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Author Topic: John Philoponus: Sixth century Alexandrian Theologian, Scientist & Philosopher  (Read 494 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 07, 2011, 02:48:08 PM »

While reading a splendid website, I came across a very interesting article on John Philoponus by Fr. Anthony St Shenouda.

John Philoponus (490-580): Sixth century Alexandrian Theologian, Scientist & Philosopher

In it Fr. Anthony presents a quote from Philoponus' work, The Arbiter, that I'd like to share:

"Our contemporaries, who contend on the holy Incarnation of the Logos, the majority of them, as it were, except for a few in number, while their opinions largely agree, are only opposed in words to each other; while the one side has agreed to say that after the holy union, which is beyond reason, of the Logos with humanity, they confess one composite nature of Christ, the others have decreed that after the union nonetheless two natures ought to be predicated, and not one.

A sign that their opinions, as I have said, do not conflict with each other is the fact that the majority of our contemporaries do not say these things in controversy. Rather, in every statement which is pronounced by either of them, each side avoids the absurd implications of its opinions; the one of change and alteration of the natures that have come into union, the other of a division into particular hypostases, so that each hypos­tasis would appear simply on its own, as one can hear from those sick with the impiety of Nestorius who speak of the same union only to the degree of a relationship.

For the one party say they name two natures only because of fear of confusion, and the others seek to avoid the term "duality", because they fear dissolving the union; they preserve the property of each nature without confusion, even though the one Christ is recognised by them as the end-product of their composition.

Thus the denial of the absurdities believed to attach to each of these propositions is a proof, I think, of agreement in doctrine. You will not find that this happens with the other heresies. For each of them embraces as true doctrines the points criticised by those of orthodox views and they champion them and imagine that their opponents act impiously. But I hold it to be a feature of the piety of lovers of truth that each of them can introduce matters which unite the separation created by such controversial language."

Even back then, there were those who knew we meant the same thing; the difference only on what was stressed to safeguard against heresy. Us fearing the particular duality of Nestorius and Theodore of Mopsuestia. And the Chalcedonians fearing Eutychianism and Appollinarianism.

I think it bears pointing out that this idea isn't some new invention hatched about by some of dem darn modern day "ecumenists".  And, thought it'd be of interest for those of us who hope for reconcilliation between our two communions.

Also, Fr. Anthony says the following:

"His works can also be a common ground of discussion with the Eastern Orthodox church especially that they have recently lifted the condemnation of his work The Arbiter."

I've never heard this before. Can anyone confirm? Can he be condemned only for his "Tritheism" while his other works be viewed as acceptable?

Google books has some excerpts of the work:

"John Philoponus and the controversies over Chalcedon in the sixth century: a Study and Translation of the Arbiter" translated by By Uwe Michael Lang.


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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2011, 06:36:54 PM »

Fr. VC Samuel in his famous book, "The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined," if I recall correctly mentioned John Philoponus as a tri-theist.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2011, 06:37:08 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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