[Every person in the class is responsible for one debate position, the class will participate in the Nestorius/Cyril debate (half representing Nestorius, the other half representing Cyril).]choose one of them and read from the slides to answer the questions in the dock as you were in debate. questions and slides are in the docks.


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Name: __________
Christological Controversies
Assignment: Analyze and Extend an Argument from the Christological Controversies (out of 10 pts, with
bonus opportunities – for this assignment only):
You are arguing from the point of view of the theologian _______________. (.5 pt.)
Your theologian’s central thesis/argument is (1 pt.):
He is arguing against the theologian __________________ (.5 pt.),
Your theologian’s opponent’s thesis/argument is
You theologian defends his argument by offering the following evidence and reasons (4 points):
By reading a key passage from Scripture a certain way:
By making a logical/rational argument (e.g. connecting an example to a principle)
By arguing with a certain style (describe your theologian’s style, with an example)
By discrediting his opponent
You can extend your theologian’s arguments (extend his evidence and reasons)–extend and
develop the arguments of at least 2 of the above examples (2 points):
Potential Additional/Bonus points:
Bringing typed copy of your work to class for debate (1 point)
Contribute speaking in class debate – (up to 2 points).
Create a meme or visual slogan for your theologians position (up to 2 points).
Contribute especially excellent work in #5 or #6 (up to 2 points).
From NT to Calcedon
Faith and the Dialogue with Culture
Christology (the study Christ) “begins in worship” (Rausch, ch. 8, p. 146)
Worship is first, then it takes time to develop the language to explain what the worship means.
Cultures change, connect, and interact, opening up new ways of speaking (this brings new opportunities, but
also new problems).
The language of early Jewish Christians shaped early understandings of Jesus, but different language was
needed to speak to “the educated Empire.. . . formed by Hellenistic culture and thought.” — especially the
language of philosophy
The Challenge of Greek Philosophy
Greek philosophy tended to be dualistic, suggesting world is really “2”
(And it saw Spirit as better than Matter, because…)
eternal (transcendent, free, universal…)
Saw the soul as “Imprisoned” in the body
The “Word” in Greek Philosophy
The Greek word “Logos,” which we translate as “Word” became key to explaining “Who is Jesus”
Hebrew thought spoke of “word” as like the “word” of a person, “an embodiment of God’s power, going
forth to accomplish God’s will in creation. – a soteriological principle (150)
John’s Gospel uses this Greek word, with this Hebrew meaning behind it, but connecting it to the Greek
philosophical tradition, where it meant “word” or “reason”–”it was understood as a principle of rationality or
organization, giving form and meaning to the cosmos, just as it did to the sounds of the human voice.”
Two Dangers that become “heresies”
rooted in Greek Dualism

Taught salvation through knowledge (usually a “secret” knowledge, often elitist group)
Practiced contempt for the body (sometimes meaning punish the body, sometimes meaning let the
body do whatever it wishes)
The goal was to escape this world through knowledge
Docetism (The Christological version of Gnosticism)

Jesus only appeared to be human – divine Word would not really touch flesh
From the Third Century to Nicaea
City: Alexandria
Position: Logos-Sarx
Sarx=Flesh (only)
City: Antioch
Position: Logos-Anthropos
Anthropos=Human (richly – with
human mind, Sensation, will, etc.)
X – (AleXandria, SarX) – [1 letter, good at UNITY]
Good at explaining how Jesus is 1 person
Bad at explaining full human nature
AN – (ANtioch- ANtrhopos) – [Two letters,
good at 2 natures]
Good at explaining 2 distinct natures in Jesus
Bad at explaining how Jesus is 1 person
Nicaea (Year 325)
The Council of Nicaea did 2 things
Condemned several Arian propositions (156) (where Arius is saying Jesus is not fully God)
a. There once was when he was not (or “There was a time when he was not”)
b. “Before he was begotten he was not”
c. He came to be from things that were not…
2. Affirmed the divinity of Jesus (Bishop Alexander’s side wins, later Athanasius too)
Asserted that God is “God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten
not made, consubstantial (homoousion) with the Father.
From Nicaea to Chalcedon (451)
We will focus on the struggle between Nestorius and Cyril, p. 158…), trying to address how Jesus
could be “fully human” (Nicaea argued “fully divine”)
Cyril of Alexandria (will win this debate)
Nestorius (will loose this debate)
Called Mary “Theotokos”
Refused to call Mary “Theotokos”
Spoke of Jesus as a “union”
Said Jesus was one person in 2 natures
Or “hypostasis” of divine & human
Chalcedon (451)
This Council Concluded that Jesus was:

Perfect in divinity, Perfect in humanity
Truly God, truly human,
Consubstantial with the Father, consubstantial with us
Begotten before the ages
One person ( one prosopon and one hypostasis,- both words are included) (Alexandrian
concern) in two nature (Antiochene concern)

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