Talk:Council of Ephesus

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This article is quite wrong with its treatment of Nestor. The article says:

"Nestorianism emphasized the human nature of Jesus at the expense of the divine. The Council denounced Patriarch Nestorius' teaching as erroneous. Nestorius taught that Mary, the mother of Jesus gave birth to a man, Jesus, not God, the Logos (The Word, Son of God). The Logos only dwelled in Christ, as in a Temple (Christ, therefore, was only Theophoros, Greek for the "Bearer of God". Consequently, Mary should be called Christotokos, Greek for the "Mother of Christ" and not Theotokos, Greek for the "Mother of God." Hence, the name, Christological controversies. It is also of historical value to point out that Ephesus was the city of Artemis, see also Acts 19:28."

This is not at all what Nestorius either claimed or taught, this is rather what his monophysite opponents accused him of.

The above statement is quite right. And the statement of the article: "How can Jesus Christ, being part man, not be partially a sinner as well, since man is by definition a sinner since the Fall".

This statement, at least from my studies, is not a question Nestorius asked. I still need to do more study however.

This article lacks enough citations. If we can get some citations, it would be nice.Grailknighthero (talk) 05:39, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Papal legates not present[edit]

The article says that Pope Celestine I presided through legates. Unfortunately for this piece of Catholic mythology, the legates didn't make it to Ephesus until after the Council was over. Jhobson1 23:39, 22 September 2007 (UTC)-- No: the papal legates arrived in time for the session of 10 July, and the council was not dissolved till October. But it is true that they did not preside at any of the sessions (RP).


I have removed the following sentence:

The [mostly anti-Nestorian] western delegates arrived first, and locked out the later Eastern [mostly Nestorian] arrivals[1].

I do not think that this fairly represents Russell, nor Russell's source, Gibbon.

In addition, the council actually waited for some time for John of Antioch to arrive. While Cyril is often blamed for indecent haste, the first reponse of the Emperor was actually to rebuke John of Antioch for his tardiness. Even sympathetic ancient historians were not satisfied with John's excuses. So I don't think the sentence I removed adds anything to the article except for misconceptions.

John H Percival (talk) 14:49, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

True, however, they did bar them (those who deposed Cyril) from the Churches of Ephesus. Grailknighthero (talk) 18:20, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

No human soul?[edit]

When speaking about the nature of Nestorianism, the article includes these statements: "The Logos occupied the part of the human soul (the part of man that was stained by the Fall). But wouldn't the absence of a human soul make Jesus less human? No, Nestorius answered because the human soul was based on the archetype of the Logos only to become polluted by the Fall, therefore Jesus was "more" human for having the Logos and not "less"." I find this characterization less than convincing. Last time I checked depriving Christ of a human soul and replacing it with the Logos was part of the error of Apollinaris. Theodore of Mopsuestia, the teacher of Nestorius, was one of the primary opponents of Apollinaris and stressed the fullness of all aspects of human nature within Christ. How could it thus make any sense to attribute the same error to Theodore's student? Deusveritasest (talk) 00:24, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Later events[edit]

Is it worth mentioning things like the 1994 Common Christological Declaration between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, which suggests to me that, at least for those two churches, the issue at Ephesus is no longer a particularly meaningful dispute? --Rumping (talk) 16:48, 13 November 2009 (UTC)


In the 2nd ¶ under the heading "History," I've changed "No, Nestorius answered because the human soul was based on the archetype of the Logos, only to become polluted by the Fall, therefore Jesus was 'more' human for having the Logos and not 'less'" to "No, Nestorius answered, because the human soul was based on the archetype of the Logos, only to become polluted by the Fall. Jesus was 'more' human for having the Logos and not 'less'." This only renders the statement in somewhat better English. I wish somebody knowledgeable would clarify or correct the content here. The latter part, especially, seems theologically misleading. I may be missing something the author intends, but I'm confident the Church has always spoken of Christ as being the Logos (Jn. 1:1-14, etc.), not as merely "having the Logos." pdbowman 18:14, 30 May 2010 (UTC) pdbowman 18:24, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Historical account vs. theological exposition[edit]

The Council of Ephesus was both a historical event as well as a turning point in the development of Christological theology.

Up to now, the article has focused on the theological aspect. However, McGuckin covers the historical context leading up to the Council. In particular, he describes Nestorius campaigns to reduce the power of the monks, attack the Arians and his opposition to "independent women" such as Pulcheria, the sister of Emperor Theodosius II. McGuckin cites these as political reasons that weakened Nestorius' power.(McGuckin, pp. 23-26)

I would like to include these points in the article but I figured I'd check with other editors before proceeding. Anybody have thoughts on whether the article should cover these points?

--Pseudo-Richard (talk) 06:29, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Some suggestions for revision (RP): The account of Nestorianism is desperately inaccurate (esp., as has been pointed out, in confusing Nestorianism with Apollinarianism -- its polar opposite). Pulcheria did not turn against Nestorius till well after the council -- despite (as Cyril's agent there lamented) receiving lavish bribes from Cyril (see Studies in Church History 39, 2004, pp. 32-4). The Council did not formally declare Mary 'Theotokos', for two reasons: first, by the time of the council not even Nestorius rejected the title (see his sermon of 7 December 430, Codex Casinensis 78); secondly, at the council both the Cyrillian and Antiochenes stressed that they had no wish to add anything to the Nicene Creed. The most contentious doctrinal issue at the council was not Nestorius' teaching, but the orthodoxy or otherwise of Cyril's Twelve Chapters; Cyril was on trial at the council just as much as Nestorius. The '7 sessions' is a modern numeration, without support in the Acts: the latter are so incomplete as a record of the meetings that we do not know how often the Cyrillian council met. The Council did not issue '8 canons' as such: these are a Byzantine compilation on the basis of some of the decisions recorded in various sections of the the Acts. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:34, 5 October 2012 (UTC)


I've reverted this recent title change. "First Council of Ephesus" has some use in the sources, and is suitable natural disambiguation, which is usually preferred to a title using parentheses. In this case, the proposed title was also very unwieldy: "Council of Ephesus (Ecumenical council of 431)". As the title is challenged, it should be put up for a community discussion through WP:RM.--Cúchullain t/c 13:34, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

I shall seek a move through RM when I have time. Perhaps a less unwieldy title is more appropriate, but "First" is simply wrong since the others on the disambiguation page are opposing councils; also, it is always known in written sources as simply "the Council of Ephesus). Vincent J. Lipsio (talk) 13:38, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Sounds good. However, I've found a number of sources that do call it the "First Council of Ephesus" to distinguish it from the later ones,[1][2][3] so I still think natural disambiguation is the way to go here. Anyway, we can leave that for the RM when it starts up.--Cúchullain t/c 14:10, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the reference which surprises me; however, I'd venture to say that I could find hundreds of scholarly references (including the one most used in the Wikipedia article) that refer to it as "The Council of Ephesus" and that that is its usual designation and that "First Council of Ephesus" is quite rare. Vincent J. Lipsio (talk) 14:17, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
That may be, but if disambiguation is required natural disambiguation is preferable to using parentheses. However, it may be that this council is actually the primary topic of the title "Council of Ephesus".--Cúchullain t/c 14:48, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Whatever we do, we should do it for all councils. This would render First Council of Nicaea to be Council of Nicaea (Ecumenical Council 451) which seems unnecessary. However, this could be of some value, because we could then list non Ecumenical Councils in a similar way (the Robber's Synod would then become Council of Ephesus (Church Council 449)), which brings all of the various Church Councils and Synods into alignment (Dropping "Ecumenical" would be advisable, because there is disagreement between the East and West about what is and what constitutes an Ecumenical council, just saying "Church Council" is much more WP:NPOV). ReformedArsenal (talk) 14:55, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia already uses the standard names for the other Ecumenical Councils. There are two Councils of Nicaea but only one of Ephesus just as there's only one of Calcedon. Sure, other councils have been held in many cities; for example, in Constantinople there were several Ecumenical Councils (four by Roman Catholic reckoning, three by Eastern Orthodox, and one by Oriental Orthodox) but there have been dozens of other councils held at Constantinople, but these do not enter into the numbering of the Ecumenical Councils (the Oriental Orthodox, however, refer simply to "The Council of Constantinople", analogous to the usual designation of "The Council of Ephesus"). Methinks that the article should be the "Council of Ephesus" with a note at the top pointing to the disambiguation page. Vincent J. Lipsio (talk) 16:09, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
This is exactly the point. The Catholic Church has 22 councils they consider Ecumenical, the Eastern/Greek Orthodox has 7, the Oriental have less. Why should we favor one perspective (typically the Eastern/Greek Orthodox) pov over another? If we drop "Eccumenical" from the title and simply indicate that 1) it was a council in a given city 2) that it was a Church council, and 3) the year in which it took place (via the dismbiguation) we don't need to worry about what groups consider what to be ecumenical or not, nor what NUMBER of council it is? ReformedArsenal (talk) 16:26, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Because it looks like it is commonly called "Council of Ephesus" and that name is commonly used for this council. Do you have any evidence to the contrary..? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 17:48, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Because that is ambiguous. Does it refer to the First Council or the Second? What about the Third? If we say "First Ecumenical Council" we are POV Pushing for the Orthodox (rather than the Oriental)... if we call it the Council of Ephesus, we are being ambiguous. I'm proposing an overhaul for the naming convention of all of the Councils, not just this one. ReformedArsenal (talk) 18:07, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox all call it the "Council of Ephesus". Vincent J. Lipsio (talk) 20:40, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
No, you have yet to demonstrate that it actually is ambiguous. How many sources (how many percent, approximately) use the words "Council of Ephesus" while referring to something else? I suspect that not too many... Do you have any evidence to the contrary..?
And if the sources use the name "Council of Ephesus" for this council, we should have this article with that name, and Council of Ephesus (disambiguation) for all others. --Martynas Patasius (talk) 20:42, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

{{Ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church}} and the link at the bottom of {{Ecumenical council}} to [[Chronological list of Ecumenical councils]] both refer to the "Council of Ephesus" using [[First Council of Ephesus|Council of Ephesus]], as do many, perhaps most, of the references in the "WhatLinksHere" link in the article we're discussing. That, together with the fact that nearly all printed sources refer simply to the "Council of Ephesus" and that "The Council of Ephesus" always refers to the council we're discussing settles, in my mind at least, that this article should simply be "Council of Ephesus" and that the present article by that name should be a disambiguation page. Vincent J. Lipsio (talk) 14:15, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

So, more than a week has passed and no one has objected to the name "Council of Ephesus" nor has anyone supported the claim that it is ambiguous with any evidence. Does it mean that we have consensus in favour of that name, or does it merely mean that the ones who object didn't notice the "challenge"..? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 10:34, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Obviously when one talk of THE Council of Ephesus it should be understood as the 431 council. A quick Google Books test to check popularity yields the following results:
"Council of Ephesus" -first -second returns over 29,900 hits.
"first Council of Ephesus" a mere 181.--Kathovo talk 22:19, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Andrewa (talk) 10:55, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

First Council of EphesusCouncil of Ephesus – See conclusion of previous section, Talk:First Council of Ephesus#Name Vincent J. Lipsio (talk) 01:21, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose per Cúchullain in the section above. The disambiguation page should be reverted to the place it held prior to being misnamed (which is the proposed destination) -- (talk) 04:37, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. The name "Council of Ephesus" is simply not ambiguous. This name in practically all cases refers to one of Ecumenical Councils accepted by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox. And it is the most common name of said council. Even more, it is very rarely called "First Council of Ephesus" ([4]). No evidence to the contrary has been provided (I have asked for it with [5] and received no answer - [6]). Thus this article should be renamed to "Council of Ephesus" while the disambiguation page will have to stay with "(disambiguation)". --Martynas Patasius (talk) 08:47, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support (although somewhat hesitantly). Even the Cúchullain sources, which at least in contexts where it is being distinguished from the other Ephesus council use "the First Council of Ephesus" as a name for the 431 council, also use "the Council of Ephesus" as a name for it, without necessarily adding "(431)" (1 2 3). Esoglou (talk) 09:15, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Using [[First Council of Ephesus|Council of Ephesus]], both {{Ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church}} and the link to Chronological list of Ecumenical councils in {{Ecumenical council}} refer to the "Council of Ephesus" as do many, perhaps most, of the references in the "WhatLinksHere" link in the article we're discussing. In written published sources I could find hundreds of scholarly references that refer to it as "The Council of Ephesus", and that that is its usual designation, while "First Council of Ephesus" is a quite rare, perhaps even a fringe, usage. And as shown by Kathovo in [7], a Google Books test yields over 29,900 hits for the '"Council of Ephesus" -first -second returns' but a mere 181 for "first Council of Ephesus". Vincent J. Lipsio (talk) 11:23, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.


It is certainly false to say simply that Protestants accept the Council of Ephesus. The many who reject the description of Mary as Mother of God include eminent ones such as Philip Schaff. See what he wrote on The Exaltation of the Virgin: Mariology. See also Protestant views on Mary#Mother of God, which says use of the term "Mother of God"among Protestants has been controversial. You can perhaps say it is accepted by Anglicans, Lutherans and Methodists, but not simply by "Protestants". Esoglou (talk) 08:19, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Show me a formal Protestant doctrinal statement that rejects the Council of Ephesus or the Theotokos (which doesn't mean "Mother of God" it means "bearer of God") or a source that shows that there is substantial rejection among protestant doctrine and we can change it. Until then Westminster Confession 8.2-3 affirms the theology of the theotokos if not explicitly the term (that will cover Reformed and Presbyterian Christianity), London Baptist Confession 1689 8.2 also does (that covers the Baptists), Methodist Articles of Religion Article II also does (Covering Methodists and associated groups like the Nazarene), and the Solid Declaration of the Formula VIII.24 also does (Covering the Lutherans). All that's left is the Arminians, which don't typically have a formal creed statment, and I think that the Evangelical Free Church, the Evangelical Covenant Church, and the Assemblies of God Church are fair representatives and all of them affirm the hypostatic union of the divine son to a human nature and the birth of the divine son with a human nature to Mary (which is the theological underpinnings of the Theotokos). That covers just about all of the formal Protestant bodies.
Protestants accept (or at least did so) that Mary is Mother of God. Protestants also reject and condemn the expression. Ian Paisley, founder of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster wrote: "What are the three names which Rome uses which more than any others exalt Mary? She is called the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son, and the Spouse of the Holy Ghost. Such names most plainly imply that Mary is honoured as the fourth person of the Godhead, for more exalted names could not be given to the Divine Being." And see this sermon by him. Reliable sources state that Protestants "reject this term as idolatrous", that "Protestantism, almost universally, denies" the term, that "although the Protestant Reformers accepted the Trinity without protest they rejected the phrase describing Jesus' mother as 'the Mother of God'", that Calvin would not go beyond "mother of our Lord" {Inst 2.14.4) and disapproved of use of the title "Mother of God", and today "what many Protestants identify as Mariolatry persuades them not to call her 'Mother of God'".
So there are reliable sources that say Protestants accept the title "Mother of God" and reliable sources that say Protestans reject the title "Mother of God". Unfortunately, only the "accepted by" is made visible in the article at present. That can be remedied by putting the "rejected by" information also in the body of the article. Either both statements should remain in the article or both should be removed until, in line with WP:BRD, agreement is reached on the talk page. Esoglou (talk) 16:39, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Theotokos is better translated as "Bearer of God" which all protestants affirm theologically. ReformedArsenal (talk) 20:38, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Do they? What gave you that idea? Esoglou (talk) 08:58, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
The fact that every major Protestant tradition's confessional doctrine affirms that the person that Mary bore was God the Son. ReformedArsenal (talk) 21:46, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
That is precisely the synthesis accepted, at the Council of Ephesus, by what Schaff called "the Catholic church, both Latin and Greek", but that is rejected by Nestorians and, according to reliable sources, by Protestants of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Its use is also not allowed in Wikipedia. In line with WP:BRD, I am therefore removing from the article both the claim that "Protestants" accept the Council, and the claim that "Protestants" reject the Council. Esoglou (talk) 06:45, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Again, theotokos means "God-Bearer" not necessarily "Mother of God" (which would be something like theomater). Calvin was rejecting the term "Mother of God" because of what it was being used to indicate by the Catholics of his day, not because of the reason that the Council advocated the use of theotokos. You are committing "synth" just as much, because you are equating what would have been a Latin Term for "Mother of God" (Probably something like Mater Dei) with the Greek term for "God Bearer" (theotokos). Unless Calvin explicitly rejects the use of theotokos as defined and used by the Council, that's not a valid use (which is the same case as the rest of our sources. Rejecting the elevation of Mary with the term "Mother of God" rather than making a Christological statement with Theotokos). ReformedArsenal (talk) 13:52, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
A woman can be referred to as someone's mother without having given birth to that person, but a woman who gives birth to someone (the verb τίκτω in Greek) cannot be denied the title of mother. So it is surprising that you unsourcedly attribute to Calvin a notion (Θεοτόκος - The One Who Gave Birth to God) still stronger than the notion of Μήτηρ Θεοῦ (Mother of God ). But the essential point is that we have no (non-synthetic) evidence that "Protestants" (or even Calvin alone!) apply the term Θεοτόκος to Mary, as did the Council of Ephesus. Esoglou (talk) 15:12, 6 December 2013 (UTC)