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Zabolotnyi Evgenii

Theology of Aphrahat and its place in Syriac Christological tradition of the fourth century


Zabolotnyi Evgenii (2016) "Theology of Aphrahat and its place in Syriac Christological tradition of the fourth century ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2016, vol. 49, pp. 46-54 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII201649.46-54

Abstract

Various aspects of the teaching of Aphrahat, the Persian sage († after 345), have drawn a lot of attention over the years, with his Christology being one of the most debatable problems. In the fi rst half of the 20th century Friedrich Loofs asserted that Aphrahat had ascribed the human properties, mentioned in the New Testament, not to the preexistent Son of God, but to the “historical Jesus”. According to the scholar, Aphrahat did not mention the pre-existence of Christ in a sense of a hypostasis, distinguished from the Father, because in the beginning He had existed as the spirit of God. The current article attempts not only to defi ne basic concepts of Aphrahat’s Christology and critically research Loofs’s interpretation, but also to put this Christological teaching into the context of Syriac theological tradition of the 4th century. By comparing Aphrahat’s Demonstrations with the writings of Ephrem the Syrian and Cyrillonas, the author has argued that all these concepts (communicatio idiomatum, the teaching of the pre-existent Son as the subject of Divine and human properties, as well as Aphrahat’s insistence on the Virgin Mary’s Divine maternity) had been accepted by Ephrem and Cyrillonas in order to be replaced by Antiochene Christology in the 5th century. At the same time, Ephrem excluded some archaic features of Aphrahat’s doctrine, such as subordinationism, from Syriac tradition, also improving theological vocabulary of the Persian sage and understanding the term "..." not only as the “reality”, “existence” or the “way of being”, but mostly as the “nature”.

Keywords

Aphrahat, Сhristology, Church of the East, Cyrillonas, East Syrian tradition, Ephrem the Syrian, F. Loofs, Persia, Syriac Christianity, I. Ortiz de Urbina

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Information about the author

Zabolotnyi Evgenii