restricted access 4. The Christological Foundation for Transformation
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136 4 The Christological Foundation for Transformation T he power and dynamism that effects transformation in each stage of Hilary’s model for the Christian life is communicated by the divine operating in and through the body of Christ. Right from his early In Matthaeum, Hilary links this theme to his understanding of Church and develops that connection throughout the Tractatus. Hilary continues to characterize the divine as “spirit” and “eternal.” To safeguard the equality of the Father and Son, he employs some of the strategies of the earlier commentary and then refined in his disputes with the Homoians in his De Trinitate. Two recent studies , in particular, have helped to identify more clearly the range of influence Basil of Ancyra and his circle had upon Hilary’s presentation of the divinity of Christ, as we shall soon see.1 In De Trinitate, Hilary had developed both the unique status of the 1. For an important contribution to our understanding of the developments of Hilary’s Trinitarian thought from the period before his exile and then his significant responses to Sirmium 357 acquired during his increasing familiarity with Basil of Ancyra, consult Mark Weedman , The Trinitarian Theology of Hilary of Poitiers, Supplements to VC 39 (Leiden: Brill, 2007). Then for an assessment of the internal evidence for the complex stages of the composition of the De Trin. and the development of Hilary’s thought during that process, consult Carl L. Beckwith , Hilary of Poitiers On the Trinity: From De Fide to De Trinitate (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). The Christological Foundation ³ 137 eternal generation of Christ to account for his relation to the Father and also his virginal birth to account for his freedom from sin and its consequences . In same text he deployed the Christological hymn in Philippians (2.6–11) to affirm the continuing divinity of the Son at each stage of his existence. In the Tractatus, Hilary expands this use of the Philippians text to maintain the continuity of the divine in Christ. Although Hilary does acknowledge the human soul of Christ in the Tractatus, just as had in his earlier work on the Trinity, we shall see that he seems to revert to his earliest arguments to account for the experiences of ignorance and suffering in Christ. Some of the other significant features of De Trinitate , as we shall see, are also absent in the Tractatus super Psalmos. In our discussion in chapter 2 on Hilary’s exegesis and use of Origen for technical information in his Instructio, there became apparent a suggestive pattern of references to the body of Christ at paragraphs 5 (twice), 6, and 7. There Hilary clearly seemed to be relying on Origen for technical information on “allegory,” “key of David,” and “the shape of a musical instrument (psalterium).” In all four cases, Hilary applied the information to Christ and specifically to the body of Christ. In each of these parallels the extant fragments of Origen were silent on the body of Christ. In two passages Hilary made reference to Christ’s body in a specific sequence of experiences. In paragraph 5, the second example applied the issue to the experience “in the body of the only-begotten Son in his birth, suffering, death, resurrection and shared glorification.”2 The passage in paragraph 6 had a similar sequence with the prophet speaking about the seven signs of “his incorporation, suffering, death, resurrection and glory, reign and judgment.”3 The first example in paragraph 5 was marginally different but spoke of “incorporation, suffering, reign and our resurrection.”4 The passage in paragraph 7 interpreted the spiritual level of the shape of the psalterium as denoting “the form of 2. Sunt enim universa allegoricis et typicis contexta virtutibus, per quae omnia unigeniti Dei Filii in corpore et gignendi et patiendi et moriendi et resurgendi et in aeterum cum conglorificatis sibi, qui in eum crediderint , regnandi et cetereos iudicandi sacramenta panduntur (Hilary, Instr. 5). 3. Clavem igitur David habet, quia ipse per haec septem quaedem signacula, quae de corporalitate eius et passione et morte et resurrectione et gloria et regno et iudicio David de eo in psalmis prophetat (Hilary, Instr. 6). 4. . . . tamen totum illud ad cognitionem adventus Domini nostri Iesu Christi et corporationis et passionis et regni et resurrectionis nostrae gloriam virtutem referatur (Hilary, Instr. 5). 138 ³ The Christological Foundation the body of the Lord.”5 Moreover throughout the Tractatus, Hilary frequently links “the body of Christ” to “church,” and to “heavenly city.” In...


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  • Hilary, Saint, Bishop of Poitiers, d. 367? Tractatus super Psalmos.
  • Bible. -- Psalms -- Commentaries.
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