[5.0.3] John Philoponus on Monophysitism

John Philoponus (490-570 AD) worked on the theory of consubstantial nature and properties:

  • Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have properties
  • These properties are the components of God.

The following OntoUML diagram shows the main classes in this model:

John Philoponus on monophisite theology
CLASSDESCRIPTIONRELATIONS
GodChristan God
“Against Sabellian or modalist notions being advanced at Alexandria by a Monophysite named Themistius (a deacon who led a group called Agnoetae opposed the patriarch Theodosius), and at Constantinople by the Chalcedonian John Scholasticus, Philoponus wrote his book On the Trinity to argue his case. The nature shared in common has no reality apart from the existents or hypostases. We must anathematise three deities, three natures, but also deny that there is an actual Godhead distinguishable even in thought from Father, Son and Spirit. Father, Son and Spirit are consubstantial in nature and substance, but not in their properties; there distinct. We do not say that the Father or the Spirit became incarnate.
Divine unity is an intellectual abstraction, and the Trinity consists substances, three natures, considered in an individual rather”
Fathers’propriesHoly Spirit’propeties: “Father […] are consubstantial in nature and substance, but not in their properties; there distinct. We do not say that the Father or the Spirit became incarnate”subkind of property; componen of
Sons’propriesSons’propries: “Son […] are consubstantial in nature and substance, but not in their properties; there distinct. We do not say that the Father or the Spirit became incarnate”subkind of property; componen of
HolySpirits’propriesHolySpirit’propeties: “Spirit Holy […] consubstantial in nature and substance, but not in their properties; there distinct.”subkind of property; componen of
HumanPropertyHuman property is consubstantial (homooúsios) with us humans subkind of property;
componen of
PropertyProperty

Sources

  • HENRY CHADWICK: PHILOPONUS THE CHRISTIAN THEOLOGIAN IN SORABJI, RICHARD: “HILOPONUS AND THE REJECTION OF ARISTOTELIAN SCIENCE”, EDITED BY RICHARD SORABJI INSTITUTE OF CLASSICAL STUDIES SCHOOL OF ADVANCED STUDY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON 2010

First published: 27/8/2022

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