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The Byzantine Christ

St Maximus the Confessor is one of the giants of Christian theology. His doctrine of two wills gave the final shape to ancient Christology and was ratified by the Sixth Ecumenical Council in AD 681. This study throws new light upon one of the most interesting periods of historical and systematic theology. Its focus is the seventh century, the century that saw the rapid expansion of Islam, and the Empire's failed attempt to retain many of its south-eastern provinces by inventing and promoting the heresy of Monothelitism (only one will in Christ) as a bridge between the Byzantine Church and the anti-Chalcedonian Churches which prevailed in some of these areas. From the point of view of systematic theology, the book examines the meaning of the terms person/hypostasis, nature/essence, and will in the context of Christology after the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451), with special reference to Maximus. It also explores the complex question of the human will of Jesus Christ and its relation to his person and natures. The Byzantine Christ enhances our understanding of Eastern Orthodox theology and of some of the reasons that still separate it both from Western Christianity and from the so-called Oriental Orthodox Churches.
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Table of Contents

Introduction ; I. FROM THE FOURTH CENTURY TO CHALCEDON AND BEYOND ; 1. Introduction ; 2. Apollinarism ; 3. Nestorianism ; 4. St Cyril of Alexandria ; 5. The Council of Chalcedon ; 6. The Anti-Chalcedonian Challenge ; 7. The Post-Chalcedonian Response ; 8. The Fifth Ecumenical Council ; 9. Conclusions ; II. THE MONOTHELITE HERESY OF THE SEVENTH CENTURY ; 1. Introduction ; 2. Historical Outline ; 3. Reviewing the Literature ; 4. The Christology of the Monothelites of the Seventh Century ; 5. The Background of the Monothelite Heresy of the Seventh Century ; 6. Conclusions and Assessment ; III. THE DYOTHELITE CHRISTOLOGY OF ST MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR ; 1. Introduction ; 2. Person-Hypostasis, Nature-Essence, Unity and Distinction in the Christology of St Maximus ; 3. The Notion of Will in St Maximus ; 4. St Maximus' Defence of Dyothelite Christology ; 5. The Particularity and Function of the Human Will of Jesus Christ According to St Maximus ; IV. FURTHER ISSUES RELATING TO ST MAXIMUS' DYOTHELITE CHRISTOLOGY AND THEIR THEOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE ; 1. Introduction ; 2. Person or Nature? Leo, Maximus, and the Question of the Subject of Willing ; 3. Concluding Remarks on St Maximus' Understanding of the Will and its Theological Significance ; 4. St Maximus' Early Acceptance of 'One Energy' and the Possibility of a Legitimate Monothelite Terminology ; 5. Epilogue

About the Author

Demetrios Bathrellos is Priest in the Greek Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom, London.


Dr Bathrellos guides the reader reliably through a difficult field... It is a useful piece. L.R. Wickham, The Journal of Theological Studies

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