Grace and the Central Issue of the Christological Controversy

Donald Fairbairn

in Grace and Christology in the Early Church

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780199256143
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600586 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Grace and the Central Issue of the Christological Controversy

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This chapter observes that some scholars see the fifth‐century christological debates as the result of politics, personal rivalry, and theological misunderstanding, others see them as the result of beginning with the duality of Christ versus beginning with his unity, and others see the debate as being over whether God was personally present in our world through the incarnation. The chapter argues that the idea of divine grace can provide a helpful clue for understanding which of these was actually the central issue of the debate, and it explains the rationale for concentrating on Theodore, Nestorius, Cyril, and Cassian. The chapter also introduces two concepts related to grace and christology: the question of the structure of salvation (three acts or two) and the concepts of the personal subject in Christ.

Keywords: Alexandrian School; anthropological grace; Antiochene School; christological grace; duality (of Christ); personal subject (of Christ); three‐act salvation scheme; two‐act salvation scheme; unity (of Christ)

Chapter.  10719 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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