My question would start with the theological COE definition of kyanah, qnoma, and parsopa.
In this post I’ll give all the info I can find on these 3 Aramaic words,
parsopa isn't Aramaic: its Greek (πρόσωπον)
[/quote] (all colour coding mine):
First, let’s go back to that diagram:
Here’s Mar Babai the Great’s explanation from his Book of Union:
“A singular essence is called a ‘qnoma’. It stands alone, one in number, that is, one as distinct from the many. A qnoma is invariable in its natural state and is bound to a species and nature, being one [numerically] among a number of like qnome. It is distinctive among its fellow qnome [only] by reason of any unique property or characteristic which it possesses in its ‘parsopa’. With rational creatures this [uniqueness] may consist of various [external and internal] accidents, such as excellent or evil character, or knowledge or ignorance, and with irrational creatures [as also with the rational] the combination of various contrasting features. [Through the parsopa we distinguish that] Gabriel is not Michael, and Paul is not Peter. However, in each qnoma of any given nature the entire common nature is known, and intellectually one recognizes what that nature, which encompasses all its qnome, consists of. A qnoma does not encompass the nature as a whole [but exemplifies what is common to the nature, such as, in a human qnoma, body, soul, mind, etc.].”—Fourth Memra, Book of the Union, Published by Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, Paris, 1915, A. Vaschalde, ed.
Then the qnome of the Holy Trinity should each have their parsopa.
Mar Babai’s definition of qnoma, again from the Fourth Memra:
(a) A particular nature which has been individuated but not independently personalized
(b) As a specific exemplar of that which is common to a general classification or species – that which moves from an abstract generalization to a concrete example;
(c) As a set of natural properties (as opposed to distinguishing accidents) as they exist in an individual.
Such is workable for a hyspostatic union of Christ.
Here is a summary of the COE’s Christology from the Synodicon Oriental:
Concerning this, we believe in our hearts and confess with our lips one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose Godhead does not disappear, and whose manhood is not stolen away, but who is complete God and complete man. When we say of Christ ‘complete God’ we are not naming the Trinity, but one of the qnome of the Trinity, God the Word. Again, when we call Christ ‘complete man’ it is not all men we are naming, but the one qnoma which was specifically taken for our salvation into union with the Word.
This would be Orthodox (the only issue might come in the issue of the question of a human hypostasis in Christ, an issue we have on the "Jesus Christ the God-Man, A Divine Person, Also a Human Person?" private thread. A question here would be that the Human and Divine qnome in Christ are united such that remain united in one qnoma, as the body, soul and spirit of a man are one qnoma, even when the soul/spirit is parted from the body (and hence why it will be reunited at the Resurrection).
More? From Ruach Qadim: the Path to Life by Andrew Gabriel Roth, pg 138-139:
…Kyanna does not refer to an actual thing but rather to an abstraction of that thing; a theoretical construct. You can talk about “human nature” but have you found its actuality? Kyanna simply asks the question, “Can something be divine, human or animal?” as opposed to, “I have found THIS, and it is human.”
The question is, when you have found Christ, have you found divine and human nature.
…“For every kyanna of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human kyanna.” (James 3:7)
The problem is if you use Biblical quotes for kyana, you multiply problems (e.g. Galations 2:15 would have the Jews of a different essence than the rest of us ).
The nature of something is never seen, and it only exists as a classification searching for an occurrence it has not found yet. John the bird collector, trudging off into the forest to document as many species as possible has already worked out in his mind certain criteria of “birdness” that he will look for. What he is looking for will have feathery wings as opposed to the leather-like appearance of a bat’s, it will have a sharp beak and not a mammalian style mouth, and so on. That criteria or classification scheme is the essence of kyanna…
With me so far?
More or less.
…Now let us say that a few minutes after John arrives in the forest, something flies overhead, but it is moving too quickly for him to identify it. All John knows is that some kind of bird, a living example of the classification (kyanna) he held in his mind just went by him. In that case John has just found an individuated instance of that abstract concept – he has found a qnoma, that his kyanna was looking for.
Pause again and think about what is happening here, now let’s continue on:
How does he know, since it was a blurr, not a bat, or a dragon fly?
More time passes, and John wants to make sure he does not make the same mistake twice. He double checks his equipment and makes every effort to ensure that his camera is ready to snap a photograph the instant another bird crosses his path. Then, finally, one does, and this time he is elated because he has captured the image of a rare type of sparrow that he has been looking to add to his species list for years. The bird has all the unique features known only to its kind, along with some odd coloring that would even distinguish him from amongst other members of his species. At that level of detail then, we have found the parsopa of that particular bird.
What if it is just the female of a species of which the male is already known (such mistakes have happened in taxonomy)? I'm also not sure how this makes a rigid distinction between qnoma and parsopa that a parsopic, rather than a hypostatic/qnomic, union would require in Christ. At least in a way to keep it Orthodox.
Shamash Paul Younan sums it up like this:
"Self" would be a horrible definition for Qnoma. "Self" is nearly synonymous with "Person", yet two Qnome from the same Kyana (nature) do not have the necessary amount of differentiating information to be considered two distinct "persons."
qnoma is a usual word for "self" in Syriac, and "person."
Kyana (nature) is abstract. Qnoma is an instantiation, a concrete example, of a Kyana......yet it does not contain enough information to become a different "Person" from a fellow Qnoma of the same Kyana.
The only thing which differentiates one Qnoma from another in the same Kyana is number - by that I mean that each one is distinct, yet not distinct enough to be considered two different "persons."
This is adding another layer: is it warranted?
Here’s a simple illustration on the differences between kyana, qnoma & parsopa:
A day is a 24 hour period – this is kyana
A week is a group of 7 24 hour periods (day 1, day 2, ect.) – this is qnoma
Each day has a name (Monday, Tuesday, etc.) to distinguish it from the other days in the same group (week) – this is parsopa
This is like saying the Father, Son and Spirit are kyana, and the Trinity qnoma.
Perhaps it’ll be easier to understand what a qnoma is, if we first look at what it does. Again I quote Paul Younan:
Orthodox Christianity (all Orthodox Christianity) believes that the subject of the Incarnation was both "God and Man"....not a "God-man." Pagans believed in "god-men." There is a BIG difference between the two.
Actually, the Hypostaic Union describes a God-man, which has nothing to do with the god-men of the pagans, who were mixture.
The way Aramaic-speaking believers
The Syriac Orthodox are also Aramaic-speaking believers: in fact, they, with those in submission to the Vatican, have the only Aramaic (versus Syriac) speaking believers. They all believe in the Hypostatic Union.
understand this revelation (God and Man) is through the concept of "God-Qnoma and Human-Qnoma", and this fits in perfectly with revelation in scripture.
So it does. But then, it also reveals Christ as a qnoma.
If Meshikha didn't have a Divine Qnoma, then he was a liar. If Meshikha didn't have a Human Qnoma, then the sacrifice is useless and I reject it.
I prefer the wording "beign a Divine qnoma" etc.
You HAVE to understand that when you even suggest that Meshikha didn't have a divine Qnoma, you are saying that he wasn't God. And if you even suggest that Meshikha didn't have a human Qnoma, then you are saying that he wasn't born of a woman!
In the Aramaic psyche - you cannot be human, and not have a human Qnoma. You cannot be God, and not have a divine Qnoma. In other words, in the Aramaic psyche you cannot go directly from abstract nature to concrete person. That abstract nature must be *individuated* first. That's where Qnoma comes in.
Well, having borrowed the concepts from the Greek psyche (a Greek word, btw), I'm not sure of the point, since it doesn't differ from the Greek terminology on which it is based.
If you tell an Aramaic-speaking person that a bird flying above does not have a "bird qnoma", that person would look at you like you were insane - because what you are saying, essentially, is that you think the bird is imaginary! That you think that bird doesn't exist!
Qnoma functions as an “ingredient”, or “chemical reaction” or “process” which is needed to transform something abstract into something concrete, but on a conceptual level not a physical level, again from Paul Younan:
Being an existentialist, I see the abstract only existing in the particulars, rather than the particulars being derived from an abstract. But I don't know if that is a sine qua non of Orthodoxy.
Yes, indeed. The word for "resurrection" in Aramaic is "Qeyamtha", which is also derived from the root "Qom."
The reason why Prof. Brock and others have concluded that the CoE definition for Qnoma is the archaic one, is because of the imagery involved with the primitive root meaning "to rise up, stand up, to be established."
"Kyana" means "nature" in an abstract sense, and "Qnoma" means an "individuated kyana", i.e., "something which has arisen, stood up, and become established from an abstract concept."
The use of qnoma for person, self is used in the Peshitta. Again, I would question if the kyana is not abstracted from qnome.
Think of it this way:
Human Kyana~Abstract Nature: Blueprint - must have 46 chromosomes. Must have a gender of male or female. Must have two eyes, two arms, two legs, etc. The blueprint for everything a human is supposed to be. Abstract, not real.
Human Qnoma~Concrete, Real, Individuated Kyana: This is an individuated (real, concrete) Kyana. There exists billions of them that are identical. All are equal, except in number (i.e., Qnoma number 1 is not Qnoma number 2). They cannot be distinguished except by instance (number).
Human Parsopa~Person: Peter, Paul, Mary. Each one is a different person. Because the Kyana states that a human must have 46 chromosomes, all three people have 46 chromosomes - but each one has different combinations of genes which makes them unique.
Because the Kyana states that a human must have two eyes - Peter, Paul and Mary each have two eyes. However, Paul's eyes are brown while Peter's eyes are green and Mary's eyes are blue. Each one has personal characteristics that make each person unique.
Again, each person is a concrete, real, individuated Kyana.
Think of qnoma as a “photocopy” of human nature, like you would make a photocopy of a document – all the copies are identical because it’s the same document, the only thing that distinguishes them is number, again from Paul Younan:
All human Qnome are co-equal (nothing to distinguish them, except for number~name.) This is why the fall of Adam was the fall of all of mankind. We are all collectively called "Adam." Our nature became corrupt, therefore each of our copies of that nature (qnome) are corrupt. Meshikha took a qnoma from Maryam and redeemed our nature by His sacrifice of that human temple.
This would get into the issue of Christ having an individual human hypostasis.
In like manner, all the Qnome of God are co-equal, one and the same Kyana - one single God. We do not call them by the English word "persons", nor by its Aramaic cognate "parsope".
The word parsopon is a Biblical one:
As human qnome are collectively called "Adam" or "Anasha", these three Divine qnome are collectively called the "Godhead". We make no distinction between them, except for number~name.
One is source, one is begotten, one processes.
As you and I are called "ben-Adam" or "bar-Anasha", Meshikha's humanity is called "bar-Alaha"....the "Son of God." But His Divinity is God Himself.
I hope that is a typo: Bar Alaha is His Divinity.
Paul Younan on parsopa:
No. There is no such thing as a Divine Person. We do not speak of God as a "person", because a "person" means that you are physical.
No, it doesn't.
We speak of the subject of the Incarnation, Meshikha, as a "person" because he had both a human nature(abstract)-qnoma(concrete) as well as a Divine nature(abstract)-qnoma(concrete) in one "person" and was born of a woman - he materialized here on earth among us and became a person like us.
But that does not mean that God is a "person" - God is three Qnome and not a "Person."
It would seem then, that all of us on the private thread about Christ's human hypostasis would be of one opinion versus the opinion just expressed, as all of us confess that Christ has eternally been a person.
In the person of Meshikha, one Divine Qnoma (out f three) was joined together with one human qnoma (out of billions) to form a single "person", who was the subject of the Incarnation and the object of our worship.
Only if that person was in Hypostatic Union.
The Father never became a Parsopa, neither did the Holy Spirit. These two Qnome remained distinct from the Qnoma of the Son which took for itself a body from us as a temple (Yukhanan 1:1), and thus became a "person."
The Father and Spirit are both Persons, as is the Son, Who became a "sanctuary" as opposed to "temple."
When we speak of the Godhead, we speak of spiritual things and not physical things.
When we speak of the Incarnation, we do. And when we speak of Godhead, we speak of the Three Persons in One Godhead.
God is God, we are persons. In Aramaic, the word "person" is attributed to a human nature. Human beings are persons. (We don't speak of individual dogs, cats or pet goldfish in a bowl as "persons", either.)
Actually, Syriac does use parSopa to speak of the Persons of the Trinity, and, for instance the "parSopa of the earth."
I'm not sure what you mean by "impersonal"? "Impersonal" as an adjective could describe an entity that isn't alive, does not feel emotions, is unknowable, lacks the ability to communicate or lacks "personality." Kind of like a dead or inanimate object, like a rock.
Impersonal as in the deist image of God. A force, not a Person.
God lives, God is and God is knowable. God loves. God creates. God heals. God speaks. God saves.
Actually, God is not knowable unless He reveals Himself.
We can certainly observe things within God's Nature, certain aspects of His Being that are familiar to our human experience.
The former would be His Essence, which we cannot observe, the latter His Energies, through which we know Him.
Certainly, we are created in His Image, so we might expect that we have certain things in our individual person that reflect certain aspects of our Creator. Is that what you mean by "personal?"
I do not think of God as a "person" or "three persons", but if I were forced to assign a label in English I would utilize a word like Being - that is the essence of the name YHWH in Hebrew.
The One revealed in the Burning Bush is the same revealed in the Womb of the Virgin. But through her we have seen God, not like Moses, who couldn't behold His glory.
Actually, I wanted to add Akha: there is no native Aramaic term that means what the Greek/English "person" means. The Aramaic vocabulary, indeed the Semitic psyche as a whole, lacks the very concept.
The word we use today, "Parsopa", is a loan-word from Greek ("Proposon"). Reason it's a loan word, is that usually when cultures come into contact and there is a concept in one that is absent from the other, borrowing typically occurs (back and forth.)
Really when anyone in the Semitic milieu, Jews, Christians and Muslims, hear the Western formulation of "One God in Three Persons", we become rather confused. Of course both Jewish and Muslim apologists, indeed even fringe groups like the JW's, accuse "Christianity" of being something other than Monotheistic.
There are terms for "Person," e.g. "My/your/his/her soul."
And the "One God in Three Persons" is the formulation of the Ecumenical Councils, all of which were held in the East.
While I don't agree with them, of course, one can see how the confusion arises since the terminology is almost contradictory to say the least.
That's really unfortunate, because if one studies the topic carefully the reality is that the Greek "Prosopon" was nearly unavoidable given that no cognate for "Qnuma", the concept, exists in Indo-European languages.
How these understandings of kyana, qnoma & parsopa affect COE Christology:
The Incarnation does NOT mean that God changed into anything. God remained God, and simply took the form of a servant by taking a temple of humanity from Mary. His Divinity dwelled within the humanity with which He clothed Himself.
As one is clothed in his own skin.
It is this humanity that was tempted in the wilderness, that urinated, that defecated, that ate food, that drank water, that bled on the Cross and that lay dead in the tomb for three days and three nights. God was not involved in any of those things. God is impassible, eternal and in need of none of those things.
Since the Incarnation, God is involved in all those things.
…Finally, you ask about atonement. If Meshikha wasn't fully human just as you are fully human, the sacrificial act was worthless and you still remain in your sin. If Meshikha's humanity was "divine" (according to you), then it is not your humanity that was sacrificed, but some freak Frankenstein creature. And therefore you are still lost.
Saying His humanity was divine would be mixing the natures.
No one is saying that Meshikha isn't God. He is. And no one is saying that Meshikha isn't man. He is.
The Divinity did not die on the Cross. The Divinity is impassible. The manhood, which He took from us, bled and died and suffered and was tempted. But not the Divinity.
Do you really understand the Divinity to have suffered and have died? If "God" died, then who raised Him?
Yes, of course Meshikha is called MarYah. He is MarYah. But he is also bnai' nasha (Son of Man) The Hymn above in this thread explains my position perfectly. I'm not adding to it or taking anything away from it, the scriptures it references make it perfectly clear that God did not die and Man did not raise the dead and forgive sins.
Once again, the person of Meshikha is God/Man ..... not God-man. Neither the Divinity was from His mother, nor the humanity from His Father. Each was preserved perfectly in its own Qnuma, in the One Person of Meshikha. Qnuma is an Aramaic word I though you were familiar with, at least conceptually.
It is not possible for Satan to tempt God in the wilderness. What kind of temptation was that, a mockery? A set up? Doomed to fail from the get-go? That is utter blasphemy. It is the humanity of Meshikha that was tempted. What was Satan offering God in the wilderness that He did not already own? What are you thinking? Was Satan really asking God to bow down and worship him? What kind of triumph of will was that? A mockery you have turned the temptation into, that's what. If God, and not our Humanity, triumphed over temptation then it means nothing. Big deal. Woo-hoo. God wasn't interested in all the kingdoms, riches and debauchery that Satan had to offer. Woo-hoo. Great triumph.
Likewise, it is not possible that God bleeds or urinates or defecates or dies or lays in a grave. That is paganism.
The confines of the Tomb contained Him Whom the Heavens eternally could not contain.