John Zizioulas is renowned for his controversial reflection on the ontological freedom as the cause and cipher of God’s being, which also has important implications for anthropology, ecclesiology and ecumenical dialogue. This view is bound up with a personalist conception of the Trinity, recognised in the teaching of the Greek Church Fathers, in which the person represents the primary ontological category. In particular, Zizioulas shows how, by virtue of the Father, personhood coincides with absolute freedom.
In The Father’s Eternal Freedom, Dario Chiapetti explores this ontology. Taking into account Zizioulas’ epistemological principles, his patristic reading and his theological development, the author systematically presents Zizioulas’ thesis, verifying its conformity to dogma and its internal coherence. Chiapetti analyses how Zizioulas’ proposal brings back to the centre of systematic theology the teaching of the Greek Fathers, especially the Cappadocians, and the apophatic horizon of dogmatic reflection. Such reflection pushes the discourse on God to its maximum degree, identifying and bringing out, rather than resolving or attenuating, the aporetic terms that structure it.
Note on Citations
Introduction: General Aspects of the Figure and Thought of Zizioulas
Part 1: Zizioulas’ Reading of the Fathers: The Notion of Person and the Doctrine of the Monarchy of the Father
1. The Emergence of the Attribution of Primary Ontological Content to the Notion of Person in Trinitarian Reflection
2. The Father, the Ontological Principle of the Triune and One Being of God
Part 2: Zizioulas’ Theological Development: The Father, Free Cause of Being as Personhood-Freedom
3. The Father: ‘The Ultimate Reality of God’s Personal Existence’
4. The Freedom that ‘Springs from the Very Way the Hypostases are Constituted’: From the Freedom of the Father, the Freedom of God
Concluding Remarks: Zizioulas’ Bold Exercise in Theological Reflection
Endorsements and Reviews
Dr Chiapetti has produced a comprehensive, profound and fair discussion of Patristic theology, as presented in my work, particularly with regard to its ontological significance. A most successful attempt to bring to the surface the immense significance of Patristic theology for human existence.
John D. Zizioulas, Metropolitan of Pergamon
Despite being the most influential living Greek theologian, John Zizioulas’ publications are largely occasional. Chiapetti knows the thickets of Zizioulas’ oeuvre like no one else. His defence of his theology – against all comers – tests its theological roots and explores its philosophical implications for notions of personhood and freedom. Impressive!
Andrew Louth, Professor Emeritus of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, Durham University