Sarah Wear on St. Cyril of Alexandria on the Trinity and Incarnation
Sarah Klitenic Wear, ‘Language of Interaction in Cyril’s Trinitarian Theology and Proclus’s Theory of the Henads’, and ‘The Rational Soul of Jesus and the Word in Cyril’s Scholia on the Incarnation’, forthcoming
In this session, Dr. Sarah Klitenic Wear discusses two papers exploring St. Cyril of Alexandria’s metaphysics of the Incarnation and the Trinity, and the consequent contribution of St. Cyril and other Christian theologians to Neoplatonic philosophy in the 5th Century. In the first paper, Dr. Klitenic Wear explains St. Cyril’s adoption of Proclus’ theory of the henads – from the Greek for ‘one [hen]’ and meaning simple intelligible entities – and uses this Neoplatonic concept to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity (One God in Three Persons) as a ‘union without confusion’. In the second paper, Dr. Klitenic Wear again attends to St. Cyril’s conception of oneness or unity, but now as it is applied to the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation (One Person in Two Natures), again as a ‘union without confusion’, and focuses on the distinctive way St. Cyril interprets the unity of soul and body in the Person of Jesus Christ. Following upon this discussion, and indicating other areas of classical scholarship situated in the cross-over of philosophy and Christian doctrine, Dr. Klitenic Wear unpacks something of the metaphysics undergirding early Christian hymns by reviewing the Akathist hymn, a beautiful Byzantine chant to the Blessed Virgin Mary dating from the 7th century, and which contains an abundance of philosophically rich Christian doctrine.