|« Prev||1. The Nestorian Controversy.||Next »|
§ 1. The Nestorian Controversy.
I. The most zealous opponents of Apollinaris were his compatriots and scientific friends, the Antiochian theologians, distinguished by methodical study of Scripture, sober thinking in imitation of Aristotle, and the strictest asceticism. They alone had during many decades worked out the Christological dogma in a scientific way in opposition to Arius and Apollinaris. Following the example of Diodorus of Tarsus, Theodorus of Mopsuestia treated it with the greatest fulness by making use of the philosophical theological fundamental conceptions which Paul of Samosata had already employed, and by turning to account the biblical results of the exegetical labours of the school of Antioch. The Antiochians based their position on the Ὁμοούσιος and did not wish either to interfere with the divine personality of the Logos. But at the same time they fully accepted the perfect humanity of Christ. The most important characteristic of perfect humanity is its freedom. The thought that Christ possessed a free will was the lode-star of their Christology. To this was added the other thought that 166the nature of the Godhead is absolutely unchangeable and incapable of suffering. Both of these thoughts have at least no concern with the belief in the real redemption of humanity from sin and death through the God-man. The Christology of the Antiochians was therefore not soteriologically determined; on the contrary, the realistic-soteriological elements were attached to it by way of supplement.331331In respect of scientific method we may regard Paul of Samosata, Dorotheus, Lucian, the Lucianists such as Arius and Eusebius of Nicomedia, Eusebius of Emesa, Theodore of Heraklea, Eustathius, Marcellus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Apollinaris, Diodorus, Theodore, Polychronius, Chrysostom; Theodoret, etc., as forming a union of like-minded scholars as opposed to the school of Origen. Regarded in a theological aspect their differences are manifold. Diodorus of Tarsus (+ shortly before 394) and his school constitute a special group here. Diodorus “the ascetic who was punished in his body by the Olympian gods”, was the recognised head. His numerous works, of which only fragments are preserved, are specified in the Diction. of Chr. Biogr. I., p. 836 sq. He was as prolific an apologist, controversialist, and dogmatist as he was an exegete. His most important pupils were Theodore of Mopsuestia (+ 428) and Chrysostom. The former is the typical representative of the whole tendency. Of the astounding mass of his works a good deal has been preserved. To what is printed in Migne, T. 66, we have to add, above all, the edition of his commentary on the Pauline letters by Swete, 2 vols., 1882; the fragments of the dogmatic works are given in the second volume, pp. 289-339. Sachau edited, in 1869, Syrian fragments with a Latin translation; in addition Bäthgen in the Ztschr. f. Atlich. Wissensch. V., p. 53 ff., Möller, in Herzog’s R.-Encykl. XV. 2, P. 395 ff.; Gurjew, Theodor von Mopsu., 1890 [Russian]. On the Antiochian School Münscher (1811), Kihn (1866), Hergenröther (1866). Specht, Theodor v. M. u. Theodoret, 1871; Kihn, Theodor v. Mops. 1880. Glubokowski has written a very comprehensive and thorough monograph on Theodoret in Russian (2 vols. 1890). Bertram, Thedoreti doctrina christologica. Hildesiæ, 1883. On Theodoret’s brother, Polychronius, see Bardenhewer, 1879. Chrysostom did not take any part in the work of giving Christology a sharply outlined form. Theodoret taught the same doctrine as Theodore, but finally capitulated.
In the view of the Antiochians it followed from the premises above mentioned, that Christ possessed, strictly speaking, two natures and that the supposition of a natural union (ἕνωσις φυσική, ἕνωσις καθ᾽ ὑπόστασιν) was prejudicial both to the humanity and the divinity of Christ, as the doctrines of Arius and Apollinaris shewed. It was, on the contrary, necessary to maintain that the God-Logos assumed a perfect man of the race of David and united him with Himself. He dwelt (ἐνοίκησις) in the man Jesus from the time of the conception. This indwelling332332Athanasius also used the word in a natural way, e.g., de incarn. 9. is to be 167conceived of according to the analogy of the indwelling of God in men generally. It is not a substantial indwelling, not κατ᾽ οὐσίαν, for this involves a transmutation or else limits the God-head. Nor is it any mere indwelling of inspiration, but a gracious indwelling,κατὰ χάριν (κατ᾽ εὐδοκίαν), i.e., God out of grace and in accordance with His own good pleasure has united Himself with the man Jesus in the way in which He unites Himself with every pious soul, only that in the case of Jesus the union was besides a perfect one in virtue of the perfection of his piety. It is to be thought of as a species of combination (συνάφεια), or we may express it thus: God dwells in the man as in a temple.333333Athanasius also employed this image, e.g., l.c. c. 20. The human nature, therefore, as nature remains purely unchanged, for grace leaves the nature as it is. This nature, then, like all human nature, was also a free self-developing nature. As man Jesus Christ had to pass through all the stages of moral growth as a free self-acting agent. Over him and in him God did undoubtedly always hold sway as a supporting power, but He did not interfere with the development of the character belonging to his human nature, which by independent action confirmed itself in the good.
In accordance with this the union was only a relative one (ἕνωσις σχετική) and was at the outset only relatively perfect, i.e., the God-Logos united Himself with the man Jesus as early as the time of his conception, forseeing of what sort he would be (κατὰ πρό̥γνωσιν ὁποῖός τις ἔσται), but this union merely began then in order to become a more intimate union at every stage of the human development.334334It was always and from the first dependent on God’s good pleasure in the virtue of the man Jesus; for to Theodore the general proposition held good without any exception that God bestows grace solely in proportion to the free exercise of virtue. Grace is always reward; see the large fragment from the seventh book of the work περὶ ἐνανθρωπήσεως in Swete II., p. 293 sq. Theodore paid special attention to the baptism of Jesus also. It consisted in the common feeling and energy of the two natures as well as in the common direction given to the will; it was therefore essentially a moral union. By means of it, however, there appeared at the close of the human development of Jesus and in virtue of the elevation which was granted to him as the reward of his perseverance, 168a subject or individual worthy of adoration, (I separate the natures, I unite the adoration: χωρίζω τὰς φύσεις, ἑνῶ τὴν προσκύνησιν). Still we must not speak of two sons or two lords, but, on the contrary, we have to adore one person, whose unity, however, is not a substantial one, but κατὰ χάριν. The formula of the distinction of the natures and the unity of the person is to be found in Theodore. But the unity of the person is the unity of names, of honour, of adoration.335335“Unam offer venerationem.” Since, however, each nature in Christ is at the same time person, it was here that the peculiar difficulty of the Antiochian Christology made its appearance. The union does not at bottom result in any unity of the person; it is merely nominal. The Antiochians had two persons in Christ, a divine and a human (δύο ὑποστάσεις or πρόσωπα). When, spite of this, they spoke of one, this was really a third, or rather, to put it more correctly, it was only in the combination (συνάφεια), and indeed in the last resort it was only in the relation of believers to Jesus Christ that the latter appeared as a unity.
It was in accordance with this that the conception of the Incarnation took its shape. Two natures are two subjects; for a subjectless or impersonal spiritual nature does not exist Since accordingly one subject cannot become the other, for if it did it would either have to cease to exist itself or would have to transform itself, it is also impossible that the Logos can have become man. It is only in appearance that He became something through the incarnation, through “becoming man”; in reality He assumes something in addition to what He had. Since the sphere of the unity is solely the will, the attributes, experiences, and acts of the two natures are to be kept strictly apart. It was the man only who was born; it was he who suffered, trembled, was afraid, died. To maintain that this could be said of God is both absurd and blasphemous. So too accordingly Mary is not to be called the mother of God, not at least in the proper sense of the term.336336The designation θεοτόκος was already quite current about 360. Instances of its use at an earlier period may be found in Pierius and Alexander of Alexandria, see accordingly Julian c. Christ., p. 276 E. But the Christian 169adores Jesus Christ as the one Lord, because God has also raised to divine dignity the man who in feeling was united with the Logos so as to form a unity.
In accordance with this conception, though certainly invitis autoribus, the humanity in the person of Christ came again to the front as a humanity which experienced merely the effects produced by the divine Logos who remained in the background. Since the distinction between person and nature was not fundamental, was not made in a realistic way, that is, and since the possibility of the substantial union of two persons was denied as we can see already from the case of Paul of Samosata, since further, in opposition to Paul, the Godhead in Christ was recognised as being a substantial Godhead, unity was not attained, as opponents at a later time justly observed. When again, as in the case of the Antiochians, an approach was made towards this unity, then the divine factor, contrary to the pre-supposition which was strictly clung to, threatened to become an inspiring and supporting power, and hence the reproach brought against them of Ebionitism, Somosatenism, Photinianism, or of Judaising. It would appear that the Antiochians rarely took the doctrine of redemption and perfection as the starting-point of their arguments, or when they did, they conceived of it in such a way that the question is not of a restitution, but of the still defective perfection of the human race, a question of the new second katastasis. The natural condition of humanity, of which liability to death forms a part, can be improved; humanity can be raised above itself by means of a complete emancipation from the sense life and by moral effort. This possibility, which lies open to everyone who summons up courage to raise himself by the exercise of free will above his inherited nature, has become a fact through Christ the second Adam. This fact has an immeasurable significance, for its effects now uphold everyone who honestly strives so to raise himself. The second Adam who has already appeared will once more appear from heaven ἐπὶ τῷ πάντας εἰς μίμησιν ἄγειν ἑαυτοῦ—in order to bring all to imitate him. He already points out to all “the path to the angelic life”, and, judging from the way in which they sometimes work out the thought, it almost looks as if in the 170view of the Antiochians the whole thing reduced itself to this alone. The hints given here towards a spiritual conception of the redemption through Christ have not, as one can see, resulted from perceiving that everything depends on a transformation of the feelings and will, and in the case of the Antiochians themselves they have by no means entirely displaced the realistic and mystical conception of redemption. In the indefinite form which is peculiar to them, they were thoughts of reason and results of exegesis, but not thoughts of faith. We hail them as cheering proofs of the fact that the feeling of the spiritual character of the Christian religion had not at that time wholly died out amongst the Greeks; but there can be no doubt of this, that these Antiochians were further away from the thought of redemption as the forgiveness of sins and regeneration than from the idea of a realistic redemption. While in Christology they illustrated in an admirable way the weak side and in fact the impossibility of this idea, they did not understand how to point these out in reference to soteriology itself. The latter was with them always vague and tinged with a strongly moralistic element. Its connection with the Christology was loose and indefinite, while the development of the latter in the form of positive doctrines was no less questionable, contradictory and uncouth than the theses of their opponents; for the Antiochians out of one being made two and thereby introduced an innovation into the Church of the East. Only Gnostics had before them taught the doctrine of two strictly different natures in Christ. The fact too that the redemption work of Christ was essentially attributed to the man Jesus and not to God was a further innovation. It was a flagrant contradiction that Theodore would not entertain the idea of two Sons although he assumed the presence of two natures and rejected the thought of an impersonal nature. But though we might criticise the Christology of the Antiochians still more severely, we must not forget that they held up before the Church the picture of the historical Christ at a time when the Church in its doctrinal formulæ was going further away from Him. One has indeed to add that they also directed attention to the incomprehensible essence of the God-Logos which ostensibly remained behind this picture, 171and did not on that account possess the power of presenting the historical Christ to the minds of men in a forcible way. But still that these theologians should have done what they did at that time was of immeasurable importance. It is to them the Church owes it that its Christology did not entirely become the development of an idea of Christ which swallowed up the historical Christ. And there is still something else for which these Antiochians are to be praised. Although they professed to preserve the traditional elements of dogma as a whole, they nevertheless essentially modified them by perceiving that every spiritual nature is a person and that what gives character and value to the person is feeling and will. This view, which was inherited from the Adoptionists and Paul, restores to the Christian religion its strictly spiritual character. But the Antiochians as Easterns were able to get possession of this knowledge only in a way which led from religion to moralism, because they based the spiritual on freedom, while again they understood freedom in the sense of independence even in relation to God. It was Augustine in his thought of liberty as “adhærere deo” and as “necessitas boni” who first united the most ardent piety with the recognition of Christianity as the spiritual-moral religion. It is, however, worth remembering that alone of all the Easterns the Antiochians and the theologians who sympathised with them took an interest in the Augustinian-Pelagian controversy—though they undoubtedly sided with Pelagius. For this interest proves that spite of the Eastern fog of mysteries, they were accessible to the freer air in which that controversy was fought out. Their opponents in the East wished to have mystery and spiritual freedom side by side; they, however, strove to lift the whole of religion up into the sphere of the latter—and they led it in the direction of moralism.337337Compare, above all, the full Confession of Theodore in Mansi IV., p. 1347 sq. (Hahn, § 139) which gives an admirable view of the Christology of Theodore and of its tendency. The word συνάπτετθαι (συνάφεια) occurs more than a dozen times (so far as I know the word is first found within Christology in a fragment of Hippolytus [ed. Lagarde, p. 202]; ἵνα ὁ πρωτότοκος Θεοῦ πρωτοτόκῳ ανθρώπῳ συναπτόμενος δειχθῇ, Julius Afr. in his letter to Aristides [ed. Spitta, p. 121] uses συνάφεια in the sense of blood-relationship); λόγος ἄνθρωπον εἴληφε τέλειον ἐκ σπέρματος ὄντα Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Δαυΐδ is the principal thesis (also τέλειον τὴν φύσιν). The exaltation is strongly emphasised; then we have: δέχεται τὴν παρὰ πᾶσης τῆς κτίσεως προσκύνησιν, ὡς ἀχώριστον πρὸς τὴν θείαν φύσιν ἔχων τὴν συνάφειαν, ἀναφορᾷ Θεοῦ καὶ ἐννοίᾳ πάσης τῆς κτίσεως τὴν προσκύνησιν ἀπονεμούσης. Καὶ οὔτε δύο φαμὲν υἱοὺς οὔτε δύο κυρίους . . . κύριος κατ᾽ οὐσίαν ὁ Θεὸς λόγος, ᾧ συνημμένος τε καὶ μετέχων θεότητος κοινωνεῖ τῆς υἱοῦ προσηγορίας τε καὶ τιμῆς· καὶ φιὰ τοῦτο οὔτε δύο φαμὲν υἱοὺς οὔτε δύο κυρίους. In what follows the doctrine of the two sons is again disowned and this with a certain irritation, as is also the idea that our Sonship can be compared with that of Christ, (μόνος ἐξαίρετον ἔχων τοῦτο ἐν τῇ πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν λόγον συναφείᾳ τῆς τε υἱότητος καὶ κυριότητος μετέχων, ἀναιρεῖ μὲν πᾶσαν ἔννοιαν δυάδος υἱῶν τε καὶ κυρίων). Theodore thus did not teach the doctrine of two sons, one natural and one adopted, but that of one son who communicated his name, his authority, and his glory to the man Jesus in virtue of the συνάφεια. This was indeed the impossible shift of one in a dilemma. At the end of the Creed the doctrine of the two Adams—a specially Antiochian doctrine cf. Apoll.—and that of the two states are developed in detail. The commentaries of Theodore ought to be studied in order that it may be seen how γνώμη and μίμησις—as opposed to φύσις—were for him the main thing. Both in our case and in that of Christ everything was to depend upon freedom, disposition, and the direction of the will. In what follows I quote some passages from the dogmatic works of Theodore by way of explaining and illustrating the account given in the text; Diodorus is in complete agreement with Theodore so far as it is still possible for us to check his statements. Theodore, de myster. I. 13 (Swete, p. 332): “Angelus diaboli est Samosatenus Paulus, qui purum hominem dicere præsumpsit dominum J. Chr. et negavit existentiam divinitatis unigeniti, quæ est ante sæcula”; cf. adv. Apollin. 3 (Swete, p. 318), where Theodore places Paul together with Theodotus and Artemon and condemns him. Theodore, περὶ ἐνανθρωπήσεως 1. 1 (Swete, p.291): “præcipuum Christo præter ceteros homines non aliquo puro honore ex deo pervenit, sicut in ceteris hominibus, sed per unitatem ad deum verbum, per quam omnis honoris ei particeps est post in cœlum ascensum”; l. 2 (p. 291): “homo Jesus similiter omnibus hominibus, nihil differens connaturalibus hominibus, quam quia ipsi gratiam dedit; gratia autem data naturam non immutat, sed post mortis destructionem donavit ei deus nomen supra omne nomen . . . o gratia, quæ superavit omnem naturam! . . . sed mei fratres dicunt mihi: “non separa hominem et deum, sed unum eundemque dic, hominem dicens connaturalem mihi deum”; si dicam connaturalem deum, dic quomodo homo et deus unum est? numquid una natura hominis et dei, domini et servi, factoris et facturæ? homo homini consubstantialis est, deus autem deo consubstantialis est. Quomodo igitur homo et deus unum per unitatem esse potest, qui salvificat et qui salvificatur, qui ante sæcula est et qui ex Maria adparuit”? l.c. 1. 2 (p. 292): “quando naturas quisque discernit, alterum et alterum necessario invenit . . . hoc interim item persona idem ipse invenitur, nequequam confusis naturis, sed propter adunationem quæ facta est adsumpti et adsumentis . . . sic neque naturarum confusio fiet neque personæ quædam prava divisio, maneat enim et naturarum ratio inconfusa et indivisa cognoscatur esse persona; illud quidem proprietate naturæ . . . illud autem adunatione personæ, in una adpellatione totius considerata sive adsumentis sive etiam adsumpti natura”; l.c. 1. 7 (p. 294): οὐσίᾳ μὲν οὖν λέγειν ἐνοικεῖν τὸν Θεὸν τῶν ἀπρεπεστάτων ἐστίν . . . οὔτε οὐσίᾳ λέγειν οὔτε μὴν ἐνεργείᾳ οἷόν τε ποιεῖσθαι τὸν Θεὸν τὴν ἐνοίκησιν (both would draw him into the sphere of ἀνάγκη and limit him). Δῆλον οὖν ὡς εὐδοκίᾳ λέγειν γίνεσθαι τὴν ἐνοίκησιν προσήκει, εὐδοκία δὲ λέγεται ἡ ἀρίστη καὶ καλλίστη θέλησις τοῦ Θεοῦ ἣν ἂν ποιήσηται ἀρεσθεὶς τοῖς ἀνακεῖσθαι αὐτῷ ἐσπουδακόσιν ἀπὸ τοῦ εὖ καὶ καλὰ δοκεῖν αὐτῷ περὶ αὐτῶν . . . ἄπειρος μὲν γὰρ ὢν ὁ Θεὸς καὶ ἀπερίγραφος τὴν φύσιν πάρεστιν τοῖς πᾶσιν· τῇ δὲ εὐδοκίᾳ τῶν μὲν ἔστιν μακράν, τῶν δὲ ἐγγύς. This ἐνοίκησις, however, as is shewn in what follows, has different τρόποι; in its unique and perfect form it is in the “Son” only; l.c. (p. 297): Ἰησοῦς δὲ προέκοπτεν . . . χάριτι παρὰ Θεῷ—χάριτι δὲ, ἀκόλουθον τῇ συνέσει καὶ τῇ γνώσει τὴν ἀρετὴν μετιών, ἐξ ἧς ἡ παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ χάρις αὐτῷ τὴν προσθήκην ἐλάμβανεν . . . δῆλον δὲ ἄρα κἀκεῖνο, ὡς τὴν ἀρετὴν ἀκριβέστερόν τε καὶ μετὰ πλείονος ἐπλήροῦ τῆς εὐχερείας ἢ τοῖς λοιποῖς ἀνθρώποις ἦν δυνατόν, ὅσῳ καὶ κατὰ πρόγνωσιν τοῦ ὁποῖός τις ἔσται ἑνώσας αὐτὸν ὁ Θεὸς λόγος ἑαυτῷ ἐν αὐτῇ διαπλάσεως ἀρχῇ, μείζονα παρεῖχεν τὴν παρ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ συνέργειαν πρὸς τὴν τῶν δεόντων κατόρθωσιν . . . ἥνωτο μὲν γὰρ ἐξ ἀρχῆς τῷ Θεῷ ὁ ληφθεὶς κατὰ πρόγνωσιν· ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ διαπλάσει τῆς μήτρας τὴν καταρχὴν τῆς ἑνώσεως δεξαμενος; l.c. 1. 8. (p. 299): πρόδηλον δὲ ὡς τὸ τῆς ἑνώσεως ἐφαρμόζον· διὰ γὰρ ταύτης συναχθεῖσαι αἱ φύσεις ἓν πρόσωπον κατὰ τὴν ἕνωσιν ἀπετέλεσαν (Matt. XIX. 6, is now brought in as an analogy; we also no longer speak κατὰ τὸν τῆς ἐνώσεως λόγον of two persons, but of one, δηλονότι τῶν φύσεων διακεκριμένων; ὅταν μὲν γὰρ τὰς φύσεις διακρίνωμεν, τελείαν τὴν φύσιν τοῦ Θεοῦ λόγοῦ φαμέν, καὶ τέλειον τὸ πρόσωπον· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀπρόσωπον ἔστιν ὑπόστασιν εἰπεῖν· τελείαν δὲ καὶ τὴν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου φύσιν καὶ τὸ πρόσωπον ὁμοίως· ὅταν μέντοι ἐπὶ τὴν συνάφειαν ἀπίδωμεν, ἓν πρόσωπον τότε φαμέν: l.c. 1. 9 (p. 300): Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο—ἐνταῦθα τὸ “ἐγένετο” οὐδαμῶς ἑτέρως λέγεσθαι δυνάμενον εὑρήκαμεν ἢ κατὰ τὸ δοκεῖν . . . τὸ δοκεῖν οὐ κατὰ τὸ μὴ εἰληφέναι σάρκα ἀληθῆ, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ μὴ γεγενῆσθαι: ὅταν μὲν γὰρ “ἔλαβεν” λέγῃ οὐ κατὰ τὸ δοκεῖν ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ ἀληθὲς λέγει· ὅταν δε “ἐγένετο”, τότε κατὰ τὸ δοκεῖν· οὐ γὰρ μετεποιήθη εἰς σάρκα; l.c. 1. 10 (p. 301): καταβέβηκεν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ νὲν τῇ εἰς τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἐνοικήσει· ἔστιν δὲ ἐν οὐρανῷ τῷ ἀπεριγράφῳ τῆς φύσεως πᾶσιν παρών; l. c. 1. 12 (p. 303): ἀληθῆ υἱὸν λέγω τὸν τῇ φυσικῇ γεννήσει τὴν υἱότητα κεκτημένον· ἑπομένως δὲ συνεπιδεχόμενον τῇ σημασίᾳ καὶ τὸν κατὰ ἀλήθειαν τῆς ἀξίας μετέχοντα τῆ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἑνώσει. For the explanations given of Luke I. 31 f.; 1 Tim. III. 16; Matt. III. 14, IV. 4, see p. 306 f., l.c. 1. 12 (p. 308): ἑνώσας αὐτὸν ἑαυτῷ τῇ σχέσει τῆς γνώμης, μείζονά τινα παρεῖχεν αὐτῷ τὴν χάριν, ὡς τῆς εἰς αὐτὸν χάριτος εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἑξῆς διαδοθησομένης ἀνθρώπους· ὅθεν καὶ τὴν περὶ τὰ καλὰ πρόθεσιν ἀκέραιον αὐτῷ διεφύλαττεν; see the sequel where the thought is developed that the man Jesus voluntarily willed the good, his will being protected by the God-Logos; l.c. 1. 15 (p. 309): “utrumque iuste filius vocatur, una existente persona, quam adunatio naturarum effecit” l.c. c. 15 (p. 310): Mary may as well be called θεοτόκος as ἀνθρωποτόκος, but the latter τῇ φύσει τοῦ πράγματος the former τῇ ἀναφορᾷ. Adv. Apollin. l.c. (p. 313): the distinction between ναός (the man Jesus) and ὁ ἐν ναῷ Θεὸς λόγος· next: ἔστιν μὲν γὰρ ἀνοήτον τὸ τὸν Θεὸν ἐκ τῆς παρθένου γεγεννῆσθαι λέγειν. In the eighth Sermon of the “Catechism” Theodore has employed the Aristotelian category “secundum aliquid” in order to shew, that a thing may be a unity in one respect and a duality in another. What confused the Antiochian 172theology and involved it in contradictions was apparently the load of tradition, i.e., the adhesion to the belief that Jesus Christ possessed a divine nature. This belief, however, constituted 173the strong foundation of the theology of their opponents. Their Christology was built up on this thesis. For the Antiochians 174it was simply a fact to which they had to adapt themselves, although they had not themselves felt its truth in this form.
The view adopted by the Alexandrians, above all by Cyril, is undoubtedly the ancient view, that namely of Irenæus, Athanasius, and the Cappadocians, even when we make allowance for the falsification of tradition by the Apollinarians. The interest they had in seeing in Christ the most perfect unity of the divine and human, and therefore their interest in the reality of our redemption, determined the character of the development of the doctrines. Up till the year 431, and even beyond that time, this was wanting in formal thoroughness and scientific precision. This is as little an accident as the fact that Athanasius supplied no scientific doctrine of the Trinity. The belief in the real incarnation of God was only capable of the scientific treatment which Apollinaris had given it. If this were forbidden then theologians were debarred from all treatment of the subject with the exception of the merely analytic and descriptive or scholastic mode of treatment. This latter was not, however, yet in existence. But also apart from this, belief in the real incarnation simply demanded a forcible and definite statement of the secret, nothing more: σιωπῇ προσκυνείσθω τὸ ἄρρητον—let the secret be adored in silence. We must live in the feeling of this secret. This is why Cyril also stated his faith in what was essentially a polemical form only; he would not have taken long to have given a purely positive statement of it. Therefore it is that without knowing it he has recourse to Apollinarian works when he wishes to bring forward a plain and intelligible formula in opposition to the Antiochians and so to make the mystery clearer—and he is continually in danger of over-stepping the limits of his own religious thought—and therefore it is finally, that his terminology has so little fixity about it.338338In many respects his language is more certain than that of the Cappadocians and Athanasius: he no longer speaks, so far as I know, of mingling, fusion and so on, but in other respects his language is not behind theirs in uncertainty, and in denying “freedom” to Christ, he comes nearer to Apollinaris than they, for they in fact made use also of the conception of “two natures.” The works of Cyril are in Aubert. Vol. VI. and VII., Migne Vols. 75-77. Most of what bears on the subject under discussion will be found also in Mansi T. IV., V. Specially notable are his letters to the Egyptian monks, to Nestorius (3) to John of Antioch, to Succensus (2) to the Constantinopolitan and Alexandrian Churches, the liber de recta in Jesum fide addressed to Theodosius, the book and the oration on the same subject addressed to the Empress, the explanation of the 12 anathemas and their vindication as against Theodoret, the five books against Nestorius, the dialogue on the Incarnation of the only-begotten, the other dialogue: “Οτι εἷς ὁ Χριστός and the tractate κατὰ τῶν μὴ βουλομένων ὁμολογεῖν θεοτόκον τὴν ἁγίαν παρθένον. On Cyril’s theology see Dorner, Thomasius, (Christology) and H. Schultz. Koppalik, Cyril, Mainz 1881. That the work published by Mai (Script. Vet. Nova Coll. I., VIII.) περί τῆς τοῦ κυρίου ἐνανθρωπήσεως does not belong to Cyril has been shewn by Ehrhard (the work attributed to Cyril of Alex. περὶ τ. τ. κυρ· ἐνανθ., a work of Theodoret of Cyrus. Tübingen, 1888). In this treatise will be found a full and thorough account of the Christological formulæ of Cyril. 175Still he vindicated the religious thought of Greek piety: (“If the God-Logos did not suffer for us in a human way then He did not accomplish our salvation in a divine way, and if He was only man or a mere instrument then we are not truly redeemed.” “Our Immanuel would not in any way have benefited us by His death if He had been a man; but we are redeemed because the God-Logos gave His own body to death.”) Neither Cyril’s personal character nor the way in which he devised and carried on the controversy ought to be allowed to lead us astray as regards this fact: for his Christianity did not succeed in making him just.
It was as easy for Cyril to formulate the thought of faith as it was for Athanasius and the Cappadocians. Faith does not in his case start from the historical Christ, but from the Θεὸς λόγος, and is occupied only with Him. By the Incarnation the God-Logos incorporated with Himself the whole human nature and still remained the same. He did not transform Himself, but He took up humanity into the unity of His substance, without losing any of it; on the contrary, He honoured it and raised it into His divine substance. He is the same with human nature as He was before the Incarnation, the one indivisible subject which merely added something to itself just in order to take up into its nature this something thus added. Everything which the human body and the human soul of the God-Logos endured, He Himself endured, for they are His body and His soul.339339I purposely cite no passages; they would not, taken separately, prove the doctrine here summarised, but would, on the contrary, point now in one direction and now in another. That the group of phrases given in the text embodies Cyril’s view and in a measure embodies it completely, will be allowed by everyone acquainted with the subject. Nor as regards Christology can I hope much from a careful monograph on Cyril on the lines of a history of dogma, such as has recently been asked for; for beyond what is adduced above Cyril had no theological interest; his way of formulating his views might, however, easily lead to his having a very complicated “Christology” attributed to him. The characteristic moments in this 176conception are “one and the same” (εἷς κὰι ὁ αὐτός) that is, the God-Logos, “the making the flesh His own by way of accommodation” (ἰδίαν ποιεῖν τὴν σάρκα οἰκονομικῶς), “He remembered who He was” (μεμένηκε ὅπερ ἦν), “out of two natures one” (ἐκ δύο φύσεων εἷς), or “the joining of two natures in an unbroken union without confusion and unchangeably” (συνέλευσις δύο φύσεων καθ᾽ ἕνωσιν ἀδιάσπαστον ἀσυγχύτως καὶ ἀτρέπτως), “the Logos with His own flesh” (ὁ λόγος μετὰ τῆς ἰδίας σαρκός), hence the “physical union” (ἕνωσις φυσική) or “hypostatic union” (καθ᾽ ὑπόστασιν), and finally, “one nature of the God-Logos made flesh” (μία φύσις τοῦ Θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη),340340According to an expression taken from a work of Apollinaris which Cyril considered as Athanasian, because the Apollinarians had fathered it on Athanasius. yet “not so that the difference of the two natures is done away with by the union” (οὐχ᾽ ὡς τῆς τῶν φύσεων διαφορᾶς ἀνῃρημένης διὰ τὴν ἕνωσιν). Cyril scarcely touched upon the distinction between φύσις (οὐσία) and ὑπόστασις, which had nevertheless already come to be current among the Antiochians so far as Christology was concerned; still he never says “of two hypostases” (ἐκ δύο ὑποστασεων) or “a union in nature” (ἕνωσις κατὰ φῦσιν).341341See Loofs, Leontius, p. 45. He was not able to make that distinction, because in his view φύσις and ὑποστασις meant the same thing as applied to the divine nature, but not as applied to the human. What rather is really characteristic in Cyril’s position is his express rejection of the view that an individual man was present in Christ, although he attributes to Christ all the elements of man’s nature.342342The Ep. ad Succens. supplies the most important proof-passages here. Cyril’s thought is that the substance (οὐσία) of the human nature in Christ does not subsist on its own account, but that it is nevertheless not imperfect since it has its subsisting element in the God-Logos. This either means nothing at all or it is Apollinarianism. For Cyril, however, everything depends on the possibility and actuality of such a human nature, on the fact, namely, that in Christ a hypostatic union was reached and that this union forthwith purified and 177transfigured human nature generally. Christ can be the second Adam for men only if they belong to him in a material sense as they did to the first Adam, and they do belong to Him materially only if He was not an individual man like Peter and Paul, but the real beginner of a new humanity. Cyril’s view, moreover, was determined as a whole by the realistic thought of of redemption.343343Orat. ad imp. Theodos. 19, 20 (Mansi IV. 641): An apparent body would have been sufficient if the God-Logos had merely required to show us the path to the angelic life. But He became a perfect man, ἵνα τῆς μὲν ἐπεισάκτου φθορᾶς τὸ γήϊνον ἡμῶν ἀπαλλάξῃ σῶμα, τῇ καθ᾽ ἕνωσιν οἰκονομίᾳ τὴν ἰδίαν αὐτῷ ζωὴν ἐνιείς, ψυχὴν δὲ ἰδίαν ἀνθρωπίνην ποιούμενος ἁμαρτίας αὐτὴν ἀποφήνῃ κρείττονα, τῆς ἰδίας φύσεως τὸ πεπηγός τε καὶ ἄτρεπτον, οἷάπερ ἐρίῳ βαφὴν, ἐγκαταχρώσας αὐτῇ. Still it is not a matter of accident that he so frequently uses σάρξ for “human nature”, although in opposition to Apollinaris he acknowledged the human conscious soul in Christ. It was only σάρξ, that he could freely employ straight off in this connection, not πνεῦμα and ψυχή. The proposition that before the Incarnation there were two φύσεις, but after it only one, is, however, of special importance for Cyril’s conception of the Incarnation. This perverse formula, which Cyril repeats and varies endlessly, regards the humanity of Christ as having existed before the Incarnation, and therefore in accordance with the Platonic metaphysic, but does not do away with the humanity after the Incarnation, on the contrary, it merely transfers it entirely to the substance of the God-Logos. Both natures are now to be distinguished θεωρίᾳ μόνῃ—a phrase which he uses very frequently, i.e., it is in virtue of the physical or natural unity that the Logos has actually become man. This physical unity does not, however, mean that the Godhead thereby becomes capable of suffering: but the Logos suffers in His own flesh and was born of Mary as regards His own humanity. He is thus God crucified, (Θεὸς σταυρωθείς)—the Logos suffered without suffering, i.e., in His flesh (ἔπαθεν ὀ λόγος ἀπαθῶς, i.e, ἐν σαρκί)—and Mary is θεοτόκος, in so far as the σάρξ, which she bore constitutes an indissoluble unity with the Logos. (What belonged to the Logos thus became the property of the humanity, and again what belonged to the humanity became the property of the Logos—γέγονε τοίνυν ἴδια μὲν τοῦ λόγου τὰ τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος, ἴδια δὲ πάλιν τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος τὰ αὐτοῦ λόγου). Therefore this 178σάρξ of Christ can in the Lord’s Supper be the means of producing divine life, although it has not disappeared as human flesh.344344Cyril connected the Christological dogma in the form in which he put it, with the Lord’s Supper and also with baptism.
Is this conception Monophysitism? It is necessary to distinguish here between the phraseology and what is actually stated. As regards their actual substance all conceptions may be described as Monophysite or Apollinarian which reject the idea that Christ was an individual man; for between the doctrine of the hypostatic union and the most logical Apthartodocetism there are only grades of difference. No hard and fast line can be drawn here, although very different forms of monophysitism were possible according as the consequences of the Incarnation for the divinity of Christ on the one hand, or for His humanity on the other were conceived of in a concrete way and definitely stated. But according to ecclesiastical phraseology only those parties are to be described as monophysite who rejected the deliverance of the Council of Chalcedon. But this deliverance presupposes the existence of factors which did not yet lie within the mental horizon of Cyril. In these circumstances we must content ourselves with saying that nowhere did Cyril intentionally deviate to the right hand, or to the left, from the line of thought followed by the Greek Church and its great Fathers in their doctrine of redemption. He was a Monophysite in so far as he taught that the Logos after the Incarnation continues to have as before one nature only; but as the opponent of Apollinaris he did not wish to mix the human nature with the divine in Christ.345345Similarly also Loofs op. cit., p. 48 f. As Loofs rightly remarks, the distinction between the natures which Cyril wished to have made was nevertheless not one solely in thought, but I cannot find any word which expresses what he wanted. It is obvious that as regards the docetic and Apollinarian ideas (apparent-humanity, κρᾶσις, σύγχυσις, τροπή), which were current and which were still widely spread at the time, Cyril’s influence was of a wholesome kind. It is wonderful how firm he was here. Perhaps it is herein that his greatest significance lies. And yet the best of what he had he had got from Apollinaris. Moreover, before Cyril, Didymus in Alexandria had already put together and used the words ἀτρέπτως, ἀσυγχύτως in his formula for the Incarnation; see Vol. III., p. 299. They were therefore not a monopoly of the Antiochians. The assertion of a perfect humanity, unmingled natures, must be allowed to stand, for it is really impossible to put in an intelligible 179form any part of these speculations which treat of substances as if they had no connection whatever with a living person. It is really not any more difficult to put up with the contradiction here than it is to tolerate the whole method of looking at the question. Both constitute the great mystery of the faith. Monophysitism, which limits itself to the statement that in Christ out of two perfect natures, divinity and humanity, one composite or incarnate divine nature has come into existence, and which will have nothing to do with the idea of a free will346346Like Apollinaris, Cyril also regarded with the deepest abhorrence the thought that Christ possessed a free will. Everything seemed to them to be made uncertain if Christ was not ἄτρεπτος. We can quite understand this feeling; for all belief in Christ as Redeemer is, to say the least of it, indifferent to the idea that Christ might have done other than He did. But that age was in the direst dilemma; for “freedom” was at that time the only formula for the “personality” of the creature, and yet it at the same time necessarily involved the capability of sin. In this dilemma the true believers resolved to deny freedom to Christ. With these accordingly the Apollinarians who had been excluded from the Church were able once more to unite. “All with the exception of a few,” writes Theodoret H. E. V. 3, cf. V. 37, “came over to the Church and again took part in Church fellowship; they had not, however, all the same, got rid of their earlier disease, but still infected many with it who before had been sound. From this root there sprang up in the Church the doctrine of the μία τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ τῆς θεότητος φύσις, which attributes suffering to the Godhead too of the only begotten.” in Christ, is dogmatically consistent. It has indeed no longer the logical satisfying clearness of the Apollinarian thesis; it involves an additional mystery, or a logical contradiction, still in return for this it definitely put into words the by no means unimportant element of “perfect humanity”. But this Monophysitism, when distinctly formulated as ἕνωσις φουσική, certainly made it plain to the Greeks themselves that it was no longer possible to reconcile the Christ of faith with the picture of Christ given in the Gospels; for the idea of the physical unity of the two natures and of the interchange of properties, which Cyril had worked out in a strict fashion, swallowed up what of the human remained in Him. Arrived at this point three possible courses were open. It was necessary either to revise the doctrine of redemption and perfection which had the above-mentioned statement as its logical result—a thing which was not to be thought of,—or else theologians would have to make up their minds still further to adapt the picture of the historical Christ to the 180dogmatic idea, i.e., to destroy it altogether, which was logical Monophysitism, or finally, it would be necessary to discover a word, or a formula, which would mark off the dogma of faith from Apollinarianism with still greater sharpness than had been done by the catchword “perfect humanity”. It was therefore necessary to intensify the contradictions still further, so that it was no longer only the concrete union of the natures which appeared as the secret, but the conception of the union itself already involved a contradictio in adjecto and became a mystery. If it could be maintained that the natures had become united without being united, then on the outside everything seemed to be as it should be, and Apollinaris was as certainly beaten as Paul of Samosata—and this was maintained. But certainly no pupil of Athanasius or Cyril hit on a notion such as this, which paralysed the force of the thought: λόγύς σαρκωθείς. A danger lurked here which had finally a momentous result. The expression of the faith which was constantly being burdened with fresh contradictions so that no legitimate element might be wanting to it, had to forfeit its strength.347347Thomasius in his description of the Christology of Cyril sees only difficulties, but no contradictions. Nor has he fully understood the relation between Apollinaris and Cyril. Its place was finally taken by a complicated formula which it was no longer possible to make one’s own through feeling, the mystery of conceptions put in the form of concrete ideas. If theologians might no longer teach as Apollinaris taught and in fact no longer quite in the way in which Cyril taught, they saw themselves under the necessity of using a complicated formula. But to begin with it seemed as if Cyril had carried his point.348348Cyril never sought subsequently to tone down in appearance the paradox of the mystery of the Incarnation by means of logical distinctions. In this connection it is important to note that he allows that Nestorius wishes a ἕνωσις τῶν προσώπων (Ep. ad C P. Mansi IV., p. I005), but that he himself rejects such a union because the important thing is the union of the natures.
The controversy broke out in Constantinople and was throughout carried on with ambitious designs and for the purposes of ecclesiastical policy. In the person of Nestorius an ascetic Antiochian was again raised to the dignity of Bishop of Constantinople (428). The bishop of the capital just because he was 181the bishop was an object of jealousy to the Alexandrian Patriarch and as an Antiochian he was doubly so. A conceited preacher and one who plumed himself on being an enemy of heretics, but not a man with any meanness about him, Nestorius, who was supported by his presbyter Anastasius, gave offence in the capital by using the catchwords of the Antiochian dogmatic and by the contest he engaged in against the description of Mary as θεοτόκος. With great frankness Nestorius described the statements regarding the God who was wrapped in swaddling clothes and fastened to the Cross, as heathen fables. His Christology349349Some of his writings in Mansi IV., V., see also VI., VII., IX. On the beginning of the controversy Socrat. H. E. VII. 29 sq. cf. the letters of Cœlestin and Vincent. Common. 17 sq. The sermons of Nestorius, above all, deserve attention. The history is in Hefele, op. cit. II. 2, pp. 141-288, who is indeed wholly biassed. See Walch, Ketzergesch., Vol. V.; Largent, S. Cyrille et le concile d’Éphèse (Rev. des quest. hist., 1872, July). Older accounts by Tillemont and Gibbon. was that of Theodore; it cannot be said that he developed it further; on the contrary, one can see the influence of Chrysostom. Nestorius seems scarcely to have mentioned the human development of Jesus, and he seems to have laid greater emphasis on the idea of the union than Theodore (“one Christ”), if also only in the form of the συνάφεια and προσκύνησις; but he was, above all, concerned in getting rid of “the corruption of Arius and Apollinaris.” Cyril took advantage of the excitement in the Capital, which would perhaps have quieted down spite of some unruly priests and monks, in order to stir up the Egyptian monks, the Egyptian clergy in Constantinople, and the imperial ladies. The result was an angry correspondence with Nestorius, who was, moreover, protected by the Emperor. Cyril wrote in a more dignified way than his rival, but the hierarchs since the days of Cyprian had always known better how to take up an outwardly dignified attitude than their opponents. The narrow-minded patriarch of the capital was characterised by a simple pride.350350Luther (“Von den Conc. u. K K.”, Vol. 25, pp. 304 ff., 307), falling back on Socrates, has rehabilitated Nestorius: “One can see from this that Nestorius, though a proud and foolish bishop, is in earnest about Christ; but in his folly he does not know what he is saying and how he is saying it, like one who was not able to speak properly of such things and yet wished to speak as if he knew all about it. He expressed himself in an inconsiderate and imprudent way 182in his letters, and his conduct in his diocese was no less inconsiderate and imprudent, for there he went on with the work of deposition and attacked “Apollinarianism” as if it had been a red rag.
The formula employed by the two opponents were no longer very different. Everything depended on how they were accentuated. Both spoke of two natures and one Christ, and the one wished as little to be an Apollinarian as the other did to be a “blasphemous”351351So Nestorius himself in the third letter to Cœlestin. Samosatene. Cyril did not deny that the God-head was incapable of suffering, and Nestorius was prepared to use even the formula θεοτόκος with a qualification.352352This was the case from the first; see already the first letter to Cœlestin. In the third letter he proposed to the Pope that the latter should see that neither θεοτόκος nor ἀνθρωποτόκος was used, but χριστότοκος; “This controversy about words,” he adds moreover, “will not in my opinion occasion any difficult enquiry at the Council nor will it interfere with the doctrine of the divinity of Christ.” But in reality they were undoubtedly separated from each other by a deep gulf represented in the former case by the ἕνωσις φυσική, (the physical union,) and in the latter by the ἕνωσις κατὰ συνάφειαν, (the union by combination,) and they can scarcely be blamed if they indulged in specious arguments; for both views were intelligible only when one went behind the formulæ, and in the case of many if not actually in that of the leaders, ideas which went a great deal further were as a matter of fact concealed behind the formulæ.353353In this contest Nestorius directs his attack against Photinianism, as representing the idea that the Word had first originated with the Virgin, against Apollinarianism, against the idea that the flesh of Christ was no longer flesh after the Resurrection, and therefore against the “deificatio” of the flesh, and against the mingling of the natures (first letter to Cœlestin). As a matter of fact nothing of all this applied to Cyril. The latter fought against Nestorius as if it were a matter of combating Paul of Samosata, and in this Cœlestin made common cause with him (see his first letter to the Church of Constantinople c. 3). The real difference was: Did God become man or did He not? Nestorius addressed himself to the Roman bishop Cœlestin as a colleague of co-ordinate rank, Cyril did the same soon after as an informant moved by a sense of duty, and therewith the controversy came to have a universal importance. But owing to the interference of the Roman bishop on behalf of Cyril it also took a wholly unexpected turn; for there is not 183perhaps in the history of dogma a second fact of equal importance which so thoroughly deserves to be pronounced a scandal nor one which at the same is so little to the credit of its author, as the interference of the Pope on behalf of Cyril.
He had indeed sufficient reason for doing this. Since the time of Athanasius and Julius, and in fact from the days even of Demetrius and Fabian, it had always been the traditional dogmatic policy of the Roman Chair to support the Alexandrian Patriarch, as conversely the latter in his struggle against the ambitious patriarch of New Rome necessarily looked for his natural ally in old Rome.354354The solidarity between Rome and Alexandria is emphasised also in the letters of Cœlestin to Cyril (I. I), to John of Antioch (c. 2) and to Nestorius (c. II). Further Nestorius had shewn himself unwilling to excommunicate right off the Pelagians who had been condemned by the Pope and who had fled to Constantinople. Finally, he had not in his writing generally given token of the submission which the Apostolic Chair already demanded. But what does that signify in face of the fact that Cœlestin in interfering on behalf of Cyril disowned his western view and in the most frivolous fashion condemned Nestorius without having considered his teaching. That he did both things may be easily shewn. In his letter to the Pope Nestorius laid before the latter the formula “utraque natura quae per conjunctionem summam et inconfusam in una persona unigeniti adoratur”355355Ep. II. Nest. ad Cœlest. (Mansi IV., p. 1024.) (“the two natures which, perfectly joined together and without confusion, are adored in the one person of the only-begotten”). This was substantially the Western formula, and Cœlestin himself held no other view.356356It was substantially the Western formula: see on this above, p. 145, and Reuter, Ztschr. fur K: G. VI., p. 156 ff. Augustine, Cœlestin’s authority, had taught the doctrine of una persona and two natures, or still more frequently the “duæ substantiæ” which corresponds more closely with the Western conception; he had further used “deus (ex patre) et homo (ex matre), or “verbum et homo” or “deus-homo.” He had rejected every view which taught the changeableness of God, and explained that the “forma dei” remained together with the “forma servi” after the “assumptio carnis”. He had not himself questioned the relative correctness of the idea of the indwelling of the Godhead in Christ after the fashion of the indwelling of the Godhead in believers, i.e., as in a temple, if he also clung to the view that the Word became flesh. It is undoubted that according to Augustine, “Christ is the collective person comprising a duality” in connection with which we have to distinguish between what relates to the forma dei and the forma servi. It is only with certain qualifications that the formula “God was crucified” is to be employed, the perfectly correct statement is only “Christus crucifixus est in forma servi.” The passages in which Augustine speaks of “caro dei”, “natus ex femina deus” etc., are extremely rare, and for him these formulæ have in my opinion no real importance; for the reconciling work of Christ belongs according to Augustine to his humanity; see above. Here he is therefore in agreement with the Antiochians. (The fact that in one passage Augustine, like Tertullian, speaks of “mingling”, is of no importance). We meet with the same thing in Ambrose (de incarn. Sacram.) and again in Vincentius and Leo I. They all go back together to Tertullian (see above). Ambrose like Augustine speaks of two substances (natures) and he is “still more zealously intent than the latter in preserving the two in their integrity”: “Servemus distinctionem divinitatis et carnis.” Apollinaris has no more violent opponent than Ambrose. According to him the Johannine “becoming flesh” first gets its true meaning through “He dwelt among us.” When we speak of the death and passion of Christ we ought to add “secundum carnem”. And naturally in this connection emphasis is also laid on the “unus et idem”, but the co-existence of the formæ dei et servi is maintained. And here, as in Augustine, we meet with the formula that the Logos assumed a man. In fact Ambrose, the keenest opponent of Apollinaris, turned against the ἀντιμετάστασις τῶν ὀνομάτων as against a dangerous, Apollinarian mode of speech, and went so far in regard to the distinction of the natures as even to hazard (c. 2, § 13) the bold statement: “Fieri non protest, ut, per quem sunt omnia, sit onus ex nobis.” (More detailed information in Förster, Ambrosius, p. 128 f., 136 f.) The remaining evidence, moreover, which we possess in the shape of Papal letters etc., proves that the Westerns since the time of Tertullian and Novatian—in the latter also we find the “utraque substantia” (not “natura”) and the “sociatus homo et deus”—possessed a christological formula on which they were all agreed, based on their creed, and to which they had strictly adhered, (see the admirable remarks of Reuter op. cit. p. 191 f.). This form was closely akin to that of the Antiochians, although it rested on a different basis. The Antiochians, without being influenced by the West, had reached quite independently the formula “two natures, one person.” Not only the “mild” Antiochians (Loofs op. cit., p. 49 f.), but Theodore also (see above) and Nestorius had employed it. We must certainly admit that there is a radical difference, the Antiochian formula would strictly have run thus: The two natures, which are two hypostases, constitute together one prosopon or person who is to be adored, i.e., in the view of the Antiochians nature and hypostasis coincided and the undivided subject possessed its unity only in the union, the name, in the position of authority and in adoration. On the other hand we should have to paraphrase the Western form of the doctrine which was outlined by Tertullian, developed by Ambrose and handed on to the theologians of subsequent times, thus: Jesus Christ as one and the same possesses two substances (properties) or two co-existent forms (status, forma). The difference is obvious at the first glance. The former formula is of a speculative kind and from general conceptions constructs a personal being, the latter on the contrary assigns “the state of life” to a person, it is, so to speak (see above), of a legal or political kind. The two formulæ are thus quite disparate (the Antiochian and Alexandrian are on the contrary formally similar) and therefore it is very possible that the Western form in fine, considered from the religious point of view, contains a side which is more akin to the Alexandrian than to the Antiochian form. But in the formulæ Nestorius was in agreement with Cœlestin, and it cannot be proved that the Pope was able to look behind the formula (see the “simplicior” in Mansi V., p. 702). In fact the opposite can be proved. In all his numerous letters he took good care in connection with this affair not to state his own Christological view. If anything escapes him it does not remind us at all of Cyril’s views, see, e.g., the letter to the Church of Constantinople (Mansi IV., p. 1044): “Nestorius denies that the Logos assumed a man for our sakes.” He fastens solely on the θεοτόκος to which objection had been taken by Nestorius and he adduces a sort of argument in proof of its antiquity taken from a poem of Ambrose. Beyond this nothing else occurs in his letters to shew what was really to blame in the Christology of Nestorius. In place of this he from the very start loads him with abuse, with threats from the Bible and with imprecations of a wholly general character, denounces him to his Church as a heretic and writes him a letter (Mansi IV., p. 1026 sq.), which in its unfairness and bare-faced audacity is one of the vilest compositions we have of the fourth and fifth centuries. In his instructions to his legates too and in his letter to the Council, he carefully guarded against using any Christological formula at all, and he knew very well why. As Nestorius had expressed himself, particularly towards the end, his Christology came so near to that of Augustine that Cœlestin at all events was not able to distinguish the one from the other. Cœlestin’s main concern, however, was by no means with the Christology, but rather with the person of Nestorius because the latter had not treated the Pelagians ad nutum papæ. He accordingly, instructed his legates simply to take Cyril’s side, and in his letter to the Council contented himself with an exhortation to the members to preserve the old faith without saying what the old faith was. There is, however, not the slightest ground for the assumption that Augustine’s affair with the Galilean monk and presbyter Leporius (about 426, Mansi IV., pp. 518, 519 sq.) probably had an influence upon Cœlestin. This controversy, which was quickly settled, undoubtedly shews that on the basis of the formulæ of Tertullian and Novatian, discussions regarding the mystery of the person of Christ had been started in the West too, which led to considerable division of opinion, and that in opposition to this the Westerns held firmly to their “unus et idem” which, however, was something different from the Antiochian ἓν πρόσωπον (Leporius would have nothing to do with the idea of a deus natus et passus; Augustine and Aurelius of Carthage forced him to recant: the Confession of Leporius is in Hahn, Symbole 2, § 138). But in the affair with Nestorius Cœlestin nowhere referred to the heresy of Leporius and to his recantation. The commonitorium of Vincentius best shews how little disposed those in the West were to have their own Christological form of doctrine interfered with by the East or by the recognised Council of Ephesus. In this book, written soon after 431, the Creed of Ephesus is highly praised and Nestorius is abused, but at the same time the Christological formula of Tertullian and no other is used, and what is said exhibits complete uncertainty regarding the teaching of Nestorius. He did not, however, trouble himself 184about the formula, put his own Christology on one side and declared in favour of Cyril, while he made everything depend on the one point “θεοτόκος” in order at least to produce an appearance of difference, although this was just the very point regarding which Nestorius was prepared to make concessions.185
The Pope had determined to put down Nestorius. A Roman Synod (430) demanded of him immediate recantation on pain of excommunication. As if by way of insult Cyril was charged by the Pope himself with the duty of carrying the sentence out. Nestorius himself, whose Church was revolutionised, now 186urged the Emperor to call a General Council, and in addition to this collected a number of accusations against Cyril for the way in which he had discharged the duties of his office. To the twelve anathemas which an Alexandrian Council under the presidency of Cyril had served on him, and which embodied the teaching of Cyril in sharply cut phrases (θεοτόκος γεγέννηκε σαρκικῶς σάρκα γεγονότα τὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ λόγον—ἕνωσις καθ᾽ ὑπόστασιν—ἕνωσις φυσική—σὰρξ τοῦ κυρίου ζωοποιός,—the mother of God bore flesh born after the manner of flesh, the Logos of God—hypostatic union—natural union—the life-giving flesh of the Lord) he replied by twelve counter-anathemas.357357Mansi IV., pp. 1081 sq., 1099 sq., Hahn, § 142, 143. In the third thesis of Nestorius the permanence of the difference of the two natures also after the Incarnation is strongly emphasised. The fifth thesis runs thus: “Si quis post assumptionem hominis naturaliter dei filium unum esse audet dicere, anathema sit.” It is the most questionable one. This sealed the breach. The Emperor, displeased with Cyril, summoned a Council to meet at Ephesus at Whitsuntide 431. Cyril who appeared with some 50 bishops, here shewed how an Emperor, such as Theodosius was, ought to be treated. Without waiting for the arrival of the Syrians under John of Antioch, the cautious friend (?) of Nestorius,358358John of Antioch was perhaps also one of the false friends of Nestorius. The matter is still not quite clear—spite of the Coptic sources which are now at our command. Probably John came so late intentionally, in order to be able to turn the scale; from the first his attitude towards Nestorius had been an equivocal one. We may indeed assume that he wished to get rid both of Nestorius and of Cyril in order to secure for himself the supreme influence over the Church. the Egyptian party supported by the bishop of Ephesus, Memnon, on its own authority and spite of the opposition of the Imperial commissioner, constituted itself the Council, treated Nestorius who naturally did not appear at this meeting, but waited in the city for the Syrians, as an accused person, approved of all Cyril’s declarations as being in harmony with 187Holy Scripture and the Nicene Creed, pronounced the deposition of Nestorius and declared him to have forfeited priestly fellowship. In opposition to this petty assembly, which did not set up any new creed, but which on the contrary took up the position that the sole question had reference to the Nicene Creed which was in danger, Nestorius and his friends, as soon as the Syrians arrived, held the legal Council under the presidency of the Imperial Commissioner and pronounced sentence of deposition on Cyril and Memnon. It was only now that the Papal legates arrived in Ephesus and they at once took the side of Cyril.359359Otherwise the Westerns were not present at all. In accordance with their instructions they reopened the case pro forma, in order to exalt the authority of the Apostolic Chair. Cyril’s party complied with this, and the Legates then agreed to everything which had been done, after all the documents had been once more read over.360360Besides Cœlestin’s letter to the Council a similar one from the Carthaginian Archbishop Capreolus who excused the absence of the Africans was read again. This letter too is instructive because the bishop does not go beyond counselling that no change should be made on the ancient faith. He expresses no opinion on the question in dispute, (Mansi IV., p. I207 sq.). With the cry, “the whole Council thanks the new Paul Cœlestin, the new Paul Cyril, Cœlestin the guardian of the faith, Cœlestin who concurs with the Council: One Cœlestin, one Cyril, one faith of the Council, one faith of the whole world,”361361Mansi l.c. p. 1287. At the close the Council did the Pope the further favour of condemning the Pelagians. Thus both parties were quits. Cœlestin condemned Nestorius without knowing what his teaching was and thereby disparaged his own doctrine, and the followers of Cyril condemned the Pelagians without thoroughly examining their theses and condemned themselves in condemning them. We may put it thus and yet not mistake the peculiar solidarity which existed between the Antiochians and the Pelagians; for the Ephesian judges knew nothing of this. It was Cassian who first drew attention to it (libr. VII., de incarn. Chr.). this assembly closed, which sought to maintain the ancient Nicene faith and did maintain it, at which, however, there was no discussion, but at which unanimity was reached solely on the basis of a selection of authorities.362362See the Acts in Mansi; Vicentius too in the so-called Second Commonitorium describes the procedure; they interrogated antiquity. “Peter of Alex., Athanasius, Theophilus of Alex., the three Cappadocians, Felix and Julius of Rome were quoted at Ephesus as teachers, councillors, witnesses and judges (what, however, was quoted from them originated with Apollinaris!), and also Cyprian and Augustine.” According to Vincentius these constituted “the hallowed decalogue”. But in addition to these the opinions of others were also adduced.188
The following will be found in the historical accounts. The Emperor, instead of standing up for the right, allowed himself to be overawed. At first it is true the resolutions of Cyril’s Council were annulled, but thereafter the controversy was to be settled in true Byzantine fashion by the removal of the leaders. The Emperor gave the force of law both to the deposition of Cyril and Memnon and to that of Nestorius. The Alexandrians, however, were united and followed one master, but this was not the case with the opposite party. Nestorius who was violent but not tenacious, resigned; soon, however, his isolation was to change to imprisonment. In the eyes of the Emperor the doctrine which he represented was by no means condemned; but Cyril succeeded in getting permission to resume possession of his bishopric, and by means of intrigue and bribery his party continued more and more to gain ground at the Court and the capital. Still he could not reckon on a victory as regards the dogmatic question; he had to be content with knowing that a man who was acceptable to him occupied the chair of Constantinople. The Emperor sought to bring about a union, and the friends of Nestorius became disunited. One section under the leadership of John of Antioch was prepared to come to terms, and to this party Theodoret,363363He was now the spiritual leader of the Antiochians. He fought untiringly for the view that God was incapable of suffering. the most distinguished Antiochian scholar, also belonged, though undoubtedly with a certain reserve. Another section actively resisted. Cyril’s behaviour in the year 432-433 is little to his credit. To him it was of more importance to get the condemnation of his mortal enemy, Nestorius, carried through in the Church, than to preserve his dogmatic system pure. Thus he subscribed the creed submitted by the moderate Antiochians, without, however, retracting his earlier opinions, and in return for this got some of the heads of the opposite party, above all, John of Ephesus, to abandon Nestorius. Cyril could save his consistency by interpreting this Antiochian creed in accordance with his Christology; the friends of Nestorius were not able to 189escape the disgrace which they had brought upon themselves by their treachery towards their ill-used friend. But in a question which was for him a matter of faith Cyril had agreed to a compromise, in proof of the fact that all hierarchs are open to conviction when they are in danger of losing power and influence.364364The Creed of Union is in Mansi V., pp. 781, 291, 303. (Hahn § 99). It was composed as early as the year 431, probably by Theodoret; and was sent from Ephesus to be submitted to the Emperor, Cyril subscribed it in the year 433. The Creed is a dogmatic work of art in which the Antiochians, however, could without much difficulty recognise their views, but not so Cyril. The second, and really important half runs thus: δύο γὰρ φύσεων ἕνωσις γέγονε· διὸ ἕνα Χριστόν, ἕνα ὑιόν, ἕνα κύριον ὁμολογοῦμεν. Κατὰ ταύτην τὴν τῆς ἀσυγχύτου ἑνώσεως ἔννοιαν ὁμολογοῦμεν τὴν ἁγίαν παρθένον θεοτόκον, [Nestorius had already admitted this, and he might in fact have subscribed this creed without any scruples of conscience] διὰ τὸ τὸν Θεὸν λόγον σαρκωθῆναι καὶ ἐνανθρωπῆσαι, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῆς τῆς συλλήψεως ἑνῶσαι ἑαυτῷ τὸν ἐξ αὐτῆς ληφθέντα ναόν. Τὰς δὲ εὐαγγελικὰς καὶ ἀποστολικὰς περὶ τοῦ κυρίου φωνὰς ἴσμεν τὸυς θεολόγους ἄνδρας τὰς μὲν κοινοποιοῦντας, ὡς ἐφ᾽ ἑνὸς προσώπου, τὰς δὲ διαιροῦντας, ὡς ἐπὶ δύο φύσεων (Cyril admitted that!) καὶ τὰς μὲν θεοπρεπεῖς κατὰ τὴν θεότητα τοῦ Χριστοῦ, τὰς δὲ ταπεινὰς κατὰ τὴν ἀνθρωπότητα αὐτοῦ παραδιδόντας. This formula of union which reflects no discredit on the Antiochians, especially as they, like the Arians and Semi-Arians before them, had a theological rather than a religious interest in the problem, is markedly different from the later Chalcedonian formula. It does not abandon an intelligible position as that was understood by the Antiochians. Cyril had to content himself with the words ἕνωσις and θεοτόκος and had to put up with the absence of συνάφεια. He naturally clung firmly to the μία φύσις σεσαρκωμένη, declaring that the creed of union merely excluded the misinterpretations of the doctrine he had hitherto taught, misinterpretations which he had himself always disavowed; in fact he went so far as to assert that the Antiochians too understood the difference of the natures after the incarnation as being purely a distinction in thought. He could, moreover, reckon on the victory of his opponents being a Pyrrhic victory. His own reputation and that of his dogmatic system went on increasing; thousands of monks were busy spreading it, and Cyril himself was constantly working at the Court and in Rome. The condemnation of Nestorius was followed by the most disgraceful treatment of the unfortunate bishop. In consequence of the confusion which arose because he was condemned while his teaching was tolerated by others, the whole party was weakened; the strict Nestorians separated from the others,365365This was a slow process which began with the emigration to Edessa and was concluded only at the end of the fifth century with the formation of a strictly exclusive Nestorian Church. It maintained itself in the extreme East of Christendom, in East Syria and Persia, and soon took on a national colouring; on the strongly marked national consciousness of the Nestorians in Church matters, see Horst, Elias von Nisibis, p. 112 ff. The Emperor Zeno put an end to their existence in the Empire in 489. All the successors of Theodosius II. persecuted them. How the latter came to have such a ferocious hatred of Nestorius whom he had once protected has not, however, been yet explained. The Emperor gave orders that all the writings of Nestorius were to be burned and that his followers were to be called “Simonists”. The result was that the writings of Diodorus and Theodore were all the more eagerly circulated in the East and translated into other languages. Edessa in particular did a great deal in the way of getting the Greek-Antiochian literature put into Syrian (Persian, Armenian). Much that is of a free and antique character has been preserved in the Nestorian-Persian or Chaldean Church; Assemani, Bibl. Orient. III., 2; Silbernagl, Kirchen des Orients p. 202 ff.; Kattenbusch, op. cit. I., p. 226 ff. For the history of dogma, in the strict sense of the word, the Nestorians are no longer of any importance. and since Cyril had not been under the necessity 190of retracting anything, he was able to direct his energies towards getting the decrees of his assembly accepted as orthodox, as ecumenical decrees, under cover of the union-creed. He did actually succeed in a few years in getting this done in the East; in the West they had ranked as such from the first. The situation continued to be perplexed and became more and more disingenuous.
|« Prev||1. The Nestorian Controversy.||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version