Calvin the Antiochean?

It’s helpful in debate to really show what terms mean, and not necessarily what they imply.  In current theological debates, Calvinist = Nestoriarn, Lutheran = Manichean, and neo-Chalcedonian = monophysite.  Obviously, the latter is wrong and adherents to the former two would deny such associations.  At this point in the debate men try to show how said system necessarily implies.   It’s a valid form of argument, if not a stronger form.

Reading Lars Thunberg’s Microcosm and Mediator:  The Theological Anthropology of Maximus the Confessor he notes, per the communicatio idiomatum, that the neo-Chalcedonians (and hence, Orthodox) held to a divine interpenetration of the two natures of Christ.  He writes,

According to his [Nestorius modification of the idea, the communicatio idiomatum may only be applied to the person of the union, Christ.  But in relation to the divine logos and to the human nature as such, its application is forbidden (Thunberg, 22).

Does this sound familiar?

VII. Christ, in the work of mediation, acts according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself;[37] yet, by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.[38]

Of course, as Thunberg notes, there is an irresponsible way to phrase the communicatio, as the Calvinist scholastics frequently charged the Lutherans.  Maximus, however, qualified and improved the formulation of the idea, maintaining the former truth, but removing absurdities from sloppy formulations.  Maximus opted for perichoresis, a divine permeation of the human nature (if Milbank is to be believed, Maximus also allowed for a human imprint on the divine nature as well–bringing us back to the original communicatio.  Milbank references Louth’s book on St Maximus but doesn’t elucidate the point in any detail).

What do the original quotes prove?  Perhaps nothing much, but they do show the Antiochene presuppositions of later Westminster Christology.

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2 comments on “Calvin the Antiochean?

  1. Bobby Grow says:

    Nice post, tesla! Thanks.

  2. […] was—positing two acting subjects in the Logos and denying a real transfer of energies in the communication, implications present in Protestant […]

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