Hart’s Strategies and his Interpretation of St. Gregory of Nyssa in “The Myth of Schism”

I recently read David Bently Hart’s article “The Myth of a Schism”. Much that he says is true, and it was all very strategically-argued. But I cannot agree with everything he says, nor do I think that he employs his strategies in a way that is completely fair.

Hart seems to be trying to set the conversation about reunion between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church by eliminating certain people from the category of “acceptable voices of Catholic or Orthodox theology”. If such people are not in that category, then their opposition to certain kinds of reunion is inconsequential.

He then presents a picture of the extreme Catholic and the extreme Orthodox. These pictures are rightly silly, of course, and that helps get his point across. Hart gets us to laugh “Hah! No sane Catholic would believe that the celibacy of priests is Apostolic!” or “That’s silly for an Orthodox person to think the schism started in the 8th century.” Admittedly he’s correct; such people exist, and their voices are not relevant to the question of reunion. But I got the impression (perhaps this is actually his intent, perhaps not) that on his view, those who are much more conservative than he is automatically fall into the “extreme Orthodox” category and should therefore be disregarded as irrelevant to questions of reunion. Some of the things he says about Lossky’s writings suggest this. It looks like Hart ironically caricatures some of the very writers and viewpoints that he claims are caricaturing the West and presenting a too-narrow understanding of Orthodox theology. His boldness may leave the reader with a false sense of security about the issues. In fact, many of the arguments he brings up have already been answered in the literature for some time now. The (real or imagined) suggestion that people who are more conservative than he is should be disregarded seems false, and Hart uses some mistaken arguments to support this idea. I suspect there are several examples of this inaccurate argumentation in the paper, but am satisfied if readers go away with the impression that there is at least one important error. Below I will argue that there is a problem in Hart’s paper that is significant and misleading: his analysis of St. Gregory of Nyssa’s “On Not Three Gods” as supporting something like the filioque.

Hart interprets St. Gregory of Nyssa as a supporter of something akin to St. Augustine’s doctrine of the filioque. He employs this claim to suggest that whatever the filioque issue may be, it is not something that all the Eastern Fathers reject, and thus is not necessarily a Church-dividing dogmatic disagreement. The claim that St. Gregory of Nyssa is teaching the Father is the first cause in the Trinity and the Son is a second cause who contributes to the existence of the person of the Holy Spirit was suggested by a mistranslation of the Greek in Schaff and Wade’s Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers:

“For one is directly from the first Cause, and another by that which is directly from the first Cause; so that the attribute of being Only-begotten abides without doubt in the Son, and the interposition of the Son, while it guards His attribute of being Only-begotten, does not shut out the Spirit from His relation by way of nature to the Father.” (“On Not Three Gods”, 56, Schaff and Wade translation)

Notice how the language of “first cause” when applied to the Father implies that there is a second cause, namely the Son. Thus, on this translation, it sounds like St. Gregory is claiming that the Son’s role in the Spirit’s procession “by/through the Son” is causal—the Son contributes to causing the person of the Holy Spirit to exist. But the Greek does not use the language of “first” conjoined to “cause” to describe the Father (Turcuscu, from The Concept of Divine Persons in Saint Gregory of Nyssa, from footnote 42 on pg. 68). It simply says “the cause” (from the translation Hart uses) or “the first” (Turcuscu’s translation). This mistranslation has led to use of the text of “On Not Three Gods” in Roman Catholic apologetics and in Eastern ecumenical texts trying to demonstrate an Eastern acceptance of the Filioque. This problem was accentuated by other passages that appear to support the Filioque in St. Gregory’s writings, that are now considered by many scholars to be interpolations. The translation Hart is using is much more accurate, but reveals that he is misinterpreting Gregory. His translation says:

“we believe one to be the cause and another to be from the cause; and again we conceive of another difference within that which is from the cause: between the one who, on the one hand, comes directly from the principle and the one who, on the other, comes from the principle through the one who arises directly…” (“On Not Three Gods”, 56, the translation Hart is using)

Notice what is implied by the language of “the cause”: there is only one cause identified in the Trinity, namely the Father. And this is where the distinction between “from the Son” and “through the Son” comes in. According to the patristics scholar Lucian Turcuscu, St. Gregory of Nyssa’s language of “through the Son”

…must not be identified with the filioque, since the Father and the Son do not form one principle like in that Western doctrine; the proper cause of the Spirit is the Father.[44] Phrases found in Gregory’s writings which would allegedly imply that he favors the filioque have proven to be interpolations.[45] In stating that the Spirit comes from the Father through the Son, Gregory and his brother Basil actually manifest themselves as followers of Origen. It was Origen who interpreted John 1:3 (“All things came into being through him [i.e., the Word], and without him not one thing came into being”) as meaning that all things came into existence through the Word, including the Holy Spirit. (from The Concept of Divine Persons in Saint Gregory of Nyssa, pg.68)

Turcuscu’s claims might even be supplemented by the analysis of St. Gregory’s writings in Siecienski’s recent book The Filioque: History of a Doctrinal Controversy. Siecienski rightly acknowledges that in St. Gregory there is teaching about an eternal relationship between Son and Spirit, where the Spirit proceeds from the Father “through the Son” (pg 44). But he is very careful to acknowledge that this is not a causal relationship. One might note, though Siecienski does not make this connection (or at least does not state it directly), that St. Gregory’s language does not explicitly state, but is quite compatible with, an eternal energetic procession. Notice how different this is from St. Augustine’s claim:

“Wherefore let him who can understand the generation of the Son from the Father without time, understand also the procession of the Holy Spirit from both without time.” (On the Holy Trinity, 15)

or the claim of the Council of Florence that

The holy Spirit is eternally from the Father and the Son, and has his essence and his subsistent being from the Father together with the Son, and proceeds from both eternally as from one principle and a single spiration.

both of which acknowledge the role of the Son as sharing in common with the Father the procession of the person of the Holy Spirit (as from one principle). Thus, it is misleading for Hart to make the following claim about St. Gregory of Nyssa’s Trinitarian theology:

This is the very argument—made by Augustine in De Trinitate—that scores of Orthodox theologians in recent decades have denounced as entirely alien to Eastern tradition.

23 Responses to Hart’s Strategies and his Interpretation of St. Gregory of Nyssa in “The Myth of Schism”

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  4. Isa Almisry says:

    ““Hah! No sane Catholic would believe that the celibacy of priests is Apostolic!”

    The Italian Episcopal Conference has told the Romanian Major Archbishop in communion with them, not to send any married priests. Early, the Polish Latin clergy told the Ukrainians not to have married priests. In the new world, it seems only that under the Vatican only the Melkites dare openly ordain married men. The Vatican’s bishops of the Middle East over a year ago in Rome requested that the laws required by the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium for sending married priests to their diaspora two decades earlier. They are still waiting.

    The Vatican’s “apostolates” here in the US continually have priests on who talk about how they love their celibacy and would never give it up, etc.

    Fr. Kholij’s essay on affirming celibacy for the East is still on the Vatican’s website, although he has repudiated its views.

    The question of whether the Anglicans will be able to maintain a married priesthood beyond converts to the personal ordinariate has received a vague answer. On purpose.

    If it is not dogma, what would they do different.

    Interestingly, when apologists for the Vatican state our differences, it revolves around “we don’t have a pope,” and “we allow divorce and contraception.” That we have married priests never is brought up. Odd, since during the age of immigration, the first thing Orthodox immigrants looked for in a parish priest was that he was married.

  5. Augustinus says:

    “Hah! No sane Catholic would believe that the celibacy of priests is Apostolic!”

    Hart should brush up on his reading, as that position has become the dominant one in Rome, as can be seen in recent speeches touching on celibacy by William Cardinal Levada (head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith) and Pope Benedict XVI.

  6. monkpatrick says:


    Christ is risen!

    From your explanation, we seem indeed to be in agreement. We only seem to disagree on the minor point of whether the Spirit proceeding from the Father and resting on the Son is sufficient in itself to prevent the Spirit being considered a son. I still think that it is and in this area I am not convinced by your arguments to show otherwise. However it is a small detail and I don’t think there is need to press the point further.

    Overall we are talking about the same Trinity and we are almost entirely, if not entirely, in agreement about what distinguishes the Spirit from the Son. While recognising that the Son and Spirit are generated and proceed respectively from the Father alone, I believe that it is also important to accept that the Spirit rests in the Son. I think that if one’s understanding of the Trinity is such that the Spirit does not proceed from the Father and rest in the Son but rather accepts that the Spirit can proceed through and beyond the Son or can proceed and not rest in the Son then this understanding will lead to the confusion that you mention and to a false understanding of the relationship of the persons of the Trinity to us in salvation.

    Thanks for the discussion. I think that this passage of St Gregory can be read, without saying that he might be in error on this point, to express the understanding of Trinity in terms of the Spirit proceeding from the Father alone and resting in the Son and that this passage is not sufficient as a proof text for procession from, or through and beyond, the Son.

  7. ioannis says:

    Father Patrick,

    You said that I haven’t conviced you yet whereas it seems to me that you have already agreed with me. The husband-father example is a nice one. The same person is father as regards to his kid and husband as regards to his wife. it is similar with the Holy Trinity where the names indicate relationships. The same person is Father as regards to His Son and Projector as regards to the Holy Spirit because that same person who is the cause of the divinity has two distinct relationships with the other two caused persons. The difference between the relationships is respectively determined by the two distinct manners of existence, that is generation and procession.

    If we are not talking about the same Trinity let’s see what kind of Trinity we are talking about. For me the Orthodox Trinity is the following: One person, the Father, is the sole cause who generates the Son and projects the Holy Spirit. The Son is immediately begotten by that person alone and the Holy Spirit immediately proceeds by that person alone and rests in the Son.

    A Trinity where the Holy Spirit proceeds through the Son doesn’t seem orthodox to me for all those various reasons that the Orhtodox Fathers have explained throughout the centuries, such as that it creates confusion between what is personal and what is natural, that it makes the Holy Spirit another son, etc.

  8. monkpatrick says:


    Yes, the Son is Son because He is generated and not because the Spirit proceeds into Him but He could not be generated (caused as a son) if the Spirit did not proceed into Him. Thus, the Spirit proceeding into Himself does not make Him a son but He couldn’t be regarded caused as a son without proceeding into Himself. The reason is not to do with the divinity of the persons, so I don’t see that is relevant to the argument nor are the conceptions of heretics because I refer to an orthodox conception not just any conception but admittedly I did not make that clear. You still have not convinced me. You will need to show that the Spirit does not proceed into the Son as Son but only incidentally because both are omnipresent but that would negate any useful meaning of saying that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son or resting upon the Son. One may as well say that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and rests in the Father or proceeds from the Father through the Father because He is omnipresent also. Or you could try to show that the Father and Son can be understood without the Spirit that is God can equally be a duality as a trinity. In support you should also demonstrate that the order of the names is incidental particularly that of the Son and the Spirit.

    St Gregory notes a “second” element in the procession of the Spirit, namely the Son, thus making the procession a three person “event” while the generation he sees only in terms of the Father and Son, a two person “event”. He distinguishes by number although not as number as if the number in itself is important. So, either St Gregory is wrong in this also or you must allow the line of my argument.

    A wife relates to her husband as father of their children without becoming a daughter. She recognises him as father not of herself personally but of the family and relates to him is this role as well as purely as husband. She relates him to her children as father. Such is the case for the Spirit also in terms of the Father and Son.

    Perhaps we are not talking about the same Trinity… You may be correct but so far your reasoning has not been sufficiently well targeted to establish your point as mine has not yet convinced you. I am not sure that we are working to the same understanding of the Trinity. Please continue because I am interested to test these issues. For myself any idea that the Spirit can be another son is just impossible and it is impossible to conceive of the Spirit’s procession apart from the Son although proceeding from the Son is equally an impossible concept.

  9. ioannis says:

    Father Patrick,

    Truly He is risen!

    I think that we can conceive of begetting withour procession and of a Son who does not have a Spirit proceeding in Him. That’s what semi-arianists and pneumatomachi believed in, namely that the Son was God whereas the Holy Spirit wasn’t and therefore He wasn’t resting eternally into the Son. And I do not recall of any Father that used the manner of your argumentation to either prove the divinity of the Spirit or the divinity and the sonship of the Son. The Logos, according to the Fathers, is Son not because He has the Spirit proceeding into Him but simply because He gets generated. Therefore the answer that if the Spirit was another Son, He would need a Spirit to rest in Him wouldn’t be acceptable by someone who would ask you why the Spirit is not a second Son.

    Generation is not distinguished by procession by how many persons are involved in each of them. In my generation there were three persons involved and yet it was stil a generation and not procession and I am called a son because of that. If the Holy Spirit is related to the Father as Father then He is related by generation and He is a Son as well.

    Of course the time/space sense is not applicable. That’s what I meant.

  10. Lvka says:

    In Neo-Platonism, the One begets the Logos, then the Logos emanates the World-Soul. Maybe Gregory got this idea from there.

    To say that the Spirit must be from two, so as to distinguish birth from procession is absurd, as Gregory of Nazianz explained fifteen centuries ago:

    Did not Eve and Seth come from the one Adam? And were they both begotten by him? No … yet the two were one and the same thing … both were human beings.


  11. monkpatrick says:


    Christ is risen!

    Thank you for you thoughts.

    I think that our positions are compatible and I agree with what you have to say that the name “projector”, or whatever it may be best translated, has important place in that it prevents us considering the Father Spirit relationship as the same as the Father Son relationship. The Spirit still relates to the Father as Father but this is not to imply that He relates to the Father as does the Son and the other name does help to prevent this occurring. I think that both are needed and my main point is that “projector” alone as a name is not helpful in itself.

    When I speak of resting in the Son, I agree that this only helps if taken in conjunction with procession as distinct from generation and yes the name “projector” helps to do this. I am proposing that it is important that procession is not seen isolated from the Spirit resting in the Son and that it is tied with the generation of the Son and not isolated from it just as in the East chrismation, the baptism of the Spirit, is intimately linked with being re-born in baptism yet remains distinct from it. We are begotten as sons of God, sharing the relationship of Son to Father, and we receive the Spirit of His Son from the Father but do not share the relationship of Spirit to the Father as “projector”.

    I am not convinced by what you have said thus far that resting can allow a second son. The reason that hinders me is that while there is no time/space separation of the persons so that it can be said that the Son rests in the Father and the Son in the Spirit because they all share the same omnipresence, this is not what is meant by the Spirit resting in the Son, which is referring specifically to the Son in such a way that it does not refer to the Father so the time/space sense is not applicable here. That the Spirit rests in the Son as distinct from the Father can only refer to the Son being begotten rather than unbegotten that is being Son. This ties the procession with being begotten so that we cannot conceive of begetting without the procession nor the procession without the begetting. Thus, if the Spirit was another son then He too would need a Spirit proceed into him because He too would be Son. Because He is the only Spirit and because He cannot proceed also into Himself without destroying any sense of proceeding from the Father then He cannot be a son. This does not preclude on Spirit resting on many sons but there must be a Spirit who is not a son.

  12. ioannis says:

    Yes there is plenty of patristic support especially in the writings of those Fathers who wrote specifically against filioque. I conjecture that those who read their texts in English get somewhat confused by the fact that the translators use different words to render the term that the Greek Fathers use which is always the word Provoleas. The name matters because it denotes the different relationship of the Holy Spirit. Although the term Father is correct, as we say the Father of Lights, because it also means cause, however it is not the precise relational term for the relationship between the Father and the Holy Spirit. If the Father is the Father of the Holy Spirit then the Holy Spirit can not be but another Son. The fact that he rests in the Son can only show that He is not the Son, that He is not the same person with the Son. However someone could very well say that the Holy Spirit is a second Son ( no time or space implied by the word “second”, he would say), who rests in the Son because the resting of the Holy Spirit in the Son can not differentiate by itself between the procession and the generation.

    It is the difference between procession and generation that shows that the Holy Spirit is not a Son and that difference means that the divine person who takes the name Father because of His relationship with the Son has a different relationship with the Holy Spirit because of which He takes a different name which is Projector, Emitter, or whatever is the best rendering of the Greek term.

  13. Thomas says:

    IIRC, the Synod of Blachernae (1285, in many ways, an Orthodox response to the failed reunion council in the West at Lyons) used the ‘Projector’ language extensively. This is covered by Aristeides Papadakis’s Crisis in Byzantium: The Filioque Controversy in the Patriarchate of Gregory II of Cyprus (1283-1289).

    Several years ago, I realised it was the philosophical assumption of the absolute simplicity of God (pace Divine Revelation) which compelled its followers to insist there could be no real difference between begetting (generation) and giving procession and thus the Son and the Holy Spirit had to be identical unless one introduced the Filioque. Since then, I’ve considered the Filioque a brilliant philosophical solution to a philosophical problem (aka a problem invented by philosophers).

    Of course, for those who follow Divine Revelation, there never was a problem. I think Saint Gregory the Theologian put it well:

    You ask what is the procession of the Holy Spirit? Do you tell me first what is the unbegottenness of the Father, and I will then explain to you the physiology of the generation of the Son, and the procession of the Spirit, and we shall both of us be stricken with madness for prying into the mystery of God.

    Saint John of Damscus put it more simply:

    We have learned that there is a difference between begetting and procession, but the nature of the difference we in no wise understand.

  14. monkpatrick says:


    Truly He is risen!

    Is there any patristic support for “Projector”? If not then I would be very wary of using such a term even if it is seems to be correct. However, it is not only the name that matters but also something distinct in the relationships that reflects the names. Thus, I cannot see how “Projector” helps. Father is still the correct relational term for the relationship of the Holy Spirit. He proceeds from the Father to the Son because it is from the Father to the Son and merely from a Projector to a receiver. If there wasn’t the relationship of Father to Son then the Spirit would not proceed. We cannot think of His procession in isolation from the Father Son relationship.

    Because the Son and the Spirit are exactly the same as each other then if the generation and procession are both only seen in reference to the Father then generation and procession could not be distinguished. Thus we would either have two Sons or the Son and the Spirit would be indistinguishable and so be confused with each other or collapse into one. Neither option is permitted. We cannot speak of a Father Spirit relationship in the same was as the Father Son relationship. The Father Son relationship is unique. We cannot speak of a Son Spirit relationship as distinct from a Father Son relationship because this would be indistinguishable from a Father Son relationship and only confuse the Father and Son. Thus, a dual pairing of persons cannot be satisfactory to distinguish the Spirit from the Son. Hence, we turn to a triple relationship to distinguish the Spirit. So, while the Son’s generation is one that can be spoken of in terms of Father Son, the Spirit’s procession is spoken of in terms of Father Son Spirit; that is the Spirit proceeds from the Father and rests in the Son. This completes the Trinity and establishes the order of the names. St Augustine was not wrong in using Father and Son in terms of the Spirits procession, the problem was having the Spirit proceed from the Son rather than to the Son.

    We can speak of the Spirit proceeding from the Father alone as in the Creed without mentioning the Son and this is perfectly correct because the Father is the sole cause of the Spirit but to distinguish this from the generation of the Son we need to point to the Spirit proceeding from the Father and resting in the Son.

    The procession of the Spirit is distinguished from the generation of the Son because the Spirit proceeds into the only-begotten. The Spirit does not proceed beside or beyond the only-begotten as some from of brother or grandson. It is only if the Spirit proceeds into the Son and rests in Him that we can maintain that the Son is only-begotten because we do not limit the completeness of the Father Son relationship. The Father relates to the Spirit through and in the Son and not independently from the Son. The Son relates to the Spirit in and from the Father. So this does not limit the Father Son relationship supposing another relationship outside this. We too relate to the Father through the Son in the Spirit. Hence the ancient doxology of “Glory to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit.”

    All this does not mean that we can conceive of the Father and Son without the Spirit. There would be no Son without the Spirit and no Spirit without the Son and no Father without the Son and Spirit. There can be no God without the Father as Father and so we cannot change the names of the Trinity.

  15. ioannis says:

    Christ is Risen!

    My best wishes to the owners and the readers of the blog!

    Perhaps we could say that whereas generation requires a reference to the person of the Father as Father, procession requires a reference to the same person but as Projector. Because I am not sure that the reference to the Father and the Son precludes the possibility for the procession to get identified with generation.

  16. Carl M. Johnson says:

    Thank you, that explanation was most clear.

  17. monkpatrick says:


    From St John Chrysostom we have “Behold, it is no longer the Father alone, but the Son also who sendeth” in explanation of this passage. Thus, we see that in the eternal sense it is the Father alone from whom the Spirit proceeds but in the temporal sense of Christ’s relationship to us, the Son also sends. Thus, while there is a “through” element in the temporal sending this does not apply to the eternal procession. Also, even the temporal one maintains the relationship of the eternal. That is Christ sends the Spirit from the Father to those being united to Him; to those who are becoming sons of God in union with Him. Thus, He is not sending the Spirit beyond Himself but to those coming one with Himself and only beyond in that they retain their unique hypostases. The Son is given by the Father to bring us to Himself, by sending the Spirit, to establish us into the life/existence of the Trinity. That is the Son acts as one with the Father, as God, in relation to creation that we may be as He is Himself in relation to the Father: as sons of God upon whom rests the Spirit who proceeds from the Father. In a way the Apostles also give/send the Holy Spirit to others so this sending cannot be considered in terms of procession lest we say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Apostles and bishops/presbyters. It is this particular function of the Father that requires the ordination of the hierarchy and is not possible to laity, which reinforces that the Spirit proceeds only from the Father and rests on the Son. We can all receive as the Son but it requires a particular permission to give, which is properly the place of the Father.

    Note that if the Spirit were to proceed from the Son eternally then we could not be sons of God because the definition of being son would include having the Spirit proceed from one like the Father. This is impossible for creatures of a different essence. We know that there can be no relationship to God, the Father, that is not already realised in the Son in the Spirit, else we would have to accept some principle/relationship that exists beyond and independently of God. So, there would be no means for us to participate in the life of the Trinity and because we cannot exist of ourselves apart from the Trinity, else limiting the Trinity, there could be no creation, let alone salvation.

  18. Carl M. Johnson says:

    I think I’m missing something in my understanding here. Can someone exegete John 15:26 for me? Isn’t Jesus saying that the Comforter proceeds from the Father through Him to the Apostles?

  19. monkpatrick says:


    To allow the phrase “through the Son”, I would understand “through” as meaning “by” or “into” as the focus of procession. I also do this to maintain some allowance for “through” to defend any Fathers who may have used this phrase, otherwise I agree with your position. I think that “through” is an ambiguous phrase and better avoided even if allowable in some circumstances. I am particularly nervous of those who try to use it as a bridge between Roman Catholic official formulations and the Orthodox Creed because any idea that the Spirit eternally proceeds from the Son whether by origin or through Him describes a different (and I consider impossible) Trinity from that of the Fathers of the Church.

    Expanding a little on my previous comment: while the Fathers are reluctant to define generation and procession, I think that we can distinguish generation from procession in that generation only requires reference to the Father whereas procession, which implies “movement” supposing a start and end point, requires reference in terms of Father and Son but this reference must be from Father to Son with the Spirit proceeding from the Father alone else we would destroy any sense of procession and rather one would have another generation and deny that the Son is only-begotten.

  20. ioannis says:

    If the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and rests in the Son then the Holy Spirit proceeds directly and immediately from the Father. There is no room for “from” and “through” the Son. How can we on the one hand say that He rests in the Son and and on the other accept the “through” formula and reject “directly”? Or we are to accept all kinds of formulas and absurdly claim that He proceeds both directly and through and even from the Son?
    The Orthodox position is what the Creed says. The Holy Spirit proceeds (immediately) from the Father (alone)..

  21. monkpatrick says:

    As a thought, I think that St Gregory is trying to protect the unique position of the Son as only-begotten. To do so, the cause of the Spirit needs to be in reference to the Son and cannot be considered apart from this otherwise there would be no means of distinguishing the two causes and there would be either two Sons or the Spirit would be equated with the Son and indistinguishable from Him. Thus, I believe that he is trying to say that the Spirit proceeds because of the Son whereas the Son is not begotten because of the Spirit. The Son is begotten purely in reference to the Father, although we cannot conceive of the begetting of the Son without the Spirit. The Spirit proceeds in reference to the Son. The Spirit proceeds from the Father to the Son and not elsewhere hence we can speak of Him as proceeding through the Son, although He should not be thought of as proceeding through and beyond the Son rather He rests in the Son. In this way the Son can be said to be a cause of the Spirit and one reason for the order in the Trinity. The Orthodox formula is better said that the “Spirit proceeds from the Father and rests in the Son.” Out of Father into Son.

    All this is far from saying that the Spirit proceeds from the Son. This implies that the Spirit proceeds beyond the Father and the Son and this is not possible without denying the one Father and/or the only-begotten Son or God’s omnipresence. To interpret “And the Son” to mean “through the Son” is not satisfactory because it still implies procession beyond the Son rather than procession resting in the Son. “Through” is permissible as long as it does not mean beyond. Along with what Perry said, the grammar of the filioque makes it impossible to understand it in terms of resting in the Son since it is procession “out of” the Father and “out of” the Son. The Spirit does not proceed “out of” the Son, even if only by going through the Son without the Son being a cause.

  22. Carl,

    “Through” per Florence is to be understood as “from” and not the other way around, To interpret it as “through” would be to reject Florence, not to mention the readings of an army of Catholic interpreters.

  23. Carl M. Johnson says:

    I just read the part of Hart’s article available for free on Google Books, and I don’t think this translation necessarily undercuts his main points, which I take to be:

    1. The only practical path to reconciliation is for the Catholics to drop the Filioque from all creeds, etc.
    2. The Orthodox formula is “Father through the Son.”
    3. “And the Son” can and should be interpreted as meaning “through the Son,” so were the Filioque preserved it wouldn’t actually be so bad as long as we all understood it means “through.”

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