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Nestorius and Cyril. Background. Nicea Arius condemned Son is of the same substance (homo-ousios) as the Father Does not end the debate Arian bishops, emperors continue Objections to Nicea “homoousios” not biblical Sounds Sabellian; better to say Son is of like substance (homoi-ousios)

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Presentation Transcript
background
Background
  • Nicea
    • Arius condemned
    • Son is of the same substance (homo-ousios) as the Father
  • Does not end the debate
    • Arian bishops, emperors continue
    • Objections to Nicea
      • “homoousios” not biblical
      • Sounds Sabellian; better to say Son is of like substance (homoi-ousios)
      • Is divine Logos the soul of Christ?
nestorius ca 381 451
Nestorius (ca. 381-451)
  • Agrees with Nicea
    • Chidester, 143: all agreed on divinity of Christ, but differed in views of Christ’s humanity
  • Bishop of Constantinople, 428-431
    • eastern capital of the Roman empire and one of the five major churches
  • Provokes a major controversy by objecting to a popular liturgical practice: why?
terms
Terms
  • Nature (Greek: Physis): what all beings of a species share. Can only exist as instantiated in a person.
    • Example: Human nature, dog nature, divine nature
  • Person (Greek: Hypostasis): individual instantiation of a nature.
    • A person must also have a nature; nature only exists as instantiated in persons.
    • Example: Paul and Mattea; Rover and Fluffy
theotokos controversy
Theotokos controversy
  • Liturgy: people called Mary “the God-bearer” (Grk. Theotokos)
    • Lex orandi, lex credendi: The law of prayer shapes the law of belief
  • Nestorius objects to theotokos: why?
    • God was not born at a point in time
    • Need to distinguish human and divine natures of Christ
    • Like Athanasius, just as Logos suffered “in the flesh”, so Christ, not God, was born of Mary
    • Must be careful with language to avoid heresies (God suffers)
cyril of alexandria ca 375 444
Cyril of Alexandria (ca. 375-444)
  • Bishop of Alexandria
    • Ambitious
    • Wanted to assert Alexandria’s authority over Constantinople
  • Cyril defends theotokos. Issue: who is the subject/person in Jesus, the Word Incarnate?
    • CC 27: While remaining God, , the Logos took on, became subject of, human life
    • Once human and divine have been united, cannot be separated, because there is one subject
    • Hypostatic union: two natures united in one person
    • Union is essential to salvation—why?
  • Cyril misrepresents Nestorius
results
Results
  • Ephesus, 431
    • Affirms Theotokos
    • Nestorius resigns as bishop
  • 431-451: debate continues, Pope Leo I steps in
  • 451: Council of Chalcedon settles problem
    • Provides conceptual and terminological precision
    • Yet, plenty of room for thought and debate remain
  • But, Nestorian churches still exist
for next time
For next time
  • Pope Leo I
    • What ideas (of Eutyches) does Leo reject, and why?
    • How does he define person and natures?
  • Council of Chalcedon (451)
    • In what ways does the council strike a middleground between Cyril and Nestorius?
    • How does the council try to balance discussion of human and divine natures?
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