By dyophysitism, whose adherents are called dyophysites, we understand the doctrine of two natures, divine and human, in Christ. This christological position, defended esp. by the Antiochenes against Apollinaris of Laodicea and Cyril of Alexandria, and then by adherents to Chalcedonian faith against the so-called monophysites, had its roots in the first Christian writings, which in some way distinguish between a divine element pneuma – lo,goj and a human element sa,rx in Christ Rom 1:3-4; Jn 1:14; Ign., Eph. 7,2. This tendency to distinguish was reinforced in the struggle against the pagans and heretics of the 2nd and 3rd c. Some spoke of two ousiae Melito, others of two fu,seij to which correspond two series of attributes, divine and human Origen, or others of two substantiae Tertullian.

It was only the Arian controversy, however, in which the concept of divine generation as distinct from human was developed, which led to the bolder elaboration of the two natures, based on the two births, eternal from God and temporal from Mary, also corresponding to two consubstantialities DS 271f.; 298f.; 301f.. This evolution, though in some sense clarifying, nevertheless provoked the christological problem, i.e., the question of how the two natures constitute a single Christ. Though the question was resolved terminologically at the Council of Chalcedon 451, to this day the monophysites are unreconciled with those who accept the creed of Chalcedon, whom they call dyophysites. Apart from cultural reasons, the difficulty of obtaining agreement comes mainly from differing concepts of nature, i.e., a somewhat static concept for the dyophysites and a dynamic concept evne,rgeia for the monophysites see a good example of discussion of the two positions in John of Damascus, Jacob.


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