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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