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The Persons In God And The Person Of Christ In Patristic Theology: An Argument For Parallel Development

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Chapter Summary

Greek theologians through at least the sixth century tended to be more concerned about the dangers of modalism-usually under the pejorative label of ?Sabellianism"-than they were about subordinationism or even tritheism. Behind all traditions, East and West, lay the real issue of both Trinitarian theology and Christology: how can one understand God as radically one and eternally transcendent with respect to creation, and still understand Jesus as a genuinely divine savior, who genuinely acts in the history as a human being like ourselves? To evaluate the validity of the scheme proposed in this chapter, one needs to move beyond abstraction and to look more deeply into the arguments proposed by a variety of authors in the ancient controversies over God and Christ. The chapter offers three test-cases, in snapshot fashion, from ancient theological debates in which Christological concerns seem to play a determining role in Trinitarian argument, or vice versa.

Keywords: Christology; God; Jesus Christ; patristic theology; Trinitarian argument



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