- Paperback: 155 pages
- Publisher: St Vladimir's Seminary Press,U.S. (1 Jan. 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0881411337
- ISBN-13: 978-0881411331
- Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 13.3 x 19 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 508,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
On the Unity of Christ Paperback – 1 Jan 1995
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Alexandrian versus Antiochene Theology :
The Alexandrines based their Christology on john 1:14 amending it mystically with 1 Tim 3:16. They explained the Logos-sarx union with the soul-body analogy to illustrate the substantial union, an ontological oneness, between divinity and humanity in Christ. The rival theology of the Antiochenes employed the soul-body analogy to explain how the Divinity and humanity united in Christ without loosing their full integrity.
Cyril of Alexandria:
Cyril of Alexandria, the Christological champion for Orthodoxy, developed and exalted the theology of the famous school of Alexandria (Catechetical Didaskalia) He was trained by his uncle Theophilus of Alexandria, followed faithfully the Tradition of Alexandria from Clement, and Origen to Athanasius and Didymus, the blind. He was a great biblical expositor, and his christology is Bible based.Thomas Weinandy, debates that Cyril is the first, if not the only patristic theologian to employ the soul-body analogy properly, for different Church fathers conceive the union in Christ depending on their carrier philosophy, Aristotelian or neo- platonic. Every party, after Chalcedon, claimed to express what Cyril expounded and defended, one nature of the incarnate Logos, fully divine and genuinely human, which expressed the dual aspects in a harmonius and coordinated way. He builds on Athanasius theological defence of the divinity of the Son, and accordingly perfected the orthodox doctrine of theopesis, salvation by participation in the divine nature.
On The unity of Christ:
Fr. john McGukin, a patristic scholar, who teaches Early Church History, has revisited the controversial debate on one of the turning doctrines of the early Church. The translation is in a lucid language, with an elaborate introduction on Cyril's life and Christology. An in depth treatment of Cyril dogmatic theology, which has been revived in the last decades. Fr. McGukin made a great job in reintroducing the historical and theological debate.
"This book is the last of Cyrils theological essays discrediting Nestorius and his Antiochene christology, and contains his most mature teaching on the mystery of union that baffled the theologians since the fourth century. It was written in the form of a dialogue, to explain the Hypostatic Union in Christ."(R. Yanney: Coptic Church review)
Fr. john McGukin, is professor of Early Church History, Union Theological Seminary, NY. He is a patristic scholar, and theologian. He wrote seven books and numerous articles, and is an expert on Cyril's soteriology and Alexandrine theology.
He is definitely verbose in areas, some much more so than others, which makes this work difficult to read at times and rather trying on the patience. When one can penetrate through that, though, then they see the full value of the work and the theology expressed in it.
He explains why Mary can be called the "Mother of God" or "God Bearer" ("Theotokos" in Greek) while illuminating, as many authors before him had, on how Christ prayed in the Garden while not comprimising His unity of divine and human in one being (OUSIA), how Christ can be called a prophet in His humanity while that not comprimising His divinity, and many more topics.
It is important when reading St. Cyril to take into account the letter of reunion between John of Antioch and himself in 433 in which Cyril validates and counts as equal to his "One Nature in the Incarnate Logos" The Antiochian and Greek "In Two Natures." This is precisely needed since in the Alexandrian school of theology PHYSIS (nature) is associated with OUSIA (substance) whereas in the Eastern Orthodox, particularly Antiochian and Greek at the time (Russia and the other Slaves hadn't been converted yet) HYPOSTASIS (person) is assoiated with OUSIA (substance).
Both schools are saying and were saying the same thing just in different words. In the latter it is considered that action is needed to define true personhood and in the other (the Coptic/Oriental Orthodox) it is considered simply being a person (Hypostasis) is enough with one composite physis out of two with Christ being in two Hypostasis in the Incarnate Logos (Christ). Whereas the Eastern Orthodox say in two physis and out of two Hypostasis both recognize the difference and terminology now. This MUST be taken into account when reading St. Cyril's works.
I would also recommend reading the Tome of Pope St. Leo the Great which was written not even two decades after Ephesus in 431, it gives an excellent view using the Greek and Antiochian terminology on who Christ is in regards to His divinity and humanity and the letter from St. Cyril to St. John of Antioch (it's only about five pages long if even that). You might also want to read Fr. John Romanides papers on St. Cyril and the Tome of Pope St. Leo the Great (another five or six page one, very short but informative) in addition, they are very well rounded and informative, they even include conversations he has with Oriental Orthodox bishops concerning his paper(s). All four go together VERY nicely and each serves to express the other three more clearly.
-Amos Smith (author of Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity's Mystic Roots)