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Monophysitism A Product Of Positive And Negative Currents Of Religious Thought


The foregoing sketch of the early Christological heresies exhibits
monophysitism as a product of two opposite intellectual currents. A
man's convictions are settled for him partly by acceptance, partly by
rejection of what tradition offers or his mind evolves. The mass mind
works similarly. It accepts and rejects, approves and disallows. The
stabilisation of a body of mass opinions, such as a heresy, is thus
determined by opposite forces. It was so with monophysitism. Its
Christian antecedents comprised positive and negative currents. The
positive current was docetism, the negative ebionitism. Docetism,
originating in apostolic times, passed through many phases, to provide,
at the end of the fourth century, in its most refined form,
Apollinarianism, the immediate positive cause of monophysitism.
Ebionitism, related to docetism as realism to idealism, possessed equal
vitality and equal adaptability. It showed itself in various
humanistic interpretations of Christ. Of these the most elaborate was
Nestorianism, which exerted the most insistent and immediate negative
influence on the early growth of monophysitism.

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