Basil the Great: On Christian Doctrine and Practice

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Puritanboard Clerk
Basil the Great.On Christian Doctrine and Practice. St Vladimir’s Seminary Press.

Despite the title, this really isn’t a systematic treatise on ethics and theology. It is a collection of Basil’s sermons. But even then, there are numerous insights that are worth considering.

Homily on the Beginning of Proverbs

Wisdom: “systematic knowledge of divine and human things and their causes” (Basil 55).

Justice: “the state of mind that distributes according to merit” (63). Yet Basil takes it even deeper: “true justice is Christ” (65). Wisdom must proceed from a just soul.

First Homily on Psalm 14 (MT: 15)

Tent: our body, this earthly life. Basil sees a movement from “tent” to mountain.

Df. human being = “a mind united to a suitable and fitting body” (170).

Two Homilies on the Trinity

Both Father and Son share same Lordship. Basil sees a movement in the Ephesian formula “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Yet, he argues, these aren’t three “ones.”


Much of it is basic, but Basil is a clear writer and raises several key points on the nature of personhood.
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