Christology of Babai the Great

Originally posted 10/19/2008.

Babai the Great of Assyria was fully Christologically orthodox

Babai Not Fully Nestorian
1. It would seem that Babai the Great was not a full-blooded Nestorian, but a semi-Nestorian.

Antitheopaschism of Babai
2. He accepted that “Christ died” and “the Son died,” so he was orthodox in that respect. However, he was heterodox in that he refused to believe that “the Word died” and “the Word died in the flesh.”{1} He was also wrong to completely reject Theopaschism. While he rightly affirmed that the divinity did not suffer and the Trinity did not suffer, he wrongly denied that one of the hypostases of the Trinity suffered.{2}

Babai Affirms Theotókos
3. Babai rightly affirmed that the human nature of Christ is has “no existence apart from its union with” the eternal Logos), and that Mary is Theotókos: “because of the union the blessed Mary is called Mother of God and Mother of Man—Mother of Man according to her own nature, but Mother of God because of the union which He had with His humanity.”{3}

Babai’s Two Qnômê in One Parsôpâ
4. A qnômá, according to Sebastian Brock, “is an individual instance or example of a kyâna (which is understood as always abstract), but this individual manifestation is not necessarily a self-existent instance of a kyâna.”{4} Thus qnômá is broader than hypostasis, according to Mr. Brock. If this is the case, then Babai did not teach two hypostaseis, i.e. two self-existent instances of a kyâna, in Christ. In other words, if qnômá does not have a connotation of self-existence as hypostasis does, then Babai did not teach that Christ is two persons. Nestorius’ doctrine of two hypostaseis in Christ inevitably leads to two persons in Christ,{5} and Nestorius even expressly said that Christ is two persons in one person.{6}

Notes and References
{1} “Contra Nestorius.” The Banana Republican. 19 Aug. 2007. 21 Oct. 2008 <>, n. 6: “The characteristics of the Son of Man may be predicated of the Son of God and the characteristics of the Son of God may be predicated of the Son of Man. That means that we can say of Christ that ‘God is passible,’ ‘the God of glory was crucified,’ and ‘God died.'”
{2} Ibid.
{3} Letter of the Union, pp. 264-265.
{4} Sebastian Brock (1996), “The ‘Nestorian’ Church: A Lamentable Misnomer.” Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 78, p. 28.
{5} “Contra Nestorius.” The Banana Republican. 19 Aug. 2007. 19 Oct. 2008 <>.
{6} “Contra Nestorius, Part II.” The Banana Republican. 21 Oct. 2008 <>.
parsôpâ (prosôpon), kyânê (phuseis), qnômê, etc.

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