Thursday, 7 May 2015

Sergey Trostyanskiy: Being, Structure, and Conflicting Sets of Properties in Cyril of Alexandria's Vision of Christ

Cyril's "science of Christ" is located at the very core of the Christian intellectual tradition, yet we apparently no longer understand its most basic philosophical premises. This presentation deals with the metaphysical tenets of Cyril's "science of Christ." It contextualizes Cyril's thought within the limits of the intellectual horizons of 5th century Alexandria, locating the basis of his theological speculations in the commentaries on Plato's Parmenides and focusing particularly on the creative input of Iamblichus and Syrianus. It then applies the schema of theological analysis offered by these to Cyril's metaphysics of the Incarnation, hypothesizing what will follow if we assume that it underlines his conceptions and functions as a paradigm for his "science of Christ." It will consequently conclude that Cyril's master agenda can be thought of as a brilliant synthesis of the exegesis of the Christological vision of the Fourth Gospel with the terms of the metaphysics of the Parmenides as mediated via the late Platonist commentators.
The presentation mainly focuses on Cyril's mereological thought. Special emphasis is given to the conflict of properties in Christ. The application of the correct "term" of understanding in each case is offered as the resolution of an apparent paradox, rescuing the affirmations from self-contradiction through the utility of the notions of pros heauto and pros ta alla. Finally, the presentation aims to show how this approach to the subject matter relates to the diverging patterns of understanding of Cyril's metaphysics: i.e. to the macro-argumentative strategy of ancient and modern interpreters.

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