Theodoret on the “School of Antioch”: A Network Approach / Adam M. Schor

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Theodoret on the “School of Antioch”: 

A Network Approach 

Adam M. Schor 


The School of Antioch has more often been treated as a doctrinal abstraction than a social entity. This study reinterprets the Antiochene phenomenon as a socio-doctrinal network, a group of clerics bound by a call and response of doctrinal language. Conciliar documents and the letters of Theodoret of Cyrrhus showcase this network in operation in the 430s and 440s. For earlier, formative decades, the network must be approached indirectly through historical narrative. In his Church History Theodoret narrates how one bishop-claimant (Meletius of Antioch) and his partisan following (featuring Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia) combined preaching, teaching, and ascetic associations to claim and organize Syrian bishoprics.While sometimes tendentious, Theodoret’s narrative presentation finds external confirmation. It suggests that Antiochene doctrines coalesced in a specific social context, a germinating mix of clerical friendships and enmities, and that they developed as part of an intertwined socio-doctrinal dynamic.

It was sometime in the summer of 438 when Theodoret of Cyrrhus received the latest doctrinal demands from Constantinople and prepared for another test of group loyalty. For more than a decade he had been locked in a dispute over christological doctrine. He and his Syrian1 coalition favored [End Page 517] one doctrinal formula, “two natures in one Christ.” His opponents, led by Cyril of Alexandria, generally preferred “one incarnate nature of the Divine word.” At the First Council of Ephesus in 431 these differences had led to a schism—one supposedly settled a few years later by a Formula of Reunion.2 But the split concerned more than Christology. Theodoret and his associates were connected by experience and friendship as well as doctrine. And with Christology came judgments of people, present and past, whose mere mention could renew hostilities. Such was the situation in 438, when Cyril and his allies challenged the orthodoxy of the two late Syrian doctrinal heroes, Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia. With the support of the imperial court, they sent the bishops of Syria a list of Theodore’s objectionable statements and demanded a condemnation. These clerics had caved to pressure before (when told to condemn Nestorius); Cyril had good reason to think they would do so again. But this time was different. Threatened with exile, Theodoret and his associates twice refused to condemn their mentors.3 Diodore and Theodore meant something more to Theodoret and his colleagues than a pair of honored teachers. Diodore had been a “breakwater against the waves”4 of heresy; Theodore, a “champion against every heretical phalanx.”5 Syrian bishops of the 430s saw these two men as paragons of orthodoxy and could not imagine a church without them.

The attachment of Theodoret and his associates to their Syrian predecessors is significant because it gives flesh to one of patristic scholarship’s [End Page 518] most debated constructs, the doctrinal School of Antioch. Since antiquity readers have linked Diodore, Theodore, and Theodoret (and others less consistently) on the basis of geography and doctrinal similarity. Over the last two centuries, various scholars have examined their works and seen a shared doctrinal system or exegetical tendency, which they have dubbed “Antiochene.”6 Recent scholarship has challenged these conclusions and resituated these doctrines in cultural context. But while much of the new analysis has been persuasive, a critical aspect remains underexplored: the social significance of this theological association. Doctrinal production, after all, did not inhabit a purely intellectual space. It occurred within a complex social world. Friendships and patronage connections were affected by doctrinal expression and influenced doctrines in return.

This article offers a “socio-doctrinal” perspective on the Antiochene phenomenon. Rather than focus on the doctrinal thought of individual Antiochene teachers, it looks to the widely shared symbolic elements of Antiochene teaching and, just as importantly, the social networks in which these elements took form. This approach draws its inspiration from social network theory, a branch of anthropology well-suited to the investigation of small religious “factions.” And while past social networks are normally difficult to trace, in this case we have a rare insider perspective, thanks to Theodoret’s own writings. Letters of Theodoret and his colleagues from the 430s and 440s showcase the importance of Antiochene teachings to a select social group. Meanwhile, Theodoret’s Church History presents a detailed narrative treatment of earlier decades, placing his doctrinal forbears in the context of surrounding events and personalities. Theodoret’s account is sometimes tendentious; his memorializing of past figures has as much to do with his own circumstances as theirs. But his stories must be taken seriously, as representations of a real social world. As we shall see, Theodoret presented Antiochene teachers and teachings as part of a larger, Nicene partisan effort—to build a regional coalition, to define a holy community, and to control the Syrian episcopate. Through his work one can discern an Antiochene socio-doctrinal network, which linked Theodoret to three generations of Syrian clerics.

But before we trace this Antiochene network, we must consider what we really mean by “Antiochene,” doctrinally and otherwise. [End Page 519]

Defining and Finding an Antiochene Network 

When past scholars represented the school of Antioch, they began from a kernel of ancient testimony. The church historian Socrates described Diodore as a freelance teacher in the city of Antioch, founder of an asketerion (more on this later) where he trained young men to read Scripture properly. Socrates explained that Diodore avoided figurative readings of the holy texts; he particularly disdained “allegory.” Nevertheless, during the twenty years before he became bishop of Tarsus (c. 378), Diodore apparently won quite a reputation. His talented students included John Chrysostom (future bishop of Constantinople) and Theodore (future bishop of Mospuestia).7 According to Socrates’ contemporaries, Theodore then established his own circle of disciples, which, at least in an indirect sense, included Theodoret.8 And while initially composed of Greek-speaking Syrians, the group soon added Syriac speakers as well.9 Scholars’ search for an Antiochene institution has usually begun with Diodore’s asketerion; their search for Antiochene teachings, with hostility to allegory. Still, it was the church controversies of the fifth century that gave the Antiochenes a sharpened doctrinal identity. To backers, these Syrians were skilled proponents of dyophysite orthodoxy. To opponents, they were Nestorians, deniers of Christ’s true divinity. These later controversies, in fact, have come to dominate most discussions of the Antiochene phenomenon. Not only have they shaped the ancient textual remains; they have also directed scholarship toward a thoroughly doctrinal question: What were Antiochene teachings, and were they really heresy?10

In their search for “Antiochene” characteristics most scholars have hit upon at least four shared doctrinal and exegetical tropes. First, in works [End Page 520] of exegesis, these authors declared an interest in the “literal” (kata lexin) and the “historical” (kath’ historian) meaning of Scripture.11 Second, in the same commentaries, the authors attacked “allegory” and expressed skepticism about figurative interpretations.12 Third, these authors pointed to biblical typologies, links between the “prototypes” of Old Testament characters and the “reality” (ale\theia) of Jesus or the “types” of the Christian sacraments and the “reality” of future salvation.13 Finally, in doctrinal treatises, the authors all taught that Christ featured two complete, distinguishable elements, a divinity and a humanity, both needed to realize salvation.14 [End Page 521]

The meaning and wider context of these Antiochene tropes have led scholars to differing approaches and conclusions. The most common approach has been to seek a consistent Antiochene doctrinal system based in Christology and soteriology. For Francis Sullivan, this system emerged from the Trinitarian disputes—from Nicene efforts to explain how the human part of Christ could suffer without harming the Divine or how Christ could be divine without diminishing his humanity.15 For Aloys Grillmeier, the system ran deeper—a “word-man” approach to Christ found already in the New Testament.16 Both men had to acknowledge that the extant writings of the Antiochenes do not hold to a consistent vocabulary.17 Some of the divergence can be linked to problems of transmission, with so many Antiochene works surviving only in Latin or Syriac and others as fragments in hostile florilegia.18 Still, even when scholars have original Greek terms, they find plenty of variation in word choice. And word consistency may mask shifts of meaning between people and over time.19 To deal with this situation scholars have usually privileged some terms and concepts over others as most representative of the school. Or they have probed beyond specific words to an underlying set of assumptions. These efforts have produced a few points of consensus. Most notably [End Page 522] scholars have generally concurred that Antiochenes posited an ontological gap between God and humanity, which not even the incarnation could erase.20 In most respects, however, the result has been wide disagreement over not only the focus of Antiochene doctrine but also the authors to be included—disputing the status of even those as central as John Chrysostom and Nestorius.21

A second, parallel approach has been to search for a consistent Antiochene exegesis. Indeed, the Antiochene texts have led modern readers to construct two categories of Christian biblical interpretation: a flamboyant “allegorical” method and a controlled, “literal, historical” (or “typological”) one. For much of the twentieth century, scholars built upon this framework, seeking connections between exegesis and doctrine and extending the labels across early Christian literature.22 And yet, many authors proved difficult to classify, and even the main representatives of Alexandria and Antioch sometimes contravened the supposed rules.23 In response scholars have generally confined their studies to specific authors or specific works. Or they have blurred the categories, describing “trends,” “tendencies,” and a spectrum of choices.24

A third, wider approach has been to seek out the Antiochenes’ intellectual or cultural roots. A few researchers have sought a specific lineage of Syrian teachers, ranging from clear predecessors (like Eustathius of [End Page 523] Antioch) to less well-known personages (like Paul of Samosata).25 Other modern commentators have drawn broader cultural links. Arthur Vööbus tied the Antiochene tradition to Aristotelian philosophy, while David Wallace-Hadrill preferred Stoic associations.26 Rowan Greer looked to Semitic styles of “materialist” reading. Han Drijvers pointed specifically to the use of biblical models in early Syriac asceticism.27 Christoph Schäublin turned to specific genres within Greek literary culture (such as philosophic question and answer guides).28 Most influences cited in these studies are plausible within the context of late Roman Syrian culture, but the generality of these proposed links is problematic. The wider scholars look for Antiochene roots, the broader their categories and the more distant they get from Diodore, Theodore, and their associates. The more general the cited influences, the less they explain the specific purposes of the Antiochenes.

Over the last decade patristic studies have thoroughly reevaluated the Antiochene phenomenon through a more careful reading of text and context. First, scholars have recognized the fluid boundaries between Antiochene and Alexandrian exegesis. Jean-Noël Guinot noted how Theodoret, at least, drew on “Alexandrian” exegetical tropes as much as “Antiochene” ones.29 Frances Young pointed out the similar principles from which both groups of exegetes worked. She also noted several cases where the “literal” and “figurative” labels seem reversed. In her view, the only consistent difference was the Antiochenes’ concern for narrative integrity. And while this concern found expression in the work of Eustathius, it only reached its full flowering with Diodore and Theodore.30 Second, studies [End Page 524] have questioned the connection between “literal, historical” exegesis and dyophysite doctrine. Young and John O’Keefe have noted that both Alexandrians and Antiochenes sought whatever scriptural elements supported their conclusions.31 Third, scholars have begun to situate the Antiochenes within a more specific cultural context: Greek sophistic education in Antioch. Young and O’Keefe have taken the Antiochenes’ “literal” and “historical” preferences as the standard interests of late Roman pedagogy: the definition of terms, the explication of context, and the search for a story’s underlying moral and narrative thrust.32 Finally, scholars have begun to notice the systematic gaps that exist between Antiochene theology in Greek and in translation. George Kalantzis’s study of the Greek fragments of Theodore’s Commentary on the Gospel of John places this work within the mainstream of late fourth-century Nicene Christology, in contrast to the surviving Syriac version (it is unclear which version was most altered by transmission).33 The effect of recent studies, intended or not, has been to minimize the significance of the Antiochenes. Born as a reaction to “Origenism” the interpretive strictures of Diodore and Theodore were, in O’Keefe’s view, too limiting to appeal beyond the subculture of sophists.34 Elizabeth Clark has gone so far as to question the concept of a coherent doctrinal school.35 With no distinct exegetical or doctrinal principles, the four Antiochene elements noted above may seem little more than rhetorical tropes.

Much of this recent revision has been persuasive. The Antiochenes cannot be said to have possessed a single coherent doctrinal system, or a consistent set of exegetical methods. Each Antiochene teacher revised the traditions of his predecessors, sometimes extensively. Nor do the Antiochenes represent a particular philosophical tendency. Diodore and Theodore drew on the general teaching tools of Greek paideia to find truth in Scripture—they were more like sophists (in the late antique sense) of the Bible.36 It is possible to find precursors to Diodore among other Syrian [End Page 525] church writers, but no precise lineage of prior teachers. In any case, the uncertainties of transmission render the positions of Diodore and Theodore, at least, difficult to pin down. What we have suggests that Diodore and Theodore were primarily concerned about Christian Scripture and the controversies of their own day.

The deconstruction of the school of Antioch, however, may have progressed too far. Diodore and Theodore did undertake a tremendous project of doctrinal and exegetical production. They did not win over the whole clergy of late Roman Syria. But they developed a devoted circle of supporters, which risked exile in 438, and (in some cases) endured exile in 449, to defend them.37 Their reputation diminished in Roman territory over the fifth and sixth century, culminating in their condemnation by the Second Council of Constantinople in 553. Still, their translated writings exerted a profound influence over the Church of the East, which by the sixth century had dubbed Theodore “the interpreter” (mephasqana).38 Clearly the Antiochenes hit upon something significant, which could give people a sense of shared faith and community. How, if the Antiochenes lacked doctrinal coherence, can we account for this following? So far scholarship has provided little help on this question.

Part of the answer may lie in paying closer attention to what we mean by “doctrine.” Most patristic scholarship has examined Antiochenes’ writings in search of their systems of thought. Such an approach works well for an individual writer, particularly one whose corpus survives sufficiently in the original language.39 When one moves from individuals to groups, however, this approach becomes more problematic. Every group must rely on language, on specific terms and analogies, to communicate doctrine and determine shared teachings. If by doctrine we mean “doctrinal thought,” we may speak of Theodore’s doctrine (and struggle to discern it); we cannot expect to find the “doctrinal thought of the Antiochenes.” [End Page 526]

We can, however, seek the Antiochenes’ doctrinal language, the specific formulas and symbols used in their communications. Doctrinal thought is by definition an interior process. Doctrinal language is a socio-cultural system, renegotiated with every exchange. People may share these terms and images in part, or in full, without sharing a line of thinking. In fact, the wider a set of terms and images is shared, the more likely its interpretations would diverge. This distinction, of course, can never be absolute; thought without language is impossible, and vice versa. Still, this difference affects the way scholars deal with Christian doctrine. Most patristic scholarship has pursued the doctrinal thinking through a close reading of particular doctrinal authors. This study makes no claims to feature such a close reading. And if its characterization of Antiochene doctrine seems surface-oriented, this is a deliberate choice—to consider what elements of Diodore’s, Theodore’s, and Theodoret’s work could be widely shared. As we shall see, the primary benefit of focusing on doctrinal language is that it opens up possibilities for placing theology in its specific social context.

First, however, we need a framework for describing that social context. One helpful way to do so is to imagine the Antiochenes not as a school, but as a social network. In the parlance of current social research, a network is any assemblage of people bound contiguously by relationships, all sharing some particular status or sensibility.40 Networks can be amorphous; they need not be institutionalized. They may have a graduated membership, with a committed core and a less committed periphery. They may or may not articulate a sense of identity. Indeed, networks may overlap, with individuals belonging to many at the same time. Some may be simply sub-networks, contained entirely within larger ones. As a network, then, the Antiochenes would not represent a single institution but a loose coalition nested within the larger Nicene Christian community.

Now nearly any contiguous social arrangement could theoretically be declared a network. The trick is to find appropriate criteria for inclusion, and it is here that doctrinal language fits in. One way to define a social network is by its socio-cultural idioms, symbolic elements which members use to identify each other and mark their communication as proper. Such idioms express social attachment, and they make possible the transmission [End Page 527] of cultural content. Idioms appear wherever network communication leaves records, as a call and response of verbal gestures. Idioms may shift over time, as individuals and groups try to alter them. And different sets of idioms may be associated with different networks. By looking for the use of specific, shared idioms in communication, we can trace social threads to assemble a picture of amorphous, but still meaningful communities. As a doctrinal network, then, the Antiochenes would represent a group of people bound by the exchange of symbolically loaded gestures and turns of phrase.

Of course, the use of language to identify networks raises another critical concern: the significance of linguistic boundaries. Social networks can cross linguistic divides. To do so, however, bilingual members must craft equivalencies: generally accepted translations of the symbolically loaded turns of phrase. Terms in different languages, of course, never match precisely in meaning. But this, scholars recognize, is not always the goal of translation. In the case of translations from Greek to Syriac in the fifth century, the translators seem to have preferred a symbolically precise word-for-word match to a more nuanced rendition of the meaning.41 In any case, even within a single linguistic group, participants need not agree on the exact meaning of their idioms to use them as symbolic watchwords. The Antiochenes, of course, began as a Greek-speaking group, but by the early fifth century at least, they had associates preaching in Syriac (and later in Armenian). As a cross-linguistic network, the Antiochenes would thus represent a community in which Greek tropes were matched to Syriac tropes with some consistency. Whether the Greek and Syriac formulas (or Latin versions) actually meant the same thing is for present purposes beside the point.

In this light we can see how the Antiochenes could be represented as a socio-doctrinal network, an amorphous, nested, multilingual, doctrinally defined community. But is there any evidence for this? Were there really recognized Antiochene idioms, and linguistic equivalencies, employed to define membership? This question is complicated by the extended timeframe: the terms that united the first generation of an Antiochene network might slowly transform over subsequent generations. It is further complicated by the lateness of many translations, which enabled equivalency formulas to be read back into earlier work. Nevertheless, enough material [End Page 528] does remain to chart, generation by generation, the use of symbolically loaded terminology.

The natural first place to look for idioms would be the exegetical work of Diodore and his disciples, and these produce some likely candidates. In the past, scholars have sought resonant language in Diodore’s single largely extant Greek work, the Commentary on the Psalms, as well as in the known titles and scattered fragments. Such searches have produced those traditionally identified watchwords of Antiochene exegesis, “literal” (kata lexin), “historical” (kath’ historian), disdain for “allegory,” or, by a more recent suggestion, the general “sequence of thought” (akolouthia).42 The loss of Diodore’s corpus makes it difficult to verify the importance of these phrases (though they or their variants do appear frequently).43 Evidence for the significance of these terms may come from their reception by later church historians.44 Yet, the vital exchange of these terms can best be seen in how Diodore’s students picked them up, especially Theodore (in his extant Greek)45 and Chrysostom.46 By the time of Theodoret’s training, the exegetical buzzwords had changed. Despite his verse-by-verse exegetical borrowings,47 Theodoret no longer emphasized his search for the literal and the historical, and he did incorporate obviously figurative readings.48 What had replaced these older tropes, if anything, was a focus on “types” [End Page 529] and “realities,” present in Theodore’s work49 but now expanded across the scriptural landscape.50 The precise meaning of these terms, of course, still inspires debate. For present purposes, it is enough to find suggestions of an ongoing exchange of terms, even as it shifted with the times.

Another place to look for idioms would be Diodore’s and his students’ trinitarian and christological terminology. In this case, the results are more complicated. To be sure, Diodore and his students did have a set of standard terms, at least from the 370s: the basic Cappadocian Nicene vocabulary of ousia, hypostasis, and homoousios. Yet this did not mark a specifically Antiochene tradition. Christology did, but as scholars have noted, the terms kept shifting. To be sure, Diodore’s two “voices” marked a key trope, which was picked up by his successors, as did his “Son of God” and “Son of David,” which were cast aside. In either case, these terms were part of the dialogue, since Theodore (or at least his translator) felt the need to specifically reject them. Indeed it was Theodore who produced the christological phrases most frequently declared Antiochene: dyo physeis (sometimes glossed with dyo hypostaseis and/or dyo proso\pa), hen proso\pon (sometimes glossed with synapheias), anthro\pos analephthes, or the later Syriac equivalents, tren kyane (qnome, partsope), partsopa had, barnash d-ethnsev. Some, though not all, of the physis/proso\pon vocabulary certainly reached Theodoret, as well as contemporaries like Andreas of Samosata.51 Yet more important than even the specific terms were the words employed to symbolize doctrinal activity. Theodoret had one preferred term for his doctrinal goals: “exactness” (akribeia). While certainly in general use, it was a term that Theodore had particularly taken for his own, in Greek or (if translation is to be trusted) in the Syriac .hatitutha.52 Again, the precise meaning of these terms remains a matter of debate, which this study does not attempt to resolve. Nevertheless, the continuities [End Page 530] in christological language and statements of purpose again suggest exchanges, particularly from Theodore to his successors.

Doctrinal treatises and exegetical commentaries suggest the exchange of idioms, but they do not provide direct evidence of call and response and cannot themselves be used to trace a network. The generation of Theodoret, however, offers more promising sources: personal letters and conciliar documents from the First Council of Ephesus and its aftermath.53 These letters and acta form part of a dialogue among identified participants, which later editing could not completely erase. In fact, the documents reveal not just doctrinal and exegetical formulas, but the way in which these formulas were communicated to symbolize doctrinal brotherhood. When John of Antioch convened the counter-council of eastern bishops in Ephesus in June of 431, he declared it improper to take any action “before the exact (akriben) examination and confirmation of the pious faith of the holy and blessed fathers.” The forty-three mostly Syrian bishops present acclaimed his statement several times.54 Meanwhile, individual correspondence during doctrinal negotiations of the 430s reveals the exchange of specific formulas and favored watchwords. In one letter, Theodoret laid before John of Antioch the formula that he sought: “Complete God and complete man . . . two natures and a difference between them, and a union without confusion.” For both he and his colleagues, he declared, were eager to pursue the “exactness (akribeian) of terms.”55 These two documents are preserved in Greek. Other acta and letters survive in only Syriac (in some cases the original language) or more often in Latin. Still, the Syriac letters reveal the extent to which the crafting of equivalencies was well underway.56 And [End Page 531] even in Latin, terms like akribeia are often merely transliterated, as if to signal how symbolically loaded they had become.57

Perhaps the most important shared symbols in the letters and conciliar documents are not theological or exegetical terms at all, but tropes of memory—names. On the one hand, Theodoret and his contemporaries often deployed the names of their most honored teachers. It was commonplace, of course, to speak well of the fathers at Nicaea.58 More telling was the deployment of the name of Theodore, the “holy and blessed father,” “decorated by countless struggles against the heretics.”59 Indeed, the name of Theodore (and to a lesser extent Diodore) seems to stand in for all the favored doctrinal idioms collectively. On the other hand, even more common were the names of shared reviled memory, specifically heretics like Arius, Eunomius, and Apollinarius. During the meetings in Ephesus in 431, Theodoret and his allies constantly compared their opponents to all three arch-heretics at once.60 Such naming and labeling was important, because it could be used to evoke doctrinal commonality without having to air much doctrine. And while Theodoret and his colleagues hesitated to mention Diodore and Theodore in the wrong company, they never feared to express their disdain for these symbolic past foes.

The evident use of doctrinal idioms in letters and conciliar acta gives us a valuable tool not just for verifying the existence of a socio-doctrinal network, but also for tracing it. By using the synodicals and signature lists, as well as the relevant epistolary exchanges, we can graph the known doctrinal relationships that linked Theodoret and his clerical allies during the [End Page 532] 430s. Now this picture is both tentative and incomplete. It is by necessity chronologically imprecise and it relies on the meager, selected, and edited records that survive. In any case, doctrinal idioms were only part of a complicated list of social protocols, expressions of friendship, and intimacy, which bound together this alliance and linked its members to other social groups. Still, Theodoret once described “harmony of faith” as the “colophon of unity.”61 And it is telling that Theodoret’s most “beloved” correspondents were predominantly those regional colleagues who had stood beside him in doctrinal controversies.

Thus these records of communication offer a window on an Antiochene doctrinal network in action during one general time frame (the 430s). Viewed synchronically, they showcase a group of clerics, stretching across the sees of Syria, communicating in Greek and in some cases Syriac, bound by their doctrinal formulas and equivalencies and their admiration for Diodore and Theodore. The map of network relationships features a well-connected core (including Theodoret, John of Antioch, and others), as well as a less embedded periphery. The exchange of idioms reveals how doctrine played a key role for Theodoret and his allies in shaping their social relations. But how did this group form and develop? Why did it attract so many Syrian clerics, at least temporarily? The letters provide only a snapshot of social interactions during the 430s, among an already committed group of adherents. They do not explain the origins of the network or the reasons for its growth.

For the roots of this Antiochene network we must turn from letters to less direct evidence. In the early 440s Theodoret penned his History of the Friends of God, which traced the bonds of patronage among Syrian ascetics and bishops. In the late 440s he wrote his Church History, which followed the actions and attachments of recent Nicene church heroes. The latter work made repeated reference to the former, encouraging readers to view them together. And both focused on the Syrian church leaders most likely to have “Antiochene” connections. Theodoret’s representations of his predecessors cannot be taken at face value, but as we shall see, they present a plausible narrative with which to begin. [End Page 533]

The Rise of the Antiochene Network as Presented by Theodoret 

Theodoret’s Church History had much to say in praise of his doctrinal predecessors. Diodore, he called “a great, clear river,” which overwhelmed the heretics of the day. Like many Nicene leaders, “He thought nothing of the brilliance of his birth, gladly enduring difficulty on behalf of the faith.” But Diodore was not the usual confessor. “At that time, he did not make public speeches in church gatherings, but provided an abundance of arguments and scriptural thoughts to the preachers. They in turn aimed their bows at the blasphemy of Arius, while he brought forth the arrows of his intelligence as if from a quiver.” His skills were such that he tore through heretical arguments as if they were “mere spider’s webs.”62 Theodoret’s affirmation of Theodore was even more pronounced. The final chapter of the Church History called Theodore a “doctor of the whole church,” who after receiving the “spiritual streams” of Diodore spent his episcopacy “battling the phalanx of Arius and Eunomius and struggling against the pirate-band of Apollinarius.”63 With words like these Theodoret placed his doctrinal forbears among the heroes of the Nicene church. But he did more than that. These descriptions were part of a larger narrative, by which Theodoret linked Diodore and Theodore to the Nicene church’s triumph. In the process, he provides us with a contextualized view of the origins of his Antiochene network.

Theodoret’s Church History, like the narratives of his historian-contemporaries, centered on the unfolding of the Trinitarian Controversy. And by the 360s, for a Nicene, the tale was getting depressing. The church was growing more divided, particularly in Syria. Until the 350s, the disputes and factions had been fluid, but after 360, those with Nicene leanings were increasingly marginalized. As Theodoret noted, the emperors’ push for compromise helped to establish clearer doctrinal parties: the Homoians, Homoiousians, Anomoians, and Nicenes. The Homoians took up the greatest share of Theodoret’s annoyance. Basking in imperial favor, we hear, they controlled most of the churches, ignored the proper councils, and tolerated extremists. And they taunted Nicene Christians with a claim that the latters’ creed was un-scriptural.64 Late in his reign, we are told, Constantius decided to enforce his preferences by exiling recalcitrant [End Page 534] bishops. And after the brief interlude of Julian and Jovian, Valens would do likewise.65 The one bright spot on which Theodoret could focus was the small set of bishops who calmly withstood imperial pressure. Eusebius of Samosata, for instance, reaped praise for his perseverance, as he faced repeated exile with confidence and goodwill.66 Nevertheless, the result of all the factionalism was something troubling to Theodoret. By the 370s, every major town hosted multiple claimants to the episcopal office, locked in an uneasy balance.

It was in this context that Theodoret turned to 360s Antioch; indeed, all the troubles that plagued the church piled up in the Syrian metropolis. One bishop, Euzoïus, theoretically had the support of the imperial court. His teachings tended toward the Homoian perspective, as did his alliances. Meanwhile, two other figures made episcopal claims under a Nicene banner: Paulinus and Meletius. Meletius had been a bishop in Roman Armenia. He was transferred to Antioch in 360, in grand fashion, under a compromise sponsored by Homoian and Nicene bishops.67 He was then deposed in equally grand fashion a few months later when his own (cryptic) doctrinal views came to light.68 In 363 he declared his support for the Council of Nicaea, though Theodoret found his loyalty apparent much earlier.69 Nevertheless, he had risen with the help of known opponents of the Council of Nicaea. Coupled with his hesitancy to dogmatize, such associations raised suspicions.70 Paulinus, meanwhile, was an aged priest ordained by [End Page 535] bishop Eustathius, one-time bishop of Antioch and heroic Nicene confessor. Longtime leader of a separate “Eustathian” faction, Paulinus secured consecration in 363 from a Westerner who had come to survey Antioch’s congregations.71 To these three another candidate, Vitalis, was eventually added. Originally a priest under Meletius, he was induced to break away and then consecrated by Apollinarius, the theologian-bishop of Laodicea.72 Thus, Theodoret presents us with a particularly confused competition for episcopal authority, in which most of the claimants actually considered themselves Nicene. And, as scholars have noted before, the consequence was a profound sense of instability.73 Under Julian and Jovian, and initially under Valens, each of the three (not yet four) bishops controlled a subset of the personnel and churches. Each represented a segment of the city’s “poor,” and each had external allies. But none of them commanded universal regard within Syria or beyond. When Emperor Valens moved to Antioch in 370, he became more directly supportive of the Homoian party. Meletius was forced into exile (Vitalis was not yet ordained at that point, and Paulinus was apparently not worth the bother).74 Nonetheless, all claimants maintained local followings and even influence at court. The exile of bishops sometimes even extended their followings. After all, it was exile that brought Meletius into close contact with the likes of Basil of Caesarea.75

At the same time, as Theodoret’s account makes clear, the status quo of party balance could not erase the fear of factional disintegration. It had only been a few years since the death of Bishop Leontius in 358 had turned [End Page 536] one-party equilibrium upside down. At that time, Eudoxius, hitherto the bishop of Germanicea, had come to claim Antioch for himself. He made new clerics of his allies, Aetius and Eunomius, who advanced an “Anomoian” doctrine that the other claimants found distasteful. The situation grew more confusing when repeated councils failed to choose a candidate acceptable to the emperor. In fact, it was because of this overall upheaval that Meletius had been chosen in the first place.76 A kind of equilibrium returned with the rise of Emperor Julian, who had equal disregard for all Christian theological parties.77 Still, one death had upended the factional balance, and a second one could do it again.

What Theodoret found lacking in Antioch and Syria of the 360s was a system of inter-see cooperation. Factionalism and confusion over episcopal authority hobbled church leadership on a local level. In some regions of the empire these disputes were more centralized, thanks to traditions of episcopal hierarchy. Egypt, for instance, already accorded a high prerogative to the titular primate, the bishop of Alexandria. Syria, however, lacked such a tradition, and to Theodoret the contrast was clear.78 This lack of definitive oversight created a more open episcopate. Any would-be bishop could find the two consecrators he needed, not least the four claimants to the see of Antioch.79 Once bishops were ordained, however, this openness ceased to be of benefit. For none of the bishop-claimants could ensure a heritable episcopate.

Then something changed. From the 360s on Theodoret began to assemble a network of Nicene cooperation, with Meletius at its center. In many respects, by the 370s Meletius’s claim to authority seemed to be weakening. The Homoian party held most of the churches, relegating the Nicenes to an “army training ground.”80 Meanwhile, Euzoïus was quietly succeeded by another Homoian, Dorotheus,81 and many remaining Nicene [End Page 537] bishops paid the exiled Meletius little attention.82 However, according to Theodoret, Meletius had a hidden advantage: two gifted partisans named Flavian and Diodore.

By the 360s Flavian and Diodore had already made names for themselves as wealthy lay patrons of the church.83 Even before Meletius arrived, both had demonstrated Nicene ardor in protests against bishop Leontius, exposing and countering his “attacks against the faith.”84 Famously they excelled in preaching and argumentation, a talent nourished through their rhetorical education. And both possessed a full array of crowd-control skills. Theodoret even credited the pair with the invention of that powerful propaganda weapon, the antiphonal chant, a tool they let loose in prayer meetings, on the streets, and even in Leontius’s churches.85 So strong was their following, we hear, that Leontius “did not think it safe to get in their way.”86 During his episcopal honeymoon Meletius appointed Flavian and Diodore to the clergy, but it was after his first expulsion that they came into their own. By the late 360s Flavian was serving as a priest and prelate-proxy, with Diodore at his side. Dividing up the partisan operations, Diodore researched arguments, while Flavian preached them to the crowds. This cooperation, in fact, seems to have survived Diodore’s own exile—by 372 he had joined Meletius in Roman Armenia. In any case, such separation did not concern Theodoret.87 Even with these difficulties, he suggested, the “blasphemy of Arius” had started to lose ground; and eventually Paulinus and Apollinarius would be out-argued as well.88

Still, for all their talents Flavian and Diodore succeeded, in Theodoret’s judgment, as much because of their connections to Syria’s holy ascetics. Unlike other church historians, Theodoret did not draw attention to the asketerion, Diodore’s schoolhouse for scriptural study and disciplined living (which also seems to have survived his exile). Rather Theodoret [End Page 538] showcased how Flavian and Diodore built ties to important hermits and archimandrites. Such friends made good agents of persuasion in the imperial court. Theodoret noted, for example, how Aphraates, an ascetic hermit from the region of Antioch, rebuked an emperor face to face “for having cast these flames [of Arianism] upon the divine house.”89 Additionally hermits supplied their miraculous reputations. Julian Saba, we hear, won over the Nicenes with several well-timed miracles of healing, including one for the count of the East and a few others for decurions.90 This was the kind of proof of divine support that no party could deny. By the 370s, Theodoret claimed, the partisans of Meletius were assembling a legion of ascetic allies.91 And this marked a turn of the tide.

According to Theodoret, this ascetic alliance was masterminded by a new leading partisan, Acacius. A monk from a village near Antioch, Acacius was widely recognized for his ascetic regimen. While some monastic figures delighted in isolation, Acacius was apparently more hospitable, accepting visitors with an open door.92 Theodoret, however, was less interested in his manners than in his social connections. Acacius, he noted, was the intellectual grandson of the great innovator of Syrian monasticism, the aforementioned Julian Saba.93 He therefore had instant associates across the region. According to Theodoret, Acacius befriended Flavian and Diodore in the 360s. Then he touted Meletius’s cause to Julian Saba and his fellow monks as “a way to serve God much more so than” in lives of isolation.94 Thanks to Acacius’s travels Julian Saba, Aphraates, and their admirers filled the city. Needless to say, this made Meletius’s partisans harder to ignore. Still, the connections went further. Theodoret suggests that contact and cooperation even proceeded with Ephrem, the Syriac hymn-writing deacon of Edessa known to the Greek-speaking world as an important monastic leader.95 Thus not only did Theodoret assert a [End Page 539] monastic legion in Antioch; he extended it across the Syrian geographic and linguistic landscape (see Figure 1).

Between Flavian’s preaching, Diodore’s teaching, and Acacius’s holy friends, Theodoret found his regional forbears gaining in popularity. Indeed, he presented Meletius’s faction as victorious, even before the emperors sided with the Nicenes. As it turned out, the new emperors Gratian and Theodosius did approve Meletius’s return.96 By Theodoret’s account, the choice was providential: Theodosius reported having a dream in which Meletius offered him the imperial robes.97 In Theodoret’s history, this was a unique note of triumph. Many bishops were perseverant, but only Meletius appeared in imperial dreams.

At this point, we are told, Meletius chose to show magnanimity. In 380 Theodosius declared his support for the Council of Nicaea. He sent a delegation to Antioch charged with endorsing one Nicene claimant above the rest.98 As the delegates convened the meeting, Meletius approached his rival Paulinus with a proposal. He offered to recognize Paulinus as a colleague and link congregations, if it was agreed that whichever bishop-claimant died first would pass sole episcopacy on to the other.99 Reports vary as to the response. Socrates and Sozomen asserted that the offer was accepted by Paulinus and confirmed by all likely episcopal candidates.100 Theodoret dissented, claiming that Paulinus had refused. And yet, even Theodoret could not deny that a détente was effected.101 Meletius took hold of his old churches but made no attempt to eliminate Paulinus’s following. Readers of Socrates would know that Meletius left town for Constantinople, “because of the state of the church in Antioch,”102 and Theodoret did nothing to refute the point. But as Theodoret explained, what Meletius got in return was grand: deference to his leadership in Nicene councils103 and acceptance of his ordinations in sees left “vacated” by the conflict. By 379 Meletius had placed Diodore and Acacius in sees [End Page 540]


[End Page 541]

of Tarsus and Beroea. Then, with imperial endorsement and the help of Eusebius of Samosata, he put up candidates in Chalcis, Hierapolis, Apamea, Edessa, Carrhae, Doliche, and Cyrrhus.104 These actions built up a Nicene presence in the region’s clergy. They also allowed Meletius’s partisans to perpetuate themselves.

When Meletius died in 381, he had just taken up the presidency of the Council of Constantinople, and it was at this gathering, and a follow-up a year or two later, that the scope of his triumph was revealed. For months in the capital Meletius had been preparing for the gathering, and his passing threw the proceedings into disarray. Several bishops scuffled over the council presidency, which at length was accorded to Gregory of Nazianzus. Then, in this rivalry-riven environment, Meletius’s partisans decided to “alter the deal” with Paulinus. Gregory of Nazianzus wanted to declare Paulinus the universally-recognized heir right at the council. But the followers of Meletius pushed for delay and asked that a subsequent council test claimants for their orthodoxy.105 Gregory was reluctant. But luckily for Meletius’s partisans he was chased out of his position. The subsequent president, the new bishop Nectarius, proved more pliant. A longtime friend to Diodore and Meletius anyway,106 Nectarius accepted the delay. Then, after the council the Meletian bishops gathered in Antioch, where they put up Flavian for election. Quickly he was consecrated by Diodore and Acacius, and a few months later he received Nectarius’ blessing.107 Paulinus naturally was upset. He joined other passed-over clerics in complaining to western bishops, and Ambrose agreed to take a message to the emperor.108 Emperor Theodosius, who had also heard complaints about Nectarius’s ordination, called a new meeting in the capital. However, to Paulinus’s disappointment, this second council confirmed both Nectarius and Flavian (it was, after all, filled with Meletius’s appointees and friends).109 This episode, of course, did not paint a flattering portrait of Meletius’s followers. Theodoret tried to minimize the embarrassment by separating his treatment [End Page 542] of the council from his discussion of Flavian’s ordination. Nevertheless, even he acknowledged that Meletius’s partisans confirmed their regional supremacy by pushing their rivals aside (see Figure 2).

Still, the dispute with Paulinus did not go away, and Theodoret had to deal with it. After the councils Paulinus convinced the bishops of Italy and Egypt that he was the rightful prelate. In 388 he ordained his own successor Evagrius. And despite this non-traditional election Evagrius was embraced by the same set of colleagues. Theodoret seized upon Evagrius’s ordination as a point of polemic. “[The apostles] did not allow a dying bishop to ordain another to take his place,” he declared, “and they ordered all the bishops of the province to convene.”110 Even at the time supporters of Paulinus’s party questioned Evagrius’s status. And in 391, a council of Italian bishops sided against Evagrius’s claim. The dispute, however, had left an impression. For almost another decade many Nicene bishops gave Flavian and his supporters the cold shoulder. And the court threatened to intervene. It was only in 398 that he won a belated acceptance. Even this took the support of the court, John Chrysostom, and the ambassadorial visits of Acacius of Beroea.111 Theodoret could not, of course, deny this opposition. What he could do was turn the affair into a test of character. According to Theodoret, Flavian met criticism by offering to abdicate right in front of the emperor. This action, he claimed, showed Flavian’s selfless motives, and that impressed his majesty. In any case, he noted that Flavian was held in high regard within Syria (not surprising given Meletius’s appointments).112 Paulinus’s followers held out until the 410s.113 But Theodoret made it clear that Syria was in the hands of the proper Nicene party.

As to the significance of this episode Theodoret left little doubt: Meletius had set in motion a coup in the churches of Syria. It was, however, the long-term impact of these events that most concerned Theodoret. First, Meletius’s coup led to a more cooperative Syrian episcopate. Thanks to Meletius and Eusebius many Syrian bishops of the 380s shared a single spiritual father. And Theodoret credited these associates with an unusual degree of loyalty. Second, according to Theodoret, Meletius’s operation stabilized episcopal selection. Like other church historians, Theodoret mentioned Diodore’s students who became bishops, in particular John [End Page 543]


[End Page 544]

Chrysostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia.114 He then added to the picture, listing off new bishops—Pelagius and Elpidius of Laodicea, Agapetus and Polychronius of Apamea, Alexander and Theodotus of Antioch, and others—tied to Meletius and his following.115 Third, according to Theodoret, Meletius’s partisans turned ascetic connections to their further advantage. As ascetics aided bishops in particular causes,116 bishops encouraged ascetics to found regular monasteries. In the Historia religiosa Theodoret cited several monastic communities—in Zeugma, Nicertae, Edessa, and Rhosus as well as Antioch—which owed goodwill to Flavian, Diodore, and Acacius (see Figure 3). According to Theodoret, these houses accepted the party’s doctrinal instruction as part of their schooling. They even became a primary source of clerical recruitment, particularly for the core of highly-committed adherents.117 Together these schemes of socialization and organization constituted a potent “Antiochene” legacy. For by the 420s they had fostered a graduated network of clerics and ascetics, headed by an inner circle of loyal, educated Antiochene bishops.118

Theodoret ended his history in 428/429, with the death of Theodore and Theodotus of Antioch (another significant mentor). By doing so, he confined his story to the rise of the Antiochene group, and its role in the triumph of Nicene Christianity. Of course, the development of the Antiochene network scarcely ended there. Indeed, by the 430s, more direct evidence allows for a more detailed socio-historical and doctrinal analysis (an endeavor beyond the scope of this article). The regional dominance of the Antiochene coalition was, in fact, only temporary. Yet Theodoret’s narrative deliberately left little hint of these problems. His was a story [End Page 545] of past triumph and an encomium to the Antiochene figures that had accomplished it.


Antiochene Doctrine in the Context of Theodoret’s Narrative 

Theodoret’s works of history thus present an appealing vision of his Syrian clerical heritage, situating Diodore and Theodore in a wider social context. Theodoret makes some troubling omissions and his historiographic aims (discussed below) may cast doubt on parts of his testimony. Nevertheless, Theodoret was a well-informed insider, and his prosopographical information appears sound. His account, when combined with more contemporary evidence, provides an excellent framework for exploring the social circumstances—the friendships and enmities—in which Antiochene doctrinal traditions may have taken form. Theodoret’s narrative suggests that the doctrinal efforts of the Antiochenes did not exist in isolation. They formed one part of a larger pro-Nicene project, well suited to the rivalries and alliances around them.

At the widest level, Antiochene teaching fit well with the mix of rival doctrinal parties that Theodoret highlighted in Syria during the mid- to late fourth century. By the 360s Christians had been openly feuding about the Trinity for half a century, until they had crafted at least five distinct [End Page 546] versions of the Father-Son relationship.119 The fluidity of prior alliances and debates (of which Meletius, Flavian, and Diodore had all partaken)120 was fading away. And positions were becoming better articulated. In the Nicene party the Cappadocian fathers had begun asserting their vocabulary of hypostases and ousiai, for which they slowly, from the 360s to the 380s, won support. (Meletius, in fact, converted to their terminology early on and, as Theodoret noted, well in advance of Paulinus.121 ) The persuasiveness of the Cappadocian fathers scarcely ended the controversy, but for Nicenes it drew clearer lines between acceptable orthodoxy and heresy. And yet, settling one question opened others. Nicene supporters had to figure out how to handle inconsistent past authorities. Origen, for instance, had faced prior controversy, but the new Cappadocian terminology sharpened concerns about his orthodoxy. Still, there was something more pressing than Origen. Nicene supporters had to come to terms with a basic, evidentiary problem: ousia and hypostasis had no firm scriptural precedents. In fact, direct biblical quotations could more easily undercut the Nicene position than defend it. Opponents of the Nicene party hit upon this. To startling effect the Homoian leaders chanted quotations of the gospel, like “My Father is greater than I” (John 14.28). Meletius’s Nicenes may have labeled the Homoians “Arian.” But they needed to find a public response to these challenges. They needed to persuade others or at least secure their own sense of doctrinal certainty.

In the 360s Diodore took up the defense of Nicaea against the Homoians. [End Page 547] The extant fragments attributed to him are, of course, profoundly meager. Yet even these scraps show that he traced out an immense doctrinal project: the creation of harmony between Scripture, Cappadocian terminology, and Nicaea’s supporting authors. This task involved cross-referencing, lexical analysis, etymological research, and narrative summation, all familiar activities to those who had studied with sophists. It was as part of this project that Diodore employed those tropes associated with the school of Antioch. When it came to describing Christ, he spoke of two different “voices,” a human and a divine, to which passages of Scripture might refer.122 Initially he seems to have called the two aspects by the biblical epithets “Son of David” and “Son of God,”123 or the “Word” (logos) and the “Flesh” (sarx).124 Later his students abandoned “sons” and “logos-sarx” in favor of “natures,” but they continued to emphasize the distinction between divinity and humanity.125 Inspiration for this terminology has been variously located, but whatever the roots, the proximate cause was public controversy. By assigning some scriptural lines to the human and some to the divine, Diodore found an answer to the Homoians’ taunts.

Exegetical tropes, however, seem to have marked Diodore’s firmest response. By building up steadily from the “literal” to the “historical,” Diodore aimed to approach the hypothesis of biblical texts—that is, their [End Page 548] overall moral and narrative significance.126 This required an “exacting” regimen of interpretation, and Diodore sought to follow one. His rejection of certain tropes as “allegory” was the natural extension of discerning what fell outside Scripture’s underlying message. Diodore’s approach may well have proved too limiting for some contemporaries, but it gave him a powerful rhetorical edge. Homoians might claim the words of Scripture, but Diodore claimed a deeper connection to the narrative itself.

Diodore’s doctrinal and exegetic tropes thus make sense as an effort to distinguish his orthodox party from its most worrisome local rival; they served equally well to mark a distinction from another set of foes, the Anomoians. Theodoret informs us that Diodore had been particularly hostile to the adherents of the “dissimilar” formulas, even before joining Meletius’s following.127 Aetius and Eunomius lost any connection to the see of Antioch once Eudoxius was transferred. But during the 360s and 370s they did claim a Syrian following. This group developed its own style of doctrinal production, based on both Scripture and dialectical reasoning. By the 380s its members were taking potshots at the likes of John Chrysostom, challenging Nicenes to take up their favorite lines of argument.128 Nicenes may have shared with many groups a disdain for the Anomoians. But the Anomoians’ claim to exact reasoning caused problems for all the other parties.

The Antiochenes’ response to the Anomoians was just as thorough as their response to the Homoians: they outdid their opponents’ claims to systematic logic. Diodore was famous for his efforts to create a consistent language of theology, one which left no gaps between the words of Jesus, biblical narrative, and common parlance. Theodore extended this drive further, even rejecting some of his teacher’s favored terms. And yet, both Diodore and Theodore claimed to avoid speculation by adhering closely to Scripture itself. This they did by displaying long years of scriptural learning, marking a contrast with the supposedly ill-grounded reasoning of Aetius and Eunomius.129 In other words, they claimed a superior paideia, much like the sophists who had trained them. As with the claim to scriptural [End Page 549] truth, this claim to deeper learning was more rhetorical than substantive. Nonetheless, the Antiochenes took it seriously, even when confronting fellow Nicenes. The claim seems to have come into play against Paulinus, whom Theodoret, at least, viewed as a simpleton.130 It also came into play against distant rivals in Egypt. Antiochenes worried about Alexandrian-style allegory partly because it opened scriptural interpretation up to any common logician’s schemes.

By the 380s, however, it was not Homoians or Anomoians that most troubled Diodore and Theodore; it was the equally Nicene followers of Apollinarius. Son of a grammarian-turned-priest in Laodicea, Apollinarius first distinguished himself by writing Attic dialogues in defense of Christian faith. By all accounts he had a fondness for Neoplatonic philosophers and sophists and he faced controversy in the Christian community for this reason. Yet it was apparently his Nicene associations, specifically the friendship of Athanasius, which inspired the bishop of Laodicea to excommunicate him in the 360s.131 By Sozomen’s reckoning, Apollinarius began crafting his own defense of Nicene doctrine at this time,132 contemporary to Diodore’s efforts. Indeed, he responded to many of the same Syrian opponents. Apollinarius’s doctrinal solutions were different from Diodore’s. In place of divided “voices” he crafted a Christology around the notion that God the Word had united with Jesus’ humanity by taking the position of the “mind” (Greek: nous). Yet just as much as Diodore, he sought a quick response to the challenges of his opponents. He thus compiled a set of reduced formulas to signal orthodoxy, such as “one nature.”133 Until the mid 370s Apollinarius and Diodore seem to have tolerated each other. But as Apollinarius built his following in Antioch, a rivalry developed, resulting in the ordination of the fourth would-be bishop, Vitalis. Apollinarius was condemned and deposed in 381, in part at the urging of Meletius. According to Theodoret, however, Apollinarius claimed secret followers for at least another forty years, infiltrating the Nicene church with their hidden “unsoundness.”134 Indeed, Theodore regarded the Apollinarians [End Page 550] as a special threat: they looked like virtuous Christians, forming a potential fifth column.

The Antiochene response to Apollinarius was more involved than a mere rhetorical targeting. In fact, the Antiochenes turned Apollinarians into their favorite bête noire. Like the Cappadocian fathers Theodore took aim at the incomplete humanity suggested by Apollinarian Christology. But he was also troubled by the formula “one nature.”135 His decision to speak of “two natures,” in fact, was probably a direct challenge to the Laodicean bishop’s formulation. By the turn of the fifth century, doctrinal formulas associated with Apollinarius receded from the discourse; it was enough to label someone as Apollinarian. A colleague of Theodore’s, Alexander of Hierapolis, later recalled how he and several Syrian bishops threatened to leave their sees en masse if suspected Apollinarians were not excluded from the clergy and congregations.136 In a sense, nothing came to mark Antiochene inclusion more than the exclusion of “Apollinarians.”

The doctrinal tropes developed by Diodore and Theodore can thus be seen as a response to the particular rivalries that formed around them during the 360s and 370s. Theodoret suggested that his forbears were more concerned with Homoians, Anomoians, and Apollinarians than Egyptians. His suggestion makes sense given the Antiochenes’ social circumstances. Meletius’s following needed to distinguish itself from opponents and build a sense of certainty. So Diodore and Theodore provided socio-doctrinal idioms to mark out orthodoxy from heresy, first in contrast to Anomoians and Homoians, and then in opposition to Apollinarius. It was the need for sequential triangulation that in part led Diodore to assemble the most familiar Antiochene doctrines.

And yet, Antiochene teaching (insofar as we can discern it) did more than trace out the boundaries of orthodoxy. It also affirmed the particular mix of friendships and patronage ties which, according to Theodoret, formed Meletius’s network. As the Trinitarian controversy developed in the 360s and 370s, all parties tried to organize alliances. Nicenes across the empire began communicating and, in some cases, coordinating their efforts. Yet building such alliances was not easy. Not only did clerics compete for positions of authority, they also faced the prospect of doctrinal disharmony. Where some Nicenes favored “eternal generation of the Son,” for instance, [End Page 551] others preferred God’s “begetting before all time.”137 And the closer clerics examined one another’s teachings, the more they risked disagreement. To avoid these dangers Nicenes tended to seek general formulas on which they could agree: the equal trinity, or eventually one ousia in three hypostases. But this broad alliance depended on a certain distance between its practitioners. For clerics to cooperate more closely, they needed more specific terms of agreement. According to Theodoret, Meletius’s core following included preachers, teachers, lay leaders, and noted ascetics, all of whom contributed to its success. Whatever Diodore taught would thus have to fit with this core membership and meet its general approval.

Diodore’s teachings appear custom-made to affirm the social attachments that, according to Theodoret, were developing around him. One such affirmation involved the collaboration of preachers and teachers. According to Theodoret, Diodore worked in the background (and after 372, perhaps far in the background), providing “scriptural thoughts” to Flavian’s preachers to support their public presentations. In fact, Diodore’s efforts could be of great help. His commentaries formed sourcebooks of quotations and observations, specifically geared to counter the Homoians and other foes. Flavian could turn to these to craft-stirring sermons and songs, creating theatrics to match the teachings. Meanwhile, the continuing public confrontation spurred Diodore’s continuing researches. So doctrinal production could resonate well with Flavian’s and Diodore’s mutual relations.

Another affirmation concerned the collaboration with ascetics. According to Theodoret, Flavian and Diodore worked with Acacius and other Syrian ascetics, benefiting from their miraculous reputations. Indeed, Diodore’s teachings also supported these cooperative ventures. Not only did he offer his own ascetic instruction in conjunction with scriptural training.138 His attention to scriptural types apparently provided Acacius a way to recruit monastic help. Ascetic miracles “attested even by the enemies of truth” had long been cited as evidence of God’s favor.139 But Diodore and his students could actually explain the powers of ascetics by presenting them as types of the prophets or Christ. Thus Julian Saba, by his deeds, [End Page 552] could directly “strengthen the proclamation of truth.”140 And the glory of his rigorous following reflected back on the less dramatic asketerion. According to John Chrysostom, it was the prospect of a “simpler life” that attracted Libanius’s former pupils to Diodore’s foundation in the first place.141 Doctrinal production thus also could resonate with relations between ascetic and doctrinal masters.

When the Antiochenes’ social situation changed in the late fourth century, Antiochene doctrinal production seems to have changed to fit. By the 380s Diodore, Acacius, and Flavian were bishops, with Theodore and others to join them in the subsequent decade. No longer a small partisan clique, the followers of Meletius sought to organize the Syrian clergy, maintain doctrinal harmony, and select and train a new clerical generation. According to Theodoret, this operation involved deepened ascetic alliances, specifically the establishment of monasteries as grounds for recruitment. And it resulted in an inner core of highly supportive followers. Building this setup, however, required a new, wider pedagogical project. The doctrinal program of Diodore’s asketerion had to be franchised, with new teachers, new students, and new standards of orthodoxy.

It was at this period that most of Theodore’s work took form and seems to have provided much of what was needed. Again, Theodore’s texts survive mostly in fragments or translations, which leave much uncertain as to precise theological formulas. Nevertheless, it is clear that as Diodore passed from the scene, Theodore began revising his teachings. He extended the “literal, historical” exegetical tropes with new definitions and explanations. He developed a wider list of biblical types and crafted a whole mode of typological reasoning. He also extended Diodore’s doctrinal conclusions, turning from “sons” to some sort of dyophysite christological formula.142 And, of course, he extended the doctrinal discussion to Mary, suggesting the parallel appellations theotokos and anthro\potokos, which would later get Nestorius into trouble. These were not idle or isolated speculations. In fact, they were part of a nearly comprehensive exegetical and anti-heretical corpus. One point of these efforts, I would suggest, was to create a series of teaching texts, from the simple formulations of [End Page 553] his catechism and commentaries to more detailed works (On the Incarnation, perhaps) reserved for inner-circle initiates. Theodore’s full corpus was vast, and it must have drawn from a wide range of inspirations. Still, we can see how it would serve the recruitment methods and the graduated membership of his network.

Theodoret’s narrative thus offers a consistent perspective on the social dynamics at work in Antiochene doctrinal production. By Theodoret’s account, Antiochene exegesis and theology coalesced within a particular clique of partisans: a group of ascetics, clerics, and urban laymen discovering its alliances and its enmities. These Antiochene traditions then developed within a regional clerical alliance: a network of bishops and monastic leaders securing its authority and its future viability. Nor would this be the last stage of development. During the 430s and 440s, Theodoret would offer his own additions and modifications (the complexity of which deserves an article of its own). According to Theodoret, this network grew because people were won over by the theology and preaching of Flavian, Diodore, and Theodore. More than that, however, Theodoret suggests that this appeal succeeded because of how well it fit the social context. By resonating with preaching and ascetic behaviors, Antiochene doctrine helped to affirm the Antiochenes’ new relationships and systematize them. Conversely, the relationships among preachers, teachers, and monastic leaders fostered the Antiochene doctrinal project, giving it reasons to continue. Whether doctrine preceded canvassing and antiphonal chants or vice versa, Theodoret does not say. But before any of Meletius’s partisans had achieved episcopal rank, his clique of clerics was apparently already shaping “Antiochene” idioms for their network, including dyophysite Christology, typologically justified asceticism, monastic education, and anti-Arian/anti-Apollinarian taunting.

Representation of a Network: Evaluating Theodoret’s Account 

Theodoret’s Church History is indispensable for its depiction of Syrian clerical relations in the late fourth and early fifth century. His account, however, presents several interpretive problems, owing to its historiographic situation. Theodoret was clearly a well-informed insider. Not only did he have access to church archives in Antioch and throughout Syria; he held close connections to some of his noted heroes. His youth in Antioch made him amply familiar with Flavian and his successors. Seven years at a monastery near Apamea introduced him to bishop Polychronius, Theodore [End Page 554] of Mopsuestia’s brother. As a young bishop he had had personal contact with both Theodore and Acacius. Thus, when Theodoret spoke of clerical organization and recruitment, he had personal experience on which to draw. Informed insider status, however, does not guarantee Theodoret’s accuracy. As his doctrinal tradition became the subject of controversy, his position left him with an imperative to defend his heroes and heritage. Theodoret’s account is only rarely contradicted directly by other observers or documents. But his words and his choices of coverage are always embedded in a matrix of rhetorical aims and methods.

Theodoret wrote both of his works of history during the peak years of the controversy over Christ’s natures. Since at least the First Council of Ephesus, Theodoret had occupied a position of informal leadership in the church of Syria. Conciliar documents and letters reveal his increasing influence over other regional bishops and their doctrinal positions. Theodoret counted “Antiochene” allies across Roman society, from nearby monasteries to the imperial administration. But he also had enemies, familiar ones in other regions (like Cyril and Dioscorus of Alexandria and Eutyches in Constantinople) as well as less familiar ascetics and clergymen right within Syria. Indeed, Theodoret’s very influence created new problems. His attempts to recruit sympathetic bishops, for instance, left a slough of disgruntled local priests and monks.143 In late 447 Theodoret and his coalition confronted a new controversy. First, two of his close allies were denounced as heretics and subjected by imperial order to tribunals.144 Then, in March of 448 an imperial rescript relegated Theodoret to his diocese indefinitely.145 Over the following fifteen months, his opponents built up their coalition, while he was discredited and isolated. At the Second Council of Ephesus in the summer of 449, he was deposed (and set for exile) along with five of his remaining clerical friends.146 It was only the unexpected death of Emperor Theodosius II, and the new policies of Marcian, that allowed Theodoret to recover his position and standing. It [End Page 555] is not certain precisely when Theodoret wrote his Church History, other than sometime in the 440s.147 But overlaps of language and subject matter between the History and Theodoret’s letters,148 as well as his probable list of sources,149 strongly suggest that he wrote it during this period of relegation and exile.

The impact of this new Christological controversy on Theodoret’s Church History can be found in many forms and places. The dispute affected Theodoret’s description of church heroes. Most of his favorites appear as perseverant confessors (like himself), who calmly resisted doctrinal opponents and stood firm in the face of imperial pressure. The dispute also affected Theodoret’s choice of timeline. His decision to conclude with Theodore meant that he avoided direct dealings with Nestorius and the messy current dispute. The controversy may even have inspired the very writing of this history. With criticism coming from all sides, Theodoret needed to encourage his allies. Historical narrative could be an important source of solidarity. By detailing the glories of past Syrian clergy, Theodoret could give his associates a sense of grounding and a deeper reason to stand firm for an embattled orthodoxy. It is thus understandable why Theodoret would present an image of Meletius’s partisans enduring hardship, ultimately to triumph. It was sensible for him to tie controversial teachers like Diodore and Theodore to widely accepted Nicene heroes. It is also understandable why he might emphasize the solidarity of Meletius’s followers and their level of doctrinal concord. And we could see why he might posit dubious connections, or backdate his own alliances and concerns. Theodoret had good reason to present a supportive heritage and invent it if he could not find one.

It is thus necessary to examine Theodoret’s representations of his social network against the record of external evidence. While Theodoret is the main source for a number of personages and events in Syria, he is hardly the only observer. Most obvious are the church historians Socrates and Sozomen, who present their own views of Syrian clerics, somewhat less invested than Theodoret’s.150 We have already noted Socrates’s and Sozomen’s less flattering treatment of Meletius’s coup. In their view it was [End Page 556] Meletius’s partisans who acted in bad faith, breaking an oath to let Paulinus succeed to the see of Antioch. Sozomen, in particular, noted how Diodore and Acacius were responsible for ordaining Flavian in Paulinus’s place.151 Acacius of Bereoa, in fact, was repeatedly presented as ruthless and vindictive. To Socrates and especially Sozomen, Acacius was one of the main persecutors of the beloved John Chrysostom (more on this below).152 Unlike Theodoret, Socrates and Sozomen were willing to find fault with these Syrian clerics. And they did not see Diodore and Theodore as lynchpins of Nicene triumph.

When it comes to particular social connections, however, Socrates and Sozomen do not contradict Theodoret’s account. In fact, despite their unsystematic treatment of Syria, many of their details confirm Theodoret’s general picture. Socrates, of course, noted Diodore’s ascetic and educational endeavors, and his recruitment of Theodore as well as John Chrysostom.153 Sozomen verified further links between the main partisans, recalling how both Diodore and Acacius interceded on Flavian’s behalf.154 Neither Socrates nor Sozomen dealt continuously with Syrian clerics; and Theodoret may have read their unflattering statements and wished to respond. Nonetheless, both church historians offer details that confirm Theodoret’s depiction of a tight Nicene partisan following in Antioch.

A more troubling problem for Theodoret’s account comes from contemporary observers in early fifth-century Syria, and from one episode in particular: the controversy over John Chrysostom. Theodoret recognized Chrysostom as a member of Meletius’s following, a student of Diodore and a friend to Theodore. He defended Chrysostom’s actions as bishop of Constantinople, but he chose to omit the “hideous details.”155 Socrates and Sozomen had no such qualms, but they generally focused on Chrysostom’s problems with the bishop of Alexandria or with his foes in Constantinople. It is mainly Palladius of Helenopolis, and Chrysostom himself, who reveal the affair’s Syrian dimension. Among the opponents of Chrysostom Palladius prominently included a number of Syrian bishops—more Syrians, in fact, than Egyptians or Anatolians.156 Other sources mention [End Page 557] Acacius of Beroea as Chrysostom’s opponent, but Palladius made Acacius a prime instigator of the controversy. Not only did he place Acacius and other Syrians at the Synod of the Oak in 403, which first deposed Chrysostom; he claimed that Acacius had coordinated the colloquies of Easter 404, where John was definitively exiled.157 Palladius then noted the schism this inspired within Syria, between Acacius’s party and a “Johannite” faction. And he explained how Acacius and his allies manipulated episcopal elections in Antioch to appoint one of their own, Porphyrius, to the see.158 Palladius thus presents a Syrian clerical scene filled not with harmony but with factional conflict. He even lists all the supporters of John who struggled or suffered for his restoration.159 His picture is partly confirmed by Chrysostom’s letters written during his period of exile. Here Chrysostom appealed to many bishops he later counted as supporters, including his old friend Theodore.160 We can understand why Theodoret wanted to “throw a veil over the ill-deeds of men who share our faith.”161 Over an issue unrelated to doctrine, the former followers of Meletius had torn their camaraderie apart.

Yet even this dark episode in Syrian clerical relations does not contradict Theodoret’s basic representations of an Antiochene network; it merely complicates the picture. All social networks feature competition for influence, and many face factional rivalries, which can temporarily or permanently split the membership. The Syrian dimension of the Chrysostom affair looks like contest for influence gone awry. As Flavian of Antioch grew old and frail, John Chrysostom and Acacius were two of the number of clerical figures with claims to his position of influence. If Palladius is accurate, Acacius used the controversy over John to build a following, which he employed to name his own candidates to open sees. Meanwhile, [End Page 558] Theodore and the “Johannites” made their own attempts to build influence with their own faction. Yet for all the bitterness this split spawned, it was eventually resolved. Bishops of Antioch restored John’s name to the diptychs, and even Acacius reluctantly agreed to this.162 Palladius and others saw Acacius’s actions as a betrayal. But betrayal certainly plays a role in the affairs of close-knit communities.

What most confounds Theodoret’s representations are random testimonies regarding the recruitment and loyalties of Syrian bishops. Theodoret’s narrative mentioned no opponents of his network in Syrian sees, apart from the shadowy fifth column of suspected Apollinarians. Yet his list of allies scarcely covers a quarter of the sees in the provinces of Syria. Clearly the followers of Meletius did not completely take over the region. Theodoret acknowledged recruitment in monasteries or through other ascetic relationships, but he said nothing about other forms of picking new clergymen. Yet in his letters he mentions married bishops—even a twice-married bishop recruited by Acacius himself.163 And in any case, his examples of Syrian monk-bishops almost all date to the 410s and 420s. Perhaps monastic recruitment was a more minor aspect of the Syrian clerical scene, and a later development, than Theodoret suggested. Theodoret called Theodore a “doctor of the whole church,” but Theodore’s inner core of followers may have been small and his regard less than universal. Theodore’s pupil-turned-critic, Rabbula of Edessa, complained that his former teacher had written doctrines that he would only share with close confidants.164 Even Theodore’s admirers acknowledged that he sometimes had to retract controversial tropes when non-insiders got wind of them.165 Thus outside a narrow core of followers, the Antiochene network was probably more diffuse and less exacting in its doctrinal standards than Theodoret had it portrayed.

And yet, Theodoret’s general picture of an Antiochene network cannot [End Page 559] be dismissed. Theodoret’s prosopographic testimony remains largely uncontested. And the dense thicket of personal alliances that it presents finds confirmation across a wide spectrum of sources. Conciliar records from Ephesus in 431 reveal the peripheral extent of the Syrian dyophysite network, before confrontations began to take their toll. Meanwhile, preserved letters from the 420s and 430s reveal relationships among people at the core of this network, including Theodotus of Antioch, John of Antioch, Alexander of Hierapolis, Andreas of Samosata, Helladius of Tarsus, and Acacius of Beroea, as well as Nestorius and his contingent in the capital (see Figure 4). The doctrinal traditions and personal reputations of Diodore and Theodore served as critical sources of solidarity within these core relationships and beyond. Over the next two decades, critics of the pair grew bolder in their insults. But even the defectors, like Rabbula, confirm the general picture of a growing Antiochene web with a tight inner core. It is unclear when Theodore’s group became as organized as it was when he died, or how far its reach really extended. It is clear that fissures remained in the 430s, even between Theodore’s self-described admirers.166 But the Antiochene network was coherent enough that by the 430s and 440s, Theodoret could plausibly advance it as part of Syria’s apostolic heritage.


The represented social networks of Syrian clergy offer a useful framework for contextualizing the Antiochene doctrinal phenomenon. If Theodoret’s History is to be trusted, the doctrinal and exegetical tropes of the Antiochenes took shape in the context of a local partisan clerical struggle. They then developed into a set of educational and social traditions that bound together a scattered web of clerical allies and a tight core of devotees. Viewing the Antiochenes as a network rather than a school avoids some pitfalls of older doctrinal approaches without overminimizing this segment of Christian culture. Antiochene traditions did not make for a unique exegetical method or a coherent doctrinal system. They certainly built on older techniques and tropes and worked with a range of cultural material. But in a socio-doctrinal sense, they did cohere. As a set of social idioms they supported a robust clerical association that wrote and recruited for more than seven decades. [End Page 560]


[End Page 561]

A network approach helps to illuminate the specific context of early Antiochene teachings; it also may help to explain the reaction that greeted the Antiochenes in the 430s and 440s. If Theodoret is correct, Theodore and his pupils had created not just a full book of doctrine and exegesis, but a recruited, educated group to support it. Peripheral associates of the Antiochenes had limited exposure to Theodore’s teachings. The Nicene church at large had little awareness of what he was doing. But the inner circle—Helladius of Tarsus, Nestorius, Andreas, Theodoret, and (initially) Rabbula, among others—shared many of the master’s favorite turns of phrase as part of their social experience.

Having created an educated Christian doctrinal subculture, the Antiochenes went forth with an air of certainty and expertise. They continued to control the major Syrian sees into the 440s, with recruitment efforts in several nearby regions. But in Constantinople and much of the Eastern Empire, their code-words and confidence met with revulsion. Not only did Cyril of Alexandria reject Diodore and Theodore, in conjunction with the turncoat Rabbula; by the late 440s, disgruntled Syrian clerics were joining Cyril’s successor to form a wide opposition. Indeed, the Second Council of Ephesus in 449 left the core of the Antiochene network gutted. While the Council of Chalcedon two years later vindicated Theodoret and some of his allies, the trend of opposition continued. By the late fifth century, the Syrian admirers of Theodore had been forced into hiding, into painful compromises, or into Persian territory. An Antiochene doctrinal heritage, stretching back to the 360s, must have contributed to the sense of certainty carried by Theodoret and his friends in the controversy, and by their successors in Syria and eventually Persia. But it was a certainty which others read as arrogance, contributing to the fury which has shadowed the Antiochenes for so long.

Adam M. Schor is Assistant Professor of History at the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University in Brookville, New York


This article is based on portions of my dissertation, Networks of Faith: Theodoret of Cyrrhus and the Bishops of Roman Syria, 423–451 (PhD diss., University of Michigan, 2004), as well as a conference paper, “Doctrines, Bishops, Monks and Friends: A Network Approach to the ‘School of Antioch,'” presented at the Byzantine Studies Conference in Lewiston, ME, October 2003. I thank Ray Van Dam, Susan Ashbrook Harvey, John V. Fine, Jr., and Traianos Gagos, who responded to early versions of this material. I also thank Patrick Gray, George Bevan, Jim Cousins, and David Olster for their comments and conversation, as well as the anonymous reviewers arranged by JECS for their many helpful suggestions.


1. In this article, the term “Syrian” is meant to serve only as a general regional moniker, denoting residents of the area between the Taurus Mountains and the Galilee, the Mediterranean and the Persian-ruled regions of Mesopotamia. When this study refers to the cultural/linguistic subset of people who spoke Syriac, it uses the term “Syriac.”

2. The Formula of Reunion was formally drafted in early 433 by John of Antioch and Cyril of Alexandria. It did not, however, win the near full support of Syrian bishops until late 434, when Theodoret of Cyrrhus inspired most of the remaining holdouts to accept the document (cf. Helladius of Tarsus, ep. ad Nestorium, CPG #6441, ACO 1.4:205).

3. While the precise course which led to this settlement is not clear in the fragmentary sources, there is evidence that two councils took place. The first met in August of 438 (cf. John of Antioch, ep. ad Cyrillum Alexandrinum, CPG #6312, ACO 1.5:310–14). There the imperial envoy Aristolaus submitted demands for the Syrian bishops to sign Proclus’s Tome to the Armenians and condemn a list of Theodore’s objectionable statements. The second council was held 1–3 years later (cf. the letter preserved by Barhadbeshabba of Arbaya, Historia ecclesiastica, PO 9:573). Again the bishops refused to condemn Theodore, adding a denunciation of “slanderers” in the Syrian clergy. See Nicholas Constas, Proclus of Constantinople and the Cult of the Virgin in Late Antiquity (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 121–22.

4. Theodoret, h.e. 4.25 (GCS 5:263–64).

5. Theodoret, h.e. 5.40 (GCS 5:347–48).

6. In this paper, the term “Antiochene” is always used to denote people and works associated with the so-called School of Antioch. It does not signify a particular place of residence (even though most of the people involved were at least initially based in the city of Antioch).

7. Socrates, h.e. 6.3 (GCS 1:313–15).

8. Theodore’s informal pedagogy is mentioned by Theodoret (h.e. 5.40 [GCS 5:347–48]) and Hiba (a.k.a. Ibas) of Edessa (ep., ACO 2.1.3:32–34), among others. Theodoret’s links to Theodore are not entirely known, but one definite connection came through Theodore’s brother, Polychronius, who served as bishop of Apamea while Theodoret lived as a monk and wrote in the nearby village of Nicertae (cf. Theodoret, h.e. 5.40 [GCS 5:348]). Theodoret was then bishop for five years before Theodore died.

9. Theodoret himself seems to have spoken Syriac, though he may not have written or read it. The most well known early Antiochene authors to write in Syriac were Andreas of Samosata, Rabbula of Edessa, and Hiba of Edessa, though connections to other figures have been suggested (see below, this section).

10. For two examples of the extent to which concerns over the heresy label have dominated scholarship, see Robert Devreesse, Essai sur Théodore de Mopsueste (Vatican City: Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, 1948) and Francis A. Sullivan, The Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia (Rome: Univ. Gregoriana, 1956).

11. Compare Diodore, Commentarii in Psalmos, preface, text: Diodori Tarsensi Commentarii in Psalmos, CCG 6:1–2; Quaestiones in Octateuchem (frag) (cf. Christoph Schäublin, “Diodor von Tarsus,” in Theologische Realenzyklopädie, ed. G. Krause and G. Müller [Berlin: de Gruyter, 1977–], 8:763–66, esp. 764–65). Theodore, Ps., 35 (prologue), 50 (prologue) (Le Commentaire de Théodore de Mopsueste sur les Psaumes [I–LXXX], ed. Robert Devreesse, ST 93:194, 334).

12. Diodore, Commentarii in Psalmos, preface [CCG 6:1–2]. A famous maxim featuring this sentiment, found in a fragment of Quaestiones in Octateuchem, is noted by Schäublin, “Diodor von Tarsus,” 764–65.

13. For example, Diodore, Rom., Rom 5.13–14, 9.1 (in Karl Staab, Pauluskommentare aus der griechischen Kirche, Neutestamentliche Abhandlung 15 [Münster: Aschendorff, 1933], 83, 97). Theodore, Ps. 77.8b (ST 93:520); Os.-Mal., Jonah, prologue (repeatedly), Micah 4.1 (repeatedly) (Theodori Mopsuesteni commentarius in XII prophetas, ed. H. N. Sprenger [Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1977], 170–72, 207). On the use of typology, and typological terminology, in Theodoret, see the exhaustively thorough analysis of Jean-Noël Guinot, L’éxegèse de Théodoret de Cyr (Paris: Beauchesne, 1995), esp. 306–19. For a (less thorough) treatment of typology in Theodore, see Dimitri Zaharopoulos, Theodore of Mopsuestia on the Bible (New York: Paulist Press, 1989), 120–30. For a more sharply interpretive perspective, see Frederick B. McLeod, “The Christological Ramifications of Theodore’s Understanding of Baptism and the Eucharist,” JECS 10 (2002): 38–59.

14. The terminology shifted over the generations. Diodore used the terms “Son of David” and “Son of God” to mark the separate elements (cf. Rudolf Abramowski, “Der Theologische Nachlass des Diodor von Tarsus,” ZNW 42 [1949]: esp. 26–33). Theodore spoke of “knowing both of the natures” (Homiliae Catecheticae 7; Commentary of Theodore of Mopsuestia on the Nicene Creed, ed. and tr. A. Mingana, Woodbrooke Studies 5 [Cambridge: W. Heffer and Sons, 1932], text 200, tr. 84), though he used many other formulations and (at least in Syriac translations) he seems to have preferred “God the Word who assumed” (alaha melltha haw de-nsav) and “man who was assumed” (barnash haw de-ethnsev) (Homiliae Catecheticae 7 [ed Mingana], text 198; tr. 82). Nestorius used the formula “two natural prosopa” united as a “prosopon of union of two natures” (cf. Liber Heraclidis; Nestorius, The Bazaar of Heracleides, tr. L. Driver and G. Hodgson [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1925], 160–61, 149). Theodoret kept to “two natures in one prosopon” (cf. M. Richard, “La lettre de Théodoret a Jean d’Égées,” in Opera Minora, vol. 2 [Turnhout: Brepols, 1976], sec. 48). See also Patrick T. R. Gray, “Theodoret on the ‘one hypostasis’: An Antiochene Reading of Chalcedon,” SP 15 (1984): 301–5.

15. Sullivan (Christology of Theodore, 162) emphasized the anti-Arian element in this argument. Other scholars (e.g., Richard A. Norris, Manhood and Christ [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963], 207–9) have posited a more anti-Apollinarian inspiration.

16. Aloys Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, tr. J. Bowden (London: Mowbrays, 1975), part 2, sec. 1; J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, rev. ed. (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1978), 301–9, supported Grillmeier’s assertion, though both noted the roots of Diodore’s approach in a distinct, word-flesh framework. Rowan A. Greer, Theodore of Mopsuestia: Exegete and Theologian (London: Faith Press, 1961), 48–49, offered a slightly different distinction based on conceptions of soteriology (divinization vs. perfection).

17. Antiochene doctrinal language was perhaps best characterized by Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, part 2:334, as barely coherent.

18. The scope of this problem has occupied scholars continuously since Robert Devreesse began reassessing the orthodoxy of Theodore (cf. Devreesse, Essai sur Théodore, esp. part 2). For the latest reevaluation concerning the problems of textual survival, see George Kalantzis, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Commentary on the Gospel of John (Strathfield, Australia: St. Paul’s, 2004), introduction.

19. Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, part II sec. 2, chap. 3–5 and part III, chap. 4; Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, chap. 11–12, both followed the development of formal christological terminology (i.e., physis, proso\pon and hypostasis) which did not fully solidify for the participants until the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Before that point, the different formulations were tried and then rejected as inadequate, or too easy to misinterpret. For some of the specific formulas, see above, note 14.

20. See Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, part 2, 266–70; J. M. Dewart, The Theology of Grace of Theodore of Mopsuestia (Washington, DC: Catholic University Press, 1971), 40–48; L. Abramowski, “The Theology of Theodore of Mopsuestia,” in Formula and Context: Studies in Eastern Christian Thought (Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 1992), sec. II; and most recently, John J. O’Keefe, “Kenosis or Impassability: Cyril of Alexandria and Theodoret of Cyrus on the Problem of Divine Pathos,” SP 32 (1997): 359–60.

21. John Chrysostom has proven particularly difficult to categorize. See Melvin Lawrenz, The Christology of John Chrysostom (Lewiston, NY: Mellen University Press, 1996), esp. 19–28. Nestorius has been left aside, or contrasted to the “real Antiochenes,” primarily by those seeking to rehabilitate the reputation of Theodore (e.g., Devreesse, Essai sur Théodore).

22. See G. W. H. Lampe and H. J. Witticombe, Essays on Typology (London: SCM Press, 1957), esp. chap. 1. B. Nassif, “Spiritual Exegesis in the School of Antioch,” in New Perspectives on Historical Theology, ed. B. Nassif (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996), 345–47, traces this tradition back to the work of Heinrich Kihn on the Antiochenes’ use of theo\ria (“contemplation”) in contrast to alle\goria.

23. For difficulties in categorizing Theodoret himself, see Guinot, L’éxegèse de Théodoret, esp. chap. 6.

24. For example, R. V. Sellers, The Council of Chalcedon: A Historical and Doctrinal Survey (London: S.P.C.K, 1961), sec. 2 chap. 2.

25. For example, J. P. Barjeau, L’école éxegetique d’Antioche (Paris: Fischbacher, 1898), esp. chap. 1–3. For the most plausible links to predecessors (e.g., to Eustathius and Lucian of Antioch) see Schäublin, “Diodor von Tarsus,” 763–66, and J. Olivier, Diodori Tarsensi commentarii in Psalmos (CCG 6:ciii).

26. Arthur Vööbus, History of the School of Nisibis, CSCO Sub. 26 (Leuven: CSCO, 1955), 21–22. David S. Wallace-Hadrill, Christian Antioch: A Study of Christian Thought in the East (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), esp. chap. 5.

27. H. J. W. Drijvers, “Early Forms of Antiochene Christology after Chalcedon,” in After Chalcedon: Studies in Theology and Church History offered to Albert van Roey, ed. C. Laga, J. Munitiz, et al. (Leuven: Peeters, 1985), 99–113; “East of Antioch: Forces and Structures in the Development of Early Syriac Theology,” in East of Antioch (Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 1984), 1–27.

28. Christoph Schäublin, Untersuchungen zu Methode und Herkunft der antiochenischen Exegese (Koln: Peter Hansen, 1974), esp. 34–42, 55–65.

29. Guinot, L’éxegèse de Théodoret, 627–28.

30. Frances M. Young, Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), esp. chap. 7–9.

31. Young, Biblical Exegesis, chap. 7–9. O’Keefe, “Kenosis or Impassibility,” 358–65.

32. Young, Biblical Exegesis, chap. 7–9. John J. O’Keefe, “‘A Letter that Killeth’: Toward a Reassessment of Antiochene Exegesis, or Diodore, Theodore, and Theodoret on the Psalms,” JECS 8 (2000): 83–104.

33. Kalantzis, introduction to Theodore, Commentary on John, esp. 28.

34. O’Keefe, “A Letter that Killeth.”

35. Elizabeth A. Clark, Reading Renunciation: Asceticism and Scripture in Early Christianity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), chap. 1–2.

36. By “sophist,” I do not mean to imply that Diodore and Theodore were only interested in instrumental learning for the sake of winning arguments. By the fourth century c.e. these classical Athenian associations with the term had given way to a more positive meaning: generally cultivated instructor in the finer points of reading, rhetoric, and moral comportment.

37. For one example, see the recalled comments by Theodoret and Irenaeus of Tyre (cf. Theodoret, ep. S 16, to Irenaeus [SC 98:56]). NB: All references to Theodoret’s letters use the following shorthand: P=Collectio Patmensis (SC 40); S=Collectio Sirmondiana (SC 98, 111); C=Collectio Conciliaris (SC 429).

38. This was reflected in a comment of Patriarch Sabrisho’ at the 596 Synod of Seleucia-Ctesiphon (cf. Synodicon orientale [Paris: Impr. Nationale, 1902], 459).

39. One successful example of this pursuit of doctrinal thought in a single author is Frederick G. McLeod, The Role of Christ’s Humanity in Salvation: Insights from Theodore of Mopsuestia (Washington, DC: Catholic University Press, 2005). For his method, see esp. p. 9.

40. For more on the basic definitions used by social network theorists, see Jeremy Boissevain, Friends of Friends: Networks, Manipulators, and Coalitions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974), esp. chap. 1–3, 5, or more recent modifications summarized in Stanley Wasserman, Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). The part of the methodology presented here that concerns “socio-doctrinal idioms” is my own.

41. Sebastian P. Brock, “Greek into Syriac and Syriac into Greek,” Journal of the Syriac Academy 3 (1977): 1–17 (422–406); this publication reads right-to-left and uses reverse pagination.

42. See Robert C. Hill, Diodore of Tarsus: Commentary on the Psalms (Atlanta: SBL, 2005), xvii–xxiv; and Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Books, 2001), 14.

43. For example, Diodore, Ps., introduction (repeatedly), 5.1, 15 (end), 21.1 (CCG 6:7, 28, 84, 126–27).

44. Socrates, h.e. 6.3, text: Socrates Kirchengeschichte, ed. G. C. Hansen, GCS 1 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1995), 313–15.

45. For example, Theodore, Ps., 35 (prologue), 37 (prologue), 50 (prologue), 55.7, 77.8, 77.31 (ST 93:194, 220, 334, 364–65, 521, 528); Os.-Mal., Hos 1.26, Joel 2.28–32, Zach 9.9, 10.36 (Theodori Mopsuesteni Commentarium in XII prophetas, ed. H. N. Sprenger [Weisbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1977], 6, 96–97, 368, 374); Jo., fr. 84, 112 (in Devreesse, Essai sur Théodore de Mopsueste, ST 141 [Vatican City: Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, 1948], 357–58, 378).

46. Instances of Chrysostom’s use of historia and lexis (or their variants) include exp. in Ps. (PG 55:80, 191, 242, 262, 276, 289, 335, 338, 427); hom. 1–67 in Gen. (PG 53:70, 87, 109, 119, 121, 135, 167, 218, 350; PG 54:389, 515, 521, 531); hom. 1–88 in Jo. (PG 59:55, 146, 159, 178, 324); hom. 1–32 in Rom. (PG 60:438, 517–18, 543–44, 635).

47. For an (again exhaustive) accounting of Theodoret’s borrowings from Diodore, Theodore, and Chrysostom, as well as Origen, Basil of Caesarea, and even Cyril, see Guinot, L’éxegèse de Théodoret, 644–790.

48. Theodoret, Cant., intro (PG 81:29a). For insightful analysis on this unexpected turn to the figurative, see Guinot, L’éxegèse de Théodoret: 634–43.

49. See above, note 13.

50. Again, for an authoritative treatment, see Guinot, L’éxegèse de Théodoret, 306–19.

51. The earliest christological formulations of Theodoret and Andreas are best evidenced by the treatises each of them produced as refutations of Cyril of Alexandria’s Twelve Chapters against Nestorius. These texts can be found in ACO 1.1.6:108–44 (Theodoret) and ACO 1.1.7:33–65 (Andreas, intermixed with Cyril’s reply). Yet it should be noted that in the judgment of John McGuckin, St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2004), 47–48, Andreas and Theodoret saw the need not just to defend Theodore of Mopsuestia’s positions but also to make some concessions.

52.Hatitutha and its grammatical variants repeatedly grace Syriac translations of Theodore’s work (e.g., Theodore, Homiliae Catecheticae, 1.1, 5.1 [Woodbrook Studies 5:117, 160]).

53. The largest collection of relevant letters and conciliar documents were preserved only in Latin translation, largely thanks to Rusticus, Deacon of Rome, who uncovered collections of Greek documents in the Monastery of the Akoimetoi during the three chapters dispute of the mid-sixth century. Most of these documents were edited in ACO 1.1.3, 1.1.4, 1.1.5 and 1.4.

54. John of Antioch et al., Acta et Sententia synodi Orientalium (CPG #6352, ACO 1.1.5:121–22). Similar sentiments were repeated at smaller councils held at Tarsus and Antioch in 431/2 (cf. ep. ad Theodosium et Valentinianum Imp. Aug. [una cum synodo Antiochena] [CPG #6332, ACO 1.4:80–81]), and at Antioch in 438 (cf. John of Antioch, ep. Cyr. [CPG #6312, ACO 1.5:310–14]).

55. Theodoret, ep. Alex. (CPG #6250, ACO 1.4:172), ep. 171 (CPG #6266, ACO 1.1.7:164). Similar deployments of terms can be found in John of Antioch, ep. Nest. (CPG #6316, ACO 1.1.1:93–96), and many other places.

56. Most important in this regard are the Syriac letters exchanged between Andreas of Samosata and Rabbula of Edessa in 432, which showcase the efforts of translation and recruitment conducted among the clergy of Central and Eastern Syria, interrupted abruptly when Rabbula chose to abandon the Antiochene side (cf. Rabbula of Edessa, ep. ad Andream Samosatenum, in S. Ephraemi Syri, Rabulae episcopi Edesseni Balaei aliorumque opera selecta, ed. J. Overbeck [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1865], 221–22).

57. For instance, see Theodoret, ep. Alex. (CPG #6251, ACO 1.4:174); Andreas of Samosata, ep. Alex. (CPG #6376, ACO 1.4:103). This transliteration would seem to signal the very frequency of the phrase in this context, much as was noted by Peter Brown regarding the Syriac transliteration of “danger and revolt” (kindynos kai stasis) in the context of urban mob violence (cf. Peter Brown, Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Toward a Christian Empire [Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992], 148).

58. This formed the main formula used by John of Antioch and the Eastern bishops at the Counter-Council of Ephesus in 431 (cf. Acta et Sententia synodi Orientalium, ACO, 1.1.5:121–22).

59. Theodoret, ep. S 16 to Irenaeus of Tyre (SC 98:56–62); John of Antioch, ep. Cyr. (CPG #6312, ACO 1.5:310).

60. John of Antioch led the rest of his colleagues at the Counter-Council of Ephesus in 431 to declare Cyril’s teachings in accord with Arius, Eunomius, and Apollinarius, all at once (cf. Acta et Sententia synodi Orientalium, ACO 1.1.5:121–22). This would seem to serve as a symbolic formula.

61. Theodoret, ep. S 75, to the clergy of Beroea (SC 98:162).

62. Theodoret, h.e. 4.25 (GCS 5:263–64).

63. Theodoret, h.e. 5.40 (GCS 5:347–48).

64. Theodoret, h.e. 2.18 (GCS 5:137–38); cf. Socrates, h.e. 2.40–41 (GCS 1:171–78).

65. Theodoret, h.e. 2.31–32, 4.14–18 (GCS 5:170–74, 233–42).

66. Theodoret, h.e. 2.32, 4.14–15 (GCS 5:173–74, 233–35).

67. Theodoret, h.e. 2.31 (GCS 5:170–71) named Eusebius of Samosata as Meletius’s sponsor. On the compromise, see Kelly Spoerl, “The Schism at Antioch since Cavallera,” in Arianism after Arius, ed. Michel Barnes and Daniel Williams (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1993), 101–20.

68. Socrates, h.e. 2.44 (GCS 1:181–82), and Sozomen, h.e. 4.28 (text: Sozomens Historia ecclesiastica=Kirchengeschichte, ed. G. C. Hansen, Fontes Christiani 73 [Turnhout: Brepols, 2004], 2:548–52). Both claimed Meletius preferred moral preaching to doctrinal argument.

69. Theodoret, h.e. 2.31 (GCS 5:170–71) related a tale in which Meletius met George of Laodicea (a Homoian) and Acacius of Caesarea (associated with Eunomius) in a speaking contest before the emperor Constantius. After each of the others spoke, Meletius arose and began to declare his support for Nicaea. When asked for a clarification, Meletius raised three fingers, and then one—the homoousion Trinity! Sozomen, h.e. 4.28 (Fontes Christiani 73.2:548–52), offered a different version of this event. He placed Meletius’s hand display not at some preaching contest, but in a regular sermon several months later. The use of hand signals arose, he claimed, because the Homoian archdeacon had clamped a hand over Meletius’s mouth.

70. According to Epiphanius, haer. 73.28.1 (in Epiphanius Opera, ed. G. Dindorf [Leipzig: Weigel, 1861], 3:319), Meletius’s main booster was Acacius of Caesarea, otherwise known as an ally of Eunomius. Socrates, h.e. 2.44 (GCS 1:181–82) and Philostorgius, h.e. 5.1 (Kirchengeschichte. Mit dem Leben des Lucian von Antiochien und den Fragmenten eines arianischen Historiographen, ed. J. Bidez [Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1913], 66–67) claimed that Meletius, in a prior clerical position, had even signed the Creed of Seleucia (359), which foreswore the term ousia.

71. For Paulinus’s Eustathian past, see Theodoret, h.e. 3.4, and R. P. C. Hanson, “The Fate of Eustathius of Antioch,” ZKG 91 (1984): 171–79. For his ordination (by Lucifer of Cagliari), see Theodoret, h.e. 3.4 (GCS 5:179–80) and Robert Devreesse, Le Patriarcat d’Antioche depuis la paix de l’église jusqu’à le conqête arabe (Paris: J. Gabalda, 1945), 21–24.

72. Theodoret, h.e. 5.4 (GCS 5:282–83).

73. In his classic history of Antioch, Glanville Downey used this schism to evoke the sense of unrest that plagued the city across the fourth century (cf. Glanville Downey, A History of Antioch in Syria [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961], 410–13).

74. Socrates, h.e. 5.5 (GCS 1:276), noted a different reason for Paulinus’s continued residence, his “eminent piety.”

75. Basil of Caesarea, ep. 67–69, 92, 156, 258 (LCL 215:32–46, 132–44, 384–90, LCL 270:34–46).

76. Sozomen, h.e. 4.13, 4.28 (Fontes Christiani 73:2:470–72); Theodoret, h.e. 2.31 (GCS 5:170–73).

77. Rufinus of Aquileia, h.e. 10.23 (Eusebius Werke vol. 2.2, Die Kirchengeschichte, ed. Eduard Schwartz and Theodor Mommsen [Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1908], 988–89).

78. Theodoret’s first mention of the see of Alexandria noted its supremacy stretching over “not only Egypt, but the adjacent regions of Libya and Thebaid as well” (cf. h.e. 1.2, GCS 5:6). No parallel description of Antioch was included.

79. Paulinus, however, had relied not on Syrians, but on western bishops (Eusebius of Vercellae in Italy and Lucifer of Cagliari in Sardinia, cf. Theodoret, h.e. 3.4, [GCS 5:179–80]).

80. Theodoret, h.e. 4.25 (GCS 5:263–64).

81. Philostorgius, h.e. 9.14, 9.19, 10.1 (ed. Bidez, Kirchengeschichte, 120, 125–26).

82. Athanasius and the western bishops favored Paulinus, despite Basil’s attempts to convince them otherwise (cf. Basil of Caesarea, ep. 66–70, 92 [LCL 215:26–52, 132–44]).

83. Theodoret, h.e. 4.25 (GCS 5:263–64).

84. Theodoret, h.e. 2.24 (GCS 5:154–55).

85. Theodoret, h.e. 2.24 (GCS 5:154–55).

86. Theodoret, h.e. 2.24 (GCS 5:154–55).

87. Basil of Caesarea claimed to have encountered Diodore in Armenia while visiting with Meletius in his place of exile (cf. Basil, ep. 129 [LCL 215:179]). How permanent this exile was is not clear. Theodoret only hints at this period during which Diodore was “dialoguing . . . abroad” (cf. Theodoret, h.e. 4.25 [GCS 5:263–64]).

88. Theodoret, h.e. 5.3 (GCS 5:279–82), offered a later example of this argumentative prowess when Emperor Theodosius I’s representatives arrived in Antioch to choose one Nicene bishop to support.

89. Theodoret, h. rel. 8.8 (SC 234:388–92).

90. Theodoret, h. rel. 2.17–20 (SC 234:234–40).

91. Theodoret, h.e. 4.27–28 (GCS 5:267–69).

92. Sozomen, h.e. 7.28 (Fontes Christiani 73.3:940–42).

93. Theodoret, h.e. 4.28 (GCS 5:268–69). Acacius was most immediately an associate of Asterius, a dear pupil of Julian Saba.

94. Theodoret, h. rel. 2.16 (SC 234:230–32).

95. Theodoret, h.e. 4.29 (GCS 5:269–70), suggested the association without explicitly stating it. Ephrem’s hymns showed a shift in the 360s to Nicene positions (cf. Sebastian P. Brock, The Luminous Eye: The Spiritual World Vision of Saint Ephrem [Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1992], esp. chap. 2). On Ephrem’s reputation in Greek literary culture as a monastic, see Sidney Griffith, “Images of Ephrem: The Syrian Holy Man and His Church,” Traditio 45 (1989): 9–13.

96. Socrates, h.e. 5.2 (GCS 1:275–76).

97. Theodoret, h.e. 5.6 (GCS 5:285–86).

98. Theodoret, h.e. 5.3 (GCS 5:279–80).

99. Socrates, h.e. 3.7 (GCS 1:197–99); Sozomen, h.e. 7.11 (Fontes Christiani 73.3:864); Theodoret, h.e. 5.3 (GCS 5:279–82).

100. Socrates, h.e. 3.7, 3.9 (GCS 1:197–99, 203–4); Sozomen, h.e. 7.11 (Fontes Christiani 73.3:864).

101. Theodoret, h.e. 5.3 (GCS 5:281–82).

102. Socrates, h.e. 5.5 (GCS 1:284–85).

103. Most noteworthy, other than the First Council of Constantinople (381), was the multi-regional council of Antioch, in 379, mentioned in the synodical of the follow-up council in Constantinople, preserved by Theodoret, h.e. 5.9 (GCS 5:289–95).

104. Theodoret, h.e. 5.4 (GCS 5:282–84).

105. Theodoret, h.e. 5.8 (GCS 5:287–88).

106. Sozomen, h.e. 7.8–9 (Fontes Christiani 73.3:854–60) noted the connections of Nectarius to Diodore and other Cilician clergy. Nectarius originally hailed from Tarsus, and Diodore had apparently been instrumental in getting him on the list of candidates. As bishop, we are told, he took advice from Cyriacus of Adana and employed a number of Cilicians in his clerical staff.

107. Sozomen, h.e. 7.8 (Fontes Christiani 73.3:854–56).

108. See Devreesse, Patriarcat d’Antioche, 36–37.

109. Theodoret, h.e. 5.9 (GCS 5:289–95), preserved the synodical without explaining the context of Paulinus’s complaint.

110. Theodoret, h.e. 5.23 (GCS 5:322).

111. Sozomen, h.e. 8.3 (Fontes Christiani 73.4:960–62).

112. Theodoret, h.e. 5.23 (GCS 5:321–24).

113. Theodoret, h.e. 5.35 (GCS 5:337–38).

114. Socrates, h.e. 6.3 (GCS 1:313–14); Sozomen, h.e. 8.2 (Fontes Chrisiani 73. 4:956); Theodoret, h.e. 5.27 (GCS 5:328–29).

115. Theodoret, h.e. 5.27 (GCS 5:328–29).

116. For example, consider the hermit Marcian, who hosted bishops (cf. Theodoret, h. rel. 3.11 [SC 234:266–68]), or Macedonius, who aided Flavian in winning forgiveness for Antioch after the Statues Riot in 387 (cf. Theodoret, h.e. 5.19 [GCS 5:313–14]; h. rel. 13.7 [SC 234:486–90]; on this episode, see Brown, Power and Persuasion, 105–9).

117. See below, “Representations of a Network,” for Theodoret’s own experience with this sort of recruitment. Theodoret, h. rel. adds a number of other examples, most famously Helladius of Tarsus (h. rel. 10.9 [SC 234:450–52]).

118. Theodoret identified the following bishops specifically: Maximus of Seleucia in Isauria, Theodore of Mopsuestia, John Chrysostom, Elpidius of Laodicea, Marcellus of Apamea, Agapetus of Apamea (all h.e. 5.27 [GCS 5:328–30]), Helladius of Tarsus (h. rel. 10.9 [SC 234:450–52]), Polychronius of Apamea (h.e. 5.40 [GCS 5:347–48]), Porphyrius of Antioch, Alexander of Antioch (both h.e. 5.35 [GCS 5:337–38]), and Theodotus of Antioch (h.e. 5.38 [GCS 5:342]).

119. By the 360s the parties had sorted themselves out according to conciliar creeds. The Homoousian party held to the Council of Nicaea. The Homoiousian party tied itself to the Second Council of Antioch in 341. The Homoian party attached itself to the fourth creed from the Council of Sirmium in 359. The Anomoian (or Eunomian) used the non-conciliar “heteroousion.” (The “Macedonian” party, which rejected the full divinity of the Holy Spirit, was apparently mostly identical with the Homoiousian party.) For the fullest discussion, see R. P. C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1988), esp. chap. 10–12. For a quicker summation, see Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, 240–79.

120. Theodoret, h.e. 2.31 (GCS 5:170–73) explained away Meletius’s apparent doctrinal reticence as a matter of clever timing. As to Diodore and Flavian, even Theodoret noted that they originally threatened to split from Leontius out of hostility to Aetius and Eunomius, not the Homoians (h.e. 2.24 [GCS 5:154–55]).

121. Theodoret, h.e. 5.3 (GCS 5:280–81) described the theological issues at stake during the gathering of factions in Antioch in 380: “At the time . . . Paulinus affirmed that he was of the party of Damasus. . . . The divine Meletius kept silent and put up with the discord. But Flavian . . . said to Paulinus ‘If, dear fellow, you accept the communion of Damasus [and Gregory], show us clearly your affinity with the dogmas; for while he confesses one ousia of the trinity, he openly preaches three hypostases. You deny the trinity of the hypostases.‘”

122. Scholars have recognized the anti-Arian context of Diodore’s teaching. Sullivan (Christology of Theodore, 162) described “Antiochene” doctrine as a response to the major premise of Arian logic: the sufferings of a homoousion Christ necessarily would indicate that God suffered as well. This he contrasted to the Alexandrians’ more narrowly focused attack. Greer (Theodore, 48–49) accepted Sullivan’s analysis, but he saw it as a manifestation of a deeper clash of soteriology—Antioch’s “human perfection” vs. Alexandria’s “divinization of man.” Norris (Manhood and Christ, 207–9), acknowledged the anti-Arian mission of Diodore, but for Theodore, he put stress on the anti-Apollinarian polemic.

123. Diodore of Tarsus, Fragmenta dogmatica 19, 42 (Rudolf Abramowski, “Der theologische Nachlass des Diodor,” ZNW 42 [1949]: 36–39, 56).

124. For a thorough discussion of the issues of word-flesh Christology, see Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, part 2, sec. 1. For Diodore’s use of logossarx, see Diodore, Fragmenta dogmatica IX (Abramowski, “Der theologische Nachlass des Diodore,” 62).

125. From the perspective afforded by materials in Syriac translation, Theodore seems to have used “natures” as the genera, from which he spoke of the specific “assuming Word” and the “assumed man” (Homiliae Catacheticae 7 [tr. Mingana, 82–84]). Regarding the meager Greek survivals, Kalantzis, Theodore Commentary on John, has called this conclusion into question. Nevertheless it seems unlikely that these formulas were invented out of whole cloth. Nestorius, for his part, later applied the term proso\pon to describe each of those specific aspects that were linked under the united manifestation, Christ. (See McGuckin, St. Cyril, chap. 2, esp. 140–45.)

126. For more on the significance of the search for the hypothesis of biblical texts, see Schäublin, Untersuchungen zu antiochenischen Exegese, 83–84 (specifically in reference to Theodore).

127. Theodoret, h.e. 2.24 (GCS 5:152–55).

128. This situation is discussed extensively by Richard Lim, Public Disputation, Power and Social Order in Late Antiquity (Los Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), esp. 112–38.

129. On the criticism directed at Aetius and Eunomius, see Lim, Public Disputation, 112–38.

130. Theodoret, h.e. 5.3 (GCS 5:280–81).

131. Sozomen, h.e. 6.25 (Fontes Christiani 73.3:756–58).

132. Sozomen, h.e. 6.25 (Fontes Christiani 73.3:756–58).

133. Apollinarius, ep. Dion. (Apollinaris von Laodicea und sein Schule, ed. Hans Lietzmann [Tübingen: Mohr, 1904], 256–57). See Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, 221–30, who has noted the use of physis to signify a single “self-determining being,” and Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, 289–95, who had declared Apollinarius’s concern that Christ not have opposed wills.

134. Theodoret, h.e. 5.3, 5.38 (GCS 5:280–82, 342).

135. Theodore, Homiliae Catecheticae 5 (tr. Mingana, 54–62). Theodoret was similarly troubled primarily by the “one nature” formulation (cf. h.e. 5.3, GCS 5:279–80).

136. Alexander of Hierapolis, ep. ad Theodoretum episc. Cyrrhi (CPG #6416, ACO 1.4:187).

137. This distinction (“eternal generation” favored by Cyril of Jerusalem, “begotten before all time” favored by Hilary of Poitiers) is explored extensively by Hanson, Search, esp. 398, 482.

138. Socrates, h.e. 6.3 (GCS 1:313–14). Theodoret himself only hinted at this element (cf h.e. 5.40 [GCS 5:347–48]). For a specific investigation of Diodore’s asketerion‘s educational practices, see René Leconte, “L’asceterium de Diodore,” in Melanges bibliques redigés en l’honneur de André Robert, ed. J. Trinquet (Paris: Bloud & Gay, 1957), 531–37.

139. Theodoret, h.e. 4.27 (GCS 5:267–68).

140. Theodoret, h.e. 4.2 (GCS 5:211–12).

141. This is suggested by John Chrysostom, Thdr. 2.1 (SC 117:86); Chrysostom also briefly recalled the scriptural study habits of Diodore’s following in Diod. 3–4 (PG 52:763–66).

142. See Theodore of Mopsuestia, De Incarnatione 7 (Theodori episcopi mopsuesteni in epistolas B. Pauli commentarii, ed. H. B. Swete [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1880], 1:297–98), and Dewart, Theology of Grace, 82–83.

143. This was recalled by hostile witnesses in the Acts of the Second Council of Ephesus (text Akten der ephesinischen Synod vom Jahre 449, Syrisch, ed. Johannes Flemming [Berlin: Weidmannsche, 1917], 126–28; The Second Synod of Ephesus, English Version, tr. S. G. F. Perry [Dartford: Orient Press, 1881], 315–18).

144. The trial of Irenaeus of Tyre is briefly recounted in Theodoret, ep. S 110 (SC 111:38–42). The first of several trials of Hiba of Edessa is recounted by hostile witnesses in the Acts of the Second Council of Ephesus (text: Flemming, 56–58; tr.: Perry, 128–30).

145. Compare Theodoret, ep. S 79 (SC 98:184–86).

146. Acts of the Second Council of Ephesus (text: Flemming, 60–90; tr.: Perry, 134–213).

147. The precise termini are best explicated by Glen F. Chesnut, “The Date of Composition of Theodoret’s Church History,” VC 35 (1981): 245–52.

148. The aforementioned narrative arc of Theodoret’s h.e., and much of the terminology, is echoed in summarized form in Theodoret, ep. S 112 (SC 111:46–56) to Domnus of Antioch.

149. Hansen, Theodorets Kirchengeschichte, lxxxiii–xcviii, concludes that Theodoret probably used Socrates or (more likely) Sozomen as a source.

150. See previous note.

151. Sozomen, h.e. 7.11 (Fontes Christiani 73.3:864).

152. Socrates, h.e. 6.18 (GCS 1:341–42); Sozomen, h.e. 8.20 (Fontes Christiani 73.4:1020–22).

153. Socrates, h.e. 6.3 (GCS 1:313–15).

154. Sozomen, h.e. 7.11 (Fontes Christiani 73.3:864).

155. Theodoret, h.e. 5.34 (GCS 5:334).

156. Palladius, v. Chrys. 4, 6 (Palladii Dialogus de vita S. Joannis Chrysostomi, ed. P. R. Coleman-Norton [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1928], 22–27, 33–38).

157. Palladius, v. Chrys. 8, 9 (Coleman-Norton, Palladii Dialogus, 42–59).

158. Palladius, v. Chrys. 16 (Coleman-Norton, Palladii Dialogus, 93–102).

159. Palladius, v. Chrys. 20 (Coleman-Norton, Palladii Dialogus, 125–32) listed 31 clerical and ascetic allies of Chrysostom who suffered or struggled on his behalf, including several from Syria.

160. For example, John Chrysostom, ep. 85–90 to bishops of Palestine (PG 52:653–55), 108–12 to bishops of Cilicia, including Theodore (PG 52:667–69), and 25, 114, 131, 138, 142, and 230 to Elpidius of Laodicea, probably John’s closest ally (PG 52: 626, 669–71, 690, 695, 696–97, 737). The letters of appeal, and their bearing on the course of events in Syrian clerical relations, are treated extensively by Roland Delmaire, “Les ‘lettres d’exil’ de Jean Chrysostome: Études de chronologie et de prosopographie,” Récherches augustiniennes 25 (1991): 76–86. The known identities of Chrysostom’s allies are noted in Demaire’s prosopography (103–75).

161. Theodoret, h.e. 5.35 (GCS 5:337–38).

162. Atticus of Constantinople, ep. Cyr., sec. 3–4 (CPG #5652, Codex Vaticanus gr. 1431, ed. Eduard Schwartz [Munich: Verlag der Bayerischen akademie der Wissenschaften, 1927], 23–24). Alexander (bishop 413–421) was the first to reinstate John’s name. Acacius played ambassador to Theodotus, when in 421 he accepted it as well (cf. Cyril of Alexandria, ep. ad Atticum Constantinopolitanum, sec 10 [CPG #5376, in Codex Vaticanus gr. 1431, 25–28]).

163. Theodoret, ep. S 110 (SC 111:40) mentioned Diogenes of Seleucobelus who was ordained by Acacius while married to a second wife in the 410s.

164. Rabbula of Edessa, ep. ad Cyrillum Alexandrinum (CPG #6494; Overbeck, 225). The charge was echoed in regard to Theodoret by the priest Pelagius in Acts of the Second Council of Ephesus (Flemming, 84–90; tr. Perry, 207–18, esp. 212–13).

165. John of Antioch, ep. Nest. (CPG #6316, ACO 1.1.1:93–94).

166. The development and healing of these fissures can be charted through a careful reading of the letters preserved in ACO 1.4—a sizable task best left for another study.