Eastern Orthodoxy and Lutheranism's communication of attributes

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Mr. Bultitude

Puritan Board Freshman
The "communication of attributes" (communicatio idiomatum) is the idea in Christianity that what can be said of one of Christ's natures can be said of his person. But Lutheranism, in a doctrine termed "genus maiestaticum," goes further and says that attributes of the divine nature are attributes not only of his person but also of his human nature. I seem to remember people saying on this board that the Eastern Orthodox teach the same thing, or at least something similar. But this quote from John of Damascus (highly respected among them) doesn't seem to support that:

When, then, we speak of His divinity we do not ascribe to it the properties of humanity. For we do not say that His divinity is subject to passion or created. Nor, again, do we predicate of His flesh or of His humanity the properties of divinity: for we do not say that His flesh or His humanity is uncreated. But when we speak of His subsistence, whether we give it a name implying both natures, or one that refers to only one of them, we still attribute to it the properties of both natures. For Christ, which name implies both natures, is spoken of as at once God and man, created and uncreated, subject to suffering anti incapable of suffering: and when He is named Son of God and God, in reference to only one of His natures, He still keeps the properties of the co-existing nature, that is, the flesh, being spoken of as God who suffers, and as the Lord of Glory crucified(5), not in respect of His being God but in respect of His being at the same time man. Likewise also when He is called Man and Son of Man, He still keeps the properties and glories of the divine nature, a child before the ages, and man who knew no beginning; it is not, however, as child or man but as God that He is before the ages, and became a child in the end. And Ibis is the manner of the mutual communication, either nature giving in exchange to the other its own properties through the identity of the subsistence and the interpenetration of the parts with one another. Accordingly we can say of Christ: This our God was seen upon the earth and lived amongst men(6), and This man is uncreated and impossible and uncircumscribed.

So my question is, how does the EO doctrine of the communication of attributes compare with Lutheranism? I seem to recall the comparison coming up in a discussion of the Lord's Supper, if that helps.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Depends on which father and which EO scholar you are reading. The above quote by Damascene seems kind of Reformed: the properties of each nature are predicated to the Person. But you can also find EO fathers who say the divinity is predicated to the human, or something like that.

Lutheranism is a bit more polished on this point, even if they are similar.
 

Mr. Bultitude

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks. To me, that seems not only reformed but Chalcedonian, in a way that Lutheranism departs from. Can you give some kind of overview of what EO thinkers take a more Lutheran-sounding view? Or at least give an idea of how widely accepted it is in EO circles? I'd appreciate it mightily. :)
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Thanks. To me, that seems not only reformed but Chalcedonian, in a way that Lutheranism departs from. Can you give some kind of overview of what EO thinkers take a more Lutheran-sounding view? Or at least give an idea of how widely accepted it is in EO circles? I'd appreciate it mightily. :)

One of the problems--and I point this out to EO all the time--is that except for the major conclusions of the councils, they really don't give you systematic analyses of what they believe. In fact, they would say taht is "evil" and "western."

It's best to call it transubstantiation minus the Aristotle. They really believe that the bread and wine is the DNA (my term; not theirs) of Jesus. They just say, "We don't try to explain it; just embrace the mystery," yet they never extend that same courtesy to Protestants.

As to the two natures, their take off is the "fire and iron" analogy.
 
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