Antioch, School of
ANTIOCH, SCHOOL OF
The common doctrinal tendencies, particularly in exegesis and Christology, that characterized the theological thinkers and writers who represented the Antiochian tradition. There is no record of a formal school such as apparently existed at alexandria, although lucian of antioch directed his didascalion and Diodore of Tarsus his asceterion in Antioch. The school of Antioch represented a group of theologians exhibiting common doctrinal characteristics; these theologians were not necessarily from Antioch, although they had undergone the influence of Antiochene masters. The problems posed to the theologians of Antioch in the third century and at the beginning of the fourth century differed from those dealt with at the end of the fourth century and during the fifth century. Hence there were two distinct periods in the history of the school of Antioch.
First Period. Eusebius of Caesarea mentioned the literary activity of Bishop Serapion of Antioch at the beginning of the third century, and Jerome spoke of a priest, Geminus of Antioch (d. c. 230), as a writer of theology. At the Synod of Antioch in 268, two Antiochene theologians, paul of samosata and the Sophist Malchion, held discussions on the Trinity and Christ. The true founder of the school, however, was Lucian of Antioch. From about 270 he conducted an important didascalion ; he died a martyr in 312. During this time a certain Dorotheus also served as a theologian and exegete. The relationship between him and Lucian, as between the latter and Paul of Samosata, is not clear. Little is known of the doctine of Lucian himself. He labored at scriptural exegesis and composed a version of the text after the example of origen. He had many disciples, who were called Collucianites or followers of Lucian, among whom philostorgius named: Eusebius of Nicomedia, Maris of Chalcedon, Theognis of Nicaea, Leontius of Antioch, Anthony of Tarsus, Menophantes of Ephesus, Noominus, Eudoxius, Alexander, and asterius the sophist.
These authors defended arius, who was also a disciple of Lucian. Lucian is, as a consequence, properly considered the father of arianism. This does not exclude the possibility that Lucian actually found inspiration in the thought of Origen. One of Arius's most rabid opponents was eustathius, Bishop of Antioch. He made a clear distinction between the divinity and the humanity of Christ. This caused him to be considered a precursor of the Christology defended against the school of Alexandria by the theologians of the school of Antioch in its second period. With them, he attacked the allegorical exegesis of Origen.
Second Period. The problem of Christology dominated the controversies that began with apollinaris of laodicea (fl. c. 362). This period was inaugurated with diodore of tarsus, who was primarly an exegete; but Diodore developed a dualistic Christology that remained characteristic of the school of Antioch. As disciples, Diodore had john chrysostom and theodore of mopsuestia; nestorius and theodoret of cyr also belonged to this lineage. Finally, the school of edessa was influenced by Antioch. It is through this school that Theodore of Mopsuestia became the official exegete of the Persian Church. The consequence of this was the "Nestorianization" of Mesopotamian Christianity.
Doctrine. The schools of Antioch and Alexandria developed opposing theologies in the spheres of exegesis and Christology. Explicitly, the teachers of Antioch adhered to a literal understanding of Scripture as opposed to the allegorical interpretation of their Egyptian colleagues. They did not repudiate typology as such when the employment of it was justified by the text, but they were opposed to the arbitrary manner in which the Alexandrian exegetes discovered typological meaning in the Bible.
Opposition of the Antioch school to the school of Alexandria was more marked in its approach to Christology, and this difference dominated the controversies of the fifth century. Against Apollinaris, who was regarded as a representative of Alexandria, Diodore strongly defended the immutability and eternity of the Logos. This led him to insist on the duality of the natures in Christ, as Eustathius of Antioch had already done. However, Diodore did not succeed in explaining the unity in the person of Christ with the same exactitude. He spoke of Him as at once "Son of God" and "Son of Mary," a distinction that was too readily accepted as stemming from a doctrine of two persons in Christ. Diodore preferred to speak of the indwelling of the Word in the Flesh, rather than of the Incarnation. Mary, he said, is the mother of a man (anthropotokos ); she is not the mother of God (theotokos ); and he cautioned against saying that God suffered. The Word of God and the Son of Mary are both Sons of God, the one by nature, the other by grace. These are characteristic formulas of the Antiochene Christology and can be found in the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyr, and other theologians of the Antiochene Patriarchate who rallied to the defense of Nestorius.
Bibliography: g. bardy, Recherches sur S. Lucien d' Antioche et son école (Paris 1936). h. de riedmatten, Les Actes du procès de Paul de Samosate (Fribourg 1952). l. abramowski, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques 14:496–504; "Zur Theologie Theodors von Mopsuestia," Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschicte 72 (1961) 263–293. f. a. sullivan, The Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia (Analecta Gregoriana 82; Rome 1956); "Further Notes on Theodore of Mopsuestia," Theological Studies 20 (1959) 264–279. j. l. mckenzie, "Annotations on the Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia," ibid. 19 (1958) 345–373. r. v. sellers, Two Ancient Christologies (London 1940). j. guillet, "Les Exègétes d'Alexandrie et d'Antioche," Recherches de science religieuse 34 (1947) 257–302. v. ermoni, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique. ed. a. vacant et al., (Paris 1903–50) 1.2:1435–39. f. l. cross, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (London 1957) 63–64. h. rahner, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiberg 1957–65) 1:650–652. w. eltester, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Tübingen 1957–65) 1:452–453.
[a. van roey]