In Defense of Conciliar Christology

In Defense of Conciliar Christology : A Philosophical Essay

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This work presents a historically informed, systematic exposition of the Christology of the first seven Ecumenical Councils of undivided Christendom, from the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD to the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 AD. Assuming the truth of Conciliar Christology for the sake of argument, Timothy Pawl considers whether there are good philosophical arguments that show a contradiction or incoherence in that doctrine. He presents the definitions of
important terms in the debate and a helpful metaphysics for understanding the incarnation.

In Defense of Conciliar Christology discusses three types of philosophical objections to Conciliar Christology. Firstly, it highlights the fundamental philosophical problem facing Christologyahow can one thing be both God and man, when anything deserving to be called "God" must have certain attributes, and yet it seems that nothing that can aptly be called "man" can have those same attributes? It then considers the argument that if the Second Person of the Holy Trinity were
immutable or atemporal, as Conciliar Christology requires, then that Person could not become anything, and thus could not become man. Finally, Pawl addresses the objection that if there is a single Christ then there is a single nature or will in Christ. However, if that conditional is true, then Conciliar Christology
is false, since it affirms the antecedent of the conditional to be true, but denies the truth of the consequent. Pawl defends Conciliar Christology against these charges, arguing that all three philosophical objections fail to show Conciliar Christology inconsistent or incoherent.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 162 x 235 x 20mm | 534g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198765924
  • 9780198765929
  • 889,983

Table of contents

1. The Content of Conciliar Christology ; 2. Definitions and Necessary Conditions ; 3. The Theory Enfleshed ; 4. The Fundamental Problem ; 5. Denying the Predications ; 6. Denying "In the same Way" ; 7. Denying the Incompatibility ; 8. Immutability, Impassibility, and Atemporality ; 9. Number Troubles ; Bibliography
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Review quote

Pawl defends Conciliar Christology from all known charges of incoherence, but in so doing he also piercingly explores the conceptual contours and nuances of the Christology proffered by the Councils. Due to the skill with which these ends are achieved, Pawl's book will be required reading for graduate courses in Christology. In fact, I would argue that any future forays into the academic study of Christologyby theologians or philosopherssimply must take this book
into consideration. * James M. Arcadi, Modern Theology * I do hope theologians will pick up In Defense of Conciliar Christology. It is an exceptional defense of conciliar christology that deserves serious consideration. Minimally, those theologians inclined to the traditional conciliar stance must take seriously Pawl's careful analysis, for it is now a go to resource on conciliar Chalcedonian Christology. * Joshua R. Farris, Reading Religion * [The book] like his writing, is precise. He does not argue for its truth or possibility, but seeks only to show that conciliar Christianity's central features hold up to logical scrutiny... I found the book very helpful in bringing conceptual clarity to a number of logical questions that arise in any analysis of classical Christology. In the process it reinforced my view of the early Christian theologians as intellectually astute and deeply committed to ways of
presenting Christ that avoided contradiction. * Alan Spence, Journal of Reformed Theology *
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About Timothy Pawl

Timothy Pawl is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul.
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