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4. The Monergist and Monothelite Controversies. The Sixth Council and Johannes Damascenus.481481See the material in Mansi X., XI.; in addition the works of Maximus Confessor, of Anastasius Biblioth., of Anastasius Abbas, and the Chronographs; see also the Lib. pontif. and the works of Joh. Damascenus. Accounts by Combefis (1648), Tamagnini (1678), Assemani (1764), Gibbon, Walch (Vol. 9), Schröckh, Hefele, Baur, and Dorner. Further, Möller in Herzog’s R. Encykl. (Art. “Monothel.”), Wagenmann, there also, Art. “Maximus Confessor”.
Paul of Samosata equally482482See Vol. III., p. 41. with the old Antiochians483483In the “Ekthesis” it is expressly admitted that Nestorius did not teach the doctrine of two wills. had affirmed the doctrine of the one will (μία θέλησις) in reference to Jesus Christ. The statement of the former, “the different natures and the different persons have one single mode of union,—agreement in will, from which it plainly appears that there is a unity as to energy in the things thus joined together,” (αἱ διάφοροι φύσεις καὶ τὰ διάφορα πρόσωπα ἕνα καὶ μόνον ἑνώσεως ἔχουσι τρόπον τὴν κατὰ θέλησιν σύμβασιν, ἐξ ἧς ἡ κατὰ ἐνέργειαν ἐπί τῶν οὕτως συμβιβασθέντων ἀλλήλοις ἀναφαίνεται μονάς), lies at the basis of the Antiochene Dogmatic even after it had taken definite shape as a doctrine of two natures. They were thus Monothelites. On the other hand, Gregory of Nyssa, Cyril, and the Areopagite had taught the doctrine of one energy in Christ, 253the latter with the definite addition “θεανδρική”.484484Dionys. Areop. (Opp. ed. Corderius, edit. Veneta 1755, T. I., p. 593), ep. 4, (ad Caium): ἡμεῖς δὲ τὸν Ἰησοῦν οὐκ ἀνθρωπικῶς ἀφορίζομεν· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος μονον (οὐδὲ ὑπερούσιος ἢ ἄνθρωπος μόνον) ἀλλ᾽ ἄνθρωπος ἀληθῶς, ὁ διαφερόντως φιλάνθρωπος ὑπὲρ ἀνθρώπους καὶ κατὰ ἀνθρώπους ἐκ τῆς τῶν ἀνθρώπων οὐσίας ὁ ὑπερούσιος οὐσιωμένος . . . καὶ γὰρ ἵνα συνελόντες εἴπωμεν οὐδὲ ἄνθρωπος ἦν, οὐχ ὡς μὴ ἄνθρωπος, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς ἐξ ἀνθρώπων, ἀνθρώπων ἐπέκεινα, καὶ ὑπὲρ ἄνθρωπον ἀληθῶς ἄνθρωπος γεγονώς. Καὶ τὸ λοιπὸν οὐ κατὰ Θεὸν τὰ θεῖα δράσας, οὐ τὰ ἀνθρώπεια κατὰ ἄνθρωπον, ἀλλ᾽ ἀνδρωθέντος Θεοῦ καινήν τινα τὴν θεανδρικὴν ἐνέργειαν ἡμῖν πεπολιτευμένος. The Antiochians and those last mentioned meant, however, something different by their respective statements. The view of the Antiochians was that the human nature by placing itself at the service of the divine was wholly filled with the divine will—their μία θέλησις was not the product of a physico-psychological, but of an ethical, mode of regarding Christ. The Alexandrians regarded the God-Logos as the subject of the God-Man who had made the human nature His own and used it as his organ; they thus thought of a unity of energy having its roots in the unity of the mysterious constitution of the God-Man. In Leo’s doctrinal letter there was what was for the East a new conception of it—“Agit utraque forma quod proprium est”, “each nature does what is peculiar to it”, though undoubtedly “cum alterius communione”—“in union with the other”. This way of conceiving of it was indirectly sanctioned by the Chalcedonian decree. In the century following it gave great offence; it besides rendered it necessary to consider the nature of the energy, the willing and the acting of Christ, and as a matter of fact it was the most serious stumbling-block for the Severians whose thesis “one composite nature” (μία φύσις σύνθετος) naturally demanded the “one energy” (μία ἑνέργεια). But still owing to the Chalcedonian Creed a theory gradually got a footing in the Church according to which each nature was considered by itself while the unity was consequently conceived of as a product, and the doctrine of the Agnoetæ (see p. 239) which made its appearance amongst the Severians proves that even this party could not avoid what was a sort of splitting up of the one Christ. The neo-orthodox theology of a Leontius and Justinian spite of its Cyrillian character required that Christ should be conceived of as having two energies, although it is going too far to maintain 254that already in the time of Justinian the question had been decided485485Loofs, p. 316. in accordance with the later orthodox view.486486According to anathema No. 3 of the Fifth Council the active principle in the Redeemer is the undivided person who as such performs miracles and suffers. No. 8 is undoubtedly opposed to this: μενούσης ἑκατέρας φύσεως, ὅπερ ἐστίν, ἡνῶσθαι σαρκὶ νοοῦμεν τὸν λόγον. The dispute as to whether there was one will or two, dates at least as far back as the beginning of the 6th century; but the assertion of two wills is as a rule charged against the orthodox by their opponents as the logical result of their views.
One might try to explain the fact that the question was raised in the seventh century at all, from the “inner logic” of the matter; but the dogma in the form in which it was settled under Justinian, still left room for the raising of countless other questions which were not less important. As a matter of fact it was a purely political consideration, the desire, namely, to win back the Monophysite provinces, which conjured up the controversy. The latter accordingly essentially belongs to political history and it will be sufficient here to fix the most important points, since the doctrine of one will equally with that of two wills would have been in harmony with the decisions of the Fourth and Fifth Councils.
The patriarch of the capital, Sergius, advised his emperor, the powerful and victorious Heraclius, (610-641) to secure the conquests he had once more made in the South and East by meeting the Monophysites half way with the formula that the God-Man consisting of two natures effected everything by means of one divine-human energy. In support of this doctrine Sergius collected together passages from the Fathers, large numbers of which belonging both to ancient and recent times, lay to hand, won over influential clergy in Armenia, Syria, and Egypt, and succeeded in conjunction with the Emperor in filling the eastern Patriarchates with men whose views were similar to his own and actually laid the foundation of a union with the Monophysites (633). But a Palestinian monk named Sophronius, who was afterwards bishop of Jerusalem, came to Egypt, declared the μία ἐνέργεια to be “Apollinarianism”, seriously embarrassed the imperial Patriarch, Cyrus, in Alexandria, and impressed even Sergius to whom he had recourse. As on the one hand, however, 255there was a desire not to abandon again the position gained in reference to the Monophysites, and as on the other it was necessary to avoid the appearance of endangering orthodoxy, Sergius now declared that all discussion of the question of energies was to cease, and signified his wish in this matter to his colleagues in Alexandria and to the Emperor himself. He wrote at the same time to Bishop Honorius of Rome.487487Shortly before this the controversy between Rome and Byzantium regarding the title “Ecumenical Patriarch” had been going on; see Gelzer in the Jahrbb. f. Protest. Theol. 1887, p. 549 ff., and Kattenbusch, op. cit. I., p. 111 f. The latter at that time published the celebrated letter which played such an important part in 1870 and the treatment of which in the second edition of Hefele’s History of the Councils has justly occasioned so much surprise.488488See S. Theol. Lit. Ztg., 1878, No. XI. The letter is in Mansi, XI., p. 538 sq. Honorius in this letter describes Sophronius as a man who is stirring up new controversies, praises Sergius for his great prudence in discarding the new expression (μία ἐνέργεια) which might be a stumbling-block to the simple, declares that Holy Scripture makes no mention either of one energy or of two energies, that the latter expression is suggestive of Nestorianism and the former of Eutychianism, and incidentally states as something self-evident that “we confess one will of the Lord Jesus Christ” (ἕν θέλημα ὁμολογοῦμεν τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ), that is, the one will of the Godhead. This was not yet in any sense a controversial question; but Sergius in his letter to Alexandria had regarded it as likewise self-evident that in putting the question of the energies into the background he could not in any case agree to the doctrine of two wills.489489The heterodoxy of Honorius does not certainly amount to much, since he adheres to Leo’s doctrinal letter and since nothing was yet decided regarding the energies and the will. Meanwhile Sophronius in his character as the new bishop of Jerusalem had issued a work definitely based on the Chalcedonian Creed as interpreted by Leo’s doctrinal letter. Two energies are to be recognised in the one Christ who is in both the same. One and the same Christ followed the energy both of his divine and also of his human nature. Still Sophronius does not say anything of two wills. 256He likewise had recourse to Rome, and Honorius, like Sergius, made an effort to bring about union between the contending parties in the Eastern Church by dissuading them from employing the formula. Heraclius gave his support to these efforts and published an edict drawn up by Sergius (638), the Ecthesis, which forbade the use both of μία ἐνέργεια and of “two energies” as equally dangerous expressions. The latter expression, it was maintained, leads to the assumption of two conflicting wills in Christ, while Christ has only one will since the human nature acts only in accordance with the God-Logos who has assumed it.490490Mansi, X., p. 931 sq.: “We must confess one will in our Lord Jesus Christ, the true God, implying that at no time did his flesh animated by a reasonable soul accomplish what was natural for it to do, separately, and by its own impulse, in opposition to the suggestion of the God-Logos who was hypostatically united with it, but that on the contrary it acted only when and how and in the way the Logos wished.” The personality of the Redeemer thus appears, in strict accordance with the theology of Cyril, as built up on the basis of the God-Logos.
But already Rome and the West once more bethought themselves of their dogmatics. Every attempt to meet the views of the Monophysites always brought the Byzantine Emperor into conflict with Rome. Pope John IV. as early as the year 641 condemned Monothelitism at a Roman Council. Immediately thereafter Heraclius died, putting the responsibility of the Ecthesis on to Sergius. The latter had died previously to this; Pyrrhus, who held similar views, took his place. After severe struggles in the palace, which Pyrrhus had to pay for by his deposition, Constans II., a grandson of Heraclius, became emperor. Those at the Court were resolved to maintain the Ecthesis and not to submit to the Roman bishop, Theodore.491491John IV. had already, moreover, attempted to hush up the conduct of Honorius, to excuse it, that is. Meanwhile North Africa had become the second headquarters of the Dyothelites. The Byzantine governor there, Gregory, the patron of the monks, who was on bad terms with the Court, made use of the African dislike of Byzantium and its dogmatics in order, if possible, to detach the Province from Constantinople, and with him sided the most learned Chalcedonian of the East, 257Maximus (Confessor) and many other Easterns, monks especially, who had fallen out with the Emperor.492492Battifol, L’abbaye de Rossano, Paris, 1891, has given us information of first-rate quality regarding the exodus of the Greek monks and priests to (North Africa) Sicily and Calabria. Lower Italy underwent at that time a new Hellenisation. Pyrrhus too took up his quarters in North Africa and was easily converted to dyotheletism. In Rome he completed his change of opinion and was recognised by Theodore as the legitimate bishop of Constantinople. The Emperor was flooded with addresses from North Africa the aim of which was to induce him to enter the lists on behalf of orthodoxy. But the defeat of Gregory by the Saracens weakened the courage and interfered with the plans of the Anti-Byzantine coalition. Pyrrhus with all possible speed once more made his peace with the Emperor and with the Imperial dogmatics; but the Roman bishop stood firm, condemned Pyrrhus, and pronounced sentence of deposition on Paul who was at the time occupying the Byzantine chair. The Emperor, on the advice of Paul and in order to pacify the Empire, issued in the year 648 the Typus, which bears the same relation to the doctrine of the wills as the Ecthesis does to the doctrine of the energies. It simply prohibits under severe penalties all controversy regarding the question as to whether it is necessary to believe in one will and one energy or in two wills and two energies, and forbids the prosecution of any one because of his position on this question. For the sake of the Westerns the Ecthesis was removed from the principal church of the capital.493493Mansi X., p. 10t9 sq. The form of the Typus as distinguished from the Ecthesis is worthy of note. It no longer speaks the theological language which Justinian above all had naturalised. Constans in fact more and more gave evidence of possessing qualities which make him appear akin in spirit to the iconoclastic Emperors of a later time. Conversely, amongst the most outstanding monks and priests of the seventh century we already meet with that enmity to the State, in other words, that desire to see the Church independent of the State, which occasioned the frightful struggle in the eighth and ninth centuries. In this respect the position taken up by Maximus Confessor who contested the right of the Emperor to interfere in dogmatic questions and disputed his sacerdotal dignity, is specially characteristic.
But Rome was far from accepting this part-payment as a full discharge. It had wholly different plans. The situation seemed a favourable one for estranging from the Emperor the entire orthodoxy of the East and binding it to the successor of Peter, 258in order to shew the Byzantine ruler the power of the Apostolic chair. What Justinian had done to the latter was to be requited, although Constans was the Sovereign of Rome. The new Pope, Martin I., who, like many of his predecessors, had formerly been the Papal Apokrisiar in Constantinople, got together a large Council in the Lateran in October 649. Over a hundred Western bishops attended; they were surrounded by numerous Greek priests and monks who had fled from Constans, first to North Africa, and then after the catastrophe there, to Sicily, Calabria, and Rome. The Council was a conspiracy against Constantinople, and he who was at the head of it was raised to the throne without the imperial sanction. We have here a continuation of the policy of Gregory I., but in a more energetic and menacing form. The dyothelite doctrine after a discussion lasting over several sittings, was made a fixed dogma by the help of the huge patristic apparatus contributed by the Greeks,494494“We have a library, but no manuscripts,” wrote the Pope in that same year to Bishop Amandus. and finally a symbol was adopted which added on to the Chalcedonian Creed the words, “two natural wills” (“duas naturales voluntates”) “two natural operations” (duas naturales operationes), without detriment to the unity of the person (“one and the same Jesus Christ our Lord and God as willing and effecting divinely and humanly our salvation”—“eundem atque unum dominum nostrum et deum I. Chr. utpote volentem et operantem divine et humane nostram salutem”), and allowing in fact the validity of the proposition when correctly understood; “one incarnate nature of the divine Logos”—μία φύσις τοῦ Θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη. The twenty canons attached to the Creed define the doctrine more precisely and cover the whole of Christology. In the eighteenth canon Origen and Didymus are reckoned amongst the other “nefandissimi hæretici”. In addition, the fathers of Monothelitism, of the Ecthesis and the Typus, Theodore of Pharan, Cyrus of Alexandria, and also the three Constantinopolitan patriarchs, Sergius, Pyrrhus, and Paul were condemned. Monothelitism was designated as Monophysitism, while the Typus again was described as the godless decree which robbed Jesus 259Christ of His will, His action, and consequently of His natures generally. Maximus Confessor too stated this brilliant thought with many variations.495495The Acts of the Council, which even yet enjoys a special authority in the Romish Church, are in Mansi XI., the Creed, p. 1150; see also Hahn 2, § 110. When we read the resolutions of this Council the impression produced is that of a polemic encounter arranged with some secret end in view.
Martin now made the most strenuous endeavours to get authority over the Churches of the East by the help of the decision of the Council. Like a second Dioscurus he interfered with Eastern affairs, made use of the desperate state of the Churches in the East which were in part in the possession of the Saracens and consequently were no longer in connection with Constantinople, in order to play the roll of supreme bishop, and accordingly worked in direct opposition to the imperial interests and perhaps even conspired with the Saracens. The Emperor now proceeded to take energetic measures. The first attempt to seize the Pope miscarried, it is true, owing to the faithlessness of the Exarch who was sent to Italy. But the new Exarch succeeded in getting Martin into his power (653). As a traitor who had secretly made common cause with the Saracens and as a bishop who had been illegally appointed, he was brought to Constantinople. Dishonoured and disgraced he was then banished to the Chersonesus where he died in the year 655. At the same time proceedings were taken against the dogmatic theologian of Dyothelitism, the monk Maximus, the mystic and scholastic, who for the sake of scholasticism was unwilling to do without the complicated formuke of the two natures, two wills, two operations in the one person, and who had actually made a profound study of them. In Rome Eugenius was now chosen as Pope and he was disposed to come to some arrangement. At the same time the most reasonable proposal was made which could possibly have been made in the circumstances: It was allowable to speak of two natural wills which, however, in accordance with the hypostatic union, become one hypostatic will. Maximus probably endeavoured to prevent the West from falling into this “heresy”, but the successor of Eugenius (+ 657) Vitalian, gave in without any 260explanations and once more restored the communion with Constantinople which had for so long been interrupted. Constans himself visited Rome in the year 663; the peace lasted till the violent death of the Emperor (668) when he was staying at Syracuse. Rome’s lofty plans seemed to be destroyed.
The revolution in policy which now followed in Constantinople is not perfectly comprehensible spite of the obvious explanation that the Monophysite provinces were lost and that consequently there was no longer any reason for shewing any enthusiasm on behalf of Monothelitism or for opposing the establishment of Dyothelitism. Then we may reflect further that, as a matter of fact, the Chalcedonian Creed the more it was regarded from the outside demanded the doctrine of two wills, and that this doctrine alone possessed in Maximus a theologian of weight. But these considerations do not entirely clear up the facts of the case. Constantine Pogonatus seems really to have held the memory of Pope Vitalian in honour because the latter had supported him in putting down the usurpers. For this very reason he hesitated to comply with the wish of the Eastern Patriarchs that Vitalian’s name should be erased from the diptychs—the bishop of Constantinople could never desire to enter into alliance with Rome.496496There was once more friction between Rome and the patriarch of Constantinople, and this threatened to make the old controversy a pretext for quarrelling. It was perhaps a real love of peace or still more a perception of the fact that Italy must not be lost to the Empire, and that Italy, moreover, could be retained only by an alliance with the Roman see, which induced the Emperor to arrange a meeting and a conference of the opposing parties. In the year 678, taking up an entirely impartial attitude, he requested the Roman bishop to send representatives to the capital to attend a gathering of this kind. Rome, i.e., the new bishop Agatho, said nothing at first; why is not quite clear. At any rate he once more set afloat in the West certain declarations in favour of the doctrine of two wills. Meanwhile the Patriarch Theodore of Constantinople and Macarius of Antioch who, however, resided in the Capital, succeeded in getting the Emperor’s sanction for erasing Vitalian’s name from the diptychs. Finally, Agatho sent the desired deputies, 261together with a very comprehensive letter which was modelled in imitation of Leo’s doctrinal letter, and in which at the same time the infallibility of the Roman see in matters of faith was expressed in a supremely self-conscious fashion.497497Mansi XI., pp. 234-286. From this time onwards the Emperor was resolved to yield to the Pope in everything (why?). By means of an edict addressed to George, the new patriarch of the Capital, who had shewn himself pliable, he now summoned a Council to meet, which though it was not originally intended by the Emperor himself to be ecumenical, did nevertheless come to be this. It lasted from November 680 to September 681, had 18 sittings and was attended by about 170 bishops. (The Byzantine East was already very seriously curtailed owing to the Mohammedan conquests.) It was presided over by the Emperor, or, what is the same thing, by the imperial representatives, while the Roman Legates voted first. It may be called the Council of antiquaries and palæographists; for really dogmatic considerations were hardly adduced. On the contrary, operations were conducted on both sides by the help of the voluminous collections of the Acts of earlier Councils and whole volumes of citations from the Fathers, which, however,—and this is in the highest degree characteristic—were after delivery sealed until the exact time when they were to be read out, so that they might not be secretly falsified at the very last moment. Moreover, palæographic investigations were conducted which were not without result.498498The Acts of the Council in Mansi, XI. Monothelitism had not a few supporters; the most energetic of these was the Patriarch of Antioch, Macarius, who amongst other things appealed to Vigilius, but was forbidden to do so; the letters, it was alleged, were tampered with, which was not the case. Other fathers expressed a desire that it should not be permissible to go beyond the conclusions of the Five Councils in any direction. A proposal was also made at the sixteenth sitting to grant two wills for the period of Christ’s earthly life, but to allow of only one after the Resurrection.499499Mansi XI., p. 611 sq. But the new “Manichean” and “Apollinarian” was promptly expelled from 262the place of meeting. The experiment made by another Monothelite and which he carried on for two hours, of laying his creed on the body of a dead person in order to restore him to life and thus to prove the truth of the doctrine of one will, miscarried.500500Fifteenth Session, Mansi XI., p. 602 sq. The Council knew what the will of the Emperor was, and following the lead of the Patriarch of the Capital, placed itself at the disposal of “the new David” who “has thoroughly grasped the completeness of the two natures of Christ our God”! Vitalian’s name was restored; in accordance with the wish of Agatho a long series of Constantinopolitan patriarchs from Sergius downward together with Macarius and other Monothelites were condemned, amongst whom Pope Honorius too was put.501501For the mode in which this “problem” is treated by Roman theologians, see Hefele III., pp. 290-313. Finally a creed full of coarse flattery of the Emperor was adopted,502502Mansi XI., p. 631 sq. and this completed the triumph of the Pope over Byzantium. Two natural θελήσεις ἢ θελήματα were acknowledged and two natural energies existing indivisibly (ἀδιαιρέτως), unchangeably (ἀτρέπτως), undividedly (ἀμερίστως), unconfusedly (ἀσυγχύτως) in the one Christ. They are not to be thought of as mutually opposed, on the contrary, the human will follows the divine and almighty will and far from resisting or opposing it, is in subjection to it. The human will is thus not done away with; but there is on the other hand a certain interchange; it is the will of the divine Logos, just as the human nature without being done away with has nevertheless become the nature of the divine Logos. The Conciliar epistle to Agatho extols the latter as an imitator of the prince of the Apostles and as the teacher of the mystery of theology.503503Mansi XI., p. 658 sq. The Monothelites who had been condemned by the Council were handed over to him to be further dealt with—an unheard of act hitherto. In the West the decrees were universally accepted—in Spain too, where, soon after, the Augustinian interpretation of the Chalcedonian Creed was advanced yet a stage further (as we see 263in Adoptianism). In the East again the adoption of Dyothelitism which, backed up by the authority of Rome had gained the victory, did not by any means proceed smoothly. Not only did a Monothelite reaction ensue, which was, however, definitely disposed of504504On the Maronites, see Kessler in Herzog’s R.-Encykl. IX., p. 346 ff. in the year 713, but there was, above all, a reaction against the penetration of the Roman spirit into the East. This which began with the second Trullan Council in 692 was continued in the age of the iconoclastic Emperors and of Photius. Apart, however, from the controversy about the “filioque” which was dragged in and which has already been treated of above p. 126, it belongs entirely to political history, or to that of worship and discipline.
It is incontrovertible that Rome at the Fourth and Sixth Councils permanently gave her formula to the East and that this formula admits of a Græco-Cyrillian interpretation only by the use of theological artifice. But this interpretation had been given to it already at the Fifth Council and had an effect on Rome herself, who from this time onward had to tolerate also the μία φύσις τοῦ Θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη—the one incarnate nature of the divine Logos.505505Why in accordance with this the use of the formula ἓν θέλημα θεανδρικόν not allowed together with the doctrine of the two wills, is a point that is not easily understood. It was owing to Romish obstinacy. This circumstance explains on the one hand the strange lack of vigour shewn by the Easterns in combating Dyothelitism, and on the other hand the paradoxical fact that the ablest of the Eastern theologians, even the Mystics, supported the doctrine of the two wills. But in order to explain the action of the Mystics it is necessary further to point to the fact that it was no longer possible to do without the scholastic theology of the neo-orthodox, Leontius and Justinian, which had the “duality” as its presupposition, and in conjunction with Mysticism presented a subject for endless speculations. To this was added the fact that the Eucharist and the whole system of worship, already satisfied in a much more certain and more living way than did the system of dogma which had become purely “sacred antiquity”, the feeling of the Church as to what was of direct concern and of supreme 264importance in the past—namely, the thought of deification. This is shewn by the nature of the discussions in the Sixth Council. The impression we get that at that time believing thought, in the sense of a direct and living interest in the spiritual and religious substance of the Faith, had been entirely blighted, very strongly induces us to look for the life of this Church in some other sphere. And if we ask where we are to look for it, the image-controversies on the one hand, and the scholastic investigations of Johannes Damascenus on the other, supply the answer. The dogma which had been already settled at the Fifth Council and which at the Sixth Council had been once more revived and—not without danger—meddled with, embodied itself in cultus and science.
The Christological propositions which are worked out in the Dogmatics of Johannes Damascenus, especially in the third book, are—even according to Thomasius—stated in “what is pretty much a scholastic form”. It is the idea of distinction which dominates the method of treatment. Christ did not assume human nature in its generic form—for John as an Aristotelian is aware that the genus embraces all individuals—but neither did he unite himself with a particular man; on the contrary he assumed the human nature in such a way that he individualised what he assumed and what is not a part but the whole. This is the kind of cross which had already been recognised by Leontius, which has no hypostasis of its own and yet is not without it, but which possessing its independent existence in the hypostasis of the Logos is enhypostatic. Thus Christ is the composite hypostasis. The “centaur” and “satyr” against which Apollinaris had warned the Church, have thus not been avoided The hypostasis belongs to both natures and yet belongs wholly to each of them. But the divine nature preponderates very considerably (cf. the old deceptive analogy of the relation between soul and body in man, III., 7) and it has been correctly remarked that with Johannes Damascenus the Logos is at one time the hypostasis and then again the composite being of Christ as something between. In any case the humanity is in no way considered as formally entirely homogeneous with the divinity. This is shewn too in the 265doctrine of the interchange (μετάδοσις), appropriation, exchange, (οἰκείωσις, ἀντίδοσις) of the peculiarities of the two natures, which John conceives of as so complete that he speaks of a “coinherence or circumincession of the parts with one another”—εἰς ἄλληλα τῶν μέρων περιχώρησις. The flesh has actually become God, and the divinity has become flesh and entered into a state of humiliation. This exchange is to be conceived of as implying that the flesh also is permitted to permeate the divinity, but this is allowed only to the flesh which has itself first been deified; i.e., it is not the actual humanity which permeates the divinity; hence the Logos too remains entirely untouched by the sufferings. Everything is accordingly in this way assigned to the two wills and the two operations. The religious point of view of the whole system is that of Cyril, but this point of view cannot be perfectly realised by means of the “duality” already laid down in the dogma. Just for this reason a certain amount of room is left for the human nature of Christ and for the work of the philosophers. That is why the Christology of Johannes Damascenus has become classical.506506It is characteristic of the way in which John works out the doctrine, that his arguments throughout are based on passages quoted verbally from the Fathers, though the names of the authors are frequently not given. A mosaic of citations lies at the basis of the scholastic distinctions; Leontius is most frequently drawn upon, but he is never mentioned by name. John is also dependent to a very great extent on Maximus. How scholasticism has stifled theology is most strikingly shewn in proposition III. 3 (ed. Lequien 1712, I., p. 207): ἀλλὰ τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ ποιοῦν τοῖς αἱρετικοῖς τὴν πλάνην, τὸ ταὐτὸ λέγειν τὴν φύσιν καὶ τὴν ὑπόστασιν. I imagine that as late as the fifth century any theologian who would have drawn the inference of heresy in this fashion, would have made himself ridiculous. That was the achievement of the neo-orthodox, the Aristotelians from Leontius onwards. A detailed description of the Christology of the Damascene belongs to the history of theology. But it may not be without use to mention the topics which he dealt with here: III. 2: How the Word was conceived and concerning his divine incarnation. 3: Of the two natures in opposition to the Monophysites. 4: On the nature and mode of the antidosis. 5: On the number of the natures (ὁ ἀριθμὸς οὐ διαιρέσεως αἴτιος πέφυκεν, p. 211). 6: That the whole divine nature in one of its hypostases united itself with the whole human nature and not a part with a part. 7: On the one composite hypostasis of the divine Logos. 8: Against those who say that the natures of the Lord must be brought under the category either of continuous or discrete quantity. 9: An answer to the question whether there is an enhypostatic nature (here, p. 218, the enhypostasis). 10: On the Trishagion. 11: περὶ τῆς ἐν εἴδει καὶ ἐν ἀτόμῳ θεωρουμένης φύσεως καὶ διαφορᾶς, ἑνώσεώς τε και σαρκώσεως καὶ πῶς ἐκκληπτέον, τὴν μίαν φύσιν τοῦ Θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένην (one of the main chapters from the scholastic point of view). 12: On θεοτόκος as against the Nestorians. 13: On the properties of the two natures. 14: On the wills and the αὐτεξούσια of Christ (the fullest chapter together with 15: On the energies which are in Christ). 16: Against those who say: as man has two natures and two energies, so we must attribute to Christ three natures and the same number of energies—a very ticklish problem. 17: On the deification of the nature of the flesh of the Lord and of His will. (As is the case throughout the discussion here starts from the contradictio in adjecto and conceals it under distinctions: the flesh has become divine, but in the process has undergone neither a μεταβολή, nor τροπή nor ἀλλοίωσις nor σύγχυσις; it has been deified κατὰ τὴν καθ᾽ ὑπόστασιν οἰκονομικὴν ἕνωσιν or κατὰ τὴν ἐν ἀλλήλαις τῶν φύσεων περιχώρησιν. The old image of the glowing iron). 18: Once more regarding the wills, the αὐτεξούσια, the double-understanding, the double-gnosis, the double-wisdom of Christ. 19: On the ἐνέργεια θεανδρική. 20: Of the natural and blameless feelings (Christ possessed them, but the number of them given is very limited). 21: Of the ignorance and servitude of Christ (because of the hypostatic union neither ignorance nor servitude can be attributed to Christ relatively to God). 22: On the προκοπή in Christ (as a matter of fact the idea of προκοπή is plainly rejected: the “increase in wisdom” is explained: διὰ τῆς αὐξήσεως τῆς ἡλικίας τὴν ἐνυπάρχουσαν αὐτῷ σοφίαν εἰς φανέρωσιν ἄγων. This is genuine docetic Monophysitism; to this it is added that “he makes man’s advance in wisdom and grace his own advance.” John is here in the most patent perplexity). 23: Of fear (the fear which Christ had and which he did not have. He had natural fear “voluntarily”). 24: Of the Lord’s praying (He prayed, not because there was any need for Him to do it, but because He occupied our place, represented what was ours in Himself, and was a pattern. Thus the prayer in Matt. XXVI. 39 was meant merely to convey a lesson; Christ wished at the same time to shew by it that He had two natures and two natural but not mutually opposed wills—this is just the explanation formerly given by Clemens Alex. when he stated that Christ, whom he himself conceived of in a docetic fashion, voluntarily did what was human, in order to refute the Docetae. Christ spoke the words in Matt. XXVII. 46 purely as our representative). 25: On the οἰκείωσις (this chapter too begins, like most of them, with the distinction, that there are two forms of assumption, the φυσική and προσωπική or σχετική. Christ assumed our nature φυσικῶς, but also σχετικῶς, i.e., took our place by way of sympathy or compassion, took part in our forlorn condition and our curse and “in our place uttered words which do not suit His own case”). 26: Of the sufferings of the body of the Lord and of the absence of feeling in His godhead. 27: That the divinity of the Word was not separated from the soul and the body even in death, and continued to be an hypostasis. 28: Of the corruption and decay (as against Julian and Gajan; but here again a distinction is drawn between two kinds of φθορά). 29: Of the descent into Hades. The contents even of the Fourth Book are still Christological, but this may be due to an oversight. One may admire the energy and formal dexterity of Johannes, but still what we have is merely one and the same method of distinction, which, once discovered, can be easily and mechanically employed, as the application of a new chemical method to an indefinite number of substances. Even this brief synopsis will, however, have brought out one thing, if it was still necessary that this should be done—namely, that in Greek Dogmatics in their religious aspect Apollinaris had triumphed. The moderate docetism which the latter expressed in a plain, bold and frank way forms the basis of the orthodox idea of Christ, though it is indeed concealed under all sorts of formulæ. As regards these, orthodoxy approaches much nearer to the Antiochians than to Apollinaris; but as regards the matter of the doctrine, all that was preserved of the Antiochian doctrine was the statement that Christ had a real and perfect human nature. This statement came to have a great importance for the future, not of the East, but of the West; but, if I am not mistaken, it helped to preserve the Byzantine Church too from getting into that condition of desolation into which the Monophysite Churches got, though it is true that in the case of the latter other causes were at work.266267268
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