Theodoret of Cyrrhus on the atonement

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DTK

Puritan Board Junior
Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466): Why did the priests lay their hands on the victims before sacrificing them?
The priests did not lay their hands on all the victims, but only on those they offered for themselves, especially the sin offerings. In other cases, the person offering the sacrifice put his hands on the victim. This was a sign that the victim took the place of the offerer by undergoing death for him.
We should note that a calf was offered for the high priest, a calf likewise for all the people, a he-goat for the ruler, and a she-goat for each man. It was appropriate, you see, that a male be offered for the ruler, but a female for the ruled, since God at the outset subjected the woman to Adam.
Now the calf sacrificed for sin was burned outside the camp. Therefore, as the holy apostle says, Christ the Lord also “suffered outside the gate.” He, thus, provided the fulfillment of the type. Robert C. Hill, trans., Theodoret of Cyrus: The Questions on the Octateuch, Volume 1, On Genesis and Exodus, Questions on Exodus, LXI (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 2007) p. 327.
Greek text: Διὰ τί οἱ ἱερεῖς τοῖς ἱερείοις τὰς χεῖρας ἐπιτιθέντες οὕτως ἱέρευον;
Οὐ πᾶσι τοῖς ἱερείοις, ἀλλὰ τοῖς ὑπὲρ αὑτῶν προσφερομένοις καὶ μάλιστα τοῖς ὑπὲρ ἁμαρτίας. τοῖς δὲ ἄλλοις αὐτοὶ τὰς χεῖρας ἐπετίθεσαν οἱ προσ φέροντες. ἦν δὲ τοῦτο σύμβολον τοῦ τὸ ἱερεῖον τὸν τόπον πληροῦν τοῦ προσφέροντος τὴν ὑπὲρ αὑτοῦ δεχόμενον σφαγήν. ἐπισημήνασθαι δὲ προσήκει, ὡς ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἀρχιερέως προσεφέρετο μόσχος· ὑπὲρ δὲ παντὸς τοῦ λαοῦ πάλιν μόσχος· ὑπὲρ δὲ τοῦ ἄρχοντος χίμαρος· ὑπὲρ ἑκάστου δὲ ἀνδρὸς χίμαιρα. πρόσφορον γὰρ τῷ μὲν ἄρχοντι τὸ ἄρρεν, τῷ δὲ ἀρ χομένῳ τὸ θῆλυ. ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα τῷ Ἀδὰμ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ὑπέταξεν ὁ Θεός. ὁ δὲ μόσχος ὁ περὶ ἁμαρτίας θυόμενος ἔξω τῆς παρεμβολῆς κατε καίετο. τούτου χάριν καὶ ὁ δεσπότης Χριστός, ᾗ φησιν ὁ θεῖος ἀπόσ τολος, ἔξω τῆς πύλης ἔπαθεν, καὶ τῷ τύπῳ τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐπιτέθεικε. Quaestiones in Octateuchum, Quaestiones in Exodum, Caput XXVIII, LXI, PG 80:288.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Numbers 5:6: As you know, Christ the Lord alone was guiltless, even as a man. Foreseeing this, the prophet Isaiah cried out, “He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth.” And so he took on the sins of others, since he had none of his own. As Isaiah declared, “He bears our sins and suffers for us”; and the great John, “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” Hence, he is also “free among the dead” since he suffered death unjustly. Robert C. Hill, trans., Theodoret of Cyrus: The Questions on the Octateuch, Volume 2, On Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, Questions on Numbers, IX (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 2007) p. 327.
Greek text: Mόνος γὰρ ὁ δεσπότης Χριστός, καὶ ὡς ἄνθρωπος τὸ ἄμωμον ἔχει. καὶ τοῦτο προορῶν ὁ προφήτης Ἠσαΐας ἐβόα· ὃς ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ ἐποίησεν, οὐδὲ εὑρέθη δόλος ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ. τούτου χάριν καὶ τὰς ἄλλων ἁμαρτίας ἀνέλαβεν, οἰκείας οὐκ ἔχων. οὗτος γάρ φησι· τὰς ἁμαρ τίας ἡμῶν φέρει, καὶ περὶ ἡμῶν ὀδυνᾶται ". καὶ ὁ μέγας Ἰωάννης· ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ αἴρων τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου. διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἐν νεκροῖς ἐλεύθερος, ὡς ἀδίκως ὑπομείνας τὸν θάνατον. Quaestiones in Numeros, Interrogatio IX, PG 80:357.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Psalm 22:1: Let it [i.e., the LXX] therefore heed John’s loud cry, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” and the divinely inspired Paul’s words, “For us he made him to be sin who did not know sin so that we might become righteousness through him,” and again, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us.” So just as the one who was a fount of righteousness assumed our sin, and the one who was an ocean of blessing accepted a curse lying upon us, and scorning shame endured a cross, so too he uttered the words on our behalf. After all, if he willingly submitted to chastisement prescribed for us—“Chastisement of our peace is upon him,” the inspired author says—much more is it the case that it was on our behalf that he employed these words in our person, crying out, The words of my failings are far from saving me: do not have regard to the faults of nature, he is saying, but grant salvation in view of my sufferings. Robert C. Hill, The Fathers of the Church, Vol. 101, Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the Psalms, 1-72 (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2000), pp. 146-147.
Greek text: Ἀκουσάτωσαν τοίνυν Ἰωάννου τοῦ πάνυ βοῶντος· «Ἴδε ὁ Ἀμνὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ αἴρων τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου.» Τοῦ δὲ θεσπεσίου Παύλου λέγοντος· «Τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν, ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα δικαιοσύνη ἐν αὐτῷ.» Καὶ πάλιν· «Χριστὸς ἡμᾶς ἐξηγόρασεν ἐκ τῆς κατά ρας τοῦ νόμου, γενόμενος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν κατάρα.» Τοιγαροῦν ὥσπερ δικαιοσύνης ὑπάρχων πηγὴ, τὴν ἡμετέραν ἁμαρτίαν ἀνέλαβε, καὶ εὐλογίας ὢν πέλα γος, τὴν ἐπικειμένην ἡμῖν ἐδέξατο κατάραν, καὶ σταυρὸν ὑπέμεινεν αἰσχύνης καταφρονήσας· οὕτω καὶ τοὺς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἐποιήσατο λόγους. Εἰ γὰρ τὴν ὡρισμένην ὑμῖν παιδείαν ὑπῆλθεν ἑκών· «Παιδεία γὰρ εἰρήνης ἡμῶν ἐπʼ αὐτὸν,» ᾗ φησιν ὁ προφήτης· πολλῷ μᾶλλον τοῖς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἀνθʼ ἡμῶν ἐχρήσατο λόγοις, καὶ βοᾷ «Μακρὰν ἀπὸ τῆς σωτηρίας μου οἱ λόγοι τῶν παραπτωμάτων μου.» Μὴ ἀποβλέψῃς, φησὶν, εἰς τὰ τῆς φύσεως πλημμελήματα· ἀλλὰ δὸς τὴν σωτηρίαν διὰ τὰ ἐμὰ παθήματα. Interpretatio in Psalmos, Psalmi XXI, v. 1, PG 80:1012.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Isaiah 53:5: But he was wounded on account of our iniquities and made weak on account of our sins. Since we had sinned, we were subject to punishments; but he, although free of sins, was subjected to punishment for our sake. Upon him is the punishment which brings us peace. Since we had sinned, we were enemies of God, and it was necessary that we be punished in order to obtain peace. But he, by taking the punishment on himself, made us worthy of peace. And by his bruise we are healed. This is a way of healing that is new and unexpected: the physician underwent the operation, and the sickly patient ontained the healing. See “Selections from Theodoret of Cyrus’s Commentary on Isaiah” translated and introduced by Angela Russell Christman in Stephen E. Fowl, ed., The Theological Interpretation of Scripture, Classic and Contemporary Readings (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, Ltd., 1997), p. 180.
Greek text: Αὐτὸς δὲ ἐτραυματίσθη διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας καὶ μεμαλά κισται διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν. Ἡμεῖς ὑπεκείμεθα τιμωρίαις ἡμαρτηκότες, αὐτὸς δὲ καθαρὸς ὢν ἁμαρτημάτων ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τὰς τιμωρίας ὑπέμεινεν· «Παιδεία εἰρήνης ἡμῶν ἐπʼ αὐτόν.» Ἡμαρτηκότες ἐξεπολεμήθημεν τῷ θεῷ, ἔδει δὲ ἡμᾶς παιδευθέντας οὕτω τυχεῖν τῆς εἰρήνης, ἀλλʼ αὐτὸς εἰς ἑαυτὸν τὴν παιδείαν δεξάμενος τῆς εἰρήνης ἡμᾶς ἠξίωσεν. «Τῷ μώλωπι αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς ἰάθημεν.» Καινὸς καὶ παράδοξος ἰατρείας τρόπος· ὁ ἰατρὸς ἐδέξατο τὴν τομήν, καὶ ὁ ἄρρωστος ἔτυχε τῆς ἰάσεως. Commentaria in Isaiam, Caput LIII, v. 5, PG 81:441.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466): He foretold these things [i.e., Isaiah 50:5-6]; He was nailed to the cross, paying the penalty not for personal sins (for he did not sin, neither was guilt found in his mouth), but paying the debt of our nature. For our nature was in debt after transgressing the laws of its Maker. And since it was in debt and unable to pay, the Creator Himself in His wisdom devised a way of paying the debt; taking human limbs as capital He invested it wisely and justly in paying the debt and freeing human nature. See Ancient Christan Writers, Vol. 49, Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, On Divine Providence 10.26 (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1988), p. 143.
Greek text: Ταῦτα προειπὼν, ταῦτα παθὼν, τῷ σταυρῷ προσηλοῦται, οὐχ ἁμαρτημάτων δίκας τίνων (ἁμαρτίαν γὰρ οὐκ ἐποίησεν, οὐδὲ εὑρέθη δόλος ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ), ἀλλὰ τῆς ἡμετέρας φύσεως ἐκτί νων τὸ χρέος. Ὤφειλε γὰρ αὕτη παραβεβηκυῖα τοῦ Πεποιηκότος τοὺς νόμους. Ἐπειδὴ [δὲ] ὀφείλουσα ἐκτίνειν οὐκ ἴσχυσεν, αὐτὸς ὁ Δεσπότης σοφῶς μηχανᾶται τὴν τοῦ ὀφλήματος ἔκτισιν, καὶ ταύτης οἷόν τινα κτήματα τὰ μέλη λαβὼν, καὶ ταῦτα σοφῶς καὶ δικαίως οἰκονομήσας, ἀποπληροῖ τὸ χρέος, καὶ τὴν φύσιν ἐλευθεροῖ. De Providentia, Oration X, PG 83:753.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466): Thus Paul says in another place: We were ransomed at a great price. And again: In your knowledge a weak brother is lost for whom Christ died: Because of this He undertook death on a cross since this kind of death in the eyes of the law was cursed. Cursed too was our nature in transgressing the law. For it is written: Cursed be he that does not abide by the things laid down in the book of the law. And so He takes on Himself the common curse and resolves it by being unjustly put to death. For although He lay outside the curse (for He did no sin, neither was guilt found in his mouth), He endured the death of sinners and took action against the common enemy, nature’s avenging spirit. See Ancient Christan Writers, Vol. 49, Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, On Divine Providence 10.32 (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1988), pp. 144-145.
Greek text: Διὸ καὶ ἑτέρωθι ὁ αὐτὸς ἀνὴρ βοᾷ λέγων· «Τιμῆς ἠγοράσθημεν.» Καὶ πάλιν· «Ἀπόλλυ ται, φησὶν, ὁ ἀσθενὴς ἀδελφὸς ἐν τῇ σῇ γνώσει, δι’ ὃν Χριστὸς ἀπέθανε.» Τούτου χάριν καὶ τὸν διὰ σταυροῦ κατεδέξατο θάνατον· ἐπειδὴ κατάρατον ἦν κατὰ τὸν νόμον τούτου τοῦ θανάτου τὸ εἶδος· κατάρατος δὲ ἦν καὶ ἡ φύσις, ὡς παραβεβηκυῖα τὸν νόμον· «Ἐπικατάρατος γὰρ, φησὶ, πᾶς ὃς οὐκ ἐμ μένει τοῖς ἐγκειμένοις ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τοῦ νόμου τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτά.» Τούτου χάριν τὴν κοινὴν ἀναδέχεται κατάραν, καὶ λύει ταύτην τῇ ἀδίκῳ σφαγῇ. Μὴ ὑποκείμενος γὰρ τῇ κατάρᾳ (ἁμαρτίαν γὰρ οὐκ ἐποίησεν, οὐδὲ εὑρέθη ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ δόλος), τὸν τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν ὑπέμεινε θάνατον, καὶ δικάζεται τῷ ἀλάστορι τῷ κοινῷ τῆς φύσεως δυσμενεῖ, De Providentia, Oration X, PG 83:756-757.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Hebrews 2:6-8: This was the way he spoke on behalf of us all, “The reckoning of my sins is far from my salvation.” He was in fact guiltless of sin even in his humanity: “He committed no sin,” remember, “nor was guile found in his mouth.” Yet in making ours his own he became human nature’s mouthpiece: he took on our sins and carried our diseases. Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 145.
Greek text: Οὕτως ἐκ προσώπου πάντων ἡμῶν εἴρηκε «Μακρὰν ἀπὸ τῆς σωτηρίας μου οἱ λόγοι τῶν παραπτωμάτων μου.» Αὐτὸς μὲν γὰρ καὶ κατὰ τὸ ἀνθρώπειον ἁμαρτίας ἀμύητος ἦν. «Ἁμαρτίαν γὰρ οὐ πεποίηκεν, οὐδὲ εὑρέθη δόλος ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ.» Τὰ δὲ ἡμέτερα οἰκειούμενος στόμα τῆς φύσωες γέγονεν. Αὐτὸς γὰρ καὶ ς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν ἔλαβε, καὶ τὰς νόσους ἐβάστασεν. Interpretatio Epistolae ad Hebraeos, Caput II, vv. 5-8, PG 82:692.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting Hebrews 7:27: He mentioned two things which those granted the priesthood did not have: they made the sacred offerings unceasingly, and sacrificed for themselves, being also in their own persons sinners in being human; people subject to sin do not enjoy such confidence in making offerings. He, on the other hand, does neither – the one because he has no part in sin, and the other because the one sacrifice is adequate for salvation. While they offered other sacrifices, he offered his own body, being priest and victim in his own person, and as God receiving the gift along with the Father and the Spirit. Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 168.
Greek text: Δύο τέθεικεν, ἅπερ οὐκ ἔσχον τῆς ἱερωσύνης τετυχηκότες. Ἐκεῖνοι γὰρ καὶ συνεχῶς τὰ ἱερεῖα προσέφερον, καὶ ὑπὲρ ἑαυτῶν ἔθυον ἅτε δὴ καὶ αὐτοὶ πλημμελοῦντες ὡς ἄνθρωποι· οἱ δὲ ἁμαρτήμασιν ὑποκείμενοι οὐ τοσαύτην ἔχουσι προσφέροντες παῤῥησίαν. Οὗτος δὲ οὐδέτερον τούτων ποιεῖ, τὸ μὲν, ἐπειδὴ ἁμαρτίας ἀμύητος, τὸ δὲ ὡς τῆς μιᾶς θυσίας ἀρκεσάσης εἰς σωτηρίαν. Καὶ ἐκεῖνοι μὲν ἕτερα προσέφερον θύματα· οὗτος δὲ τὸ ἑαυτοῦ προσενήνοχε σῶμα, αὐτὸς ἱερεῖον γενόμενος, καὶ ὡς Θεὸς μετὰ τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ Πνεύματος τὸ δῶρον δεχόμενος. Interpretatio Epistolae ad Hebraeos, Caput VII, v. 27, PG 82:733.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Hebrews 9:27-28: As it is appointed for each human being to die once, and the one who accepts death’s decree no longer sins but awaits the examination of what was done in life, so Christ the Lord, after being offered once for us and taking up our sins, will come to us again, with sin no longer in force, that is, with sin no longer occupying a place as far as human beings are concerned. He said himself, remember, when he still had a mortal body, “He committed no sin, nor was guile found in his mouth.” It should be noted, of course, that he bore the sins of many, not of all: not all came to faith, so he removed the sins of the believers only. Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 175.
Greek text: Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἅπαξ ὥρισται τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἀποθανεῖν ἕκαστον, ὁ δὲ τοῦ θανάτου τὸν ὅρον δεξάμενος, οὐκέτι μὲν ἁμαρτάνει, ἀναμένει δὲ τῆν ἐπὶ τοῖς βεβιωμένοις ἐξέτασιν· οὕτως ὁ Δεσπότης Χριστὸς ἅπαξ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν προσενεχθεὶς, καὶ τὰς ἡμετέρας ἁμαρτίας ἀναλαβὼν, ἐπιφανήσεται πάλιν ἡμῖν, οὐκέτι ἐχούσης κατὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων τῆς ἁμαρτίας. Αὐτὸς γὰρ καὶ θνητὸν ἔχων ἔτι τὸ σῶμα, «Ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ ἐποίησεν, οὐδὲ εὑρέθη δόλος ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ.» Ἐπισημήνασθαι μέντοι δεῖ, ὅτι πολλῶν εἶπεν ἀνενεγκεῖν ἁμαρτίας, καὶ οὐ πάντων. Οὐ γὰρ πάντες ἐπίστευσαν· τῶν οὖν πεπιστευκότων μόνων τὰς ἁμαρτίας διέλυσε. Interpretatio Epistolae ad Hebraeos, Caput IX, v. 27-28, PG 82:745.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466): By enduring these things, he achieved our salvation. Because the servants of sin were liable to the punishment of sin., therefore he, who was immune from sin and pursued righteousness in all respects, accepted the punishment of sinners. By the cross he repealed the sentence of the ancient curse, for [Paul] says: ‘Christ had redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, “Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree”’ (Gal. 3:13 and Deut. 21:23. By the thorns he put an end to Adam’s punishments, because after the fall it was heard: ‘Cursed is the earth in your works, thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you’ (Gen. 3:17-18). With the gall (cf. Matt. 27:34) he took upon himself the bitterness and toil of mortal and passable human life, whereas with the vinegar he accepted for himself the changing of humankind for the worse, providing also the way of returning to the better. He signified his kingship by the scarlet and by the reed he alluded to the weakness and frailty of the devil’s power. By the slaps [on his face] he proclaimed our deliverance, enduring our injuries, chastisements and lashings. His side was pierced like Adam’s, yet showing not the woman coming forth from there, who by deceit begot death, but the fountainhead of life, which by [its] double stream vivifies the world. See István Pásztori-Kupán, Theodoret of Cyrus, The Early Church Fathers (London: Routledge, 2006), p. 165, from Theodoret’s On the Inhumanation of the Lord, 28 [27], (See PG 75:1465D, 1468).
Greek text: Τίς τῶν ∆εσποτικῶν παθημάτων ἡ αἰτία. Ὑπέμεινε δὲ ταῦτα, τὴν ἡμετέραν μηχανώμενος σωτηρίαν· ἐπειδὴ γὰρ οἱ τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ δουλεύσαντες τοῖς ἐπιτιμίοις ὑπεύθυνοι τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἐτύγχανον, αὐτὸς ἁμαρτίας ἀπηλλαγμένος, καὶ διὰ πάσης ὁδεύσας δικαιοσύνης, τὴν τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν κατεδέξατο τιμωρίαν, διὰ μὲν τοῦ σταυροῦ, τῆς παλαιᾶς κατάρας τὴν ἀπόφασιν λύων «(Χριστὸς γὰρ, φησὶν, ἐξηγόρασεν ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῆς κατάρας τοῦ νόμου, γενόμενος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν κατάρα· γέγραπται γάρ· Ἐπι κατάρατος πᾶς ὁ κρεμάμενος ἐν ξύλῳ»), διὰ δὲ τῶν 75.1468 ἀκανθῶν, τέλος διδοὺς ταῖς Ἀδὰμ τιμωρίαις (μετὰ γὰρ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν [ξοδ. τιμωρίαν], ἤκουσεν ἐκεῖνος· «Ἐπικατάρατος ἡ γῆ ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις σου, ἀκάνθας καὶ τριβόλους ἀνατελεῖ σοι»), διὰ δὲ τῆς χολῆς τὸ πικρὸν καὶ ἐπίπονον τῆς θνητῆς καὶ παθητῆς ζωῆς τῶν ἀνθρώπων εἰς ἑαυτὸν ἀναλαμβάνων· διὰ δὲ τοῦ ὄξους τὴν ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖρον τῶν ἀνθρώπων μεταβολὴν αὐτὸς δεχόμενος, καὶ τὴν εἰς τὸ κρεῖττον ἐπάνοδον χαριζόμενος· τῇ πορφυρίδι σημαίνων τὴν βασιλείαν, τῷ καλάμῳ τὸ ἀσθενὲς καὶ σαθρὸν τῆς τοῦ διαβόλου δυνάμεως αἰνιττόμενος, τῷ ῥαπίσματι τὴν ἡμετέραν κηρύττων ἐλευθερίαν, τὰς ἡμετέρας ὑπομένων ὕβρεις, καὶ παιδείας, καὶ μάστιγας. Τὴν πλευρὰν τῷ Ἀδὰμ παραπλήσιον νυττόμενος, ἀλλ' οὐ γυναῖκα προϊοῦσαν ἐκεῖθεν δεικνὺς, τὸν θάνατον διὰ τῆς ἀπάτης γεννήσασαν, ἀλλὰ πηγὴν ζωῆς τῷ διπλῷ νάματι τὴν οἰκουμένην ζωογονοῦσαν· De incarnatione domini, 27, PG 75: 1465D, 1468.
 
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SebastianClinciuJJ

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you for the labour of collecting these precious fragments!

I’ve read that Theodoret of Cyrrhus was somewhat a controversial personage because of his Christology. From what you’ve read, did you find his Christology a matter of concern?

Blessings,
Sebastian


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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Thank you for the labour of collecting these precious fragments!

I’ve read that Theodoret of Cyrrhus was somewhat a controversial personage because of his Christology. From what you’ve read, did you find his Christology a matter of concern?

Blessings,
Sebastian


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

It's problematic at points but probably not the full-orbed Nestorianism we think of.
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
I’ve read that Theodoret of Cyrrhus was somewhat a controversial personage because of his Christology. From what you’ve read, did you find his Christology a matter of concern?
No, I do not regard his Christology as a matter of concern. He believed that Christ possessed two natures (divine and man) without mixture or confusion in one person, though he was in my opinion accused falsely of Nestorianism. It is now questionable whether Nestorius was actually guilty of the charge under which that heresy (Nestorianism) drew its name. Theodoret's Christology, with which Cyril of Alexandria took issue, was vindicated at the council of Chalcedon, though at the Fifth Ecumenical (so-called) Council his writings fell under their anathemas in the year 553. This 5th council was a victory for Cyrillian Chalcedonianism. Thus the Dyophysite interpretations of Chalcedon were formally rejected while the authority of Chalcedon was formally preserved, to which I respond, "go figure." Cyril of Alexandria taught a Christology that leaned toward Monophysitism, i.e., that the person of Jesus Christ has only one, divine nature rather than the two natures, divine and human, that were established at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Cyril mistakenly employed this language from Apollinarius, believing it to have been from Athanasius. Observe . . .

Pseudo-Athanasius (Apollinarius): Ὁμολογοῦμεν δὲ εἶναι τὸν αὐτὸν Υἱὸν Θεοῦ, καὶ Θεὸν κατὰ πνεῦμα· υἱὸν δὲ ἀνθρώπου κατὰ σάρκα. Οὐ δύο φύσεις τὸν ἕνα Υἱὸν, μίαν προσκυνητὴν, καὶ μίαν ἀποσκυνητον· ἀλλὰ μίαν φύσιν τοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένην (one incarnate nature of the Word), μετὰ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ μιᾷ προσκυνήσει καὶ προσκυνουμένην. Pseudo-Athanasius, De Incarnatione Dei Verbi, PG 28:25, 28A. Cf. also Apollinarius, Ad Jovinianum.

The eastern orthodox theologian John Meyendorff has made the following observations of Cyril & Chalcedon that I've found helpful...

Meyendorff: The theory, associated with the name of Apollinarius of Laodicea, and according to which the Logos, in Jesus, had taken the place of the human soul, was systematically rejected by Byzantine theologians since it implied that the humanity of Christ was not complete. Cyril’s celebrated formula—wrongly attributed to Athanasius and, in fact, uttered by Apollinarius—“one nature incarnate of God the Word” was accepted only in a Chalcedonian context. Divine nature and human nature could never merge, or be confused, or become complementary to each other, but, in Christ, they were united in the single, divine hypostasis of the Logos: the divine model matched the human image. John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes, 2nd rev. ed. (New York: Fordham University Press, 1983), p. 154.

Meyendorff: The Chalcedonian definition of 451—two natures united in one hypostasis, yet retaining in full their respective characteristics—was therefore a necessary correction of Cyril’s vocabulary. Permanent credit should be given to the Antiochians—especially to Theodoret—and to Leo of Rome for having shown the necessity of this correction, without which Cyrillian Christology could easily be, and actually was, interpreted in a Monophysite sense by Eutyches and his followers. John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes, 2nd rev. ed. (New York: Fordham University Press, 1983), p. 33.

Now, to be sure, Theodoret had no use for Cyril of Alexandria, and wrote the following comment regarding him when he died...

Theodoret (393-466) on the death of Cyril of Alexandria: At last and with difficulty the villain has gone. The good and the gentle pass away all too soon; the bad prolong their life for years…. Knowing that the fellow’s malice has been daily growing and doing harm to the body of the Church, the Lord has lopped him off like a plague and “taken away the reproach from Israel.” His survivors are indeed delighted at his departure.... Great care must then be taken, and it is especially your holiness’s business to undertake this duty, to tell the guild of undertakers to lay a very big and heavy stone upon his grave, for fear he should come back again, and show his changeable mind once more. Let him take his new doctrines to the shades below, and preach to them all day and all night. We are not at all afraid of his dividing them by making public addresses against true religion and by investing an immortal nature with death. He will be stoned not only by ghosts learned in divine law, but also by Nimrod, Pharaoh and Sennacherib, or any other of God’s enemies…. I really am sorry for the poor fellow. Truly the news of his death has not caused me unmixed delight, but it is tempered by sadness. On seeing the Church freed from a plague of this kind I am glad and rejoice; but I am sorry and do mourn when I think that the wretch knew no rest from his crimes, but went on attempting greater and more grievous ones till he died. NPNF2: Vol. 3, The Letters of the Blessed Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus,CLXXX,. To Domnus, Bishop of Antioch.
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
The problem is that we have always glossed Nestorianism as "saying two persons in Christ." And then people point out that Nestorius, correctly, did not believe that.

Nestorious, however, did believe that two prosopa formed one prosopon of Christ, and when pressed on the relation of the two natures he said they were held together by a moral union. That is unacceptable.

In any case, Theodoret was a superior theologian.
 
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