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Making Sense of the Formula of Chalcedon: the Cappadocians and Aristotle in Leontius of Byzantium’s Contra Nestorianos et Eutychianos

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[Abstract Leontius of Byzantium’s treatise Contra Nestorianos et Eutychianos begins with a section in which the author demonstrates how the human nature in Christ can be real without being a second hypostasis. Leontius starts from the ontological model of the Cappadocians but modifies it radically when he complements the two sets of qualities that constitute ‘nature’ and ‘hypostasis’ with an unqualified substrate. Introduction of such a substrate, which the Cappadocians had rejected, ensured the reality of the human nature within the hypostasis of the Word because it served to anchor the set of human qualities, which when seen by themselves were considered to be a mere abstraction. With this new ontological framework Leontius could defend the formula of Chalcedon against its Nestorian and Monophysite detractors and also demonstrate that it did not violate the tenets of Aristotelian philosophy, which in the sixth century was regarded as a true reflection of the order of being., Abstract Leontius of Byzantium’s treatise Contra Nestorianos et Eutychianos begins with a section in which the author demonstrates how the human nature in Christ can be real without being a second hypostasis. Leontius starts from the ontological model of the Cappadocians but modifies it radically when he complements the two sets of qualities that constitute ‘nature’ and ‘hypostasis’ with an unqualified substrate. Introduction of such a substrate, which the Cappadocians had rejected, ensured the reality of the human nature within the hypostasis of the Word because it served to anchor the set of human qualities, which when seen by themselves were considered to be a mere abstraction. With this new ontological framework Leontius could defend the formula of Chalcedon against its Nestorian and Monophysite detractors and also demonstrate that it did not violate the tenets of Aristotelian philosophy, which in the sixth century was regarded as a true reflection of the order of being.]

Affiliations: 1: Cardiff University, Humanities Bldg (SHARE) Cardiff CF10 3EU dkrausmuller@hotmail.com

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/content/journals/10.1163/157007211x561653
2011-01-01
2016-12-04

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