IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 1242: Borders between Heresy and Orthodoxy in Early Christian Theology

Wednesday 8 July 2020, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:William P. Hyland, School of Divinity, University of St Andrews
Paper 1242-aBordering Heresy: Sethian Gnosticism between Philosophy and Theological Mythology
(Language: English)
George Florin Calian, Centre for Philosophy & Religious Studies Institute of Ecumenical Research Lucian Blaga University Sibiu
Index terms: Philosophy, Theology
Paper 1242-bRunning Down a Doctrine: The Theological Lineage of Dyothelitism from Cyril of Alexandria to Thomas Aquinas
(Language: English)
Eli McNeil, Centre for Medieval Studies University of Toronto
Index terms: Philosophy, Theology
Paper 1242-cDeviant Belief and Brutal Death: Arius and the New Way of Drawing Religious Boundaries
(Language: English)
Astrid Schmölzer, Institut für Archäologie, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Political Thought, Religious Life, Social History
Abstract

Paper -a:
This paper deals with the border between philosophy, theology, and what is called ‘gnostic heresy.’ A striking feature in the gnostic corpus is the personification of philosophical concepts, as if Plato’s Ideas were living beings, as Gnosticism vivifies the world of abstracta of the Platonic concepts. I will try to identify the conditions for the transition of abstract conceptual vocabulary to myth construction, and therefore to see whether it is possible to differentiate an exact border between philosophy and mythology in Sethian Gnosticism and Neoplatonism. The result will substantiate the idea that philosophy turned mythology is a means of generating religious phenomena.

Paper -b:
The validity of dyothelitism – the doctrine that Christ possesses a will for each of the two natures that exist within His hypostasis – was a significant debate of the pre-Schism church as early as the 5th century, culminating in the Third Ecumenical Council of 680-681, at which it was one of the primary topics of discussion. Because of the importance of dyothelitism during the patristic age, it is possible not only to trace the development of the doctrine from Cyril of Alexandria to Maximus the Confessor, as other scholars have done, but to further trace the direct textual lineage of the doctrine from the latter to Thomas Aquinas, crossing the East-West theological border a century after the Great Schism.

Paper -c:
The Arian Controversy, called after the Alexandrinian presbyter, is one of the best documented periods in late antique history. The idea of a mortal Jesus Christ worked its way through the plebs to the very elite of the Roman Empire. The marking of boundaries between religious groups shall be shown on the example of the life and death of Arius. His ideas were a guarantor for violent uprisings and lead to huge political impact. Very soon, his efforts were vilified and even his death was used by his enemies to draw a clear dividing line between true faith and pure heresy.