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On the Holy Spirit

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  485 ratings  ·  31 reviews
This classic exposition of Trinitarian doctrine eloquently sets forth the distinction yet perpetual communion of the divine Persons. Without explicitly calling the Spirit "God, " St Basil demonstrates that He, like the Son, is of the same nature with the Father.
Paperback, 118 pages
Published October 1st 1980 by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press
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4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  485 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Jacob Aitken
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-holy-fathers
St Basil, much like St Gregory of Nazianzen, begins his work with a dense discussion of the terminology. It is easy for today's reader to miss what is important in the debate. St Basil spends the first few chapters sparring over the use of prepositions as they are applied to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He makes the point that since all of the prepositions his opponents use (or use to say that because ______ is not applied to the Holy Spirit; therefore, the Holy Spirit is not God), he shows tha ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
I respect St. Basil personally and as a major figure in the Christian Tradition, but reading this book made me wish our Fathers spent as much time demonstrating a compassionate attitude toward their opponents as they did demolishing their arguments. Yes, I understand the role of dogma in the Christian Faith, I really do. But at this stage in my life, I look around and think that if we had laid foundations of "Compassion at any cost!" rather than "Correctness at any cost!" we could still have dev ...more
Dan Glover
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This ought be a must-read for every pastor, student...actually, every Christian. This is one of the best works of theology I've ever read. It is not only St. Basil's clear, careful arguments for the full divinity of the Holy Spirit (contra 2nd wave Arianism) and in passing, also the full divinity of the Son that makes this work truly great. It is the broad basis for his arguments: Scripture carefully handled, right down to grammar and individual words; tradition as handed down from previous gene ...more
Weston Durrwachter
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Great book for those wanting to learn more about the person, deity, and work of the Holy Spirit. Basil has a lot of interesting and helpful thoughts, but much of the writing can be confusing and seemingly disordered for modern readers.

Much of the work is devoted to specific Trinitarian concerns of the early church debates (semantical concerns related to words like "in" and "and"), and therefore difficult to comprehend. But Basil has certain sections that were extremely enlightening and helpful.
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm loving the Fathers, how they use scripture and how they argue.
Andrew Tucker
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Remarking this because it isn't showing up on my read list.
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Basil is one of the Cappadocian fathers and this work on the Holy Spirit was hugely influential in the Council of Constantinople’s editing and affirmation of the Nicene Creed, including stronger language on the deity of the Spirit. This work is also one of those works that I believe any Christian interested in learning about the Holy Spirit, reading some Christian classics, or simply reading something that will help them grow in their faith, could read and enjoy.

Below are some quotes that I foun
Troy Nevitt
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not usually a fan of the patristic writings, but Basil's writing was easier to understand than a lot of the ones I have read before, and his thoughts are phenomenal. I wouldn't agree with every one of them, but noting the deity of the Holy Spirit through verses like 2 Thessalonians 3:5 were brilliant insights that are simple once seen, but profound when noticed for the first time.
David Withun
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
This is perhaps one of the most interesting and perpetually relevant Patristic writings from the period of the Arian controversy. While St. Basil's discussions of certain intricacies of Greek grammar and theological terminology may overwhelm a reader who is new to the writings of the Church Fathers, so much of this book is fascinating and enlightening that it is worth the struggle through the more difficult passages. Of particular interest to the modern reader are St. Basil's discussions of the ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Foundational for Christian theology for a reason.
Ryan Linkous
This books packs a powerful punch on a few issues, mainly that of using language with regard to the Trinity, particularly the person of the Holy Spirit. However, Basil's organization is confusing and sometimes the point he is making is not very clear.
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Apart from his question begging appeals to secret, unwritten traditions, this work is a very good defence of the deity and person-hood of the Holy Spirit.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very helpful for me. Set against the background of the Arian controversy of the 300s, On the Holy Spirit was written later in Basil’s life in order to unite the church in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. This doctrine was the main point of contention at that time, so how one understood the relationships between the persons of the Trinity was (and is) central to their understanding of who God is.

With the conviction that “not one of the words that are applied to God in every use of s
Howard Gordon
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Basil the Great was a Trinitarian who studied with Gregory Nazianzus. He was against what he called "Jewish literalism" (his words), while stressing the need for reserve in interpreting doctrine and the sacrements. He did not embrace allegory to the extent his contemporaries did. He saw them as fantasists. In this way he was virtually a Platonist. The Spirit is a part of the Trinity but not its essence, so he did not wrestle with the apparent paradoxes of later Trinitarians.

Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
J'ai trouvé que Basil était plus dans la spéculation et moins dans l'explication des relations interpersonnelles de la Trinité. Bonne lecture, édifiante, mais moins structurée qu'un Athanase par exemple. Il est donc plus difficile de suivre l'idée développée car elle est plus étalée, diluée et il fait pas mal de digressions en cours de route.
Luke Merrell
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great read from a great theologian. What makes this book so enjoyable is the writing skill of the author and his use of language. Although most of his arguments still adequately defend the deity of the Holy Spirit, there is also some flawed logic found within these pages and needs to be analyzed carefully. Overall, this book is worth the read for all Christians.
Caleb Batchelor
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While Basil is addressing particular concerns in his 4th century context, his explanations on the role of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit's divine nature are incredibly relevant and encouraging for today.
Derek Brown
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Sometimes funny.
Wyatt Graham
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don't delay. Buy this.
Very thoughtful review of the Holy Spirit and its action in our life. While there were bits where he got into some minute grammatical details, the way he fleshed these ideas out was brilliant.
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have read this treatise twice, once in the older, Anglo-Catholic Victorian translation, and once (most recently) in this translation. This book is the classic exposition of why we can call the Holy Spirit 'God'. St Basil begins with a liturgical complaint, which he deals with using all of his grammatical skills, then moves along to demonstrate through the Scriptures using logic as well as the life of the Church, why it is that we can call the Holy Spirit 'God' alongside God the Father and God ...more
Seth Pierce
I really wanted to like this more, as it is a classic work, but I felt like I was reading an incoherent rant.

There are a few good good points on the Trinity, and a helpful survey on some of the ways the Bible uses "in," "by," and "with" in regards to the Godhead. However, overall, I found my mind wandering, and it felt like good Ol Basil was complaining about the obviousness of some texts without offering any real depth of exegesis.

I did change my review from 2 to 3 stars as I reflected on the b
Kristofer Carlson
I remember the Academic Dean of a prominent seminary once saying that scholastic theology is contained in the prepositions. The opening chapters of this book provide a wonderful antidote to scholastic theology, to the endless categorization of doctrine and quibbling over the distinction between different prepositions. Basil goes to great lengths to show the theological equivalence of various prepositions. In later chapters he also shows how propositions and conjunctions are sometimes interchange ...more
Joseph Schoolland
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't know the context of Basil's arguments or why he is considered a part of the eastern church rather than the western church (although I did noticed in chapter 24 of my translation, or paragraph 55, that he tips his hat to salvation by works), so this review may be lacking, but here are couple things I learned:
• Basil hit his opponents head on. He didn't apologize for anything. He knew he was doing God's work.
• Some of his opponents arguments against the Spirit are so absurd. It makes me ap
Justin Dillehay
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Classic work defending the full deity of the Holy Spirit. Basil also talks a good deal about the Son before getting around to the book's title. I understood more of it than I expected to. But a little background beforehand will be helpful. Prepare for a lot of biblical and grammatical discussion on prepositions.
Ryan Harbry
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In the middle of the book I had the conscious thought, "I am in the midst of a master-piece." I have only had this experience once, maybe two other times previously. From now on, when I hear the word "Trinity," I'll be more grateful for the people who safeguarded and properly articulated this great mystery, like Saint Basil.
Brad Hoff
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(The edition I read was edited by Wyatt North)
May 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Basil, was one of the Cappadocians and an important voice in the development of Trinitarian theology. This book, is wonderful articulation of the divinity of the Spirit.
gene hasselquist
Very good. I love theology.

As a pastor I found it challenging. It was interesting to read something by old time writer.I hope others will read it too.
Pavlos Melas
rated it it was amazing
Apr 30, 2016
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Basil of Caesarea (Arabic: باسيليوس الكبير ), also called Saint Basil the Great, was the bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). He was an influential 4th century Christian theologian and monastic. Theologically, Basil was a supporter of the Nicene faction of the church, in opposition to Arianism on one side and the followers of Apollinaris of Laodicea on the other ...more
“not heaven and earth and the great seas, not the creatures that live in the water and on dry land, not plants, and stars, and air, and seasons, not the vast variety in the order of the universe, so well sets forth the excellency of His might as that God, being incomprehensible, should have been able, impassibly, through flesh, to have come into close conflict with death, to the end that by His own suffering He might give us the boon of freedom from suffering.” 2 likes
“Everyone is a theologian, even those who have stains on their souls.” 1 likes
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