Georgios Martzelos, “God’s Essence and Energies, according to Saint Basil the Great. A Contribution to the historical and dogmatic research on the teaching of the Orthodox Church on God’s essence and energies”, Scientific Year book of the Theological Faculty of AUTH, Annex no. 38, 27th Volume, 1982, Thessaloniki 1984, pages 205.
It is historically undoubted that only few of the Church Fathers had such a decisive contribution to the development of the Orthodox doctrine as Basil the Great. Especially his contribution to the development and formulation of the Trinitarian dogma has attracted the interest not only of Orthodox theologians, but also of Roman-Catholic and Protestants. Still, the importance of the distinction between the essence and energies of God in his work has not been analyzed enough and that is the gap that the research of Georgios Martzelos tries to fill.
After a short introduction, where the writer provides his contemporary theological views and trends on the issue, it is stressed that this paper analyzes the ontological and gnosiological importance of the distinction between the essence and the energies, as well as its defining importance for the teaching of Basil the Great on divine names.
The negotiation of the issue takes place in four chapters. In the first chapter, there is talk about the incomprehensibility of the essence and the hypostatic idioms of God in contrast to the relevant misbelieves of the Eunomians.
In the second chapter, the meaning of the distinction of God’s essence and energies and the relation of this distinction with the distinction of His essence and hypostases are examined.
In the third chapter, the meaning of God’s energies for His knowledge and the character of the three divine hypostases, the way it comes about and is determined by their energies, is investigated.
Finally, in the fourth chapter, the writer gives an account of the consequences of the distinction between God’s essence and energies on the origin and significance of the divine names.
The paper ends with an epilogue, where the author stresses among others that the teaching of Basil the Great on the essence and energies of God is not the fruit of philosophical contemplation, but the continuity of the biblical and, long before him, patristic tradition, which he develops from an ontological and gnosiological point of view, in the frame of his theological encounter with the Eunomians and Pneumatomachoi of his time.
Following is a summary in English, an extensive bibliography and an index of names and things.