Open Access

A Novel Use of the Body-Soul Comparison Emerges in Neochalcedonian Christology


Comparing the union of Christ’s two natures to the body-soul union in a human being was a typical way among patristic authors to conceive the Incarnation. I argue that a novel use of the comparison emerged among Neochalcedonian theologians, esp. Leontius of Byzantium and Maximus Confessor. Their novelty lay in the concurrent refinement of the nature-hypostasis distinction required by Chalcedon. That refinement – particularly the shift from conceiving natures as self-subsistent to subsistent only in hypostases – opened unprecedented ways to make the anthropological comparison. Now there was a new, univocal tertium comparationis between Christ and the human being: in each case it’s a hypostasis alone that makes two distinct natures really one. Neochalcedonian novelty supports the broader thesis that post-Chalcedonian Christology had profound impact on philosophy (cf. Johannes Zachhuber). In this case, Neochalcedonian Christology granted far greater insight into the fundamental mystery of the human person.

English, German
Publication timeframe:
3 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Theology and Religion, General Topics and Biblical Reception