Did Augustine’s Christology Depend on Theodore of Mopsuestia?

McGuckin, John A.

There has been considerable controversy over Augustine’s Christology throughout this century, concerning the attribution of sources, and whether he ought to be characterized as Antiochene or Alexandrian in his general approach - that is, whether he prefers a dynamic grace-centred model of the Christological union, such as that of Theodore and Nestorius, or whether he envisages a more substantial root of the union such as that argued by the language of hypostatic union of Cyril and Chalcedon. This article will review some aspects of that issue and attempt to elaborate a perspective from which to approach his Christology. It is not intended here to expose the whole complex range of Augustine’s doctrine of Christ; it will be enough to point out significant areas of its development. Several excellent studies have already treated this dimension,’ although Augustine’s far-ranging complexity on this subject, as on most, makes the issue a wonderful research ground for further work. Even the casual reader of Augustine on this subject realizes just how much his emphasis on the redemptive humility of Christ provided the spur and context of Barth’s monumental Christology. Moreover, Augustine’s special emphasis on an ecclesiological Christology (the lotus Christus approach in which he joins in a symbiosis his thoughts on the person of Christ and the destiny of the saints of Christ who are his body) makes him stand apart in the lists of the patristic giants, a brilliant interpreter of the later Pauline Christology.



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April 8, 2013