incomprehensibility. In the teaching of Gregory of Nyssa on the infinity of the divine essence, this emphasis amounts to an original contribution to the Platonist philosophical tradition, which for the most part had shunned applying the attribute of infinity to the divine. Over against the Eunomian assertion that the divine substance can be encompassed by the human mind's comprehension of the divine names, the Cappadocians insisted that the essence of God can be no more circumscribed by the mind than it can by matter. But Cappadocian apophaticism was also complemented by an insistence on the necessity for knowledge of God and the assurance that God is known through positive relation, or worship, the outgoing human response to the manifested glory of divine revelation.22 From an anthropological perspective, such knowledge is co-extensive with the process of deification. Theologically, such an epistemology dictated that the divine essence is revealed through the divine operations manifest in the works of creation and salvation. Thus, much of the exegetical labours of Cappadocian Trinitarian theology are concerned to show that the work of Son and Spirit is divine work and therefore indicative of their belonging to the divine essence. The crucial and primary principle is that unity of operation indicates unity of essence.23

Once this principle is implemented to assert the equality of Father, Son and Spirit as co-agents of the divine operations, the question of the significance of the divine title of 'unbegotten' can be properly situated. It cannot be understood as an exhaustive representation of the divine essence in a way that excludes Son and Spirit, whose divine operations testify to their sharing in the divine essence. But, insofar as these same divine operations (and the scriptural titles that name them) indicate an order of relations within the divine agency, the title of 'unbegotten' must be placed within that order of relations. In that framework, it denotes the primacy of the Father as source of Son and Spirit within the divine being and thus the originating principle of the 'movement' of God in relation to creation: 'There is one motion and disposition of the good will which proceeds from the Father, through the Son, to the Spirit... we cannot enumerate as three gods those who jointly, inseparably, and mutually exercise their divine power and activity of overseeing us and the whole creation.'24

Divine names, therefore, must be distinguished between those that pertain to the divine essence as a whole, which are uncircumscribable but manifest

22 Gregory of Nazianzus, Or. 28.9, 17; Basil, De Spiritu Sancto 1.2.

23 Ontheimportance ofthis principle for pro-Nicene theology, seeM.R. Barnes, 'Rereading Augustine's theology of the Trinity'.

24 Gregory ofNyssa, AdAbl. (GNO31:48-9); trans. E. R. Hardy Christology of thelaterfathers, 262.

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