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John the Grammarian, of Caesarea


Flourished in early 6th century, in Palestine, Byzantine theologian. Between 514 and 518 he wrote an Apology in defense of the Trinitarian definition of the Council of Chalcedon. Apart from three fragments that have been identified among the fragments of Eulogius of Alexandria by C. Moeller, his original work in Greek is lost. However, the moderate Monophysite theologian severus of Antioch, who was patriarch of that see from 512 to his deposition in 518 and was subsequently active as a writer, composed an elaborate attack on John's Apology entitled Contra impium Grammaticum, which is preserved in Syriac translation. This work contains forty-four extensive passages from John's work, including numerous patristic texts that John employed to support his exposition. John was an acute theological thinker who wished to give a strict but clear interpretation of the central teaching of the Council of Chalcedon. At the same time, he wished to establish an essential harmony between the definition of cyril of alexandria, including the ideas expressed in his Anathematisms, and that of the Council of Chalcedon. Relying heavily on the Trinitarian teachings and terminology of the great Cappadocian Fathers, he was the first to state formally that the human nature of Christ can never be thought of without hypostasis, since at no time did it exist alone without the Logos. He maintained in precise terms that the two natures of Christ were united by a hypostatic union in one hypostasis. John has been characterized by B. Altaner as the first important exponent of Neo Chalcedonian Christology.

Bibliography: j. lebon, Contra Impium Grammaticum (Corpus scriptorum Christianorum orientalium, 93, 101, 111; 19291938; repr. 1952). c. moeller, "Trois fragments grecs de l'Apologie de Jean le Grammairien pour le concile de Chalcédoine," Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique, 46 (1951) 683688. h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich 1959) 285, 377, 388, with bibliography. b. altaner, Patrology, tr. h. graef from 5th German ed. (New York 1960) 613614, with bibliography.

[m. r. p. mcguire]

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