Talk:First Council of Constantinople

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Damasus I was Pope at the time of this council. Timothy I was simply the bishop of Alexandria. Someone also needs to correct the early history of the council -- Constantine didn't exile Athanasius -- Constantius did, and it was closer to 350. If I have more time, I'll sign up for an account and do it myself. 2 July 2005 17:09 (UTC)

Good external article on Council of Constantinople[edit]

This source has some good information about this topic Council of Constantinople Could it be added to the main article? Wjbentley 06:13, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Gender of the Holy Spirit[edit]

Does the Council provide any theological information on the gender of the Holy Spirit ? There is of course a modern debate on this. ADM (talk) 10:36, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Not at all. In Greek, "Holy Spirit" [pneuma hagion] is neuter. All the relevant debates occured in Greek. But many of the bishops were aware that in Hebrew, "Holy Spirit" [ruach ha-Kodesh] is feminine, and many were aware that in Latin, "Holy Spirit" [Spiritus Sanctus] is masculine. This was not an issue that was important to them, and indeed I'm not aware that anyone in the ancient world commented on it at all. However, what is absolutely clear from the early Christians' debates is that they believed that God the Father has no physical body or sexual gender, that the Son of God prior to his Incarnation had no physicaal body or sexual gender, and that the Holy Spirit has no physical body or sexual gender. I think it is primarily English-speakers like you and me who inevitably associate grammatical gender with sexual gender, because we can't really fathom the purpose of grammatical gender in gendered languages. (At least, I can't.) — Lawrence King (talk) 03:57, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Nicene Creed[edit]

[a] At the Council of Chalcedon (451) a new version of the Nicene Creed was produced and attributed to this council of 381. However, earlier sources show no awareness of this, and attribute to the council simply a confirmation of the original version of the Creed, issued at Nicaea in 325. The origin of the new text and its relation to the council of 381 are still subjects of debate. The general consensus of modern scholarship is that [b] the new text originated at the time of the council and must have played some role in its proceedings, but that the council is unlikely to have approved it formally. In any case, it would be an error to call it a 'different' creed from the Nicene, since at this period any creed could be called 'Nicene' on condition it contained Nicaea's essential clauses. [c] The version that became attributed to the council of 381 added an explicit statement of the Father's generation of the Son 'before all ages', a mention of the Virgin Mary, and a full article on the Holy Spirit, describing Him as "the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, and Who spoke through the prophets". The statement of proceeding from the Father is seen as significant because it established that the Holy Spirit must be of the same being (ousia) as God the Father. This gave explicit expression to the concept of the Trinity.

So there's some controversy about the topic's involvement in the authorship of a historically important document?

  • "The emperor Constantine, newly converted to Christianity, called a Church Council at Nicæa in AD 325 to bring some unity to the church amid developing controversies and false teachings. The Council at Nicæa adopted an early form of the creed, although the basic present form emerged from the Council of Constantinople in AD 381. It was officially adopted by the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451."[1]
  • " In the early 300s, before the canon of the New Testament had been finalized, controversy developed over the divinity of Jesus Christ. At the request of Emperor Constantine, Christian bishops [ 325 wrote] the Creed of Nicea. In 381, [..] at Constantinople[.. it was] expanded slightly to include a few more doctrines. The resulting Creed is called the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, or more commonly, the Nicene Creed. In the next century, church leaders met in the city of Chalcedon (also near Constantinople) to discuss, among other things, various theories about the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ. They also developed a creed to explain what they believed to be true to the gospel, true to the apostolic teaching, and true to the Scriptures. This creed is called the Creed of Chalcedon." [2]
  • "Until the early 20th century, it was universally assumed that the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (the more accurate term) was an enlarged version of the Creed of Nicaea, which was promulgated at the Council of Nicaea (325). It was further assumed that this enlargement had been carried out at the Council of Constantinople (381) with the object of bringing the Creed of Nicaea up to date in regard to heresies about the Incarnation and the Holy Spirit that had risen since the Council of Nicaea. Additional discoveries of documents in the 20th century, however, indicated that the situation was more complex, and the actual development of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed has been the subject of scholarly dispute. Most likely it was issued by the Council of Constantinople even though this fact was first explicitly stated at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. It was probably based on a baptismal creed already in existence, but it was an independent document and not an enlargement of the Creed of Nicaea. The so-called Filioque clause (Latin filioque, “and from the son”), inserted after the words “the Holy Spirit . . . who proceedeth from the Father,” was gradually introduced as part of the creed in the Western Church, beginning in the 6th century. It was probably finally accepted by the papacy in the 11th century. It has been retained by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant churches. The Eastern churches have always rejected it because they consider it theological error and an unauthorized addition to a venerable document." [3]

Incidentally, this article also has a confusing hatnote:

First Council of Constantinople
For the church council of Constantinople in 359, see First Council of Constantinople (360).

Cesiumfrog (talk) 07:18, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

No, there isn't any controversy about the topic's involvement in the authorship of a historically important document. Such a subject is permitted and even encouraged on Wikipedia.
But such subjects need to be supported by verifiable sources, especially when they make bold and sweeping claims about "the general consensus of modern scholarship". This paragraph contained no sources whatsoever.
Moreover, the paragraph itself was internally inconsistent. Statements [a] and [c] say that this creed was "attributed" to the Council of Constantinople (381), clearly implying that this attribution is not completely accurate. Statement [b], on the other hand, says that this text did indeed "originate" at the Council of Constantinople but was probably not "approved formally".
The sources you have provided include [1] a webpage by Dennis Bratcher that attributes this creed to Constantinople (381) and says it was "officially odapted by the Council of Chalcedon (451) -- a claim that matches [b]; [2] an unsigned webpage that uses the term "Creed of Chalcedon" to refer to a completely different text (that council's statement on Christology), and [3] the Encyclopedia Britannica, which says that "most likely" this creed was issued by Constantinople (381) -- but offers no support for the claim that this is a scholarly consensus. Indeed, the tentative nature of the Britannica's statement seems to indicate that there is no scholarly consensus. (A consensus requires a much greater degree of agreement than merely a majority of scholars.)
I have written an abbreviated version of this paragraph that matches the Britannica's information. — Lawrence King (talk) 22:32, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Arianism description in the Theoretical Context?[edit]

I was surprised to see this sentence in the paragraph: Apollinaris' rejection of Christ having a human mind was considered an over-reaction to Arianism and its teaching that Christ was not divine

I am no religious scholar, but I have read the article on Arius and Arianism, and I do not see how Arius' statements could be construed as Jesus of Nazareth being non-divine.

Would it be less of a stretch to say "over-reaction to Arianism." ? (talk) 05:09, 2 January 2013 (UTC)JG

The word divine can be ambiguous, so I have revised this sentence to refer to "Arianism and its teaching that Christ was not God". Arius' teaching was complex, and on some points there is dispute about what he taught. But there is no dispute about his core assertion that Jesus was not God, but was rather the first creature created by God, created before the rest of the universe, and who subsequently became incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth. If the articles Arius and Arianism don't clearly indicate this, then they need to be fixed. — Lawrence King (talk) 06:58, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

That now seems perfectly consistent. Thanks. (talk) 04:10, 5 January 2013 (UTC)JG

Theological Context incorrect[edit]

    • The Council of Nicaea in 325 had not ended the Arian controversy which it had been called to clarify. By 327, Emperor Constantine I had begun to regret the decisions that had been made at the Nicene Council. He granted amnesty to the Arian leaders and exiled Athanasius because of Eusebius of Nicomedia. Even during numerous exiles, Athanasius continued to be a vigorous defender of Nicene Christianity against Arianism. Athanasius famously said "Athanasius against the world". The Cappadocian Fathers also took up the torch; their Trinitarian discourse was influential in the council at Constantinople.

There are several errors or problems with this paragraph. First, it is highly subjective to say that Constantine "had begun to regret" Nicaea and its creed. I would like to see the evidence to support such a view, as Constantine was a rigorous defender of his creed until he died (Arius was admitted back only when willing to sign it). See, among others, Charles Odahl, Constantine and the Christian Empire, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2013) pp. 262-263 "...he [Arius] swore an oath that he accepted the Nicene definition of Christ" (262). It was not regret that motivated Constantine.

Next, Athanasius was not exiled in 327, so that statement is misleading. Athanasius was exiled in 335-337 (8 years later), but not because of his Christological position. Eusebius of Nicomedia (who was Arian but claimed to have accepted the Nicene Creed while Constantine was alive) was among those attacking Athanasius, but using political, not religious, motivations. They claimed that Athanasius had threatened to stop the grain shipments from Egypt (again, Odahl, 260).

Third, another fifty years is captured in this brief paragraph. One reading this might assume, wrongly, that the Cappadocian Fathers were contemporary to the only date given, 327. They were decades later, writing in the 360s and following.

Unfortunately, I do not know all of the web coding, or html coding or whatever it is, to feel comfortable making these changes. Someone should, though. ShawnRagan (talk) 00:07, 19 October 2013 (UTC)