Author Topic: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood  (Read 1641 times)

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Offline izrima

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Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« on: November 16, 2012, 07:07:25 PM »
I was listening to Fr. Tom Hopko's "Speaking the Truth in Love" on Ancient Faith Radio last night. I am pretty sure it was the episode "Bishops, pt. 13: St. Maximus and the 7th century." If I understood Fr. Tom correctly, he was saying that idea of Bogochelovechestvo or God-manhood is actually not proper Christian teaching. I think his objection had something to do with denying the full humanity and full divinity of Christ.

Now, this confused me because I've seen this idea discussed approvingly before--I believe it was in an essay by Fr. Alexander Men where he was discussing Vladimir Solovyov. My impression from reading Fr. Men's essay was that Solovyov's writings on this topic had been judged acceptable and/or good.

Can anyone help as to official Orthodox doctrine on this matter and/or potential objections?

Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2012, 07:42:35 PM »
Well, I didn't hear it, but I know that the EO church teaches that Jesus was both fully God and Fully Human.

Is there more elaboration you could give?
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Offline LBK

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 07:48:17 PM »
While I haven't listened to Fr Thomas' podcast, I can say that God-Man/Theanthropos/Bog y Chelovek is not only an essential Christological teaching, but the term is also found frequently in Orthodox hymns and prayers. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

Regarding Soloviev and Fr Alexander Men, be aware that a fair proportion of their writings are not regarded as representative of accepted Orthodox thought and teaching.
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Offline izrima

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2012, 08:31:12 PM »
I will try to go back and find the clip again. If I can get a timestamp on it, I will let you guys know. Because for me, I was caught totally offguard--I thought Bogochelovek was simply a nifty way of naming the hypostatic union of Christ.

LBK, I did notice that when I first met my priest and mentioned I was reading a book by Fr. Alexander, he sort of recoiled and told me he wouldn't recommend any of his books to anyone.

Offline izrima

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2012, 08:44:36 PM »
Ok, the build-up begins around 11:30. At around 13:29, Fr. Tom says, "There is no such thing as God-manhood." He then goes on to put Bulgakov and Solvyov against a number of patristic scholars including Frs. Justin Popovic, Georges Florovsky, and Vladimir Lossky who, he says, teach that there can be a God-man (Christ) but no God-manhood. It seems that Fr. Tom's argument is that God and man have separate natures and that there can't be any mingling into one new nature. The larger point he is trying to make is about St. Maximus the Confessor's refutation of the theandric heresy.

I suppose I should have relistened to it before starting this thread, but I only just got home and was able to readily fast forward and rewind. It's interesting that such a seemingly small distinction is so meaningful. So the person the God-man is supportable but the nature of God-manhood is not. As usual, Fr. Tom has taught me something and kept me from falsehood :)

Offline Nephi

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2012, 09:03:51 PM »
I suppose I should have relistened to it before starting this thread, but I only just got home and was able to readily fast forward and rewind. It's interesting that such a seemingly small distinction is so meaningful. So the person the God-man is supportable but the nature of God-manhood is not. As usual, Fr. Tom has taught me something and kept me from falsehood :)
I wonder if this "God-manhood" is akin to the divine flesh idea I've heard attributed to some Pentecostals.

Quote
He then goes on to put Bulgakov and Solvyov against a number of patristic scholars including Frs. Justin Popovic, Georges Florovsky, and Vladimir Lossky
Just curious, how does Fr. Tom refer to Fr. Sergius Bulgakov?

Offline Nephi

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2012, 09:38:10 PM »
Oh goodness, I'm sorry--I left out the Fr. for Fr. Bulgakov. Well, Fr. Tom did not refer to him as Fr., haha. If you're asking how he called Fr. Bulgakov and Solovyov, he just called them both by their last names.
Not a problem. :P

And yes I was curious if he referred to him as Fr. or not - too many people intentionally, and inappropriately, leave out his title in response to his theology, although Fr. Tom himself may not have meant it in such a way.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2012, 01:49:25 AM »
I was listening to Fr. Tom Hopko's "Speaking the Truth in Love" on Ancient Faith Radio last night. I am pretty sure it was the episode "Bishops, pt. 13: St. Maximus and the 7th century." If I understood Fr. Tom correctly, he was saying that idea of Bogochelovechestvo or God-manhood is actually not proper Christian teaching. I think his objection had something to do with denying the full humanity and full divinity of Christ.

Can anyone help as to official Orthodox doctrine on this matter and/or potential objections?


Fr. Hopko has spoken on this before in the context of Monophysitism.

His point is that there is Godhood (the Divine Essence) and manhood (the Human Essence) but there is no Godmanhood (divino-human essence).  There is certainly the God-Man, though.

If there were a Divino-Human essence, then the properties of the Divinity would inhibit the properties of the Humanity. For an example of this happening, look into the beliefs of the Monophysite Heretic Julian of Halicarnassus, who believed that Christ's flesh was impassible prior to the Resurrection, and could only be damaged if he actively willed the nails to go into his hands, etc. He believed this because he thought that the properties of Christ's humanity (like passibility) were inhibited by virtue of the union with His Divinity.

Rum Orthodox Christians who hold to Chalcedon and Constantinople III believe that the properties and powers of both humanity and divinity are preserved authentic and whole by the one Hypostasis/Subsistent Being of Christ/the Logos.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2012, 01:51:41 AM by NicholasMyra »
Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

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Τοῖς δὲ μεμιασμένοις καὶ ἀπίστοις οὐδὲν καθαρόν

Offline Nephi

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2012, 12:40:46 PM »
Rum Orthodox Christians who hold to Chalcedon and Constantinople III believe that the properties and powers of both humanity and divinity are preserved authentic and whole by the one Hypostasis/Subsistent Being of Christ/the Logos.

I've never heard of "Rum Orthodox" - what's that refer to?

Offline sheenj

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2012, 12:43:54 PM »
Rum Orthodox Christians who hold to Chalcedon and Constantinople III believe that the properties and powers of both humanity and divinity are preserved authentic and whole by the one Hypostasis/Subsistent Being of Christ/the Logos.

I've never heard of "Rum Orthodox" - what's that refer to?

It's Arabic for Eastern Orthodox, literally, Roman Orthodox.

Offline Nephi

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2012, 12:53:01 PM »
It's Arabic for Eastern Orthodox, literally, Roman Orthodox.

Ohhh, okay. Thanks.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2012, 01:20:50 PM »
As opposed to "Greek Orthodox" which implies just the Greeks.
Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

Πάντα μὲν καθαρὰ τοῖς καθαροῖς
Τοῖς δὲ μεμιασμένοις καὶ ἀπίστοις οὐδὲν καθαρόν

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2012, 02:03:29 PM »
I thought Bogochelovek was simply a nifty way of naming the hypostatic union of Christ.

For some people it is pictures of cats doing stupid things.

For others it is cartoons about talking little girl horses.

For me, it is using Bogochelovek and nifty together in a sentence.

I just finished my four minutes of the year set aside for finding stuff cute.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2012, 02:07:15 PM »
You speakers of the Lord's language help me out:

What does Bogochelovek and chelovekobog mean respectively, if they can be placed in tension?

I am starting to read through a bit of a text online after googling Bogochelovek and some author is going on and on about the two.
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Offline Shiny

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2012, 02:33:02 PM »
Orthodoxy has some of the strangest theological terms...Bogochelovechestvo...
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2012, 04:28:35 PM »
Velarization of /l/ is common in many varieties of English. Not all dialects have it, but it is common enough that I'm a little surprised that you would insist that it is not present, Michal. Are you surrounded by Irish English speakers?

I've never heard it in English. In Belarusia and Russian only (and in old Polish movies or recordings).

Michal or someone who speaks Russian, can you answer my question above?
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Offline mike

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2012, 04:35:28 PM »
I suppose the reason is in what nature was the first one (or is the dominant one). Bogochełovek would imply that the original / first / major nature is the godlike however for Chełovekobog the human nature is first / dominant / original since it's mentioned in the first place.

But that's just a guess.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2012, 04:39:59 PM »
I suppose the reason is in what nature was the first one (or is the dominant one). Bogochełovek would imply that the original / first / major nature is the godlike however for Chełovekobog the human nature is first / dominant / original since it's mentioned in the first place.

But that's just a guess.

All I know is the Bog is God. And I could be wrong about that. I know zilch about this stuff.

However what I was reading was quite interesting and the author wasn't translating either word into English.

Thanks.

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Offline mike

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2012, 05:01:58 PM »
Phonetical OT was moved to the Foreign Languages Forum.
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Offline Azul

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2012, 05:19:29 PM »
I suppose the reason is in what nature was the first one (or is the dominant one). Bogochełovek would imply that the original / first / major nature is the godlike however for Chełovekobog the human nature is first / dominant / original since it's mentioned in the first place.

But that's just a guess.

doesn`t EO/RC Christology assert that the divinity is dominant, i.e united in one Divine Hypostasis?

do the OOs believe in the mixing of the natures of Christ?
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Offline izrima

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2012, 05:49:59 PM »
doesn`t EO/RC Christology assert that the divinity is dominant, i.e united in one Divine Hypostasis?

do the OOs believe in the mixing of the natures of Christ?

It will be interesting to hear an OO answer to this question--Fr. Tom's discussion of this matter arose out of a digression on miaphysitism.

Offline Nephi

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Re: Bogochelovechestvo/God-manhood
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2012, 05:52:24 PM »
doesn`t EO/RC Christology assert that the divinity is dominant, i.e united in one Divine Hypostasis?

do the OOs believe in the mixing of the natures of Christ?
I would think both answers are no.