Thursday, 5 February 2015

Scott Ables: The Rhetoric of Persuasion in the Polemic of John of Damascus

The edited Opera Polemica of John of Damascus (c. 675-750) contain eight works against Miaphysitism (2), Nestorianism (2), Monothelitism, Manichaeanism, Islam and modifications to the Trisagion.  Chalcedonian Christology is at the center of John’s polemic against these other views.  Further, John’s systematization of his thought in the dogmaticPege gnoseos Font of Knowledge, comprised of the Dialectica, De Haeresibus, and Expositio fidei, is largely centered on Christology.  Although some view the Damascene as a mere encyclopediast, analysis of his theological argument in the wider context of these polemical and dogmatic works suggests a strategic rhetoric of persuasion that modifies tradition, moving beyond his predecessors and interlocutors and harmonizing theologia andoikonomia, in order to provide a more coherent alternative to non-conciliar Christologies.

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