Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Contra Nestorius, Part II

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MYTH
The unjustly deposed Nestorios did not teach that Christ is two persons

1. All attempts to rehabilitate Patriarch Nestorios of Constantinople (381-451, r. 4/10/428-6/22/431) are a waste of time. Nestorios [Bazaar of Heraclides p. 218] plainly distinguished two persons, the uncreated λόγος and the created man Jesus of Nazareth, who were united in one person: "But I predicate two natures, that He indeed Who is clothed is one and he wherewith He is clothed another, and these two prosôpa [persons] of Him Who is clothed and of him wherewith He is clothed." But it is impossible for one single prosopic reality to be the product of the conjunction of two persons.

2. It is clear from the above that Nestorios was rightly deposed [Mansi iv:1212D] and not unjustly accused of something he did not teach. In a futile attempt to support his doctrine, Nestorios explained that the two persons were united in various ways [Summa Theologica III, q. 2, art. 6, corp.], such as indwelling (i.e., the προσώπω of the man was a temple in which the λόγος dwelt), "unity of intention" (the will of the person of the man was always in harmony with that of the person of the λόγος), operation (the person of the λόγος used the person of the man as an instrument), honor (the two persons were equal in honor), and "by equivocation." All of these five types of unity are accidental, which is most repugnant to the Catholic faith in the Incarnation [ibid.].

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