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v2.1 Reference


This translation of a major document in patristic Christology, the first translation since the nineteenth century, is based upon the modern critical edition of Theodoret's Greek text. Theodoret was the leading theologian of his time in the Antiochene tradition, and in the Eranistes (written in 447) he offers a lengthy exposition of his Christology, coupled with a refutation of the so-called Monophysite Christology that, despite its condemnation at the General Council held at Chalcedon in 451, survives to this day, having been embraced by several large churches of the East. The "Monophysite" controversy caused a tremendous rift between East and West, and the Eranistes portrays the hostility and the stubborn resistance to the thought of others that afflicted both sides in the conflict.

The Eranistes is written in the form of three dialogues between two characters: Orthodox, who represents Theodoret's thought, and Eranistes, who is presented as a heretic. In two dialogues Theodoret argues that the Word of God was immutable and impassible in his divine nature, and that Christ experienced change and passion only in his human nature. A third dialogue argues that, in the union of the divinity and humanity in the one person of the Word incarnate, the natures remained unmixed. To bolster his arguments Theodoret incorporates extensive citations, not only from orthodox ecclesiastical writers, but also from the heretic Apollinarius and the suspected Arian, Eusebius of Emesa. The texts of many of these citations are known only from the Eranistes and are therefore important witnesses to the development of patristic Christology.

Critical issues in Antiochene and Alexandrian Christology are broached by Theodoret in the text and are further discussed by the translator in the introduction and notes.

About the Authors

Gerard H. Ettlinger, S.J. is recently retired as Professor and John A. Flynn Chair of Theology at St. John's University. He is the author of numerous works, including Jesus, Christ and Savior, Theodoret of Cyrus: Eranistes, A Critical Edition and Prolegomena, and Jean Chrysostome, à une jeune veuve, sur le mariage unique (critical edition of the Greek text, with critical apparatus).


"Gerard Ettlinger's translation of Theodoret of Cyrus' anti-Monophysite dialogues Eranistes situates the reader directly in the cross-fire of the conflicted period from
447-451. Ettlinger, who published the critical edition of the Greek text in 1975, now enables us to feel the drama and passion of the text through a concise but thorough introduction, ample footnotes, and excellent scriptural and general indices... Ettlinger's translation adopts a tone of cordial conversation and joint investigation... which enlivens a complex subject and produces an intriguing and insightful debate that opens a window on this volatile drama in Christian doctrine."—Journal of Early Christian Studies

"The Eranistes is a unique text in early Christian literature not least because of the dialogue format that Theodoret employed for the presentation of his arguments. More important, it is one of the most significant collections of propositions from the 'fathers' of the church. Ettlinger's translation will make the text more accessible to those interested in the study not only of the Christological controversies of the mid-fifth century but also of the use of literary forms in early Christian literature... Ettlinger has made a welcome addition to the growing literature on one of the most prolific and important literary figures of the fifth century CE."—Religious Studies Review

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