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Etymology edit

From Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople (consecrated 428).

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Nestorianism (countable and uncountable, plural Nestorianisms)

  1. (Christianity) The Christological doctrine ascribed to Nestorius, condemned as heretical by the Council of Ephesus but later also ascribed to the Church of the East, holding that within Christ there are two distinct hypostases, divine and human.
  2. (by extension, sometimes derogatory) The beliefs and practices of the Church of the East.

Usage notes edit

The precise characterisation of Nestorianism is a complex and controversial issue in theology and church history because of the ambiguity of the theological terms involved. In particular, Nestorius’ use of the term ὑπόστασις (hupóstasis) is now considered to be distinct from the general later definition of a hypostasis as a person, relating more to “substance”. The doctrine of two hypostases must in turn be related to the concept of Christ having either one or two prosopa, and the idea of Christ’s two qnōmē (ܩܢܘܡܐ) united in one parṣōpā (ܦܪܨܘܦܐ) later developed by the Church of the East. In the ordinary usage of the Chalcedonian churches, however, “Nestorianism” can in general be said simply to refer to a heresy maintaining that Christ has two persons.

The use of Nestorianism to denote the Church of the East is now generally avoided in specialist literature in theology, church history, and Syriac studies, and sometimes considered derogatory, but it remains current without derogatory intent in other fields. Nestorius continues to be liturgically venerated in East Syriac tradition.

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