Tuesday, July 12, 2005

For the Record

Here's an excerpt from Jonathan Prejean's evaluation of my understanding of historical theology in his latest piece on the Christological Controversies:
Every one of these errors has been unequivocally refuted by John Anthony McGuckin's St. Cyril: The Christological Controversy: Its History, Theology, and Texts (1994, republished 2004). In terms of the most recent and careful scholarship, the notion of Chalcedon as a compromise between Alexandria and Antioch is no longer tenable; St. Cyril's victory as the standard of orthodoxy was absolute. Far from being the "pop apologetic" standard of history, it is quite simply the correct understanding of history.
I won’t be responding to this any time soon (if at all) due to the amount of work that would have to go into refuting it. Except to say this: I am highly dubious (and that’s putting it very mildly) about any attempt to rely on a single work that purports to overturn all previous scholarship in a field, particularly when that work happens quite coincidentally to be favorably disposed toward the view one is espousing in any case, and especially when the scholars whom the work has purported to "overturn" have not conceded the point. And while I appreciate his needed correction of those who share his view but are not knowledgeable enough in this area to render a fair judgment regarding the orthodoxy of those who don't share their view, I must say that I think Mr. Prejean knows better than to conclude, based on the reading of a single work, that the dissenting view--nay, the majority view--has thereby been "unequivocally refuted" and is "no longer tenable." That is overstating the case just a tad.