The Practical Christology of Philoxenos of Mabbug

Hardcover | December 6, 2014

byDavid A. Michelson

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Philoxenos of Mabbug (c. 440-523) was a prolific late-antique theologian and polemicist who produced the largest literary corpus to have survived in Syriac. He earned a reputation as the leading Syriac opponent of the Council of Chalcedon (451) and its two-nature Christology. In The PracticalChristology of Philoxenos of Mabbug, David A. Michelson offers a new understanding of Philoxenos one-nature Christology by interpreting the post-Chalcedonian doctrinal disputes through a holistic analysis of Philoxenos life and works. Michelsons close reading of the entire Philoxenian corpus revealsa miaphysite perspective on the Christological controversies in which the intellectual clash was not primarily over defining doctrine. As a metropolitan bishop, sponsor of a revised New Testament, and monastic theologian, Philoxenos was principally concerned with matters of Christian praxis and theascetic pursuit of divine knowledge.This book shows how he opposed Chalcedonian Christology because he was convinced its intellectual theological method was inimical to the mystical pursuit of divine knowledge through liturgical and ascetic practice. Philoxenos polemical engagement drew upon a theological epistemology that he hadadapted from Pro-Nicene theologians including Ephrem, the Cappadocians, and Evagrius. Philoxenos argued that divine knowledge was not to be achieved through human understanding or doctrinal inquiry. Instead, true divine knowledge was attained through practice, specifically contemplation, reading ofscripture, participation in the liturgical mysteries, and ascetic discipline. Michelson considers each of these practices in turn to show how Philoxenos thought ofopposition to Chalcedon as part of a larger vision of ascetic and spiritualstruggle. In short, for Philoxenos conflict over Christologywas foremost a practical matter.

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Philoxenos of Mabbug (c. 440-523) was a prolific late-antique theologian and polemicist who produced the largest literary corpus to have survived in Syriac. He earned a reputation as the leading Syriac opponent of the Council of Chalcedon (451) and its two-nature Christology. In The PracticalChristology of Philoxenos of Mabbug, David A...

David Michelson is Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity at Vanderbilt University. Michelson's research explores historical sources in Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic) with an interest in how they offer new perspectives on the history of Christianity. Michelson is the general editor of Syriaca.org: The Syriac Reference Porta...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.79 inPublished:December 6, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198722966

ISBN - 13:9780198722960

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Table of Contents

Preface and AcknowledgementsAbbreviations1. Introduction: The Life and Works of Philoxenos of Mabbug2. Ordaining Satan: Practical Considerations in the Divine Oikonomia3. In Pursuit of Divine Knowledge: Patristic Sources of Philoxenos' Theological Epistemology4. Proof Texts for the Ineffable: On Knowing Christ through Scripture5. "Though He cannot be eaten, we consume Him": Christological Threats to Liturgical Practice6. Beginning the Discipleship of Christ: Theological Conflict as Ascesis and Spiritual Struggle7. Conclusion: Christological Polemics in the Context of Spiritual PracticeBibliographyIndex