Friday, August 21, 2009

The Nestorian Writers

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Babai the Great
1. Catholicos Babai the Great of Assyria (551-628) denied that "the Word died" and "the Word died in the flesh." But the λόγος is the same προσώπω as the man Jesus Christ, Who died on the Cross. Babai denied that one of the hypostases of the Trinity suffered, but the υπόστασις of the λόγος, the Second προσώπω of the Trinity, is the υπόστασις of the man Jesus Christ, Who suffered for our sins and died on the Cross. Babai affirmed the contrary: that there are two hypostases (qnômê) in Christ.{1} This, however, is the same as affirming two subjects, i.e, two persons in Christ. Ordinarily we regard hypostasis as equivalent to person: a complete rational substance, subsisting per se, existing apart from others, as St. Thomas Aquinas the Theologian defines person [Summa Theologica III, q. 16, art. 12, ad 2].

{1} It would seem that qnômá corresponds to hypostasis (which has a connotation of self-existence), because the Assyrian Church of the East, which inherited the Christology of Nestorios who affirmed two hypostases (and expressly said two persons joined as one person) in Christ, affirms: (1) one parsôpâ (person), two kyânê (natures), and two qnômê in Christ; and (2) three qnômê and one kyâna (nature) in the Godhead.

2. Bishop Diodoros of Tarsus (d. 392) was a Nestorian before Nestorios, because he denied that the λόγος was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary{1} and said that the person of the Son of God assumed the person of the man the Son of David.{2} Thus Diodoros cleaved Christ into two persons.

{1} "The God-Logos was not born of Mary — of Mary was born only a man similar to us."
{2} "And the man who was born of Mary through grace became the Son. The Son, perfected before the ages, took in him who was descended from David, the Son of God, and the Son of David."

3. Patriarch Nestorios of Constantinople, who denied the Blessed Virgin the title of Θεοτόκος, maintained the impossible doctrine that Christ is two persons (the προσώπω of the λόγος and the προσώπω of the Man) joined (accidentally united) in one Person [Bazaar of Heraclides]. Nestorios impiously declared the man Jesus Christ to be "the animated purple of the King," not the King Himself. Because he sawed Christ in two, he denied that God the Word died: "if you read through the whole New Testament, you will not find that death is ascribed to God the Logos, but to Christ, the Lord or Son."Theodore
4. Bishop Theodore of Mopsuestia, a Nestorian before Nestorios as Patriarch St. Cyril I of Alexandria (1/28) observed [PG 77:340B], denied that Mary is Θεοτόκος and said that the person of the Word assumed and dwells "by good pleasure as in a son" in the person of the man Jesus [PG 66:976B]. Theodore thus taught the absurd doctrine that Christ is two persons accidentally joined as one person [PG 66:588,753,981B]. He denied the canonicity of Job, Canticle of Canticles, Esdras, the deuterocanonical books, all the Catholic Epistles except for 1 Peter and 1 John, and Revelation [PG 86:1365-1368]. Owing to the influence of Pelagians whom he sheltered, Theodore taught that, even though the fall of Adam resulted in death and concupiscence [PG 66:800], children are not born in an inherited state of sin. He said that only Psalms 2, 7, 14, and 110 contained direct Messianic prophecy, that the Godhead separated from Christ when He died "since Divinity could not experience death," and blasphemously stated that Christ struggled to overcome lust and did not have "perfect purity" and "unalterability in thoughts" until His death.

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