Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August, Late 4th Century. Remembering Apollinarianism

August, Late 4th Century.  Remembering Apollinarianism

A wiki-offering.

Apollinaris of Laodicea

Apollinarius "the Younger" (died 390) was a bishop of Laodicea in Syria. He collaborated with his father Apollinarius the Elder in reproducing the Old Testament in the form of Homeric and Pindaric poetry, and the New Testament after the fashion of Platonic dialogues, when the emperor Julian had forbidden Christians to teach the classics.

Best known, however, as a noted opponent of Arianism, Apollinarius' eagerness to emphasize the deity of Jesus and the unity of his person led him so far as to deny the existence of a rational human soul (νος, nous) in Christ's human nature, this being replaced in him by the Logos, so that his body was a glorified and spiritualized form of humanity. Over against this view the orthodox and catholic position (maintained by Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Church of the East, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and most traditions within Protestantism) that God as his Logos assumed human nature in its entirety, including the νος, for only so could he be humanity's perfect redeemer and prototype. It was alleged that the Apollinarian approach implied docetism, that if the Godhood without constraint swayed the manhood there was no possibility of real human probation or of real advance in Christ's manhood. The position was accordingly condemned by several synods and in particular by that of Constantinople (381).

This did not prevent its having a considerable following, which after Apollinarius' death divided into two sects, the more conservative taking its name (Vitalians) from Vitalis, the Apollinarist claimant to the see of Antioch, the other (Polemeans) adding the further assertion that the two natures were so blended that even the body of Christ was a fit object of adoration. The Apollinarian christology, along with Eutychianism, persisted in what was later the radically anti-Nestorian monophysite school.

Apollinarius did make a lasting contribution to orthodox theology in declaring that Christ was consubstantial (of one substance) with the Father as regarding his divinity and consubstantial with us as regarding his humanity. This formula, which originated with Apollinarius, later became official orthodox doctrine. Apollinaris was also one of the first to claim that God suffered and died on the cross, a claim which received immediate condemnation but later became acceptable in orthodox theology.[citation needed]

Although Apollinarius was a prolific writer, scarcely anything has survived under his own name. But a number of his writings are concealed under the names of orthodox Fathers, e.g. κατ μέρος πίστις, long ascribed to Gregory Thaumaturgus. These have been collected and edited by Hans Lietzmann.

Two letters of his correspondence with Basil of Caesarea are also extant, although there is scholarly debate regarding their authenticity because they record the orthodox theologian Basil asking Apollinarius for theological advice on the orthodox term 'homoousios'. These concerns may be unfounded, as before Apollinarius began promulgating what were seen as heretical doctrines, he was a highly respected bishop and friend of Athanasius and Basil.

He must be distinguished from the Apollinarius Claudius, bishop of Hierapolis, who bore the same name, and who wrote one of the early Christian "Apologies" (c. 170).


Adolf von Harnack, History of Dogma, vols. iii. and iv. passim

Robert Lawrence Ottley, The Doctrine of the Incarnation

Guillaume Voisin, L'Apollinarisme (Louvain, 1901)

Hans Lietzmann, Apollinaris von Laodicea und seine Schule (Tübingen, 1905).

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

Alessandro Capone [1], "La polemica apollinarista alla fine del IV secolo: la lettera di Gregorio di Nissa a Teofilo di Alessandria", in Gregory of Nyssa: The Minor Treatises on Trinitarian Theology and Apollinarism. Proceedings of the 11th International Colloquium on Gregory of Nyssa (Tübingen, 17–20 September 2008), ed. By V.H. Drecoll, M. Berghaus, Leiden - Boston 2011, pp. 499–517.

Alessandro Capone, "Apollinarismo e geografia ecclesiastica" in Auctores nostri 9, 2011, pp. 457-473.

External links

No comments: