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It appears most commonly in its adjectival form, "consubstantial", from Latin consubstantialis, and its best-known use is in regard to an account, in Christian theology, of the relation between Jesus Christ and God the Father.
The affirmation that Jesus Christ is "consubstantial with the Father" appears in the Nicene Creed. In Greek, the language in which the Nicene Creed was originally enunciated, the word used was ὁμοούσιος (homoousios. This was contrasted with the term ὁμοιούσιος (homoiousios, meaning "of like, but not identical, substance or essence".
The word "consubstantial", was used by the Council of Chalcedon (451) also to declare that Christ is "consubstantial with the Father in respect of the Godhead, and the same consubstantial with us in respect of the manhood".
Alternative translations of the Nicene-Creed term
In the 1662 Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, the adjective "consubstantial" in the Nicene Creed is rendered by the phrase "being of one substance". The same phrase appeared already in the Book of Common Prayer (1549) and continues to be used, within "Order Two", in Common Worship, which within "Order One" gives the ecumenical English Language Liturgical Consultation version, "of one Being".
In his Ulysses, James Joyce mentions six times the notion of consubstantiality. Musing on his own physical origin, Stephen Daedalus, the character who represents Joyce himself, reflects: "From before the ages He [God] willed me and now may not will me away or ever. A lex eterna stays about Him. Is that then the divine substance wherein Father and Son are consubstantial?" The theme of paternity is the main obsession of Stephen Daedalus in the novel. In one scene, "Stephen expounds a theory concerning Shakespeare's family, based principally on a study of Hamlet, and, under cover of this exposition, propounds a theory of fatherhood and rids his soul of some of the bitterness caused by his relations with his own family".
In rhetoric, "consubstantiality", as defined by Kenneth Burke, is "a practice-related concept based on stylistic identifications and symbolic structures, which persuade and produce acceptance: an acting-together within, and defined by, a common context". To be consubstantial with something is to be identified with it, to be associated with it; yet at the same time, to be different from what it is identified with. It can be seen as an extension or in relation to the subject.
Burke explains this concept with two entities, A and B. He goes on to explain that "A is not identical with his colleague, B. But insofar as their interests are joined, A is identified with B. Or he may identify himself with B even when their interests are not joined, if he assumes they are, or is persuaded to believe so...In being identified with B, A is 'substantially one' with a person other than himself. Yet at the same time, he remains unique, an individual locus of motives. Thus he is both joined and separate, at once a distinct substance and consubstantial with another."
"Consubstantiality may be necessary for any way of life, Burke says. And thus rhetoric, as he sees it, potentially builds community. It can tear it down as well. In the end, rhetoric relies on an unconscious desire for acting-together, for taking a 'sub-stance' together".
- Chalcedonian Definition
- Glossary of rhetorical terms
- Hypostatic union
- Identification in Burkean rhetoric
- Jesus in Christianity
- Collins English Dictionary: "consubstantial"
- Chamber's Twentieth Century Dictionary: "of the same substance, nature, or essence, esp. of the Trinity", "united in one common substance"
- Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary: consubstantialis
- Encyclopædia Britannica: "Nicene Creed"
- Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon: ὁμοούσιος
- David M. Gwynn. Christianity in the Later Roman Empire: A Sourcebook. Bloomsbury Publishing; 20 November 2014. ISBN 978-1-4411-3735-7. p. 256.
- Steven D. Cone. Theology from the Great Tradition. Bloomsbury Publishing; 22 February 2018. ISBN 978-0-567-67002-1. p. 417.
- The Order of the Administration of the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion.
- The Book of Common Prayer – 1549
- "Holy Communion Service". churchofengland.org. Retrieved 2020-08-16.
- "Common Prayers - The Creed: The Symbol of Faith". oca.org. Retrieved 2020-08-16.
- "The Nicene Creed". Goarch.org. Retrieved 2020-08-16.
- "What We Believe". www.usccb.org. Retrieved 2020-08-16.
- The Project Gutenberg EBook of Ulysses, by James Joyce
- Cliffs Notes: Ulysses by James Joyce, Chapter 3 – Proteus
- Edward Duncan, "Unsubstantial Father: A Study of the Hamlet Symbolism in Joyce's Ulysses" in University of Toronto Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 2. January 1950, pp. 126-140. DOI: 10.3138/utq.19.2.126
- Ulysses and the Irish God. Bucknell University Press; 1993. ISBN 978-0-8387-5150-3. p. 75.
- Dousset, Laurent (April 2005). "Structure and substance: combining 'classic' and 'modern' kinship studies in the Australian Western Desert". The Australian Journal of Anthropology: 18.
- Robert T. Craig (2007). Theorizing Communication: Readings Across Traditions. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
- David Blakesley. The Elements of Dramatism. Longman; 2002. ISBN 978-0-205-33425-4. p. 15–16.
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