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Diodore of Tarsus


Bishop, theologian, and exegete of the School of an tioch; b. Antioch; d. Tarsus, before 394. After receiving a secular education at Athens, Diodore studied Scripture and theology under Silvanus of Tarsus and eusebius of emesa. He entered and later presided over the monastic school near Antioch, where St. john chrysostom and theodore of mopsuestia were his pupils. After being ordained by Meletius of Antioch between 361 and 365, he shared his bishop's exile under the Arian Roman Emperor valens from 372 to 378. Then Meletius consecrated him bishop of Tarsus, in which capacity he took part in the Council of constantinople i (381). In an edict confirming this Council, Theodosius named Diodore as a standard of orthodoxy (Codex Theodosianus 16.1.3). He maintained this reputation until his death; but about 40 years later cyril of alexandria, in his tract Against Diodore and Theodore, accused Diodore of nestorian ism. Cyril's judgment was sanctioned by a synod held in Constantinople in 499. Diodore's condemnation by this synod led to the destruction of most of his writings.

The many titles listed by Suidas and the Syrian Ebedjesu show Diodore to have been a prolific writer whose interests included cosmology, astronomy, and chronology, as well as exegesis and theology. His commentary on the Psalms, discovered by Mariés and edited by Olivier, is now generally recognized to be genuine. Catenae have yielded fragments of his extensive writings on other parts of Scripture. Fiftythree fragments of his anti-Apollinaristtract Against the Synousiasts have come down to us, all but one of which are in florilegia that were gathered by his adversaries.

Diodore's criticism of Apollinaris was directed not at the latter's denial that Christ had a human soul, but at the threat to the divinity of the Word that Diodore rightly saw in the idea of a mixture of Word and flesh in one composite being. Diodore differed from later exponents of Antiochene theology, in his occasional use of the "Wordflesh" formula, and in the fact that he did not attribute to the soul of Christ the theological significance which others such as Theodore of Mopsuestia would give to it. In order to safeguard the divinity of the Word, which he saw as compromised by the predication of human attributes to the Divine Person, Diodore insisted on the distinction between the eternal Son of God and the son of Mary in whom the Word dwelt. To the charge that he divided Christ into two Sons, he replied that although one is the Son of God by nature and the other son of God by grace, Christ is rightly adored as one Son of God. He refused to speak of "one hypostasis," because he took that to mean a natural unity of Word and flesh, which he saw as incompatible with the divinity of the Word. In Grillmeier's judgment, Diodore was unable to construct an effective christology with a "Wordman" framework, but he prepared the ground for another Antiochene who was to carry on the task, Theodore of Mopsuestia.

Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca (Paris 1966) 33:15591628. p. godet, Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique (Paris 1950) 4:13631366. m. briÈre, "Fragments syriaques de Diodore de Tarse," Revue de l'Orient chrétien, 30 (1946) 231283. m. richard, "Les Traités de Cyrille d'Alexandrie contre Diodore et Théodore et les Fragments dogmatiques de Diodore de Tarse," Mélanges F. Grat (Paris 1946) 1:99116. j. m. olivier, Diodori Tarsensis Commentarii in Psalmos, CCG 6 (Louvain 1980). g. bardy, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique (Paris 1932) 3:986993. l. abramowski, Dictionnaire d'histoire catholique 14:496504. r. abramowski, "Untersuchungen zu Diodor von Tarsus," Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der äteren Kirche 30 (1931) 234261; "Der theologische Nachlass des Diodors von Tarsus," Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der äteren Kirche 42 (1949) 1969. m. jugie, "La doctrine christologique de Diodore de Tarse d'après les fragments de ses oeuvres," Euntes Docete 2 (1949) 171191. l. abramowski, "Der Streit um Diodor und Theodor zwischen den beiden ephesinischen Konzilien," Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 67 (Stuttgart 195556) 252282. f. a. sullivan, The Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia (Rome 1956) 172196. r. a. greer, "The Antiochene Christology of Diodore of Tarsus," Journal of Theological Studies 17 (1966) 327341. m. j. rondeau, "Le Commentaire des Psaumes de Diodore de Tarse IIII," Revue d'histoire et de philosophie religieuses 176: 533, 153188; 177: 533. a. grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition (London/Oxford 1975) 1:352360.

[f. a. sullivan]

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