Important Note: This paper highlights some of the problems that still exist in the church today. Though the greatest legacy of Apollinarius is the heresy associated with his namesake, it has been noted by some detailed studies that Apollinarius made some tremendous contributions into the field of Christology. There is evidence that he introduced new ideas that have sharpened the thinking of the ancient church in regard to the nature of the Incarnation of the Word. The footnotes are of particular interest where the footnotes also will have links to the fragments of Apollinarius’ writings in the original Greek (translation will come later). The fact that his struggle to come to terms with the unification of the human and divine mind in Jesus Christ led him to propose the idea that the human mind in Jesus Christ was replaced by the divine mind is without question a serious heresy. With the significant studies of G L Prestige, R V Sellers, G E Raven and Hans Lietzmann, we have been provided with a very clear picture of what it is that Apollinarius taught and precisely where he went wrong. It would be worthwhile to read T F Torrance’s The teaching of Apollinarius, which can be found in his book, Theology in Reconciliation in his essay, “The mind of Christ in Worship: Problem of Apollinarianism in the Liturgy” pp. 143-150. Here he uses the same fragments attributed to Apollinarius. This would make a good base as you read through this essay.
In my own view, I would not go as far as Sellers and Raven and claim that the accusations against certain aspects of Apollinarius’ teaching had no merit. Though there are huge problems when he proposed his main view that the human mind replaced the divine mind, it raises questions about many aspects of his doctrine of the Incarnation making it difficult to avoid further heretical and impious ideas from taking hold. Athanasius’ beautiful epistle, Against Apollinarius, (which Torrance believes is genuinely Athanasian) has not been taken into consideration in this thesis because of the question of its authenticity. This makes me question the conclusion Sellers and Raven have drawn.
The Teaching of Apollinarius of Laodicea and his School
The Christological principles which are fundamental to the teaching of Athanasius are also fundamental to those of Apollinarius and Cyril, the only difference being that with the coming of the Laodicene these principles now receive definite expression, and in this form are carried forward by the later representatives of the Alexandrian doctrine.1 So we would preface this section of our study with a brief enquiry into the terms which the theologians of the East could use as they sought to express the doctrine that Jesus Christ is one “Person,” and that in Him there are united two “elements” of Godhead and manhood.
First they had the non-metaphysical term “prosopon”. The original meaning of the term is, of course, “face”. From this sense, and from others derived from it, it came to express “the external being or individual self as presented to the onlooker”2 __ a person that is seen as seen from the outside. In the technical sense of “person” the word had been used in the East in connection with Trinitarian doctrine seemingly from the days of Hippolytus who, as a probable, took it as the Greek translation of Tertullian’s persona. So it is the term which is frequently used by Apollinarius when he speaks of the Lord’s “Person”; the Cappadocians too, and Cyril use it the same way. In the writings of these teachers instances are to be found of the use of “prosopon” in its older meanings,3 but it seems__and here, as we think, we can mark the difference between Alexandrian and the Antiochene use of the term__that is not so employed in doctrinal discussion.
A second term which they could use was “hypostasis”. As Prestige has recently shown in his God and Patristic Thought,4 the word, as used by the Greeks, had both an active and a passive meaning: “that which gives support” and “that which underlies”. In the former sense the emphasis is on the idea of “concrete independence”, and so “hypostasis” could be used to signify “particular objects or individuals”; in the latter case, the idea of “basis or foundation”__“the raw material, stuff, or ‘matter’ out of which an object is constructed”__is being emphasised, and so the term could be used to signify “reality and genuineness”.5 Both uses were recognised by the Church: after the Council of Alexandria in 362, it became legitimate to speak of “three hypostasis” or of “one hypostasis” when discussing “Theology”.6 Thus its equivalents were, respectively “prosopon”, and__the meaning which was more readily understood by the West__substantia, its philological equivalent. The term was regularly used by Cyril in these two senses. Thus__to give but one example of this point__he speaks of “one incarnate hypostasis of the Logos”, and if the coming together in Jesus Christ of “things or hypostases.”7
Thirdly, they had the term “ousia” , the technical value of which had been fixed by Aristotle’s “primary” and “secondary ousia”, the word had been used by Origen in the sense of a particular existence, an individual,8 and Malchion the Sophist had adopted this meaning in his doctrine concerning the Lord’s “Person”.9 As we are to see, it is used in the same way by the Synousiasts or Poleminianists, a section of the followers of the Laodicene,10 and at times by the heresiarch himself.11 Indeed, it is clear that the use of “ousia”, in the sense of “prosopon” was never completely abandoned by the Greek theologians.12 Yet, as a result of the setting up of “homoousios”, the term came to be more generally used, and that in accordance with Aristotle’s definition of the “secondary ousia”, as denoting the “substantial existence”, the essential quality shared by a number or particulars__as the equivalent, that is, of the Latin substantia.
But “ousia” was the term of the philosophers, and in popular usage its place was taken by “nature”, which is “an empirical rather than a philosophical terms”. So it is not surprising that Athanasius, after the “Dated” Creed of 359 had condemned the use of “ousia” because, besides being unscriptural, it was not understood by people, and so gave rise to difficulties, turns to this word in order to explain the meaning of “homoousios”.13 Once it was understood__though the relation between the two terms remained undefined__that “nature” could be used as an equivalent of “ousia”, it came to bear the same two meanings: it should refer either to the particular or the general.14 And it should be clearly understood, the theologians of the Alexandrine school were at home with both usages: they employ “nature” in the sense of “an individual existence” (i.e., as the equivalent of “prosopon”) and in its generic sense; they speak of “one incarnate nature of the divine Logos”, but they also speak of “the divine nature”, “the nature of the Godhead”, “our nature”, “man’s nature”, and “human nature”15
So then, understanding that the Alexandrine teachers held at their disposal these four terms, “prosopon”, “hypostasis”, “ousia”, and “nature”, when they wished to refer to the “Person” of Jesus Christ, and that they could adopt any one of the last three,16 when they sought to mention the elements of which is composed, let us see how he who stands as the pioneer in this work of formulating the Christological principles of the school makes use of them.
Apollinarius of Laodicea, dominated, like Athanasius and all the Alexandrian teachers, by a profound interest in soteriology, sets it up as his main Christological assertion that Jesus Christ is the Logos Himself who, for man’s salvation, has become flesh__“flesh”, that is, as he understands the term.
This becoming flesh, he maintains, has not been brought about through any change in the divine ousia of the Logos. Thus he expressly anathematizes any who would say that the Logos has been changed into flesh,17 and quotes against them the text “I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi iii.6).18 The Logos, he teaches, still maintains his cosmic relations even if He has become flesh: “at once He permeates all things and in in a peculiar sense commingled with the flesh”19 For the same reason he denies that the Logos has been limited by the body__had it been so, he argues, “the universe would have been made void”.20 What he insists on is that the Logos is the same Person both before and after the Incarnation:21 the Invisible has been seen composite with a body, while remaining invisible and uncomposite;22 Christ is “God invisible changed in form by the visible body, God uncreate made manifest by a created limitation, self-limited in assuming the form of a servant, unlimited, unaltered, unimpaired in His divine essence”.23 Clearly his position is that the Logos, while remaining what He was, has in addition become incarnate: remaining ἀσύνθετος and ἄσαρκοσ in His eternal being, He has become σύνθετος and ἔνσαρκοσ in the Incarnation.
What is Apollinarius’ teaching on the self-emptying? As Raven says, for this theologian it is “identical with the whole condition of Christ’s life upon earth, a continuous process of voluntary renunciation”24 His “great definition” is that “incarnation is self-emptying” (σάρκωσις κένοσις) 25 __a principle which, it would seem, lies behind the teaching of Athanasius on this subject. But now the thought is more clearly developed. In a passage which reminds us of the statement of Irenaeus that the Logos “quiescent” at the time of the Temptation,26 the Laodicene declares that the suffering of Christ “only appears in proportion to the restraint and withdrawal of the divine will”;27 and in another he affirms that “the energy of the Godhead acts on each occasion either separately or in combination as is necessary”, and gives as an example the Lord’s fasting: “when the Godhead, with its capacity for superiority to want, acted in combination, His hunger was appeased; when it did not employ its capacity to resist the feeling of want, His hunger increased”.28 But, as Raven points out, it must not be supposed that Apollinarius presents us with a system of Christology in which the self-emptying is regarded as complete: it is just here, we consider, that the weakness in the teaching of the Greek Fathers is to be marked, for they had developed the doctrine of the Lord’s individual manhood, they would have been compelled to posit the complete self-emptying of the Logos. Nevertheless, it seems undeniable that the conception that the Logos must limit Himself in respect of the powers which are His by nature if He is indeed to become man has a definite place in the Alexandrine doctrinal tradition, and, as we shall see, Cyril, working on the basis of Apollinarius’ definition, can offer a formula which, provided that one does not hesitate to make full use of it, is of real value in this connection.29
How then according to Apollinarius, has the Logos become flesh? While remaining what He was, the Logos has taken to Himself a human body, and made it His own, this body being altogether inseparable from Him whose body it is.30 Making use of the terms which had been current among the Greek theologians for more than a century,31 he says there has been a real “unification” (ἕνωσις),32 a “composition” (σύνθεσις), a “coming together” (σύνοδος),33 a “commingling” (κρᾰσις, ἀνάκρασις, σύγκρασις),34 of Godhead and flesh in the Person of the Logos: σὰρξ . . . εἰς ἒν πρόσωπον ἥνωται τῇ Θεότητι.35 This union, he affirms, is a “personal union”: anticipating Cyril’s “hypostatic” or “natural” union__though he uses another term__He says that it is οὐσιώδησ,36 the flesh having been “personally united with” (συσουσιομέη)37 the Godhead in the Person of the Logos.38 So is the Logos a φύσις which is now σεσαρκωμένη; or, as it was put by one of his disciples, the Person (φύσις) who from eternity was simple is now composite (σύνθετος).39 Since, then, the flesh has been compounded into the Person this Person, now incarnate or composite, is one: Jesus Christ is__μία φύσις (οὐσία) σύνθετος .40__or to quote the formula which later generations were to accept as genuinely Athanasian. μία φύσις τοῠ θεοῠ Λόγου σεσαρκωμένη41
Let us notice how central to his teaching is the principle that Jesus Christ, the Logos made flesh, is one Person. We will first consider his opposition to the Nestorian thought that in Christ there are two Persons set side by side. In Him, Apollinarius affirms, there are not two ousiai (=”persons”) but one. according to the composition of God with a human body”;42 Jesus Christ is “one in being according to the one ousia, not two prosopa which exist according to their spheres and dignities”;43 the one prosopon cannot be divided into two, for the body is not to be regarded as an ἰδία φύσις , having an individual existence beside the Logos,44 but just as man, who consists of body and soul, is one nature, so also is Christ45__an analogy which was to be used again and again by the Laodicene’s successors in the the Alexandrine doctrinal tradition. Thus he will not allow that in Christ there are two persons existing side by side: God did not take a man to be “another beside Himself” (ἕτερος παρ’ αὐτόν),46 for if that had been the case we should have had a divinely inspired man__but no mere prophet or apostle could have been the world’s Saviour;47 rather his position is that the flesh has its place in the composition which is in the Person of the Logos.
Again, it is in order to enforce the cardinal truth that Jesus Christ is God Himself made flesh that he insists that the Virgin must be called “Theotokos”. Neither he, nor his followers, nor, for the matter of that, any person who considers himself to be sane, he declares, would say that the flesh itself is consubstantial with the Godhead, or that it is from heaven;48 but since the mystery of man’s salvation lies in the incarnation of the Logos, who is inseparable from His own flesh, the Virgin must be given this title49__for He who was born of a woman is θεὸς ἔνσαρκος.50 With the same purpose in view he uses the expressions “God was crucified,” “God died”.51 But it should be understood that when he speaks in this way he is thinking of the Logos as He has become flesh. For Apollinarius is careful to make distinction between the Logos in His incarnate state and the Logos in His eternal being, in which He is impassable. It was “when the Logos became flesh”, or “as man”, that He died and rose again;52 the divine Logos preserved His presence in all things, and while the sufferings belong to the flesh, His power possessed its own impassibility__one does not attribute the sufferings to the Power, he exclaims.53 As Raven says, this “distinction between the unlimited and self-limited aspects of Christ’s Godhead” is a most important feature of the Christology of Apollinarius.54 At the same time, it is evident that it is not peculiar to this theologian.55
Further, maintaining the principle that Jesus Christ is one Person, the Laodicene holds that all His actions and sayings are those of the Logos Himself as He became incarnate. Like Athanasius__and, as we shall see, like Cyril__he does not think on the lines of any alternate action, as if the Lord did this in His divine and that in His human nature; his view, rather, is that everything, whether divine or human, belongs to the one incarnate Person. The precedent, he says, is to be found in Holy Scripture itself, in which “no division is made between the Logos and His flesh [He being regarded as] one nature, one hypostasis, one activity, one prosopon, the Same wholly God, wholly man”56 So he takes the words “What He sees the Father doing He also does” (cf. St John v.19), as applying to “the flesh, wherein the Incarnate is separate to the non-incarnate Father”57__ that is, they are to be ascribed to the one Person, the Logos made flesh. Again, in regard to the prayer in Gethsemane, he expressly states that “He uttered the words was God wearing flesh, with no distinction in the exercise of His will”.58 Similarly, he can say that the words “Glorify thou me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (St John xxvii 5) are those of “the whole,”59 and that the saying “Sit thou at my right hand” (Psalm cx.I) is to be referred to the Lord “as man”__that is, the Logos Himself in His incarnate state.60 Indeed Apollinarius goes farther, and__“the first to bring into clear light the mystery which has been hidden from all”, asserts that Jesus Christ is “one composite ousia and nature, moved by solely one will, and performing both miracles and sufferings.”61 Undoubtedly, the phrase μία οὐσία καὶ φύσις σύνθετος is new, and it stands to the credit of the Bishop of Laodicea that he could so clearly express what is implicit in the Alexandrine teaching. For him, Jesus Christ is one perfect living Being (ἒν ζῶον), consisting of Godhead and flesh, of Mover and moved__for the flesh has been compounded with the ruling principle from heaven__who possesses one will and one activity, and Himself performs both what is divine and what is human.62 Neither would it be wrong to suppose the Polemon is but echoing the thought of his master when he declares that this one Person possesses “one operative motion” (μία ἐνεργετική κίνησις) which is seen “as well in the miracles as in the sufferings”.63 Clearly, in all this we can trace an attempt to give definite expression to the doctrine that Jesus Christ is one composite Person, at once divine and human, whose is one theandric will and operation__only, in their determination to resist the Nestorian notion that in Jesus Christ there are two (parallel) self impelling individual existences (δύο φύσεις αὐτοκίνητοι),64 each with its will and operation, Apollinarius and the members of his school, themselves undoubtedly capable theologians, spoilt the worth of their contribution through denying that Christ possessed a human rational soul. Others there were who, even if they were unable to express themselves with such precision, stood for the same fundamental thought, and were not prepared to give way on the point that Christ’s is a manhood in every respect consubstantial with ours.
Not let us see how Apollinarius upholds the second foundation principle of the Alexandrine Christology. For him, Jesus Christ is one Person, in whom are the two elements (πράγματα)65 of Godhead and flesh: He is φύσις μία ἐξ ἑκατέρου μἑρους__the uncreated and the created; like man, who consists of body and soul, He is ἐκ δύο μερῶν.66 By this root conception he holds firm. Again and again he uses “composition” when speaking of the union of the Godhead and flesh in Christ, but he explicitly denies that the elements have been changed as a result of this union.67 As we have seen, he insists that the Logos does not change into flesh; similarly, he holds, the body assumed by the Logos still remains in in its human nature.68 Not for a moment__though his enemies accused him of holding this doctrine__does he think that the Logos brought His body with Him from heaven: indeed, he deliberately condemns those who accept such an idea.69 The body may share in the properties of the Logos, so that it can be called a “divine body,” and the Logos may share in the properties of the body, but they remain, according to nature, body and Logos.70 He is most definite on this point:
The flesh of the Lord, while remaining flesh even in the union__its nature being neither change nor lost__shares in the names and properties of the Logos; and the Logos, while remaining Logos and God, in the incarnation shares in the names and properties of the flesh.71
Neither should it be thought that his use of such expressions as “commingling” and “mixture”72 necessitates a different verdict. He uses them, it should be understood, in order to enforce the thought of the inseparability of the divine and human elements in their union in the Person of the Logos. He certainly does not mean that in their union one element has been transformed into the other.73 It may be said that to employ such terms is injudicious, but it is certain that this teacher cannot be accused of upholding the doctrine of “confusion”.
Indeed, it is most significant that, intent upon resisting any such error, he maintains the very same principle which we have seen in Origen and Athanasius74__namely, that of “recognising the difference of the natures” according to their properties. In the commingling, he says, there is the uncreated and the created;75 there has been union of what is of God and what is of the body: there is “the adorable Creator, who is Wisdom and Power eternal”, and there is the Son of Mary, born in the last time, worshipping God, progressing in wisdom, and being strengthened with power;76 “the human [nature] partakes of the divine energy so far as it is able”, though it is distinct [ἑτέρα], as is the least from the greatest__the one servant and creature, the other Lord and Creator.77 So also in his scriptural exegesis he distinguishes between what is proper to the Lord’s Godhead and what is proper to His manhood__though, as we have said, he carefully points our that everything that is recorded concerning Jesus Christ in Scripture is to be referred to the one Person, the Logos incarnate. Thus in the de Unione,78 taking the text “For their sakes I sanctify myself” (St John xvii. 19), he says that therein is preserved the one prosopon and the indivisibility of the one living Being, but, perceiving what is demanded by an accurate discernment of what foes to make up that one Person, he proceeds to make a distinction between that which sanctifies, which is divine, and that which is sanctified, which is human nature__for one is Creator, the other creature. He gives another example. When St Paul says that Christ has been exalted and given the name which is above every name (Philippians ii. 9), Apollinarius holds, the Apostle is speaking of “the whole” as having been exalted, but, he goes on, properly it is the flesh which was exalted, since the Godhead every remains in its immutability. Then he establishes this principle:
He who cannot perceive [εἰδέναι] what is proper to each in the different [elements] which have been united will fall into opinions which are inconsistent; but he who recognises the properties [τὰ ἴδια γινώσκων] and preserves the union will neither speak falsely concerning the nature, nor go wrong concerning the union79
If this is compared with the similar statements of Origen and Athanasius,80 it will be seen that Apollinarius is here upholding a principle which is already established in the traditional teaching of the Alexandrine school as that which must be insisted upon in the interest of sound belief. So long as one “recognises”__that is, sees as real__the properties of each element in their union in the one Person of Jesus Christ, this teacher would say, one will understand that the “nature” is that of the Logos incarnate, and one will make no mistake concerning the union in which the two elements of the Godhead and flesh remain without confusion. Thus the principle that Jesus Christ is ἓν πρόσοπον ἐκ δύο [φύσεων] γνωριζόμενον is already set up__and Eutychianism is already condemned.
Thus far Apollinarius’ teaching is altogether in line with that of the other representatives of the Alexandrine school of thought; in fact, as we shall see, the phrases which he uses in expressing the Christological principles of the school now become part of its recognised language. But after this he pursues a course of his own. He can say that Jesus Christ is “man,”81 but He is man “titularly” (ὁνωνύμως):82 He possesses a body and an animal soul (ψυκή), but he is not a human mind (πνεῡμα, νοῠς), since in Him the heavenly mind of the Logos takes the place of the highest element in us. As he openly confesses, Christ “is not a man but as man, since He is not homoousios with man in the crowning element”.83
Raven has clearly demonstrated what Apollinarius understands by the human mind. To quote what his scholar says: “To him a human mind implies ‘a self-determining subject, impelled naturally by its own volition,’ and supplying the motive power to the flesh which is purely passive. It is this power of self-determination of freedom of will which to him constitutes the very essence of the mind: without it mind ceases to be mind.”84 If then, Apollinarius argues, there are two such self-determinating subjects in Christ, the foundation principle of the unity of his Person is completely overthrown. “Two separate principles of mind and will”, he says, “cannot dwell together without one striving against the other”;85 “such a subject would be in a state of perpetual turmoil, distracted by the conflicting wishes of the elements of which it consists.”86 So he see that his main principle will be set beyond all question if__seemingly on the basis that the two are akin__he says that in Christ the heavenly takes the place of the human mind: Christ can still be called “man”, and there will be no doubt concerning the oneness of His Person, for, under such constitution, there can be in Him but one will, one activity, one operative motion, the Logos Himself being the “mover” and the flesh being the “moved”. This is the answer which, he realises, he can give to Diodore of Tarsus and his followers, who, “separating the natures”, were, as he thought, dividing the one Christ and teaching a duad of Sons.
But we must look deeper if would appreciate Apollinarius’ real motive in depriving Christ of a human mind. Saint as well as theologian, and, like Athanasius, ever seeing the Christological in the light of the soteriological problem, he would ensure the reality of redemption through ensuring the absolute sinlessness of the Redeemer.. His basal conception concerning the human is that is is “changeable and prey of sordid thoughts”;87 it can fall away with weakness.88 Therefore, to place it together beyond doubt that the Redeemer is utterly sinless, he denies all possibility of moral conflict in Him: in Him the unchangeable mind of the Divine takes the place of what is changeable in us. For, as he says, “if there is in Christ a human along with a divine mind, the work of the Incarnation, which is the overthrow of sin, is not accomplished by Him”;89 “if the same nature that is in us is in Christ, He is but the old man, a living soul, not a life-giving spirit”.90 Thus he attains his end through ruling out the posse non peccare and setting up__and that in the clearest terms__non posse peccare. Apollinarius had still to learn there is no need to deprive Christ of a human mind in order to establish the doctrine of sinlessness: this doctrine can be established on the basis of the perfect harmony that existed between the human mind, continuing real and free, and the mind of the divine__though among the ancients it was rather the Antiochenes, with whom, as we are yet to see, the moral interest was uppermost, than the Alexandrines who was best fitted to work out such an answer.
In their denial of the place of the human mind in Christ, Apollinarius and his disciples, we consider, stand apart from the other representatives of the Alexandrine doctrinal tradition. But Raven, in his Apollinarianism, takes a different view. His contention is that “Greek thought was essentially Apollinarian,” and that “Apollinarianism grew naturally and inevitably from the parent stock of Christian Hellenism.”91 At the time of Apollinarius, this scholar argues, the Church’s doctrine concerning Christ was in a state of chaos. The Greek Fathers, taking it as fundamental that God and man were naturally opposites, had been unable to posit that God had become true man. They had set up one single Person, Himself divine, and had accounted for the Lord’s humanity by merging it and the human mind which belonged to it in the Godhead. So, “a speculative thinker of profound and daring genius,” Apollinarius “set himself to the creation of a clear-cut and logical theory which should express in definite form the convictions of his compatriots and of the Christian conscience.” He built upon the same foundation, and upheld the same cardinal truth that Jesus Christ is one Person, the Logos who had assumed human flesh__but, “too fine a spirit to resort to subterfuge and quibbling,” he gave precision to the belief that the Lord’s manhood and was impersonal through setting up the doctrine of the “heavenly mind.”92
Certainly, as they stand, the terms which he uses when speaking of God can leave us with the impression that Apollinarius is “a typical Greek, with his strongly physical conception of deity,”93 but, as we have said, it should be remembered that, in setting out to present the Gospel to the Greek world, Christian teachers were compelled to use terms with which that world was familiar. This, however, is not to say that they took over the ideas with which these terms were associated among the Greeks. Further, the contrast between God and man as the sinless and the sinful, the changeless and the changeable, may seem to point to the presence of the conception that God and man are eternal opposites, but here again this does not necessarily mean that such a conception is fundamental to Apollinarius’ position. As we have tried to show, the conception of an ethical God who was so made man that he can enter into fellowship with Him lies behind the teaching of Athanasius. The same conception, we shall see, is to be found in the writings of the Cappadocians, and those of Cyril. So then__it is reasonable to assume this teacher, an Alexandrine by birthright as well as by outlook, also builds on this foundation. And if this is the case, it would seem that the theory__upheld by Dorner, who has been followed by scholars of a more recent date__that Apollinarius “viewed the Logos in Christ as the eternal humanity, probably on the ground of His being the archetype of universal humanity,” is by no means untenable.94
Again, it has been granted that one can produce passages from the Fathers__and in this direction the writings of Gregory of Nyssa can prove a very fruitful field__which seems to show that they merge Christ’s manhood in His Godhead. But, if we judge them aright__and, as we proceed, we shall try to make this point clear__their position is that they see the manhood, complete with its properties, as real in its union with the Godhead in the Person of the Logos. Of course they deny the (Nestorian) notion that the manhood is “personal” in the sense that it had a hypostasis parallel to that of the Logos, but they would deny that it possesses its own faculty of self-determination as it exists in the composition of the Person of the Logos. So it can be said that they stand for the doctrine of personal manhood__though whether, having accepted it, they are prepared to work it out is a different question.
That they would uphold this doctrine is implied in the reply which was made to Apollinarius by his contemporaries. In their criticism of his teaching, the Cappadocians undoubtedly make the mistake of crediting him with that which he never held__namely, the doctrine of a pre-existent manhood.95__but they are right in perceiving that, through mutilating Christ’s manhood, the Laodicene’s teaching is destructive of the truth that for our salvation the Logos became totus homo (all man) in the real sense of the words. Gregory of Nazianzus in his ad Cledonium96 pleads that Apollinarius and his followers were denying the very element which before all else stood in need of sanctification. Going back to Adam’s transgression, he sees that “the mind was the first to be affected,” and that it failed to keep the command which it had received,” and that on this account it is “most in need of salvation.” Therefore on the basis of “sanctifying like by like,” he affirms that “that which needed salvation was that which the Saviour took upon Him.” Gregory’s may be the argument from soteriology, but it is clear enough that, though he may not have given full consideration to the doctrine in its Christological bearing, he was not prepared to give way on the point that Christ possessed a truly human mind. And in regard to the Antirrheticus__the treatise in which Gregory of Nyssa attacks the Laodicene__while it cannot be denied that this work reveals that its author is one whose ideas are not sufficiently matured and whose ability to deal with the Christological problem is of an order inferior to that of the man whose teaching he criticizes,97 it is clear from his arguments that he would maintain that Christ’s was a manhood which possessed the faculty of self-determination; indeed, it is noteworthy that at one point he seems to suggest that the doctrine of Christ’s sinlessness must have its basis the thought that “virtue is the right exercise of free-will.”98 As we shall see, these critics of Apollinarius certainly agree with him in upholding the same root principles, but they do not agree with him in denying the Lord’s was a complete manhood. It is on this point of difference that they seize, and make it their axiom__an axiom which was adopted by the later Alexandrine theologians__that τὸ ἀπρόσληπτον ἀθεράπευτον.99 It was on such grounds that Apollinarius was condemned both in the East and in the West,100 and ever afterwards, when they spoke of the manhood of the Incarnate, Eastern teachers were careful to say that they meant the manhood complete with a human rational soul: Jesus Christ, they say, possesses σῶμα ἐμψυχόν τε καὶ ἔννουν. The controversy with Apollinarius, even if he had been sadly misjudged, had served to make it clear that the doctrine of the reality of Christ’s human will and activity is an essential part of the Christological teaching of the Alexandrine school of thought.