy Spirit “reveals the glory of the Only-Begotten in Himself, and He gives true worshipers the knowledge of God in Himself. The way to divine knowledge ascends from one Spirit through the Son to the Father”.[55]

In another chapter also, he makes the same kind of interpretation. In chapter XXVI for many a times he makes use of scriptural passages to explain the theological significance of the biblical use of the term “in the holy spirit”. Concluding it he beautifully interprets John 4, 24 according to the theological categories around which his understanding of the Son and the Spirit revolve. As we see it:

We learn that just as the Father is made visible in the Son, so also the Son is recognized in the Spirit implies that our intelligence has been enlightened. Consider the words spoken to the Samaritan woman. She was deceived by local custom into believing that worship could only be offered in a specific place, but the Lord, attempting to correct her, said that worship ought to be offered in Spirit and in truth. By truth he clearly meant Himself. If we say that worship offered in the Son (the truth) is worship offered in the Father’s image, we can say the same about worship offered in theSpirit since the Spirit in Himself reveals the divinity of the Lord. The Holy Spirit cannot be divided from the Father and the Son in worship. If you remain outside the Spirit , you cannot worship at all , and  if you  are in Him you cannot separate Him from God Light cannot be separate from what it makes visible , and it is impossible for you to recognize Christ , the image of the invisible God , unless the Spirit enlightens you . Once you see the image, you cannot ignore the light; you see the Light and the Image simultaneously. It is fitting that when we see Christ, the Brightness of God’s glory; it is always through the illumination of the Spirit. Through Christ the Image, may be led to the Father, for He bears the seal of Father’s very likeness. [56]

The above passage unfolds the relationship among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It also presents the theology behind Basil’s understanding of the baptismal formula. Father, Son and Holy Spirit must be united in the baptismal formula because if they are not united, then baptism cannot be the death of the old way of life and the beginning of divine illumination. In a world, if they are not so united, then baptism cannot save. According to Basil, it is very clear that baptism bestows salvation by its cleansing water and by its tripartite confession of faith. Baptism confirms and completes the illumination begun by faith, and its illumination is the knowledge of God. But this divine knowledge has a structure; it is obtained in a certain way. We know the Father, through his Image, the Son, by our union with the Holy Spirit. For Basil, the biblical idea that best reflects the role of the Holy spirit in the structure of divine knowledge is that expressed by many texts but particularly well by 1Corinthians 12,3-“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ expect in the Holy Spirit”. Because 1Corinthians 12,3;1Corinthians12,10, and such other texts express so well Basil’s understanding to structure of divine knowledge and therefore, of salvation, they are more central to his thought even than baptismal formula of Mathew 28,19-“Go therefore and make disciple of all nations , baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit .” The Holy Spirit is united to the Father and to the Son in the baptismal formula because “No one can say ‘Jesus is the Lord’ expect in the Holy Spirit”. The baptismal formula tells us that the Holy Spirit is so united, but not why he is so united. For this reason the scriptural idea expressed by 1Corinthians 12,3 is more central to understanding Basil’s theology of the Spirit , even though Basil cites Mathew 28,19 more often (seven times ). [57]The centrality of this scriptural idea lies in the fact that it so well expresses Basil’s understanding of salvation and that he uses it to interpret many scriptural texts on the Holy Spirit. [58]


Since the writings of Basil were very well accepted and revered all most all regions. It has got enthusiasm and similar effect within the Syriac Christianity (many of Basil’s most important works were translated for Syriac – speaking theologians and clergy within a few years of his death: the De Spiritu Sancto[59]was translated into Syriac within Twenty –five years of its original composition[60]). Examples like the translations of Asctica, Hexaemeronm and  Homiles are preserved in fifth and sixth-century manuscripts. All these earliest translations were produced with greater freedom and cultural adaptation that would be normal in our age, no further justification should be required for the editing and translation of the Syriac versions of Basil’s corpus.[61]In these translations we could see the citations of the New Testament which predate the standard Peshitta text .Taylor uses his own doctoral thesis chapter 3 as the evidence for it. [62]

Basil had always contact with Syrian Christians, and very particular those from Syriac speaking regions. This is conventionally supposed that his earliest contact  occurred soon after his return from Athens in 355/357when he apparently went on a voyage to Egypt via Syria. The evidence for that trip is seen in letters. Epistle 1(written in 357) and epistle 223 (written in 375) the first letter is addressed to Eustathius the philosopher and here we see the voyage is mentioned. In his second letter as he mentions:

I prayed that I might find some one of the brethren who had taken this [ascetic] way of life, so as to traverse with him this life’s brief food. And indeed I found many men un Alexandria, and many throughout the rest of Egypt, and others in Palestine, and in Coele-Syria, and Mesopotamia…[and] I prayed that I myself also, in so far as was attainable by me, might be an emulator of these men .[63]

 Life history of Basil shows that these ascetic centers mentioned in his letter were those he visited in his younger days. Although the details of this journey are highly problematic, there is no doubt that at a later date he had visited his friends Eusebius, bishop of Samosata in Euphratensis , on several occasions .[64] The second letter, Ep.213, written early 375, is perhaps even very interesting to read because it speaks like this:

 But know then that I am expecting to be summoned to the court in keeping with the spiteful feelings of the heretics, of course under the guise of peace: and that the bishop bere on hearing of this, wrote us to make haste to Mesopotamia, and, having gathered those there who are of like mind and are in control of the churches, to set out with them to the Emperor.[65]

From this letter we discover that not only were the Syriac speaking churches a key constituent of the anti-Arian alliance that he had worked so hard to create, but that is an age when the churches in much of Syria and Asia Minor were bitterly divided. The Syriac Christians were Basil’s most strong and loyal supporters who in extremis, could be relied upon the ride with him into the jaws of enemy. No doubt this support reflects a politically perceptive decision to rally behind the strongest and most powerful leader in the region, but it is also indication to the close personal and theological links forged by Basil with the Syriac churches.[66]

Explicit evidence for Basil’s theological contact with Syriac Christians is to found in a well –known pair of references in his writings. It can be seen especially in his writing the Hexaemeron11.6., while he discuss the meaning of the term “spirit (wind) of God” in Gen1,2, he attributes his explanation to “a Syrian who was ignorant in the wisdom of this world as he was versed in the knowledge of truth” and who had argued that “ the Syriac word (for spirit) was more expressive, and that being more analogous to the Hebrew term it was a nearer approach to the scriptural sense”. The identity of this Syrian has been much discussed, but the importance of this reference, According to Taylor, is firstly that Basil was in communication with Syriac –speaking theologians, and secondly that he was prepared to accept that the Syriac exegetical value than the Greek, an extraordinary comment for a non – Syrian of his era, yet one which seems to attracted little scholarly attention. The second reference is to be found in the De Spiritu Sancto where he is arguing for the orthodoxy of his habitual form of the doxology by adducing the support of other theologians.[67]Studies were there about this relation and contribution to Syriac- speaking regions especially the study of S.P. Brock, in his study of St.Ephrem drew attention to some interesting theological points of contact between St.Ephrem and Cappadocians, and Staats has not only written of St. Gregory of Nyssa’s admiration for wandering  Mesopotamian ascetics he encountered, but has also demonstrated that Gregory made use of one of the works of Ps- Macarius, a bilingual Syriac/Greek author from Mesopotamia active in the 380s, who was imbued with Syriac theological thought .[68]  These all shows that there was a strong relationship between the theologians and their works and ideas were surprisingly admired. And through the medium of bilingual theologians or translations they gained access to each other. These evidences show how the Syriac translation of De Spiritu  Sancto came in to existence. It is considered that there are two Syriac translations of DSS . Both of them are interesting the first one (syr.1) is particularly fascinating because of its paraphrastic nature of its translation , which shows that the interest of the translator was more on the subject matter of Basil’s argument , than in the form and expression of his argument , and because of the translator’s addition of his on expositional comments to the texts . [69]As we examine the text we can see that the translator’s choice of subject matter was certainly dependent upon the approval or command of ecclesiastical superiors. We can presume, unless there are indications against it that the translator was broadly in agreement with the theological ideas and arguments of the work chosen for translation, though one has no chance to know whether it predated his study of the work or was a consequence of it. Any way we could see additional material not found in the base text in the translation, which shows that these sentences or passengers can provide with enticing glimpses of the theological interest of the translators.

 As we go through the Syr.1 version, there is no chapter division as we see in Greek version. But in Syr.1.where there is an apparently independent paragraph division. The interest of the Syr.1 translator is mainly in the trust of Basil’s argument, the significance rather than the form and expression of his argument.

The features of this Syriac version is mainly in the use of the word “holy Spirit” by which literally means “Spirit of Holiness” is of Jewish origin is very common in the Syriac literature and also very predominant in both the Old Syriac Gospels and in the Peshitta .The form with feminine adjective occurs mainly in early texts, but from the sixth centaury on both of these are replaced by the form with the masculine adjective.[70]Next feature is that in Syriac literature Holy Spirit is treated as being grammatically feminine. This we can see in the writings of Ephrem, Aphrahat and the Old Syriac Gospels. Latter Spirit is described as mother.[71]

The terminology used in Syr.1, for Spirit, even the gender credited to it is of far or less significant than the theological handling of the Spirit by the translator, particularly when this is compared to that of Basil himself. It is well known that he adopted what has been already described by some scholars as an “apophatic” approach, by others an “economy” of approach, to the divinity of the Holy Spirit,[72] and that this was considered a scandal by some of Basil’s Contemporaries .The essence of this complaint was that though Basil affirms that the Spirit is not a creature , that it is not inferior to any way to the Father and the Son ,that it  is inseparable from the Father and the Son , that means  of “equal honour” , with the Father and the Son, and even divine he never actually goes so far as to  call the Spirit “God” ,or to state that the Spirit is consubstantial with God the Father. Many attempts have been made to explain this reluctance but by this he develops his theology in Syr.1.[73]


As we further proceed to know the significance of the Pneumatology of   St. Basil, we see that it is mainly concerned with the theological and Christological importance. Most of the theological arguments of the DSS are merely repeated in the Syr.1. So we go on to the theological and Christological, Pneumatological, dimensions of the theology of St. Basil in relation with Syriac theology. First we shall see the theological and Christological magnitude.

6.1. Theological, Christological dimensions.


If we go through the work of St.Basil on the Holy Spirit, we could see the relationship between the Father and the son, especially in the chapters of DSS II to VIII, to the apparent neglect of the Spirit (although, as has already been noted, the translator of the Syr.1 regularly extends the arguments in these chapters to include the Spirit). Most of the material of the DSS is repeated in Syr.1 in the usual paraphrastic manner, with little significant expansion. It has got a significance that it might suggest a translation date before the great Christological controversies and councils of the mid-fifth century. More immediately of the interest, however, is the terminology used of the incarnation. For this we can find out three important passages: “The Lord enters the world in a body”[74], “the Godhead took a body from the stuff of human beings”[75], and “(the Holy Spirit) was perfecting with spiritual renewal that human whom (the word) put on”[76].According to S.P. Brock , the famous eastern theological writer , is of the opinion that clothing metaphors are as a means of theological expression specially in Syriac tradition .The image of the word taking human body  and in particular of him “putting on” a body is a slandered  means of representing the incarnation in early Syriac writings . The immediate biblical source for this use of clothing imagery appears to be the Peshitta translation of the Epistle to the Hebrews, for in Heb5,7 the Peshitta describes Christ as “being clothed in flesh” , and in Heb10,5a citation from Ps40, which is taken as a prophecy of Christ ,is translated as “you clothed me in a body” . Although this terminology eventually came to be regarded with early writers such as ,Ephrem, Aphrahat, and the anonymous authors of the Acts of Thomas and the Doctrina Addai.[77]

 Another distinctive item of early theological terminology is to be found in Syr.1 in a powerful Christological expansion of Basil’s Greek[78] .Syr.1 reads:

 God… made his infinite divinity dwell in a finite, and made a nature that is removed from suffering dwell in a passible body which accepted his sufferings, so that by mixing his immortality with our death he might make us immortals through his life [79]

 Although employed by some Greek authors, such as Gregory of Nyssa, the language of mixing was especially popular among early Syriac writers and it was used to describe many Christian teachings, from the union of the divine and human natures in Christ, to the union of the believer and the divine power in baptism or Eucharist[80].

 The great theological importance of St. Basil’s DSS is sometimes frustrating to read, as its intellectual arguments to prove the equality of the Spirit with Father and Son, and also it proves the divinity of the Spirit. This proves are always based on the logic and the use of prepositions in the Scriptures, can seem impossibly baked and lacking in force. This at least appears to be the feeling of the Syr.1 translator. This can be judged from the comments and protests that he makes. According to author of Syr.1 that there are clear limits to human reason because, to quote Ephrem: “Whoever is capable of investigating becomes the container of what he investigates: a knowledge which is capable of containing the Omniscient is greater than Him”.[81]He thus inveighs against those who “stray into the perdition and error of the wisdom of the Greeks”,[82]who are “enslaved to Hellenism in the whole wearisomeness of their error”,[83]and asserts , in various forms , over and over again that “it is out of the question that the (truth of) the Father should arise in the mind of the creatures through investigation”[84].As we thoroughly go through this criticism appears to be directed to the opponents of Basil especially Arians and Pneumatomachi , but as the treatise progress there are occasional hints that he feels that even Basil is sailing close to the wind . While the lengthiest interpolation in Syr.1 concerns this topic and occurs in a passage corresponding to DSS.XVI.38 (Syr.1, 83) where the trigger appears to be Basil’s argument, not that of any opponents:

 But,(as)I said previously we are thinking in human terms … yet our speech is unable , by means of our own (concepts ),to attain the true likeness of that about which we are talking . For it is a high and remote nature which does not submit to the thought of creatures through (their) investigation of it…, But (this) understanding of investigation was given to us through the beneficent Word, that it has limits, that up to a point there is salvation, but beyond it there is desolation and aberration, so that there is to be no theorizing nor speculation concerning it …[85] .

 Later as we pass through we see he appears to lose patience completely:

But why are we chasing after letters which are (prefixed) to the beginnings of nouns and (why) are we seeking to constrain the Godhead with our syllables and with our expressions?[86]Another passage is: If, however, there is (any) conviction in the souls of these people (as a result of our arguments) let them reach out to the peace of the Godhead, and let them cease from war, that they might restore the peace and might move closer to the expressions which are full of true glory, and concerning which there is no division (of opinion) due to preserve reflection. [87]And since we have accepted the equality of these true names from the Gospel, through the word of our Lord, we should thus fashion their doxology .For Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit was conveyed to us by the Gospel, which is not to be thought false, for our salvation which is in God exists thus, in the absolute (divine) equality of this confession in which there is no division at all. But what shall we say about these people who would be willing for their tongues to be cut out rather than to associate their voice with this equality.[88]

This is the basis of much of St. Basil’s argument and yet there is the translator despairing of it. What would his approach be? He gives a very strong hint in the words that follow his outcry:

If she is a creature she is not omnipresent, so how is she able to receive from every place the glory of countless mouths and of innumerable tongues, and of hearts with their beating? [89]

 The proof of the Spirit’s divinity is to be found not through logic, or the use of propositions, but through the Christian’s experience of the spiritual life of prayer, through the blessings received from the Spirit. God is known to us by God’s own condescension and self –revelation to humanity. For the translator of the DSS and also for Ephrem,[90] one of the most extraordinary of such act is God’s submission to being described with human speech and being named with human names. The names from Scripture given to God in St. Basil’s DSS especially in chapter VIII,[91] are considered by him as important sources of information about God and the modes of His working, but at the same time he does not seem to share the astonishment of the Syriac writers that God should so humiliate himself as to be named by us, nor does he marvel that God should allow us to take about him with our imperfect speech. This kind of admiration or awe is very clear in Syr.1: “This, therefore, is the great providence of the Godhead that it has accepted these names for itself because of us”[92].As we go on there is again:

 Was not this, our having become conquerors through his humiliation, sufficient to be a (source of) wonder in us? Yet we also give names to the astounding glory of his divinity in (his) manifest humiliation. How do these expressions relate to the report of the true submission which is that by grace , for the sake of our salvation , our expressions were used in his mercy to describe him , and that  amongst us he expressed his love for us –even unto death for our sakes-with human expressions?[93]

 These all expressions of the translator’s frustration with some of the lines of argument of the DSS can thus be traced to his experience of the spiritual life and to his sense of awe at God’s self-humiliation in his double incarnation, the incarnation into humanity in the Son and the incarnation into the human language. It is clear from Syr.1, as is hinted in the last citation, that a single factor is held responsible for all of these experiences and events. God’s overwhelming love for humanity [94].Thus: “whoever exists in a life of good deeds in the name of the true God, (the Spirit) grants him rest through her love for him”[95]Again, there is a major interpolation

 And in these things that were said the Father revealed through the Son his loving care for the whole world in his compassionate goodness ,in a matter that is exalted above the human race, so that it should be for the sake of (all) people , “for God so loved the world that (he gave up) his only-begotten Son.”[96]

 Indeed, love is described as “the life-giving force of the (Father and Son’s) glorious nature”[97]and “the equality of the greatness of their love for humanity”[98]is the true proof of their consubstantiality.

The compelling nature of the divine love is really emphasized in the Syriac translation than the DSS. The translator was more interested in creating a vital, living work of theology which would mix the best of Basil’s treatise with insights of his own religious tradition than mere reproduction of the DSS. Some of these native traditions can be seen when deals with baptism, [99]the references to the Godhead as fire[100], to the Israelites as simply “the people”,[101] the statement that the accounts of God’s throne-chariot in Ezekiel are inappropriate for human hearing .Considering all this according to Taylor Syr.1 is not merely a Greek text in Syriac clothing but it is a real work of Syriac theological literature.[102]

To understand more clearly what the Syriac tradition is, we need to find out its origin. The Syriac tradition was originated as other theological doctrines. Christian theology and the doctrine of the faith have emerged from the reflection of Christian thinkers, based on the authority of Scripture, and using the linguistic and cultural concepts of their time. The theological understanding of the divine truths received different expressions and interpretations according to the different cultural and historical situations in which the Gospel massage was preached and propagated. The philosophical ideas of the current time were made use of it to interpret and articulate the Christian revelation. For example, in the West, Christian theology, in general, was in the light of Greek philosophy. And the development of Christian doctrine was mainly centered on the Greek-speaking Church, living within Roman Empire.

            But the Christian religion was not confined only to the Roman Empire. It was spread towards to East, mainly in the Persian Empire. The Christian faith was lived in the Persian Empire was mainly on the Semitic – Jewish culture. Today this is known as Syriac –speaking Christianity.[103]As Sebastian Brock, a well known scholar of oriental theology writes, “among the oriental Christian Churches[104] those within the Syriac liturgical tradition may be said to hold pride of place, since they are representative of and, to some degree, direct heirs to the Semitic world out of which Christianity sprang.”[105]These words of the Brock show the importance and significant role that the Syriac –speaking Christianity occupies in the field of ancient Christian literature and theological traditions. For them faith in the Holy Spirit was very rich and alive. This study will lead us to understand the importance of the Spirit centered theology.

 6.2. Pneumatological Significance

From the Greek pneuma (wind, breath, spirit) and logia (doctrine), indicating that branch of Christian theology which deals with the Holy Spirit. Three aspects of the received doctrine are especially important: 1) The recognition by the Council of Constantinople in 381 that God is one Being in three Persons. This recognition acknowledges the full divinity of the Spirit, “who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified” (Nicene Creed). The decision represents the triumph of the Cappadocian Fathers over the pneumatomachians or Macedonians, who denied the full divinity of the Holy Spirit. 2) The definition of the difference between the Son and the Spirit. As the Council of Nicaea declared the Son to be “begotten, not made” (Nicene Creed), the Council of Constantinople declared that the Spirit “proceeds from the Father” .3) The addition to the Creed of the so-called “filioque” clause during the sixth century, perhaps at the Council of Toledo in 589 (or earlier). The clause asserts that the Spirit proceeds from “the Father and the Son.” This “addition” came to be universally accepted in the west but rejected by Eastern churches.

In the fourth century when one spoke of pneumatology, it was first in relation to Christology, and this without a false subordinationism (there is a true non ontological subordination). To speak of the Spirit was to engage in Christology, but the latter was a Trinitarian reflection. Athanasius fought for the divinity of the Spirit because he saw that it was a Trinitarian issue; brutally put, one cannot have a Trinity with only Father and Son.  The Alexandrians also saw a soteriological motive for his defense of the Spirit. That only Christ as the Son of God could bring redemption, and with it a new creation, was a major preoccupation of Athanasius. But even Christ as the glorified Lord can bring this redemption to creation and into the hearts of believers only through the Spirit, through whom Christ binds humankind to himself; this is to recognize that the Third Person exercises a contact function. Within the framework of this logic the Spirit cannot be a creature; He must be divine. Only a divine person could fulfill this task. The argument from the work and effect of the Spirit to His divinity was a favorite patristic way of taking care of the silence of Scripture. A variation on the effect-to-cause reasoning was to argue from their own immediate experience to the divinity of the Spirit. The theological movement in this history was from Christology and soteriology to pneumatology.[106] But, as has been seen, there was a wider theological horizon. The attack on the divinity of the Holy Spirit by the Pneumatomachoi became significant for the larger theological development. They pushed for a solution and received one they did not like. Under the force of their attack, the doctrine of Nicaea, that Christ is of one substance (homoousios) with the Father, was applied to the Spirit, and in this way the Trinitarian question received an important impulse toward full development. The firming up of the doctrine of the Spirit was therefore tied in this historical way to the maturation of both Christological and Trinitarian doctrine, a development which corresponds to the logic of the fourth-century historical situation. Apart from any post apostolic dispute, it corresponds to a biblical imperative. Of special importance are Aphrahat (260-345) and Ephrem (306-74). Aphrahat[107] is “the sole surviving representative of a type of Christian. .. utterly independent of Latin and Greek philosophy.”[108]One could add: not even dependent on the Greek NT, as Aphrahat cited the Gospels from the Old Syrian version found in Tatian’s Diatessaron. He copiously cited the Hebrew Scriptures, less often the NT.[109] An authentic Semitic and Aramaic culture is present in him, using, as he did, the same thought modes and language as Jesus. So isolated was he from Greek civilization that he did not know of the Council of Nicaea (325), though he died about 20 years after it closed.[110]In the ecclesiastical creed Aphrahat cited, there is no third article dedicated to the Spirit as in the Greek creeds.[111]The Spirit works through the law and the prophets. God gave the prophets His Holy Spirit that this Spirit might teach and lead the Christians through their mouth. That as late as the middle of the fourth century one is still faced with such a strongly Hebrew conception of the Spirit in an official Christian creed is further evidence of the isolation of segments of the early Syriac tradition.

 The Christian Syriac history stands alone as the only Christian tradition which has a genuinely Semitic culture, the gospel being first preached in Aramaic, of which Syriac is a dialect. That as late as the middle of the fourth century one is still faced with such a strongly Hebrew conception of the Spirit in an official Christian creed is further evidence of the isolation of segments of the early Syriac tradition. Still needing adequate study is the depiction of the Spirit as feminine and sometimes specifically as mother by Aphrahat and other Syriac authors. [112]The presence of the mother image was found in orthodox circles and in Christian traditions strongly imbued with biblical symbols and content. The biblical authors often made use of various symbols familiar to humans. This is principally true with regard to the identity of the Spirit of God. To bring to mind the presence and the activity of the Spirit of God, they have formulated various symbols based on the natural elements of wind, breath, water, fire, dove, oil, mouth, salt, clothing etc. These symbolic expressions of the Holy Spirit are really helpful to understand the function of the Spirit in the divine economy. In Syriac theology these kinds of various symbols of the Spirit serve as a source of inspiration for further reflection on the mystery of the Spirit of God. Through these visible symbols an invisible reality can be made more accessible to our intellect. As we know that symbols always have the power to establish a link between the one who uses the symbols and the symbolized.[113] Thus, symbols reach up to the source of the reality that surpasses human grasp. So in religious context symbols are essential and are capable of providing a penetrating insight into the mystery of faith. The Syriac writers understood well the communicative power of symbols and they made use of biblical symbols and images enormously. As Sebastian Brock observes, it is in the play of these biblical symbols and images that one can see the heart of Syriac Christianity.[114]  

  Sebastian Brock, speaking of the majority of Syriac authors, said that “it would be unwise to stress their consciousness of the femininity of the Spirit. Moreover it should be remembered that Logos, the Word, was also rendered by a feminine Syriac word, melta, and in the Old Syriac version of St. John’s Gospel it is still construed as feminine (in the Peshitta, however, and in later Syriac writers generally, ‘melta’, ‘Word,’ is always treated as masculine).”[115] Also to be considered is the silence in the tradition when the Spirit began to be spoken of in the masculine, quite possibly under the influence of the developing Trinitarian doctrine. No protests are recorded. Ephrem, whose pneumatology is important for Christology, ecclesiology, and the sacraments, also writes of the Spirit in the feminine, but only once does he appear interested in a special way in this aspect. [116]Nonetheless, the feminine usage is very old, as is the image of mother; there is a developed literary use of the feminine Spirit, sometimes specifically as mother, in a culture which is authentically Semitic, dominated by biblical word pictures and expressed in the language of Jesus. Even if it might be demonstrated that the kind of support for a mother Spirit was not to be found in the Syriac tradition in the way and to the extent that had been expected, a quite valid case for the feminine could be made on other possibilities within the Godhead .There are four important ways of mentioning the Holy Spirit in Syriac writings. The Spirit (Ruha), the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Holiness (Ruha d- qudsha), the Holy Spirit (Ruha qaddishta)are the  expressions . Among them, Ruha d-qudsa is the most ancient and most frequently used names in the early Syriac tradition. In the Old Testament ‘peshitta’ it is seen in Isa 63,10-11.The Old Syriac has normally used the  Ruha d-qudsa , but at times the feminine form (Ruha qaddishta) is also seen [117].It is to be noted that the even in the Hebrew language the term ruha (spirit) is feminine  in gender.[118]The Syriac language maintained the feminine gender of the term ‘spirit’ (ruha) .Of course, the earliest evidences are seen in the translation of the Bible into Syriac .Moreover, “applying the term ‘spirit’ to mean the Holy Spirit, the Old Syriac translation of the Gospel attributed a feminine gender to the Holy Spirit and it remains, therefore, an evidence of a regular grammatical feature of the term ‘Holy Spirit’ as feminine. In fact, it is under the influence of this feminine gender attributed to the Spirit in the Syriac Bible that we can understand the use of feminine forms of adjectives and verbs in the early Syriac literature when referring to the Holy Spirit. This means that the Syriac writers constructed the term Spirit very often as grammatically feminine to describe the action of the Spirit”. [119]And in  Syr.1 we see extensive use of it for example : 

The Holy Spirit , therefore , is the Spirit of the living God , because in her vitality  she is also  is life , and she is perfect in  her holiness because from the her holiness all holy things comes to exist from her through her gifts … again , she also called  ‘the Spirit of Christ’ because she is joined to him through her power , as the Apostle said “He who does not have the Spirit of Christ within him , this person does not belong to him.”[120]As our Lord said concerning her “She will glorify me.” [121]She does not give glory in this manner , as a creature to the creator , but as the Spirit of truth  who plainly manifests true testimonies concerning him through the indications of the Godhead’s glory : (and ) as the Spirit of wisdom , for she is the Spirit of Christ who is the power of God and his wisdom , which was revealed to us through the majesty of the Spirit and again as the Spirit of the Paraclete , which she is called ,for with this name ‘Comforter’ she has taken upon herself the likeness of the Son , that through her benefactions she might comfort the hearts of those to  whom she should come , so that by means of the majesty she possessed through her power she might manifest her own glories , so that should be known to proceed (and) come forth from the Godhead . [122]

As Sebastian Brock explains , one of the most important and the technical Syriac term for describing the action of the Holy Spirit in the early Syriac tradition is rahhep (to hover over) . In fact , the Biblical origin of this Syriac term can  be  traced back first to Gen 1,2 and the action of the ruha(spirit)  over the primordial waters where this ruha is understood as the Spirit of God .[123]

Many other excellent names respect to the splendor of majesty, which proclaims the divinity and possess incomprehensibility of her power performance are widely seen in the title:

 Is it unacceptable to you that it was said ‘God is Spirit’(Jn 4,24) or that she was called ‘the Spirit of mouth’(Ps 33,6) and ‘the Spirit of his nostrils’(cf.Lam 4,20) or that she was entitled this ‘the Spirit the Paraclete’(cf.Jn 14,26) or this , that just as the Father is called holy , and the Son holy , so also is the Holy Spirit described? The sanctification of creation, then, are due to the truth of the Holy Names, but the holiness of the Spirit is perfect through her holy nature. For she is not termed ‘sanctified’, but is ‘the sanctifier’ of those who take refuge in her. And , again , she is termed ‘good’ just as the Father as well as the Son ,is good and the whole of her being is constituted with goodness , and if the Father is called ‘truth’ she also is termed ‘truth’ and there is absolutely no variation or change in anything of which she cinsists , because she is by nature unchangeable . And just as the only-begotten Son exists in the true name which concerns him , so also the Holy Spirit exists in the true name which concerns her , that which our Lord spoke to his disciples in reference to her : “I will ask my Father to send you the Spirit the Paraclete”(Jn 14,16) . All the glorious and exalted names , then are common to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit , on  account of the nature of the  relationship of their persons in the beauty of their glory . Whether , therefore it is ‘the Spirit of Truth’ (then ) she is (that) along with ‘the Spirit of Wisdom’ and whether it is ‘Ruler’, she is termed (that) and whether it is ‘Creator’ she is named (that) and (so) all the glories terms which refer to the Godhead are specified of  her through the true actions and through the wonder of the glorious works and through the innumerable marvels , and through the ineffable glories and through the indications that all deeds and all actions receive their existence from her power , so that they might attain to a revealed state.[124]

All these metaphors and images can be taken as a means to reflect further on the deeper reality of God because they are expressive in their own way. They are capable of revealing a theological truth about God, mainly God’s salvific activity. The early Syriac reflections on the maternal imagery of the Spirit are indeed such instances that converse and make us think more about the action of the Spirit in the divine economy of salvation. It is worth analyzing the theological insights behind this noteworthy imagery of the Holy Spirit.

A significant theological mediation that is deployed in this maternal imagery of the Spirit is a useful approach t o understands the incomprehensible mystery of God Himself in His Spirit. Through symbolic modes of expression, the early Syriac writers, especially Aphrahat, indicate that if Christian baptism is a rebirth, then the Spirit in whom one is reborn is a mother. Indeed, this is a different approach to the reality of the new birth of baptism than a strictly theo-logical thinking.[125] Here the maternal imagery reveals effectively that fact that the divine life is to be obtained through the Spirit and thereby the Spirit is shown to be intimately and inseparably linked to the Father and the Son in their life-giving activity. This imagery of a feminine- maternal function attributed to Holy Spirit clearly explains that the Holy Spirit becomes the place of mediation between the Father and the Son in the opening up and the pouring of love of the Triune God for the salvation of humanity.[126]  

In spite of the many open questions in the biblical text, there is much that is clear in the biblical witness who has not been adequately exploited in systematic theology. In the Scriptures both the revelation of the Spirit and the bestowing of the Spirit, who is uniquely the Spirit of Christ, take place only in and through Christ. To identify Christ is to find the Spirit. This linking of pneumatology and Christology is a decisive feature and perhaps even an original insight of Pauline theology [127]something evidenced in the manner in which Paul interprets the formulae “in Christ” and “in the Spirit”. This relation of pneumatology to Christology is “a starting point for Pauline theology.” “Being in the Spirit” and “being in Christ” mutually interpret each other. In Paul “the Spirit determines the Christian life as a whole  . .. ‘being in the Spirit’ becomes the proclamation of ‘being in Christ’ both as the crucified and as the resurrected one. When Paul says that “anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Rom 8:9), he is giving a moral exhortation and at the same time pronouncing “one of the most important sayings” in his theology.[128] In Johannine theology, also, there is no lofty revelation of the Spirit-Paraclete independent of Christ.[129] The Spirit who begets and the Spirit who is communicated in baptism comes from above, from the Father, but there is no act or manifestation of the Spirit which is not through Christ. In the infancy narrative (1:5) Luke builds the formulation of Jesus’ divine sonship on the same themes that Paul draws on in Rom 1:3-4. Luke reads: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and power from the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy—Son of God”. And the Romans text reads: “Born of the seed of David according to the flesh designated Son of God in power according to the Holy Spirit as of resurrection from the dead”. Both go back to the common theological tradition which ascribed the conception of the Son of God in Mary’s womb to the creative act of God’s Spirit. Even in the enthusiasm of the Pentecost event, Luke places in the mouth of Peter a sermon (Acts 2:14-36) not about a Spirit-centered kingdom but about Jesus crucified and risen. When the Spirit is mentioned, it is to point out to the audience that Jesus “having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit  . .. has poured out this which you see and hear” (Acts 2:33). The early Christological reflections are already the beginnings of pneumatology. Though very likely one cannot say that the first Christology was a specific Spirit Christology, the understanding of the mediation between Christ and humankind is uniquely the work, indeed an event, of the Holy Spirit, and this leads to a “pneumatically oriented Christology”.[130]Such a Christology was not aided by an explicit NT teaching on the Trinity, which, of course, did not exist. Not even the roots of the Trinitarian doctrine are present in the NT, if one is speaking of a three-personed God. What do exist are the explicit triadic formulas, suggesting that threeness of this kind was implicit from the beginning. [131] The triadic emphasis in the NT forms the point of departure for the trajectory which developed into Trinitarian doctrine as we understand it. And within that triadic mentality the relationship of “in Christ” and “in the Spirit” was worked out. How, in systematic categories, does one express this biblical relationship between Christology and pneumatology? Or, cast in more philosophical terms, every experience of the Spirit is materially, not formally, the experience of Christ. Several times  St.Basil referred to the contact function, formulating it in such a way as to emphasize its Trinitarian character.[132] Because of this general link-character of pneumatology, blasphemy against the Spirit will have no remission, cutting asunder, as it does, the immediate link through which forgiveness, repentance, and renewal are offered. The contact function suggested the Holy Spirit as a kind of synonym for “economy”[133]and “kingdom.” In John Meyendorff s phrase[134], the Spirit “is the very content of the kingdom.” In speaking of the contact role of the Spirit, one meets spatial and even geographical expressions which carry the meaning in a pictured way but need qualification. Categories of space, when applied to the role of individual persons of the Trinity, are to be considered functionally. In spatial terms the Holy Spirit is not nearer to us than either the Son or the Father. But functionally He is; His role in the order of salvation gives Him immediacy proper to His person. That such non appropriated relations of the divine Persons to the created order exist is, as Karl Rahner reminded us,[135] “a free and unobjectionable opinion in theology.” The three self-communications are the self-communication of the one God in the three relative ways in which God subsists. The threefoldedness of this self-communication is not to be understood as a merely verbally distinct communication, as though what was communicated was absolutely and in every respect the same, but because of our weak understanding is named, by a purely external literary device, with different words. This is very clear in the Syr.1 ,.97 

“ For by means of the true light which is from the Holy Spirit the likeness of the Son of the truth is seen , and from the likeness of the true Son the glory of the Father is known , and all who love God receive understanding from the Spirit of God concerning the Son (which leads) to the true knowledge of the Father” .

This pneumatological as well as the Trinitarian way of expressing the salvific work can be seen in the Biblical citations “No one knows the Father apart from the Son”(Mt 11,27) so “No one can say that Jesus is Lord unless in the Holy Spirit”(1Cor 12,3)… “In the Spirit , then , the glory of the Son was seen , he whom true worshippers worship , and their worship exists in the light of knowledge which is from the Spirit . For the true way which leads to the knowledge of God is from the Holy Spirit, for it leads to the Son of truth, and arrives at the Father of verity. And further more the true goodness which is present in the perfect nature of the glorious holiness and of the exalted royalty is from the Father to the Son through the Holy Spirit.[136] Thus, we can rightly speak of the pneumatological Christology that is traceable from early Syriac theology especially from the writings of St. Basil. His Spirit centered Christology, where Christ and the Spirit function together, is no at all an identification of Christ with Spirit. It is rather an explanation of the functional reciprocity between Christ and Spirit with a view to the salvation of humankind. If the Spirit was inseparable from Christ, then the Spirit is inevitably present in Christian life .There are many examples to prove this like Syr.1., 103 we read

“ He has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts , she who calls the Father ‘our Father’(Gal 4,6) . As a result , then , of her act of creation there was a renewal for the face of the earth (Ps 104,30)and as resurrection of the dead , and there is resurrection for everybody on account of her , and she is the doer of all deeds which have happened and which are to happen . And as for the world which we will receive after the resurrection, she is the one who prepares it in spiritual matters, and she it is transforms us from corporeal beings through the new life. For so said Paul “He who is in Christ is a new creation”(2Cor 5,17) . For the renewal that we have during this age , through the deliverance from sins and through the doing of virtuous acts , is a sign of that glorious renewal which we are to receive in spiritual matters , which we will possess on account of the Holy Spirit .

Thinking in modern theological terms, St. Basil and Syr.1.has developed a pneumatological Christology. All that we have seen in Basil derives from his understanding of the divine economy, that is, the activity of the Spirit and Christ as necessary for the salvation of humanity. There is an inner-relationship between Christ and Spirit, which is the important aspect of New Testament revelation, that which is basically the importance of Syriac theology. In fact modern theologians have tried to revitalise this pneumatological dimension of the life and activity of Christ in order to develop a deeper understanding of the mystery of Christ himself.[137]For the present day discussion on the relationship between Christ and Spirit, Syriac theology remains as a source of inspiration.

In general if we go through the work of St. Basil, we could identify all the important scriptural references which served as the basis of the early Syriac pneumatology. The action of the Spirit of God from the beginning of creation, to the breathing into the human person at the creation, the same Spirit of God was given to prophets in view of the Messiah who has put on the body from the Virgin Mary through the activity of Spirit. Finally this Spirit of God descended and rested fully upon the baptism of Christ. In short all the activities of Christ and the salvation history are done to the Father by the Son through the Holy Spirit. Thus he maintained the pneumatological as well as the Trinitarian dimension together. By identifying and insisting on the role of the Spirit of God in creation to the activity of the Spirit at all levels of the divine plan of salvation, right from the every beginning of creation and progressing towards the eschatological fulfillment. 

If we look into the Syr.1, 77 of  St. Basil, which clearly says about, that all that is on this world and the world to come is the gift of Spirit, which also gives as the Spirit centered theology –as we call as  pneumatological dimension:

Through the Holy Spirit , therefore , all good things have come to us, and through her we return from this world of ours to Paradise, and through her this was (granted) to us , that we might be adopted as children of God [138]. And through her we are able to call God the Father ‘Our Father’,[139]and she is the reason that we might be partakers of the grace of Christ . And hers is the grace that we might be named ‘children of light’,[140]and this gift , that we might possess eternal glory , is of her riches, and all the pleasures which we have come to possess from her in this world , she their giver with all sorts of blessings, and these future good things which exists for us in promises , our hope concerning them exists in our faith regarding her ,and al those invisible things to which we are invited , henceforward , as a result of her grace towards us , we will see them as in a mirror in our expectation .

This will lead us to know the Trinitarian concept of St. Basil , though we come across several examples of praise or doxologies that praise the Spirit together with the Father and the Son .As we see in Syr.1.,94: “God the Father , therefore ,is one and the only –begotten Son who is from him is one and the Holy Spirit is one , for they mentioned in three persons  … For just as the Father is , so also is the Son who is from  him , together with the Holy Spirit and these names are one in one nature and they are three in three persons”. Further in Syr.1., 95 we read like, “therefore, One Godhead with one likeness, for there is no exchange for any other likeness from person to person, but it exists in the one Father, and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, and in the one relationship of the one nature of the one glorious Trinity”. And the mutual glorification is because of the relation , we read in Syr.1.,97 “ … so also the Holy Spirit is glorified because of the Father by the Son through her communion with them”… then the glory of the Son was seen , he whom true worshippers worship , and their worship exists in the light of knowledge which is from the Spirit . For the true way which leads to the knowledge of God is from the Holy Spirit, for it leads to the Son of truth, and arrives at the Father of verity. And furthermore, the true goodness which is present in the perfect nature of the glorious holiness and the exalted royalty is from the Father to the Son through the Holy Spirit”. In Syr.1., 98 he adds, “In this perfect confession, therefore, of these three persons exists this true doctrine, in which there is neither error nor fallacy in any aspect, that there is a single origin in the One Godhead”. This leads us to the real Trinitarian process in118 of Syr.1 “if therefore, we accept the voice of the Father in the miracles we see the Son and the Spirit in them, and if we accept the word of the Son in the wonders we understand the Father and the Spirit in them, and if we accept the glories of the Spirit in her signs we discover the Father and the Son in them. And if we glorify the Father the doxology is (also) of the Son and Spirit. And if we exalt the Son our doxology is complete towards the Father and Spirit. And if we honour the Holy Spirit our doxology is perfect towards the Father and Son”. This is the perfect mode of Trinitarian theology.

Thus when we go through this we see that when the baptismal faith in the three names reveals the Threeness of God, the singleness of praise , or praising  together the three names together  , indicates the Oneness and the Unity of the three names . Secondly, that we have seen the word “Trinity” as such is employed here in this early period. Thirdly, concerning the Spirit, we have seen that the Spirit is praised and glorified together with the Father and the Son. By giving an equal adoration together with the Father and the Son, the Spirit’s name is considered as a glorious and honourable one, like that of Father and the Son. Indeed, it is the doxology addressed to the Spirit that indicates the divine status of the Spirit.

Finally, it is very clear that, for St. Basil and the Syr.1, any discussion regarding the Trinitarian actions in not the fruit of rational speculation on the nature and persons in God, but rather a conclusion drawn from the economy of salvation in which God is manifested Himself and related Himself to humanity as the Father and the Son and the Spirit. God is Three in what He does for mankind as the Father, the Son and the Spirit which is, indeed, the true reality and identity of God. This is the richness of the Unique God as Three is known to us from the mutual relational activities of the tree divine persons in View of human being’s salvation. Syr.1 presents an important and interesting discussion on the unity of will and power and glory of the tree distinct names of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit .According to Syr.1, God is One and Three for the sake of the divine salvific mission or the economy in creation.  Thus the Syriac theology expresses the uniqueness and depth of its content.[141]

 Our study of theology of the Holy Spirit brings out the theological depth of the early Syriac–speaking Christianity. The Syriac tradition has articulated Christian theology mainly in Semitic and Biblical terms.  The Semitic way of thinking is not a strictly logical and systematic method of treating the subject; it operates at a deeper and more complex level of human consciousness and, thereby, reveals refreshingly new insights. Consequently, for example, regarding the question of the Spirit, we will see that it is not the personal identity of the Spirit, but the essential and inevitable function of the Spirit at all levels of Christian existence, that has captivated the attention of the early Syriac authors. Moreover, in their attempt at understanding the Spirit, they have ample recourse to symbolic expressions. All these activity of the Spirit is intimately associated with the salvific  mission of Christ .In this Spirit – Christ relationship Syr.1 has remained Faithful to the New Testament revelation on the activity of the Spirit in the life of Christ .He has truly understood the importance of the inseparable action of the Spirit and Christ . And from this relationship all the Christians are transformed to be the temple of the Spirit of God.  

Thus, in general, we find that early Syriac theology was not a ‘philosophical theology’ in the western sense.[142] Its Semitic thought pattern was closer to the mentality of the Old Testament. And, in this regard, the Syriac Christianity can rightly be considered as the principal surviving heir of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.[143]So this enquiry in to the relation and importance of the Syriac theology has the advantage of bringing us closer to the roots of biblical revelation and the richness of the Semitic Christian thinking of the very early period of Christianity .


We were going through the importance of theology and Christology of St. Basil and its relation with the Syriac theology, Pneumatology and Trinitarian concepts. Mainly here we came to know the depth of Syriac theology. According to Basil and also Aphrahat, the Holy Spirit, who is received at baptism, dwells in a Christian as the guiding principle of Christian life. So a Christian can be called the temple of the Holy Spirit. Here the idea of the indwelling of the Spirit is important and which is modeled after the manner of Messiah. This means that as the Spirit permeated fully and permanently Christ, leading him throughout his life and mission, so also the Spirit of Christ permeates the entire life of a Christian. The Second  Vatican Council document Gaudium et Spes22, 5 emphasizes this as it says “For since Christ died for all , and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny , which is divine , we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partners , in a way known to God , in the Pashcal mystery”[144].This also underscores the fact that the Christian life is essentially a participation in the divine life of the Three, the Father , the Son and the Spirit .This study of St. Basil really clarifies all the questions regarding the divinity of the Spirit .  Here the way in which the Spirit is presented in the sources demonstrates well that this tradition is fully dependent on the pneumatological terminology of the Bible. First of all, the Spirit is called “the Holy Spirit” or “the Spirit of Holiness” like God Himself who is the Holy One and this title is many times used by the Syr.1. Another significant proof of the divine status of the Spirit or an understanding of the divine belonging of the Spirit is seen in the equal praise that is offered to the Spirit together with the Father and the Son. The early Triniterian doxologies revealed that in prayer and worship there existed an equal ranking of God the Father, the Son and the Spirit. Thus, the Spirit received his due place among the three divine names and is glorified. Here we can say that the Triniterian doxology sumps up the Christian response to God’ life –giving activity to human beings in and through His Son and His Spirit.

When we study Holy Spirit, it is really a study about Trinity. There is no autonomous, independent and separate existence of the divine nature apart from the Persons. In the Trinity the divinity exists only in Persons. Each Person in the Trinity is full in divinity. The communion of the three Persons is a new reality, Trinity. Trinity is not an abstract disquisition on heavenly metaphysics but an exposition of the Triniterian path in ecclesial history. There is a difference in the Triniterian approach of the East and West. In the Triniterian approach, the West presupposes God’ unity, emphasizes the oneness of the nature. The East begins with the living experience of the tree divine Persons, and move to affirm unity. The East sees God primarily as three hypostases and then moves to the unity of nature. In the West in the absolute one God, they distinguish The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Here the oneness of the nature is primary and difference in Persons secondary. Easterners arrive at the unity from the distinction of the Persons. For the East unity of the God is the conclusion, for the West it is the starting point.[145] Easterners always see the relationship between Persons as communion. Without the concept of communion, they cannot make any theology. This communion of the Trinity is expressed by East as known ‘perichoresis’, and in the West by ‘circumcession’. Perichoresis is the doctrine of the mutual or reciprocal immanence and the interprenetration of the three divine Persons and is the result of the unity of the nature. The result of perichoresis is that the whole father is wholly and eternally in the Son and in the Holy Spirit.[146] This view of the Syriac theology is seen and highlighted in the Syr.1, 118.The Church’s official catechetical text on the Holy Spirit in preparation for the Holy Year2000 says: “Rediscovering the importance of the Holy Spirit means to accept the meaning of the salvation that the Father and the Son have offered to humanity”.[147]This is the truth that by concentrating on the creative presence and actions of the Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, that the Syriac theology has appropriated the revelation of the Holy Spirit. And as envisioned by the Syriac tradition, it is and through the work of the Spirit that we experience the salvation of Christ.

[1]JEAN, GRIBOMONT,De Spiritu Sancto,in “Vigillae Christianea” ,Vol.51,No.4 1997.P.374-395.
[2]Ibid., pp. 374-378.
[3]Basil, De Spiritu Sancto (translated by) BLOMFIELD JACKSON  in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers,  Vols.14 (second series), (eds.) Philip Schaff and Henry Wace,Vol. 8, Eerdmans Publishing company, Michigan. p.48. Later he added, “Individual hatred is of more importance than the general and common warfare, for men by whom the immediate gratification of ambition is esteemed more highly than the rewards that await us in a time to come, prefer the glory of getting the better of their opponents to securing the common welfare of mankind.” P.49.
[4]Ibid., p. 49.
[6]Ibid., p. 270.
[7]Ibid., p. 279.
[8]Ibid., p. 281.
[10]Ibid., Their leaders included Ursacius and Valens. They in fact advised the emperor Contantius to forbid the talk about the term   όmoousioz .
[11]This is not St. Basil of Caesarea.
[12]Ibid., p. 282.
[13]Cf. Letter cxxix. The beginning of the letter read as I knew that the charge which had lately sprung up against the loquacious Apollinarius would sound strange in the ears of your excellency. I did not know myself, till now, that he was accused; at the present time, however, the Sebastenes, after search in some quarter or another, have brought these things forward, and they are carrying about a document for which they are specially trying to condemn me on the ground that I hold the same sentiments.
[14]Cf. Letter cxxx. In this letter to Theodotus of Nicopolis, Basil, as we read, afterwards he came to Cilicia, and, on meeting with a certain Gelasius, showed him the creed which only an Arian, or a thorough disciple of Arius, could subscribe. Then, indeed, I was yet more confirmed in my alienation from him. I felt that the Ethiopian will never change his skin, nor the leopard his spots, nor a man nurtured in doctrines of perversity ever be able to rub off the stain of his heresy.
[15]Letter, ccxxvi.
[16]Cf. Letter ccxxiii. In the opening of the letter, Basil wrote, “Time enough has been given to silence, and now the time has come to open my mouth for the publication of the truth concerning matters that are, up to now, unknown.
[17]. Cf. The arguments presented in Cyril Karam, Saint Basil On The Holy Spirit- Some Aspects of his Theology, in Word and Spirit: In Honor of St. Basil the Great, St. Bede’s Publication, Still River 1979, p.144. The incident when Basil was praying with the people and using the full doxology to God the Father in both forms, at one time ‘with the Son together with the Holy Ghost,’ and at another ‘through the Son in the Holy Ghost,’ I was attacked by some of those present on the ground that I was introducing novel and the same time mutually contradictory terms. See also in Basil, De Spiritu Sancto (translated by) BLOMFIELD JACKSON in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vols.14 (second series) (eds.) Philip Schaff and Henry Wace ,Vol. 8,Eerdmans Pushing company, Michigan. p. 3.
[18]This can be translated as “with” for in Greek.
[19] LOUTH, ANDREW.,(ed.) Trinity and Incarnation :The faith of the Early Church ,The Liturgical press, Collegeville, Minnesota1993.P.150.
[20] DSS.IX, 22.
[21] Cf. DSS.X, 25; XIV, 31; XV, 35; XXIX, 75.
[22] Cf. DSS.XXVII, 66.
[23] Cf. HILDEBRAND, STEPHEN. M., The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea, Catholic University of America Press, Washington 2007,p.188.
[24] Cf. This is what we see in the preface of the work , Introduction to Hexameron under the editorial supervision of Dr.Wace. PHILIP SHAFF AND HENRY WACE editors,St.basil :Letters and select works,vol .VIII, in The Nicene and Post -Nicene fathers of the Christian Church, voll. 1-VIII,second series, The treatiise de spiritu sancto ,the nine homilies  of the hexaemeron and the letters of saint basil the great arch bishop of Caesarea Trans. BLOMFIELD JACKSON, Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing company,Michigan1894.
[25] DSS.X,25.
[26]HILDEBRAND, STEPHEN. M., The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea, Catholic University of America Press, Washington2007, p.178.
[27] Cf.Ibid,p.178-179.
[28]HILDEBRAND, STEPHEN. M., The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea, Catholic University of America Press, Washington2007, p.179.
[29] BASIL, OF CAESAREA, De Spiritu  Sancto( Translated and Revised by) ANDERSON,DAVID., ON the Holy Spirit , St.Vladimir’s Seminary Press ,Crestwood 1980,p.42.
[30] Basil makes the transition in the rhetorical form between this first thesis and the following refutation very clear when he writes : “ but now we must attempt to refute our opponents’ false ideas which have been directed against us” (Ibid,p.40).Henceforth De Sancto Spiritu( on the Holy Spirit )abbreviated as DSS.
[31]DSS.XVI, 37.
[32] Ibid,
[33] Ibid ,XXI,52.
[34]HILDEBRAND, STEPHEN. M.,  The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea, Catholic University of America Press, Washington2007, p.180.
[35] Ibid,p.181.
[36] DSS.X,25.
[37] Ibid,X,26.
[38] Ibid,X,27.
[39] BASIL, OF CAESAREA, De Spiritu  Sancto( Translated and Revised by) ANDERSON,DAVID., ON the Holy Spirit , St.Vladimir’s Seminary Press ,Crestwood 1980,p.44.
[40]HILDEBRAND, STEPHEN. M., The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea, Catholic University of America Press, Washington2007, p.180
[41] DSS.XII,28.
[42] DSS.XIII,29-30.
[43]Cf. DSS.XIV, 31-34.
[44] Ibid.
[45]HILDEBRAND, STEPHEN. M., The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea, Catholic University of America Press, Washington2007, p.181
[46] Ibid,p.182
[47] Ibid.
[48] Ibid,p.183
[49] 1Thessalonians 3,12-13 reads :”And may the Lord make you increase and abound in  love to  one another and to all  men , as  we do to you , so that he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before  our God and Father at  the coming of  our Lord Jesus with all his saints”.
[50] BASIL, OF CAESAREA, De Spiritu  Sancto( Translated and Revised by) ANDERSON,DAVID., ON the Holy Spirit , St.Vladimir’s Seminary Press ,Crestwood 1980,p.44.
[51] Ibid,p.82-83
[52]HILDEBRAND, STEPHEN. M., The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea, Catholic University of America Press, Washington2007, p.184
[53] BASIL, OF CAESAREA, De Spiritu  Sancto( Translated and Revised by) ANDERSON,DAVID., ON the Holy Spirit , St.Vladimir’s Seminary Press ,Crestwood 1980,(18,47)p.74
[54]HILDEBRAND, STEPHEN. M., The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea, Catholic University of America Press, Washington2007, p.185
[55] Ibid,p.185-186
[56] Ibid,P.186
[57] BASIL, OF CAESAREA, De Spiritu  Sancto( Translated and Revised by) ANDERSON,DAVID., ON the Holy Spirit , St.Vladimir’s Seminary Press ,Crestwood 1980 The numerous references to Mathew 28,19 are explained by the fact that Basil spends much time defending his use of the doxology that substitutes “with the Holy Spirit” for “and the Holy Spirit” see chapters XXV,59;XXV,60;XXVII,68;XXVIII,69.
[58]HILDEBRAND, STEPHEN. M., The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea, Catholic University of America Press, Washington2007, p.187.
[59] Henceforth this will be abbreviated as DSS. And Syriac translation as Syr.1.
[60] TAYLOR,D.G.k.,The Syriac version of the De Spiritu Sancto by Basil of Caesarea,(Tras.eng)in (eds.)American Catholic University and Catholic University Louvain, “Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium”, Vol.576,Scriptores syri 228, In Aedibus Peeters ,Louvain1999.P.X11.
[61] Ibid
[62] Ibid,p.XIV
[64] Ibid,p.XV As we read the letters of Basil there are mentioning of the places and famous bishops from Syriac speaking places .For this read the letters to Eusebius  Epp.27,30,34,48,95,98,100,127,128,136,138,141,145,162,198,237,239, 241,268.And also other letters like Ep.118, 132,184, 220,221,222,254,255 ,264-267.
[65] Ibid,p.XVII.
[66] Ibid
[67] Ibid,p.XVIII See also  BROCK ,S.P. , The luminous Eye: The spiritual World Vision of St. Ephrem the Syrian, (Ciistercian studies ,no124) Cistercian publications ,Michigan1992.
[68] These are the theologians mentioned in the work of  TAYLOR,D.G.k.,The Syriac version of the De Spiritu Sancto by Basil of Caesarea,(Tras.eng)in (eds.)American Catholic University and Catholic University Louvain, “Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium”, Vol.576,Scriptores syri 228, In Aedibus Peeters ,Louvain1999.P.X1X, FNos 53-56.
[69] TAYLOR,D.G.k.,The Syriac version of the De Spiritu Sancto by Basil of Caesarea,(Tras.eng)in (eds.)American Catholic University and Catholic University Louvain, “Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium”, Vol.576,Scriptores syri 228, In Aedibus Peeters ,Louvain1999.P.XX.
[70] Ibid,p.XXI. See also BROCK.S.P. The Holy Spirit as Feminine in Early Syriac Literature in JANET MARTIN SOSKICE (ed.) After Eve, Collins Marshall Pickering,  London1990.
[71] MURRY,R., symbols of church and kingdom : A study in Early Syriac Tradition , Cambridge 1975.p.312-320.see also BROCK, S.P.,The Holy Spirit in the Syrian Baptismal Traditions, Syrian Churches Series 9(SCS),Kottayam1979.
[72]  TAYLOR,D.G.k.,The Syriac version of the De Spiritu Sancto by Basil of Caesarea,(Tras.eng)in (eds.)American Catholic University and Catholic University Louvain, “Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium”, Vol.576,Scriptores syri 228, In Aedibus Peeters ,Louvain1999.P.XXII.
[73] Ibid,p.XXII-XXIII.
[74] Syr.86(cf.DSS.XVI.39).
[75] Syr.18(cf.DSS.V.12).
[76] Syr.86(cf.DSS.XVI.39).
[77] TAYLOR,D.G.k.,The Syriac version of the De Spiritu Sancto by Basil of Caesarea,(Tras.eng)in (eds.)American Catholic University and Catholic University Louvain, “Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium”, Vol.576,Scriptores syri 228, In Aedibus Peeters ,Louvain1999.P.XXVI.
[80] TAYLOR,D.G.k.,The Syriac version of the De Spiritu Sancto by Basil of Caesarea,(Tras.eng)in (eds.)American Catholic University and Catholic University Louvain, “Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium”, Vol.576,Scriptores syri 228, In Aedibus Peeters ,Louvain1999.P.XXVII.
[81] Ibid
[82] Syr.10(p13)(cf.DSS.III.5).
[83] Syr.11(p14)(cf.DSS.IV.6).
[84] Syr.21(p24)(cf.DSS.VI.14).
[85] Syr.83(p73)(cf.DSS.XVI.38).
[86] Syr.129(p112)(cf.DSS.XXVI.61).
[87]Cf.TAYLOR,D.G.k.,The Syriac version of the De Spiritu Sancto by Basil of Caesarea,(Tras.eng)in (eds.)American Catholic University and Catholic University Louvain, “Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium”, Vol.576,Scriptores syri 228, In Aedibus Peeters ,Louvain1999.PP.XXX-XXXI.
[88] Syr.127(p111)(cf.DSS.XXV.60).
[89] Syr.129(p112)(cf.DSS.XXVI.61).In Syriac spirituality heart is considered as a  locus for prayer.
[90] Cf. MURRY,R., symbols of church and kingdom : A study in Early Syriac Tradition , Cambridge 1975.p.159-204 .See also  BROCK ,S.P. , The luminous Eye: The spiritual World Vision of St. Ephrem the Syrian ,(Cistercian studies ,no124) Cistercian publications ,Michigan1992. Pp40-43.and the doctoral thesis of KOONAMMACKAL,T.,The  Theology of Divine Names in the Genuine Works of St. Ephrem,Oxford university1991.
[91] Various names of God as ,The Son of God ,The Son, The only –Begotten of God ,The only –begotten from the bosom of the Father , The power , The wisdom, The word of God , Shepherd, King ,Physician, Bridegroom, The Way, The Door , The Fountain, The Bread, The Axe , and The Rock etc.
[92] Syr.33(p33)(cf.DSS.VIII,18).
[93] Syr.34(p35)(cfDSS.VIII,18).
[94] This is a common theme in Syriac spirituality .Cf. BROCK ,S.P.,Spirituality in the Syriac tradition ,Moran Etho2,Kottayam1989,pp.84-86.
[95] Syr.47(df.DSS.IX,22).The concept of divine “REST” apparently , based on Isa28,12 occurs inSyr.1(eg.48)and is also an important spiritual theme in Aphrahat.cf. BROCK, S.P.,The syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual life ,CS101,Kalamazoo1987,pp1-28.
[96] Syr.144 (cf.DSS.VIII, 21) The words supplied in parentheses confirm the citation to the text of Jn3, 16. Without them Syr.1 reads; “God loved the world thus, like his only –begotten Son”, and this may have been intentional.
[97] Syr.26(cf.DSS.VI,15).
[98] Syr.45(cf.DSS.VIII,21).
[99] For, the text corresponding to DSSXV (Syr,72-74 and the references to the pledge of the Spirit , and to the body being clothed in Baptism .Cf. BROCK, S.P.,The Holy Spirit in the Syrian Baptismal Traditions,SCS,Kottayam1979.
[100] Eg.Syr.78,and the expression of Basil’s Greek in Syr.131(p114)cf. BROCK ,S.P. , The luminous Eye: The spiritual World Vision of St. Ephrem the Syrian ,(Cistercian studies ,no124) Cistercian publications ,Michigan1992. PP24-25.
[101] Many times in Syr.64-71(cf.DSS.XIV,31-33) Cf. MURRY,R., symbols of church and kingdom : A study in Early Syriac Tradition , Cambridge 1975.PP.41-68.
[102]Cf. TAYLOR,D.G.k.,The Syriac version of the De Spiritu Sancto by Basil of Caesarea,(Tras.eng)in (eds.)American Catholic University and Catholic University Louvain, “Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium”, Vol.576,Scriptores syri 228, In Aedibus Peeters ,Louvain1999.P.XXXII.
[103] Syriac is a branch of Aramaic, which is the Semitic language that spread through Syria, Mesopotamia, Palestine and Egypt from 9th century BC on wards. The language which was spoken in Edessa and in its neighborhood was Syriac, from shortly before the beginning of the Christian era. But this was developed in the 2nd and 3ed centuries. Besides this, Syriac was the language of the Christians of the Northern Syria and Mesopotamia. By this term ‘Syriac –speaking Christianity ‘we mean the early Christian tradition which made use of Syriac as its medium of expression. See also Kaniyaparampil.E.,The Spirit of Life : A study of the Holy Spirit in the Early Syriac tradition ,OIRSI,kottayam2003.p.2.
[104] The term ‘oriental Christian Churches’ refers to a third stream in the Christian tradition , other than Latin West and the Greek East . This took shape in the Persian Empire, beyond the frontiers of the Eastern Roman Empire. It is also called the ‘Churches of the East’.
[105] Brock .S., The Syriac Fathers on prayer and the Spiritual life ,Kalamazoo 1987.p.x.
[106] CF. WOLFSON.H.A., The Philosophy of the Church Fathers ,Harvard University, Cambridge1974 .p.235.
[107] We know but little about the person and life of Aphrahat, known also as a Persian sage. See also KANIYAPARAMPIL.E.,The Spirit of Life : A study of the Holy Spirit in the Early Syriac tradition ,OIRSI,kottayam2003.p.23.
[108]GAVIN FRANK., Aphraates and the Jews AMS Press, New York1966.p. 1- 2
[109] JACOB NEUSNER., Aphrahat and Judaism: The Christian-Jewish Argument in Fourth Century Iran Brill, Leiden1971.p. 5.
[110]IGNATIUS ORTIZ DE URBINA., Patrologia Syriaca ,Pont.Inst.OrientaliumStudiorum, Rome1965.pp.49-50.
[111] APHRAHAT.,The Demonstrations in PARISOT . J.,(ed.)  Patrologia Syriaca. Paris, 1894.p1.44c
[112] Ibid
[113] Cf. KANIYAPARAMPIL.E.,The Spirit of Life : A study of the Holy Spirit in the Early Syriac tradition ,OIRSI,kottayam2003.p.202.
[114] BROCK.S.and HARVEY.A.,Holy Women of the Syrian Orient. (introduced and trans.) ,University of California Press, Berkeley 1987.p.11.
[115] BROCK.S., The Holy Spirit in the Syrian Baptismal Tradition, SCS 9, Kottayam1979.pp4-9.
[116] Cf. MURRY,R., symbols of church and kingdom : A study in Early Syriac Tradition , Cambridge 1975.p.318.and also see  MURRAY,R., A Hymn of St. Ephrem to Christ on the Incarnation, the Holy Spirit, and the Sacraments, Eastern Churches Review 2 ,1970.pp.142-150.
[117] KANIYAPARAMPIL.E.,The Spirit of Life : A study of the Holy Spirit in the Early Syriac tradition ,OIRSI,kottayam2003.p.33.
[118] It is interesting to note that while referring to the maternal figure of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel Of Hebrews, St.Jerome says that the term ‘spirit ‘ is feminine in Hebrew, masculine in Latin and neuter in Greek.
[119] KANIYAPARAMPIL.E.,The Spirit of Life : A study of the Holy Spirit in the Early Syriac tradition ,OIRSI,kottayam2003.pp.203-204.
[120] Rom 8,9.
[121] Jn 16,14
[122] Syr.1,96.
[123] Further studies see also KANIYAPARAMPIL.E.,The Spirit of Life : A study of the Holy Spirit in the Early Syriac tradition ,OIRSI,kottayam2003.
[124] Syr.1.,101.
[125] Cf. KANIYAPARAMPIL.E.,The Spirit of Life : A study of the Holy Spirit in the Early Syriac tradition ,OIRSI,kottayam2003.p.220.
[126] Ibid,p.316.
[127] KASEMANN, ERNST., Commentary on Romans ,  Grand Rapids , Michigan . 1980.pp221-222.
[128] Ibid,224
[129] RAYMOND E. BROWN., Anchor Bible: The Gospel according to John (i-xii), S.S.Garden City (N.Y.),Doubleday, 1966.p. 162.
[130] WALTER KASPER., Jesus the Christ,  PaulistPress, New York 1976.p. 249.
[131] KELLY.J.N.D., Early Christian Creeds (ed.3)Longmans, London 1960.p.12.
[132] DSS,XI,27; XVIII,47;XXVI,62 Syr.1, 56;97-98;131.
[133]  KANIYAPARAMPIL.E.,The Spirit of Life : A study of the Holy Spirit in the Early Syriac tradition ,OIRSI,kottayam2003.p.45.
[134]  MEYENDORFF .J.,Byzantine Theology ,Fordham university press,London 1974.p. 169.
[135]  RAHNER.K., The Trinity, Burns & Oates, London 1970.p.34
[136] Syr.1.,97.
[137] SMITH.D,. The word and the Spirit, London1986 .(Eng. Trans of CONGAR. Y., La Parole et le Souffle1984).
[138] Cf.Rom 8,16.
[139] Cf.Rom 8,15.
[140] Cf.Jn 12,36;Eph 5,8.
[141] Cf. KANIYAPARAMPIL.E.,The Spirit of Life : A study of the Holy Spirit in the Early Syriac tradition ,OIRSI,kottayam2003.p.316.
[142] Cf. MURRAY.R.,Symbols of Church and Kingdom . A study in Early Syriac Tradition, University Press , Cambridge 1977.p.2.
[143] Cf. MURRAY.R., “The Characteristics of the Earliest Syriac Christianity” in RARSOIAN and MURRAY (eds.) East of Byzantium: Syria and Armenia in the formative Period, Washington 1982, p 5.In fact, the term ‘Judaeo-Christian’ is difficult to define because it can  express different realities . Therefore, here we try to precise that what we mean by ‘Judaeo-Christian’ in this only as a doctrinal point of view. In this , by the term ‘Judaeo-Christian’ we mean the early group of the believers in Jesus the Messiah , the Son of God , and who, while remaining faithful to Jewish traditions , expressed their faith and thinking in Jewish-Semitic categories and in the light of the Old Testament . So this somehow shows the Semitic relation of the Syriac-speaking people, and also the influence of the thinking pattern.
[144] FLANNERY.A.,(ed.), Vatican Council  II : The Conciliar and Post- Conciliar  Documents ,St.Paul Publications, Bombay1987,p.829.
[145] Cf.KALLARANGATTU.J., Communion Ecclesiology in the Light of the Second Vatican Council ,in Koodapusha .Xavier(ed.)Communion of Churches ,OIRSI,Kottayam1993.p.87.
[146] BILANIUK.B.T.,Theilogy and Economy of the Holy Spirit ; An Eastern Approach, Dharmaram Publications,Bangalore1980.p.34-35.
[147] BONO.A.,(Trans.)  The Holy Spirit , Lord and Giver of Life .Prepared by the Theological –Historical Commission for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000,The Crossroad Publishing Company , New York 1997.p.28.

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