The Beginning of the Debate on the Universals in Byzantine Philosophy and Its Historical and Philosophical Context
The article reconstructs the philosophical context of the polemics on the status of commonness in Eunomius and the Neo-Arian controversy. This chapter showed that the concepts of universals which had been developed in classical philosophy, played an important role in the Eastern Christian theology and philosophy of the fourth century. The Aristotelian principle of individual/species division were important in the process of problem setting in the Eastern Christian philosophy. In the second half of the fourth century, the representatives of the Nicean ecclesiastical party adopted the principle and developed the doctrine that the divine substance and the Persons of the Holy Trinity were correlated as individuals and species. The Nicaeans put forward this principle to justify their Trinitarian doctrine, according to which all Persons of the Holy Trinity, including the Son and the Holy Spirit, belonged to the divine order. This doctrine forced Eunomius, the leader of the Neo-Arian party which insisted on the created nature of the Son and the Spirit, to put forward the doctrine about the applicability of the individual/species/genera discourse only to material beings, but not to the realm of the intellectual and divine.