Hilary of Poitiers

Hilary of Poitiers (c. 315 - c. 368) was bishop of Poitiers (in modern France) and an early church theologian from the West.^ [1]^ He clearly aligned himself with the Nicene Creed and refused to give into the pressure of emperor Constantius (son of Constantine) who asked him to condemn Athanasius. Hilary was a strong opponent of Arian theology which later earned him the title of "Athanasius of the West." However, despite his reject of Arianism, Hilary did not entirely endorse the Greek term homoousios to describe the essence of the Father and Son. He preferred to claim that the Son was "like" God the Father rather than equal to him, a statement that Athanasius was unwilling to accept.^[2]^ Nevertheless, Hilary was an important antagonist of Arian views and made a substantial contribution to the development of Trinitarian theology in the West. One of Hilary's best known works was a twelve-book treatise, De Trinitate or On the Trinity (356-360). He also wrote commentaries on the Gospel of Matthew, Psalms, and was the first writer of hymns in Latin.^ [3]^


  1. ? Ivor J. Davidson, A Public Faith: From Constantine to the Medieval World, A.D. 312-600. The Baker History of the Church, vol. 2 (Baker, 2005), p. 55.
  2. ? Ibid.
  3. ? Ibid., p. 56.

Further reading

  • Mark Weedman, The Trinitarian Theology of Hilary of Poitiers. Brill, 2008.
  • Carl Beckwith, Hilary of Poitiers on the Trinity: From De Fide to De Trinitate. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford University Press, 2009.

See also

Online writings