The Two Natures of Christ Through the Perichoretical Lens of John of Damascus

John of Damascus argued against the faulty Muslim view of the Trinity and of Jesus Christ as the Son of God in his works The Exposition of the Orthodox Faith and the Heresy of the Ishmaelites. He argued that if Jesus were the Word and Son of God, then He was certainly the same as God Himself, for God cannot be without his Word and Spirit. John believed that the mutual indwelling of the three persons of the one God, or the perichoresis, enabled Jesus to represent the Spirit as well as the Word of God. This concept provides a basis for John’s view of the unity of the Godhead as well as the three hypostases sharing one ousia “without confusion” and “without separation.”

John also writes that this “mutual indwelling” of the perichoresis can also represent the way that the two natures of Jesus Christ operate without his personhood being divided. As Charles Twombly summarizes, “Perichoresis holds the two sides together in the hypostatic union whereby the human and divine natures of the incarnate Logos mutually indwell or interpenetrate each other.” John of Damascus did a masterful and enduring study of how the concept of the perichoresis solves the one and three problem, for as he says, the three hypostases are “one in all things save in being unbegotten, the being begotten, and the procession.”

In a similar study, John turns to the mystery of the two natures of Christ indwelling a single person and yet remaining without confusion and without separation. It all has to do with how the perichoretical relationship of the two natures and two wills mutually indwell the one person of Christ.

This paper will seek to explore John of Damascus’ development of this perichoretical relationship in Christ in order to present how Christ can be one of three in one as well as two in one of three.

Charles Twombly, Perichoresis and Personhood: God, Christ, and Salvation in John of Damascus, (Pickwick Publications, 2015), 105.

4 thoughts on “The Two Natures of Christ Through the Perichoretical Lens of John of Damascus”

  1. I expect this to be a high
    I expect this to be a high quality paper though I would appreciate more specificity about which segments of the primary sources and which scholars will be engaged with.

  2. on the road to Damascus
    The proposer has done much with John of Damascus and this is another reliable paper on the topic. The theology is evidence, but the use of sources and the scholarship for objection are not present. There may be a risk of presumed theology without these elements, and the judges simply cannot be sure if the theology will be summative or summarized.


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