The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great

By Henry Chadwick | Go to book overview

51 The Christological Debate, I: To the First Council of Ephesus (431)

Beginnings

The gospel traditions in the New Testament portray Jesus as teacher, prophet, Messiah, Son of God, Son of man, and therefore one who has come to bring to fulfilment God's plan for his people both by his actions and by his words. 'No man spoke as this man', said his audience. He shocked people by forgiving sins. He faced a rising tide of hostility from conservative experts on the Law of Moses which showed how things would end, but in Mark 10: 45 foretold that he would be giving his life as a ransom for many. The authority with which he taught was derived from certainty that he was speaking for God his Father. In the synoptic gospels he is not described as God nor did he call himself God. But a very short time elapsed before the disciples felt sure that in him God had visited his people. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that in him God was reconciling the world to himself (2 Cor. 5: 19). In Philippians 2 terms applied to Jesus are taken from Isaiah's language about Yahweh. In St John's prologue he is the divine Word (Logos) who was made flesh and brought 'grace and truth' in contrast with Moses who brought the law. To see Jesus is to see the Father. The first chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews has polemic against the evaluation of Jesus as a ministering angel.

The synoptic gospels present a man, though one through whom miracles may be wrought. In Luke the child grew in wisdom. In Mark he is ignorant when the end will come, and on the cross experienced a sense of dereliction, which his dying would certainly have meant to his then disillusioned disciples. Even in St John's gospel 'Jesus wept'. Any Gentile educated in the liberal arts and in the commonplaces of eclectic Stoic and Platonic philosophy would be aware that ascribing to a divine figure the capacity to be ignorant or to suffer was stretching accepted ideas to breaking point, unless one could use the analogy of heroes like Dionysus or Heracles who heroically suffered and struggled to the benefit of the human race and were rewarded with

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The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Church in Ancient Society iii
  • Prefatory Note vi
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The First Followers of Jesus 5
  • 2: The Jewish Matrix 13
  • 3: Jews and Christians Survive Rome's Crushing of Revolts 21
  • 4: The Hebrew Scriptures in the Church 27
  • 5: Interpreting Scripture 32
  • 6: Apostles and Evangelists 43
  • 7: Women Among Jesus' Followers 53
  • 8: 'Barnabas', Jewish Christianity, Trouble at Corinth 56
  • 9: Ignatius of Antioch 65
  • 10: Didache 84
  • 11: Marcion 89
  • 12: Justin 93
  • 13: Irenaeus of Lyon 100
  • 14: The New Testament Text 108
  • 15: Celsus: A Platonist Attack 110
  • 16: Montanism: Perpetua 114
  • 17: Tertullian, Minucius Felix 118
  • 18: Clement of Alexandria 124
  • 19: Julius Africanus 130
  • 20: Hippolytus and Liturgy 132
  • 21: Origen 135
  • 22: Cyprian of Carthage 145
  • 23: Dionysius of Alexandria 161
  • 24: Paul of Samosata 166
  • 25: Mani 170
  • 26: Plotinus, Porphyry 173
  • 27: Diocletian and the Great Persecution; Rise of Constantine 176
  • 28: Constantine 190
  • 29: The Seeds of Reaction 201
  • 30: The Church at Prayer 212
  • 31: Athanasius, Marcellus, and the Gathering Storm 226
  • 32: A Fiasco at Serdica 240
  • 33: Religious Division 254
  • 34: Athanasius' Return 260
  • 35: Constantius' Double Council of Unity 279
  • 36: Julian and the Church 295
  • 37: Damasus, Siricius, Papal Authority, Synesius of Cyrene 314
  • 38: Basil of Caesarea (Cappadocia) 331
  • 39: Ambrose 348
  • 40: Ambrosiaster 379
  • 41: Donatism 382
  • 42: Monks: The Ascetic Life 394
  • 43: Messalians 411
  • 44: Schism at Antioch 415
  • 45: Jerome and Rufinus 433
  • 46: Pelagius, Caelestius, and the Roman See in Gaul and North Africa 446
  • 47: Julian of Eclanum 464
  • 48: Augustine 473
  • 49: John Chrysostom 479
  • 50: Innocent I and John Chrysostom's Honour 499
  • 51: The Christological Debate, I 515
  • 52: The Christological Debate, Ii 538
  • 53: The Christological Debate, Iii 557
  • 54: The Aftermath of the Council of Chalcedon 592
  • 55: Justinian, Origen, and the 'Three Chapters' 612
  • 56: The Ancient Oriental Churches 628
  • 57: The Church and the Barbarian Invasions in the West 633
  • 58: Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) 658
  • 59: Worship After Constantine 675
  • 60: Pilgrims 684
  • 61: Penance 688
  • Further Reading 694
  • Dates of Roman Emperors 714
  • Index 721
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