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THE subject of my lectures-"Nestorius and his position in the history of Christian Doctrine "-seems at the first glance to have little interest for us modern men. Almost 1500 years have passed since Nestorius played his rôle in history. And this rôle was in the orthodox church a very transitory one.

For the Persian-Nestorian or Syrian-Nestorian church (as the language of this church was Syriac) Nestorius, it is true, became a celebrated saint; and still to-day small remains of this once far-reaching church are to be found in the vicinity of the Urmia Lake in the north-west of Persia and south of it in the mountains of Turkish Kurdistan. But in the orthodox church Nestorius was even in his own time an ephemeral appearance. In the year 428 A.D. he became bishop of Constantinople and as early as 431 he was deposed. Four years later he was banished to Oasis in Egypt, and up to a few years ago the common opinion was that he died soon after in his exile.

For the orthodox church he remained merely one of the most condemned heretics. He was reproached not

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only for having forbidden the title coтókos, mother of God, as applied to Mary the virgin, but it was told of him that he, separating the divine and the human nature of Christ, saw in our Saviour nothing but an inspired man1. What was right in his statements, viz. his opposition to all monophysitic thinking, was held to be maintained by the famous letter of Leo the Great to Flavian of Constantinople of the year 449, acknowledged by the council of Chalcedon, and by the creed of that council itself. The rest of what he taught was regarded as erroneous and not worth the notice of posterity.

That this is not a tenable theory I hope to prove in my lectures.

To-day it is my aim merely to show that just at the present time different circumstances have led to the awakening of a fresh interest in Nestorius.

The church of the ancient Roman Empire did not punish its heretics merely by deposition, condemnation, banishment and various deprivations of rights, but, with the purpose of shielding its believers against poisonous influence, it destroyed all heretical writings. No work of Arius, Marcellus, Aetius and Eunomius e.g., not to speak of the earlier heretics, has been preserved in more than fragments consisting of quotations by their opponents. A like fate was purposed for the writings

1 Comp. Socrates, h. e. 7, 32, 6 ed. Gaisford II, 806; Evagrius, h. e. 1, 7 ed. Bidez and Parmentier, p. 14, 6.

of Nestorius: an edict of the Emperor Theodosius II, dating from the 30th of July 435 ordered them to be burnt1. Even the Persian church, about the same time won over to Nestorianism, had to suffer under this edict only a few works of Nestorius came into its possession for translation into Syriac.

This we learn through Ebed-Jesu, metropolitan of Nisibis (+1318), the most famous theologian of the Nestorians in the middle ages and who has given us the most complete account of the writings of Nestorius. He introduces in his catalogue of Syrian authors2 the notice about Nestorius with the following words: Nestorius the patriarch wrote many excellent books which the blasphemers (viz. the Antinestorians) have destroyed. As those which evaded destruction he mentions, besides the liturgy of Nestorius, i.e. one of the liturgies used by the Nestorians, which without doubt is wrongly ascribed to Nestorius, five works of the patriarch. The first of these is the book called Tragedy, the second the Book of Heraclides, the third the Letter addressed to Cosmas, the fourth a Book of letters and the fifth a Book of homilies and


For us the edict of Theodosius against the writings of Nestorius has had a still more important result. Until 1897 nothing was known about the second book

1 Cod. Theodos. 16, 5, 66; Mansi, v, 413 f.

2 J. S. Assemani, Bibliotheca orientalis, ш, 1, p. 35 f.

mentioned by Ebed-Jesu, i.e. about the Book of Heraclides. Also the Letter addressed to Cosmas mentioned third by Ebed-Jesu had to be counted and is still to be counted as lost1. Of the three other works ascribed by Ebed-Jesu to Nestorius we had and still have only fragments-occasional quotations in the works of his enemies and his friends.

Among the hostile writings in which we find such fragments are to be named especially the works of his chief opponent Cyril of Alexandria; then the proceedings of the council of Ephesus; then some works of Marius Mercator, a Latin writer who in the time of Nestorius lived in Constantinople and translated a series of quotations from Nestorius given by Cyril, three letters of Nestorius and also, but with considerable omissions, nine of his sermons; finally the church history of Evagrius (living about 590). The latter gives us2 an account of two works of Nestorius dating from the time of his exile, one of which must be the Tragedy, while the other could not be identified up to the last ten years, and he inserts in his narration extracts from two interesting letters of the banished heretic. Among the friends who preserved for us fragments of Nestorius the Nestorians of later date played a very unimportant part. Important is a Latin work which has connection with the earliest friends of Nestorius, the so-called

1 Comp. Hauck's Real-Encyklopädie, xxiv, 242, 56 ff.
2 h. e. 1, 7 ed. Bidez and Parmentier, pp. 12 ff.

Synodicon, known since 16821 or, in complete form, since 18732, and which is a later adaptation of a work of Bishop Irenaeus of Tyrus, a partisan of Nestorius, which was entitled "Tragedy" like the lost "Tragedy" of Nestorius, upon which perhaps it was based.

The quotations of these enemies and friends represent, as I said, fragments of three books of Nestorius mentioned by Ebed-Jesu, viz. the Book of letters, the Book of sermons and the Tragedy. The first two of these three works of Nestorius need no further explanation. The third, the Tragedy, about which Evagrius and the Synodicon teach us, must have been a polemical work, in which Nestorius, as Evagrius says, defended himself against those who blamed him for having introduced unlawful innovations and for having acted wrongly in demanding the council of Ephesus. The title which the book bears must have been chosen because Nestorius told here the tragedy of his life up to his banishment to Oasis in Egypt.

Fragments of other books of Nestorius not mentioned by Ebed-Jesu were not known to us ten years ago*.

1 Ch. Lupus, Ad Ephesinum concilium variorum patrum epistolae, 1682 Mansi, v, 731-1022.

3 h. e. 1, 7, pp. 12, 24 f.

2 Bibliotheca Casinensis, 1, 49-84. 4 We had, it is true, the Anathematisms of Nestorius against Cyril's Anathematisms, and a fragment of his λoyídia; but the Anathematisms probably were attached to a letter, and the λoyidia (short discourses) perhaps belonged to the Book of homilies and


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