The union in one person, or hypostasis, of the divine and human natures. Jesus Christ is both God and man in virtue of the hypostatic union, a mystery of faith in the strict sense. "As God he was begotten of the substance of the Father before time; as man he was born in time of the substance of his mother. He is perfect God; and he is perfect man, with a rational soul and human flesh. He is equal to the Father in His divinity but He is inferior to the Father in his humanity. Although he is God and man, he is not two but one Christ. And he is one, not because his divinity was changed into flesh, but because His humanity was assumed to God. He is one, not at all because of a mingling of substances, but because he is one person" [the so-called Athanasian Creed; H. Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum 76; tr. J. F. Clarkson et al., The Church Teaches (St. Louis 1955) 5–6].
Biblical affirmations of the divinity and humanity of Christ were transformed into technical, theological expressions and (to some extent) explanations of the mystery when heresies began to pervert the true faith. Docetism, Arianism, and Apollinarianism attacked the true humanity of Christ; Arianism, rationalism, Modernism, the true divinity. In addition, nestorianism, adop tionism, monophysitism, and monothelitism erroneously understood the manner of the union between the divine and human natures. The evolution of the fixed technical terminology of the hypostatic union was gradual. The Council of chalcedon (451) established the usage whereby hypostasis means person and whereby ousia and physis mean substance and nature. A consideration of the Council of Nicaea I's use of hypostasis and ousia (Denzinger 126) will bring out the earlier (325) fluidity of terminology.
See Also: jesus christ, ii (in theology); hypostatic union, grace of; person (in philosophy); person (in theology); nature; jesus christ, articles on.
Bibliography: a. michel, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 1903–50) 7.1:437–568. m. schmaus, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 5:579–583.
[e. a. weis]
"Hypostatic Union." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hypostatic-union
"Hypostatic Union." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hypostatic-union
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.