This course is designed to advance the students’ understanding of the theological problems surrounding the Person and place of Jesus Christ in theology.  Students will be expected to engage in theological exploration of these problems surrounding the human and historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth in relation to the claims the Church makes surrounding his divinity, his place in salvation, and his significance for the final outcome of God’s act of creation.  As we explore these questions through an examination of many of the significant figures and events of the history of the Church, students will gain a deeper appreciation of the difficulties of the Christological problem, and the reasons that the Church says what she does, about Christ, and rejects as heresy what she does.

Students who complete this course will be equipped to:

  • Identify the major lines of expectation in the Old Testament and how those expectations are tied together and fulfilled in the New Testament portrait of Jesus of Nazareth;
  • identify and define major Christological heresies, explaining why they are heresies;
  • relate the Jesus of history with the Jesus of faith in a coherent and orthodox way, according to the mind of the Catholic Church;
  • name the major Christological Councils of the Church in the Patristic Period, and explain what Christological issues were at stake in them;
  • identify the major creedal statements associated with the Councils of Nicaea I, Constantinople I, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, and what particular elements each added to our understanding and articulation of the dogma of Christ.

Course Lessons

  • Introduction to Christology
  • Messianism in the Old Testament
  • The New Testament Synthesis: Weaving the threads of expectation, re-imagining the Messiah
  • The New Testament Synthesis: Law and Grace: Christ as the Righteous One—the Man of the Torah
  • High Christological Creedal Assertions in the Johannine and Pauline Texts
  • From the Apostolic Fathers to the Cusp of the Arian Controversy
  • Arius and Arianism
  • The First Council of Nicaea
  • Apollinaris of Laodicea vs. Theodore of Mopsuestia: The First Council of Constantinople
  • The Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon
  • The Third Council of Constantinople (681) and the controversies over Monothelitism and the two operations in Christ.
  • Other Controversies and Concluding Comments