Concerning Jesus Christ, the Catechism of the Catholic Church beautifully says: “God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant for ever. The Son is his Father’s definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him” (n.73). Therefore, since encountering Jesus is to encounter the Person of God the Son, this course on Christology is of vital importance!
From Apostolic times the Christian faith has always taught that Jesus Christ is both truly God and truly human. As Christians living in the 21st century, we can tend to take this assertion for granted. But for the Church to arrive at the clarity she now has concerning this teaching she went through much struggle and debate in the early centuries. In fact, for at least the first four centuries of Christianity the greatest debate concerned who Jesus Christ was and how it was possible for him to be both truly God and truly human.
This course will therefore begin by looking at the claims of Jesus Christ according to the assertions of the New Testament. Here we will look closely at the fulfillment of Old Testament Messianic prophecies. This will give us a solid grounding for understanding the titles bestowed upon Jesus and what he claimed of himself. After engaging with Jesus’ own claims we will turn our attention to the Christological debates of the early Church. Here we will encounter the teachings of Arius of Alexandria (256-336), who famously denied Jesus’ divinity, declaring him to be merely the first and greatest of creatures. We will also encounter Nestorius of Constantinople (386-451), who denied the unity of Jesus’ Personality. In studying these controversies we will encounter great figures like St. Athanasius of Alexandria (298-373) who strenuously fought Arianianism and St. Cyril of Alexandria who opposed Nestorius. We will also look at the great Councils of Nicaea (325), Constantinople I (381), Ephesus (431), and Chalcedon (451) which defined and clarified many Christological doctrines.
After investigating the Christological controversies of the early Church we will turn our gaze to the third part of St Thomas Aquinas’ Summa theologicæ. We will retrieve from Thomas the medieval understandings of ‘person’ and ‘nature’ to see how there are two natures (divine and human) and only one Person in Christ. This will set us in good stead to grapple with Jesus’ salvific work and with some of the more modern Christological questions and disputes.
So come and join us for this most interesting course in Christology: Christ the Saviour!
- To become aware of the early Christological debates in the Church and to see their importance for future developments in understanding Jesus Christ.
- To be able to identify the errors concerning Jesus that arose from these early debates.
- To gain an appreciation of the difficulties the Church had in gaining clarity concerning issues of Christology.
- To learn about the distinctions in Christ of his natures (divine and human) and his divine Person-hood.
- To fall more deeply in love with Jesus Christ and what he has done for us!
Lecture 1: The Nature of Science and Philosophy, & Chapter One (Part One): Natural Theology.
Lecture 2: Chapter One (Part Two): The Nature of Sacred Theology.
Lecture 3: Chapter Two: The States of Nature (Part One).
Lecture 4: Chapter Two: The States of Nature (Part Two).
Lecture 5: Chapter Three: The Commanding Principles of Christology (Part One).
Lecture 6: Chapter Three: The Commanding Principles of Christology (Part Two).
Lecture 7: Chapter Four: Chief Heresies and Errors Concerning the Incarnation.
Lecture 8: Chapter Five: Reasons for the Incarnation.
Lecture 9: Chapter Six: Consequences of the Incarnation (Part One): Perfections and Defects of Christ’s Humanity: The Grace of Christ.
Lecture 10: Chapter Six: Consequences of the Incarnation (Part Two): Perfections and Defects of Christ’s Humanity: Christ’s Knowledge, Doctrine, Defects Assumed and the Worship due to Him.
Lecture 11: Chapter Six: Consequences of the Incarnation (Part Three): Christ’s Joys & Suffering During His Passion.
Lecture 12: Chapter Seven: The Mother of Christ.