Talk:Hypostasis (philosophy and religion)

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Does "hypostasis" mean "person"?[edit]

HYPOSTASIS DOES NOT MEAN PERSON! That is simply linguistically WRONG! Look up your Greek! HYPOSTASIS means "that which stands under." In all the places you have put this in, you have gotten it WRONG! I don't know whether you're doing it maliciously, or that you're just ignorant, but Trinitarians do not argue that there are three HYPOSTASES in God, they argue that there are three PROSOPONS. Nrgdocadams 22:24, 7 January 2006 (UTC)Nrgdocadams

Please calm down.
Every source I've ever read uses the formula of "three hypostases, one ousia" to refer to classic Trinitarian theology. The term prosopon largely came to be looked on with disfavor, since its literal meaning of "mask" was too much associated with the Sabellianist heresy. There are numerous citations from the early Church Fathers (who formulated Trinitarian theology) that can be brought in here. Do you have any citations which show from the primary sources that your assertion is correct?
You are correct that a literal translation of the roots of hypostasis would mean "standing under," but as with many Greek words (and many words in other languages, too), one cannot always arrive at the proper meaning of the word simply by looking at its parts. The English word today is one such example: there's nothing about "to" and "day" which really could give you the meaning we now mean to convey by the word today. Hypostasis as used in the Fathers (and often in Greek philosophy, as well) refers to an actualization of a nature. Person is a rough translation of it, but it generally is the best one in English; the human person as we know it is a particular enhypostasization of human nature. In Greek philosophy, it generally was roughly equivalent to substance, which is reflected in the Liddell-Scott lexicon's third definition for hypostasis: "III. substance, the real nature of a thing, essence." Trinitarian theologians built upon the philosophical usage of the term and nuanced it to the sense of the particular actualization of a nature.
For whatever it may be worth, my background in these matters is in taking dogmatics classes and doing the reading at an Eastern Orthodox Christian seminary, whose theological grounding is in the classic Trinitarian traditions of the early Church Fathers. Everywhere one looks in the Fathers, one sees "three hypostases, one ousia" to refer to the Trinity.
I have never met nor even heard of a Trinitarian who argues for three prosopa in God. Can you give citations? —Preost talk contribs 02:33, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
I have never seen any other use than prosopon and personae. I would like to see Italic textyour citations. The use of three hypostases here is simply incorrect.

NrgdocadamsNrgdocadams


Here is the entire entry (minus the bibliography) from the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed.), p. 813 (emphasis added):

hypostasis (Gk. hypostasis, lit. 'substance') The Greek word has had a variety of meanings. In popular language it was used orig. for 'objective reality' as opposed to illusion (so also in Aristotle and esp. the Neoplatonists). In the NT this seems roughly its meaning at Heb. 1:3. Allied to this was its use for 'basis' or 'foundation' and hence also 'confidence', e.g. in Heb. 3:14 and 11:1 and 2 Cor. 9:4 and 11:17. In early Christian writers it is used to denote 'being' or 'substantive reality' and is not distinguished in meaning from ousia; it was so used by Tatian and Origen, and also in the anathemas appended to the Nicene Creed of 325.
From the middle of the 4th cent. onwards the word came to be contrasted with ousia and used to mean 'individual reality', esp. in Trinitarian and Christological contexts. It was mainly under the influence of the Cappadocian Fathers that the terminology was clarified and standardized, so that the formula 'Three Hypostaseis in one Ousia' came to be everywhere accepted as an epitome of the orthodox doctrine of the Holy Trinity. But this consensus was not achieved without some confusion at first in the minds of W. theologians, who naturally translated hypostasis by 'sub-stantia' ('substance') and understood the Easterns when speaking of three 'Hypostaseis' in the Godhead to mean three 'Substances', i.e. they suspected them of tritheism.

I have found it extremely difficult to find a more authoritative source than the ODCC. One can also find the same usage in the Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity on pp. 380 and 483. The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium has this in its entry on hypostasis (p. 966 in v. 2, emphasis added): "...at the Council of Alexandria in 362 did Athanasios of Alexandria approve the difference between the terms hypostasis and ousia, and in the wake of the creed of the First Council of Constantinople in 381 the Cappadocian interpretation of the Trinity as three hypostases and one ousia became canonical. Hypostasis was contrasted to the substance or nature of the divinity, and defined as the individual property (idiotes) of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, whereas ousia—as an individual reality—was the element they shared (koinon) that presupposes a Stoic ontology."

These are all standard reference works which represent the scholarly consensus. You mention on my talk page (amidst your otherwise abusive remarks) that you have a Doctorate of Divinity as one of your credentials, but it makes me curious as to who granted it, since such degrees in our time are almost entirely honorary (i.e. not earned by academic work). (Your user page references Concordia as the source of your D.D., but you don't mention which one. The most famous seminary by that name (the one associated with the LCMS in St. Louis) doesn't have a D.D. program[1], nor does the other one by that name in Fort Wayne[2], nor does Concordia University in Texas[3].) The reason I wonder is because your assertions regarding hypostasis are so very much at odds with all the standard works on the subject.

The citations you gave on my talk page, by the way, all have to do with Christology, in which hypostasis is much more closely identified with prosopon. Triadology, by contrast, pretty much dropped prosopon to refer to the persons of the Trinity, as one can see from the citations I typed in above. —Preost talk contribs 21:14, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

I stand corrected on the main point, and I offer that as amends for flying off the handle. With regard to the citations I listed on your talk page, there is at least one that also has to do with the Trinity. Today I went in and perused a copy of the Oxford Reference Dictionary up close, tangibly. The ORD tends to go more encyclopedically in depth about controverted issues tied to lingusitic usages such as this. What I discovered is that, although the Trinitarian usage of "hypostasis" is somewhat obscure and has been largely supplanted by the use of "person" and "prosopon," that seminal writings did, in fact use the term "hypostasis," but in the sense of "persona" rather than in the sense of "nature" or "being." You were correct and I was incorrect. I apologize.
I hope that this difficulty of language, which is hinted at in the article on Trinitarianism, can be clearly noted here, sicne the further discussion on Trinitiarian v. non-Trinitarian iodeas as presented here can be confusing to the reader as to whether the Trinitarians are proposing three beings in one essence or, as is the case, three co-eternal ways-of-presenting-being in one Being.
Nrgdocadams 05:52, 13 January 2006 (UTC)Nrgdocadams.

What's metousiosis got to do with hypostasis?[edit]

From the 1st paragraph of the main article:

«This [that is the sense of “objective reality”, of ousia] is the sense in which the term [hypostasis] is used in the doctrine of metousiosis.»

This does not make any sense at all, because metousiosis is etymologically derived from ousia, not hypostasis.

Unless someone (who wrote it, if possible) justifies acceptably the phrase in brackets above, I am going to remove it from the main text. --Miguel de Servet 22:35, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

After nearly 6 months, I have come to check if any wiki-wizard had been capable to give a plausble reason for the above misleading and confusing association of hypostasis and metousiosis.
No wiki-wizard, as expected, seems to be capable of providing such connection, so I have decided, as anticipated, to remove the targeted phrase.
Miguel de Servet 18:10, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

"Religion" or "Christianity"?[edit]

I just looked at the article for Zurvanism, which said that Zurvanites saw the deity Zurvan as the "hypostasis" of Time. That word "hypostasis" in the Zurvanism article linked to the article called hypostasis (linguistics). But it seemed more appropriate to me that the word should link to the article called hypostasis (religion) (considering that Zurvanism is a religion). I edited the Zurvanism article accordingly. But then I checked out this hypostasis (religion) article and found that it discussed the term only in connection with Christianity, while the hypostasis (linguistics) article was much more relevant to the Zurvanism article. But that seems confusing and inappropriate.

Does anyone know why the hypostasis (linguistics) article isn't called hypostasis (religion), and why the hypostasis (religion) article isn't called hypostasis (Christianity)? I realize that the hypostasis (linguistics) article discusses the purely linguistic use of the term "hypostasis" (for instance, when we say, "No ifs, ands, or buts"). But it also discusses the "deification" or substantialization of concepts in religions such as Zurvanism: and that is not a purely linguistic figure of speech; to religious believers — for instance, the now-extinct Zurvanites — "hypostases" like Zurvan are substantial realities. --Phatius McBluff 07:35, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I apologize; I think my last posting may be a bit confusing. My main point is this: Why isn't this article, hypostasis (religion), called hypostasis (Christianity)? It discusses the use of the term "hypostasis" in Christianity only, not in religion in general. And why isn't the article called hypostasis (linguistics) called hypostasis (religion) (or just plain hypostasis)? --Phatius McBluff 07:44, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

You are right, of course. Will move. History2007 (talk) 10:07, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Hypostatic Union[edit]

This article makes a mention of the hypostatic union teaching two realities (by this I'm assuming they mean hypostases) in one person. This is completely contrary to what either the Non-Chacledonians or even the Chalcedonians teach. If you even look at the Greek of the Chalcedonian Creed it proclaims "mian hypostasin", which means one united hypostasis. The hypostatic union, yes, teaches two distinct essences (humanity and divinity), but it does not teach two distinct hypostases. Deusveritasest (talk) 21:30, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Eastern Orthodox[edit]

The orthodox churches appear to have a different theology of hypostasis, it is a bit peculiar but it could be included out of simple pluralism. ADM (talk) 06:11, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

reference to 'avatar'?[edit]

Would a reference to Avatar in 'see also' section be appropriate? Seems like basically same concept. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.132.0.192 (talk) 18:21, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

I've tried to clean the introduction up a bit, from what was probably a messy adventure through the various arguments about the meaning of the word 'Hypostasis'. From reading this article it seems that the word means the existence of an object, and has similarities in, like... Phenomenology (philosophy)#Noesis and Noema and also Prakti and so on. In Phenomenology, noesis is used to refer to the idea of an object, which is related with the object itself - the noema and the noesis, respectively. I think another phrase that indicates this same idea is existence and essence, which is found in the work of Sartre, amongst others.

My central aim was the get rid of the introducing statement that the word, "has a complicated and sometimes confusing history," which I moved to later, after the definition of the word, first. I also tried to summarize the purport of the article. There was a literal translation of the word, which is so often not very helpful in today's world, with its language. The literal meaning came from the following link, which I've put here in case anybody needs it at another point in time: See Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon [4]. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Makeswell (talkcontribs) 03:35, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

change to lede to reflect the contents of article, and to define the word in a non-literal way, consistent with the article...[edit]

I've tried to clean the introduction up a bit, from what was probably a messy adventure through the various arguments about the meaning of the word 'Hypostasis'. From reading this article it seems that the word means the existence of an object, and has similarities in, like... Phenomenology (philosophy)#Noesis and Noema and also Prakṛti and so on. In Phenomenology, noesis is used to refer to the idea of an object, which is related with the object itself - the noema and the noesis, respectively. I think another phrase that indicates this same idea is existence and essence, which is found in the work of Sartre, amongst others.

My central aim was the get rid of the introducing statement that the word, "has a complicated and sometimes confusing history," which I moved to later, after the definition of the word, first. I also tried to summarize the purport of the article. There was a literal translation of the word, which is so often not very helpful in today's world, with its language. The literal meaning came from the following link, which I've put here in case anybody needs it at another point in time: Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0057:entry=%23109195. makeswell (talk) 03:38, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

delete 'nontrinitarian'[edit]

I think the section under nontrinitarian is quite off topic and unnecesary. And also "Trinitarians defend their view of multiple hypostases in the single God by the biblical passages... which explicitly state it", I see no mention of this, Matt. 28:19 (and others) mention "3" but fall short of the above Enedra (talk) 02:48, 7 December 2010 (UTC)