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The Unity of Christ: Continuity and Conflict in Patristic Tradition
Yale University Press / 2012 / Hardcover
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The Unity of Christ provides a detailed historical examination of the people and events that led to the doctrine of the dual nature of Christ.
One of the foremost debates of the patristic era focused on the status Christ. Specifically they asked, was he merely human or entirely divine? Or, perhaps, both? From a historical perspective the importance of this type of question, the way it was asked, answered, and ultimately settled is critical for understanding the formative process of Christianity.
The Unity of Christ presents a new account of this debate and in doing so demonstrates both the unity and the complexity of the patristic era on the question of Christ. The story is made up of both history's "losers" and its "winners" but by way of thorough analysis of the the patristic materials--some of which has only recently become available--Beeley shows just how closely the issues were argued and how complex the debate became in order to finally come to the now orthodox position.
Readers wishing to follow the development of Christian doctrine through history will find the detail and research behind this book useful very beneficial and it is recommended for anyone who wishes to gain a more nuanced understanding of this critical period in church history.
No period of history was more formative for the development of Christianity than the patristic age, when church leaders, monks, and laity established the standard features of Christianity as we know it today. Combining historical and theological analysis, Christopher Beeley presents a detailed and far-reaching account of how key theologians and church councils understood the most central element of their faith, the identity and significance of Jesus Christ.
Focusing particularly on the question of how Christ can be both human and divine and reassessing both officially orthodox and heretical figures, Beeley traces how an authoritative theological tradition was constructed. His book holds major implications for contemporary theology, church history, and ecumenical discussions, and it is bound to revolutionize the way in which patristic tradition is understood.
Christopher Beeley is Walter H. Gray Associate Professor of Anglican Studies and Patristics at Yale Divinity School. He is the author of Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God: In Your Light We Shall See Light, which won the 2010 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise. Beeley lives in New Haven, CT.
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