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Monophysitism Past and Present A Study in Christology   By: (1882-1977)

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First Page:

MONOPHYSITISM

PAST AND PRESENT

A STUDY IN CHRISTOLOGY

BY

A. A. LUCE, M.C., D.D.

CAPTAIN LATE 12TH ROYAL IRISH RIFLES

FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN

LONDON

SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE

NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO.

1920

PRINTED BY

WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,

LONDON AND BECCLES

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. THE METAPHYSICAL BASIS OF MONOPHYSITISM II. THE ORIGINS OF MONOPHYSITISM III. MONOPHYSITE DOCTRINE IV. THE ETHOS OF MONOPHYSITISM V. MONOPHYSITISM AND MODERN PSYCHOLOGY VI. MONOPHYSITISM IN THE PRESENT DAY

BOOKS CONSULTED IN THE

PREPARATION OF THIS ESSAY

J. S. ASSEMANI, "Bibliotheca Orientalis," especially the Introductory Dissertation to Vol. II.

A. HARNACK, "History of Dogma," translated by Speirs and Millar.

J. C. ROBERTSON, "History of the Christian Church."

WINDELBAND, "History of Philosophy," translated by Tufts.

WRIGHT, "Short History of Syriac Literature."

H. BERGSON, "Les données immédiates de la conscience," "Matière et Mémoire," "L'évolution créatrice."

MONOPHYSITISM PAST AND PRESENT

CHAPTER I

THE METAPHYSICAL BASIS OF MONOPHYSITISM

Monophysitism was a Christological heresy of the fifth century. It was condemned by the church in the middle of that century at the council of Chalcedon. Surviving its condemnation it flourished in the East for several centuries. Its adherents formed themselves into a powerful church with orders and succession of their own. Although the monophysite church has long since lost all influence, it is still in being. The Coptic and Jacobite churches of Egypt and Mesopotamia, respectively, preserve to this day the doctrines and traditions of the primitive monophysites.

The history of the sect, however, does not concern us here. The writer's purpose is to review its doctrine. Monophysitism is a system of religious thought, and, as such, its importance is out of all proportion to the present or even the past position of the churches that professed it. Its significance lies in its universality. It is grounded in the nature of the human mind. It is found in West as well as East, to day as well as in the early centuries of our era. Wherever men bring intellect to bear on the problem of Christ's being, the tendency to regard Him as monophysite is present.

An examination of the heresy is of practical value. Our subject matter is not an oriental antique or a curiosity of the intellect, but a present day problem of vital moment to the Faith. If we are concerned with a half forgotten heresy, it is because a study of that heresy serves both as a preventive against error and as an introduction to the truth. The doctor studies disease to ascertain the conditions of health; pathological cases are often his surest guide to the normal; just so the study of heresy is the best guide to orthodox Christology. It was in conflict with monophysitism that the church of the fifth century brought to completion her dogmatic utterances about Christ; and the individual thinker to day can gain the surest grasp of true Christology by examining the monophysite perversion.

With this practical purpose in view, we now proceed to an analysis of the heresy. Monophysitism is a body of doctrine. It is a dogmatic system, in which the individual dogmata are controlled by a principle or dominant idea. As all the particular doctrines of monophysitism depend on this principle, and, as it is not properly a theological concept, but one borrowed from philosophy, we may call it "the metaphysical basis of monophysitism." An intelligent grasp of this basic principle is necessary to an appreciation of the whole system. Accordingly, our first concern is to ascertain and exhibit this metaphysical basis. In subsequent chapters we shall analyse in detail the doctrines specifically monophysite and trace the Christological errors back to their source in metaphysic.

THE A PRIORI AND A POSTERIORI IN CHRISTOLOGY

The following considerations prove the necessity of this procedure... Continue reading book >>




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