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Author Topic: Help me to understand that plz  (Read 420 times) Average Rating: 0
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Arnaud
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« on: February 18, 2014, 10:24:32 AM »

"If anyone divides in the one Christ the hypostases after the union, joining them only by a conjunction of dignity or authority or power, and not rather by a coming together in a union by nature, let him be anathema."

"If anyone distributes between the two persons or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they are used by the holy writers of Christ or by him about himself, and ascribes some to him as to a man, thought of separately from the Word from God, and others, as befitting God, to him as to the Word from God the Father, let him be anathema."

From the twelve anathemas of St Cyril to Nestorius.

Hasn't Christ always had/been one person, The Word, before and after the incarnation? Why does St Cyril speak of the 'hypostases' who came together in a union by nature, or that one must not distribute between the two 'hypostases' the expressions used? Should we take hypostases as synonyms of natures? Isn't person the 'who' of someone and nature his 'what' or essence ?

The language confuses me.

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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 11:08:59 AM »

The language is confusing. I am just interested which word is translated as "persons". Usually the greek word hypostases is rendered as "Person" but that is not a transliteration and is already part of the text. Strange...
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 11:55:36 AM »

My server crashed so I had to retype this whole reply! Angry

The word translated as “person” in the OP is likely a mistranslation (perhaps someone with the original Greek can verify?). We do not believe Christ is one person who subsists from two persons, rather one single person with a compound Theanthropic hypostasis who subsists from two natures or two individuated realities. You see, when we say that Christ united His Divinity with His humanity in a perfect, unconfused union, we do not maintain that He united the human ousia/ essence shared by all of humanity to the Divine ousia/essence shared by all three members of the Trinity. Otherwise, we would not be able to say that Christ suffered on the cross, while the Father and Holy Spirit remained impassible. Rather, He united His individuated Divine hypostasis with an individuated, soul-possessing body, thereby making His formerly singular Divine hypostasis a compound Theanthropic hypostasis.

In our tradition, ousia/essence refers to qualities belonging to all members of a class of being (e.g. the human ousia shared by all human beings or the Divine ousia shared by the persons of the Trinity). Hypostases are individuated/individual realities of ousias/essences (e.g. you and myself are “hypostases” or individuations of the human ousia). Hypostases can be self-subsistent or non-self-subsistent (more on that later). Physis/nature can mean either essence or hypostasis depending on the context.

When we speak of Christ as being “from two natures,” we mean that He is from two individuated realities/hypostases. Following the Severian/Cyrilline tradition, we maintain that there are self-subsistent hypostases and non-self-subsistent hypostases. The former do not depend on unity with any other external entity for their existence, while the latter only exist by virtue of their union with the former.

In the case of Christ, we say that His Divine hypostasis is a self-subsistent reality which does not rely on its union with the humanity for its existence. His “human hypostasis” is non-self-subsistent, meaning that it does not exist in, of, or for itself. Rather, it depends on its union with God the Word for its existence. By affirming this, we dispel both Nestorianism and Apollinarianism in the same breath, by saying that Christ’s humanity never existed outside its perfect union with the Divinity, while maintaining that his humanity is a perfect and integral reality. The Chalcedonians have a similar concept, whereby they describe Christ’s humanity as “enhypostaton.”

As an analogy, I can say that my soul is a self-subsistent hypostasis (because it does not rely on its unity with my body to exist), while my body is a non-self-subsistent hypostasis, because it depends on its union with my soul for its existence.

I hope my reply was helpful. Smiley

God bless

Recommended links:

http://anorthodoxpriest.blogspot.com/2014/02/hypostasis-in-st-severus-of-antioch.html

http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/index.htm#Severus_of_Antioch (the first few letters are particularly helpful)
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 12:04:29 PM by Severian » Logged


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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 12:04:25 PM »

I would probably see the hypostases as you recalled it, synonym to nature but in a different way, as being brought up by Severian, person. So as I understand it, we ought not to say that Christ divinity and nature existed side by side from the moment of conception, as if Christ the person borrowed a bit divine, and a bit human. But rather the 2 hypostases (Human and divine) are in union in one person.  We ought not to argue which kind of nature/hypostases Christ is using in one moment, compared to another. But rather in all moments, they were in union in Christ.

He might speak from different perspectives depending on the situation, and we can see the union being presented differently in the gospels. For example the Lord baptism reveals something much bigger than his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. But in both cases, the union of divine and human is still there, no matter what.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 12:06:05 PM by Jovan » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2014, 02:23:28 PM »

I haven't found the Greek yet. From what I gathered Cyril's epistle to Nestorius(which includes the 12 anathemas) was written in Greek and translated in Syriac. From what I gathered it appears that Cyril might have been one of those fathers who had difficulty with the term "hypostases" and might have been rendered it as "essence". It appears from my gathering that Cyril might have been used the term "prosopon" and hypostases together in that phrase, but that he used the term prosopon(which can also be translated as person) with the meaning of "face" and hypostases with the meaning of essence. So that could be read from my pov as two faces and two essences. Paul also used prosopon with the meaning of "face" (2 Cor 4:6).

"The author therefore does not hold two chrystological hypostases, he belongs to the large group of theologians who took a long time to become accustomed to the use of chrystology at all, no matter if it were one or two hypostases. We know of Greek-writing Antiochene theologians of this kind in the fifth century, and the Syriac dyophisite church maintained its reserve officially until 612 as the conciliar creeds in the Synodicon Orientale testify." http://books.google.dk/books?id=oNozt34P_PcC&pg=PA71&lpg=PA71&dq=cyril+12+anathemas+to+nestorius+greek+version&source=bl&ots=sFSDpDMwni&sig=_pdF4RmkxWgSAXt65brpxklBGkQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tqQDU6jMGce74AT-lIGwBA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=cyril%2012%20anathemas%20to%20nestorius%20greek%20version&f=false

Not sure if that makes much difference…

Someone more knowledgeable than me can clarify this.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 02:24:38 PM by Skydive » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2014, 02:35:13 PM »

I'd find the Greek if I knew the Latin title. Then, I could go by Table of Contents. Does anyone know the PG Volume?
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2014, 02:49:42 PM »

Here you have some greek version : http://www.earlychurchtexts.com/main/cyrilofalex/twelve_anathemas.shtml

It's the fourth(anathema).

According to that site Cyril used 'prosopona' and 'hypostases' together.
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2014, 03:05:08 PM »

Here you have some greek version : http://www.earlychurchtexts.com/main/cyrilofalex/twelve_anathemas.shtml

It's the fourth(anathema).

According to that site Cyril used 'prosopona' and 'hypostases' together.

What he said. Hypostasis (upostasis) is used. I don't think Physis is the same as upostasis.

Quote from: Wikipedia on Physis
In Alexandrine thinking, it meant a concrete individual or independent existent and approximated to hypostasis without being a synonym.
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2014, 05:03:23 PM »

Can you copy the fourth anathema here for consideration.
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2014, 05:06:02 PM »

δˊ Εἴ τις προσώποις δυσὶν, ἢ γοῦν ὑποστάσεσι, τάς τε ἐν τοῖς εὐαγγελικοῖς καὶ ἀποστολικοῖς Συγγράμμασι διανέμει φωνὰς, ἢ ἐπὶ Χριστῷ παρὰ τῶν ἁγίων λεγομένας, ἢ παρ' αὐτοῦ περὶ ἑαυτοῦ· καὶ τὰς μὲν ὡς ἀνθρώπῳ παρὰ τὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ Λόγον ἰδικῶς νοουμένῳ προσάπτει, τὰς δὲ ὡς θεοπρεπεῖς μόνῳ τῷ ἐκ Θεοῦ Πατρὸς Λόγωι, ἀνάθεμα ἔστω.

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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2014, 05:12:52 PM »

4. If anyone shall divide between two persons or subsistences those expressions which are contained in the Evangelical and Apostolical writings, or which have been said concerning Christ by the Saints, or by himself, and shall apply some to him as to a man separate from the Word of God, and shall apply others to the only Word of God the Father, on the ground that they are fit to be applied to God: let him be anathema.

I don't see a problem with this. It is saying that we are not to divide the expressions to separate identities or concrete instances of natures and the word used to describe an identity is prosopon or and a concrete is hypostasis in this context.

3. If anyone shall after the [hypostatic] union divide the hypostases in the one Christ, joining them by that connexion alone, which happens according to worthiness, or even authority and power, and not rather by a coming together, which is made by natural union: let him be anathema.

Here St Cyril is not speaking of persons but of concretes. And in Christ there is a concrete humanity and a concrete divinity. These are preserved in their union, but they remain one identity. He does not speak of prosopon in this anathema.

It was only later that the Chalcedonians defined these terms to suit their own description of Christ making prospon and hypostasis synonymous. They are not for St Cyril and those following him such as St Severus. But the terms are not as important as what is meant.
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2014, 05:27:16 PM »

4. If anyone shall divide between two persons or subsistences those expressions which are contained in the Evangelical and Apostolical writings, or which have been said concerning Christ by the Saints, or by himself, and shall apply some to him as to a man separate from the Word of God, and shall apply others to the only Word of God the Father, on the ground that they are fit to be applied to God: let him be anathema.
Father bless,

This is, IMHO, a clearer translation of the anathema than the one given in the OP. This translation condemns those who actually do divide Christ into two persons. As a native English speaker, I interpreted the presence of the definite article "the" ("If anyone distributes between the two persons") in the OP to mean that *there are* in fact two persons to begin with, which is why I was wondering if perhaps something was lost in the translation.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 05:31:15 PM by Severian » Logged


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NOTE: Some of my older posts may not reflect my current views
Arnaud
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2014, 07:10:03 PM »

Thank you very much everybody!

God bless.
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