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-   -   The Cappadocian Fathers' views of the Hypostatic Union (http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=805525)

CutlerB Jul 9, '13 8:30 am

The Cappadocian Fathers' views of the Hypostatic Union
 
I'm currently reading James Hitchcock's History of the Catholic Church, which is truly a great book from what I have read up to now! It makes things accessible and gives you a neat overview of how things developed and related to each other.

On page 84, he has a section on the Cappadocian Fathers, who are Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory Nazianzen (whose name I can never pronounce). On the side: Are these Saints Basil the Great and Gregory the Great?

In that section, he states the following:

Quote:

[They] held that there is a union of two natures (hypostases) in Christ the "hypostatic union" and that His human will did not sin, because the Logos controlled His human nature and rendered His flesh passive.
Since this uses the term "hypostatic union", but I haven't heard of this way of seeing it before, my question is: Is this the way the Catholic Church defined it too?

Thanks. :)

JM3 Jul 9, '13 10:54 am

Re: The Cappadocian Fathers' views of the Hypostatic Union
 
St. Basil the great is Basil of Caesarea. Pope Gregory I is St. Gregory the great.


http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P17.HTM

251 In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop her own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: "substance", "person" or "hypostasis", "relation" and so on. In doing this, she did not submit the faith to human wisdom, but gave a new and unprecedented meaning to these terms, which from then on would be used to signify an ineffable mystery, "infinitely beyond all that we can humanly understand".82

252 The Church uses (I) the term "substance" (rendered also at times by "essence" or "nature") to designate the divine being in its unity, (II) the term "person" or "hypostasis" to designate the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the real distinction among them, and (III) the term "relation" to designate the fact that their distinction lies in the relationship of each to the others.

(footnote 82: Council of Constantinople II http://www.dailycatholic.org/history/5ecumen1.htm )

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1J.HTM

467 The Monophysites affirmed that the human nature had ceased to exist as such in Christ when the divine person of God's Son assumed it. Faced with this heresy, the fourth ecumenical council, at Chalcedon in 451, confessed:
Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his humanity; "like us in all things but sin". He was begotten from the Father before all ages as to his divinity and in these last days, for us and for our salvation, was born as to his humanity of the virgin Mary, the Mother of God.91

We confess that one and the same Christ, Lord, and only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two natures without confusion, change, division or separation. the distinction between the natures was never abolished by their union, but rather the character proper to each of the two natures was preserved as they came together in one person (prosopon) and one hypostasis.92

(footnote 92: Council of Chalcedon http://www.dailycatholic.org/history/4ecumen1.htm )

Cavaradossi Jul 10, '13 4:51 pm

Re: The Cappadocian Fathers' views of the Hypostatic Union
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CutlerB (Post 10960789)
I'm currently reading James Hitchcock's History of the Catholic Church, which is truly a great book from what I have read up to now! It makes things accessible and gives you a neat overview of how things developed and related to each other.

On page 84, he has a section on the Cappadocian Fathers, who are Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory Nazianzen (whose name I can never pronounce). On the side: Are these Saints Basil the Great and Gregory the Great?

In that section, he states the following:



Since this uses the term "hypostatic union", but I haven't heard of this way of seeing it before, my question is: Is this the way the Catholic Church defined it too?

Thanks. :)

That short quotation you posted from the book is somewhat disturbing, as it ascribes heretical views to the Cappadocians. The hypostatic union is not the union of two hypostases, but of two natures, which subsist in the same hypostasis (thus, the union is called hypostatic, because the mode of the union is hypostatic while that which is united are two natures). And to assert that the Logos rendered the flesh passive is clearly a proposition which was condemned by Gregory of Nazianzus when he wrote, "what is not assumed is not healed," in response to Apollinaris' doctrine that the Logos displaced the intellect of the assumed human nature, and which was also condemned by St. Maximus the Confessor, Pope St. Martin, and the Sixth Ecumenical Council, it being a central tenet of the heresy of monothelitism.

Does he quote anything from the Cappadocians to support his summary of their Christological teaching?

CutlerB Jul 10, '13 5:02 pm

Re: The Cappadocian Fathers' views of the Hypostatic Union
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cavaradossi (Post 10966679)
That short quotation you posted from the book is somewhat disturbing, as it ascribes heretical views to the Cappadocians. The hypostatic union is not the union of two hypostases, but of two natures, which subsist in the same hypostasis (thus, the union is called hypostatic, because the mode of the union is hypostatic while that which is united are two natures). And to assert that the Logos rendered the flesh passive is clearly a proposition which was condemned by Gregory of Nazianzus when he wrote, "what is not assumed is not healed," in response to Apollinaris' doctrine that the Logos displaced the intellect of the assumed human nature, and which was also condemned by St. Maximus the Confessor, Pope St. Martin, and the Sixth Ecumenical Council, it being a central tenet of the heresy of monothelitism.

Does he quote anything from the Cappadocians to support his summary of their Christological teaching?

No, he doesn't. It's a very brief paragraph, no more than 10 lines. Maybe the word "hypostasis" had different meanings in different regions? I believe I read something about that earlier.

Cavaradossi Jul 10, '13 5:22 pm

Re: The Cappadocian Fathers' views of the Hypostatic Union
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CutlerB (Post 10966719)
No, he doesn't. It's a very brief paragraph, no more than 10 lines. Maybe the word "hypostasis" had different meanings in different regions? I believe I read something about that earlier.

Nature and hypostasis could overlap in meaning when they mean simple existence (according to St. John of Damascus), but it is mainly St. Cyril who uses hypostasis in this sense. The Cappadocians tended to use hypostasis as we do now, and as the Council of Chalcedon did, that is, to mean the individual as distinguished from what is general (for example Paul and Peter differ hypostatically, which is to say they are two separate hypostases, being two separate individuals, but they are identical according to nature, which is to say that they both share in being human).

CutlerB Jul 13, '13 4:43 am

Re: The Cappadocian Fathers' views of the Hypostatic Union
 
I might add that two pages later, in a section entitled "Cappadocian Trinitarianism", a similar sentence is found.

Quote:

It was primarily the Cappadocian Fathers who developed the theology of the Trinity, according to which there are three hypostases (natures) in one ousios ("being")
It's not really "natures" then, is it? I suppose this means "Persons", but as far as I know there is only One Divine Nature.


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