Thursday, 5 February 2015

Serhiy Hovorun: Cyril of Alexandria: a phenomenological theologian?

Methodological, hermeneutical, philosophical, and theological differences between Alexandria and Antioch caused severe tensions in the early Church, but also produced a number of groundbreaking theological syntheses. The two schools together constituted a gigantic power plant that from opposite poles produced energy for many generations of theologians.
Scholarship presented the differences between the two schools in various ways: as Hellenisticversus Semitic, allegorical versus literal, Platonic versus Aristotelian, etc. In my paper, I will interpret the two approaches as metaphysical versus phenomenological. I will particularly dwell on the character of the Antiochene exegesis and Christology as resembling the modern movement of phenomenology, a proto-phenomenology.
Such an interpretation will help better understanding the figure of Cyril of Alexandria and synthetic character of his Christology. He, on the one hand, belonged to the school of speculative thinking. On the other hand, his Christology featured what we can now call phenomenology. He thus achieved a synthesis that solved many theological issues of his time, which had emerged from incompatibility of the philosophical premises of Alexandria and Antioch. The conclusions of the paper will support the idea of the modern Patristic scholarship about rapprochement between Alexandria and Antioch at the later stage of the Christological controversies.

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