Journal Article

The Puzzle of Theodoret's Christology: A Modest Suggestion

Donald Fairbairn

in The Journal of Theological Studies

Volume 58, issue 1, pages 100-133
Published in print April 2007 | ISSN: 0022-5185
Published online February 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4607 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jts/fll159
The Puzzle of Theodoret's Christology: A Modest Suggestion

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This article suggests that the perplexities of Theodoret's Christology can be understood well if one regards them as stemming not from a doctrinal evolution (as some scholars argue), but rather from a fundamental (but usually unnoticed) inconsistency that is present at all times in Theodoret's life. The inconsistency lies between his normal pattern for writing about Christ and the way he sometimes writes of Christ when he is dealing with the crucifixion. Theodoret usually sees the personal subject of Christ (the one who acts and to whom the human experiences happen) as the Logos himself, but at times when he discusses the death of Christ, his strong view of divine impassibility leads him to see the personal subject who undergoes suffering and death as the man Jesus. The article substantiates its case by reviewing the most significant twentieth-century scholarly literature on Theodoret and by examining his christological writings from three different periods of his career: the years around the Council of Ephesus (431–3), the year he wrote the Eranistes (probably 447), and the years immediately prior to the Council of Chalcedon (448–51).

Journal Article.  14794 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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