Theodore of Mopsuestia

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Theodore of Mopsuestia

Theodore of Mopsuestia (mŏp´syōōĕs´chə), c.350–428, Syrian Christian theologian, bishop of Mopsuestia (from 392). Together with his lifelong friend, St. John Chrysostom, he studied at the school of Antioch, adopted its exegetical methods, and became a diligent writer and preacher. His commentaries on the various books of the Bible were historical and rationalistic; he was one of the first Christians to consider the Song of Songs a marriage poem rather than an allegory, and he was opposed to a Messianic interpretation of the Psalms. Many of his theological treatises are lost or fragmentary. He seems to have been influenced by dynamistic monarchianism, which emphasized the humanity of Jesus; he argued that Jesus progressively received the Logos and the Holy Spirit and that there was never a complete, essential (hypostatic) union of divine and human natures in the second person of the Christian Trinity. Much of his work was orthodox, and he was considered orthodox for many years, although his pupil Nestorius directly derived his views, considered heretical, from Theodore (see Nestorianism). The Pelagians (see Pelagianism) also drew from his works. He and his writings were condemned in 544 by Justinian (see Monophysitism) along with the other works of the so-called Three Chapters. Pope Vigilius, under pressure, reluctantly concurred.

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