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الموضوع: A Critical Commentary on the Book "On the Nature of Christ" by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

  1. #1
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    افتراضي A Critical Commentary on the Book "On the Nature of Christ" by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

    Great is the mystery of piety:
    God was manifested in the flesh

    (1.Tim.3:16)

    A Critical Commentary on the book ”On the Nature of Christ”
    by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III
    of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria
    By Seminarian Nicholas Vester,
    St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Autumn 2005.


    Introduction

    In 1984 Pope Shenouda III gave a series of lectures at the Seminary of St. Mark, about the Christology of the Coptic Church. The Coptic Church later decided to publish the lectures for educational purposes, and subsequently they were translated into English to be presented as a paper at a meeting of the Pro-Oriente Group* in October 1991. This small book bears the signature of Pope Shenouda III and can be taken as the official Coptic Christological Position. Most of the below critical commentary has been compiled from the exegetical and dogmatical writings of the Fathers of the Church. The reason for this is that Holy Scripture must be understood within the Tradition of the Church, which is the experience of the Church, and this experience is handed down to us through the writings of the Fathers. Pope Shenouda quotes many scriptoral passages, but very rarely does he quote any of these exegetical and dogmatical Patristic writings. Recognizing with great respect and love the ancient Tradition of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and especially Pope Shenouda’s steadfast defence of Orthodox Christianity through many struggles his homeland, Egypt, I shall nevertheless venture to give a critical commentary on the most important christological statements made by Pope Shenouda III in his book, as seen from a Chalcedonian, or Byzantine Christological position. In his book Pope Shenouda often seems to identify the term ”nature” with ”person”, which in my understanding results in a misinterpretation of the Byzantine Christology. Hopefully the following will explain and clarify the Byzantine Christological position on the person and natures of Christ the Incarnate Logos. Due to limited space, I have been forced to paraphrase most of Pope Shenouda’s statements, but have done my utmost to retain the essence of his statements without alteration. The statements of Pope Shenouda is in bold, and the commentary in normal typeface and the commentary follows the chapter headings in Pope Shenouda’s book.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    *A Standing Commission of Oriental Orthodox Churches following the Oriental Orthodox Tradition

    >>> To be continued

    †††التوقيع†††

    إِنْ لَمْ نُدْرِكْ فِيْ أَيَّةِ حَالَـةٍ خَلَقَنَا الله
    لَنْ نُدْرِكَ أَبَداً مَا فَعَلَتْ بِنَا الخَطِيْئَةُ

    القديس غريغوريوس السينائي

    john@orthodoxonline.org

  2. #2
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    افتراضي رد: A Critical Commentary on the Book "On the Nature of Christ" by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

    The Orthodox Concept regarding the nature of Christ:

    The divine and human nature was united in a hypostatic union, without mingling, confusion or alteration. God the Logos took flesh from the Holy Virgin and, “The Holy Spirit purified and sanctified the Virgin’s womb so that the Child to whom she gave birth would inherit nothing of the original sin
    *

    The first statement is fully Orthodox and very sound indeed. But as for the second statement in the above - the Orthodox Church never taught a doctrine of ”original sin”, but always maintained that mankind has a liability to sin, which is know as the ancestral sin. The doctrine of ”original sin” was created in the Western Church, first suggested by St. Augustine, but later systematized and dogmatized by Anselm in the Latin Church. The idea of original sin leads to the depressing concept of the total depravity of mankind. The Orthodox teaching is that even though mankind exists in a fallen state, the image of God was not destroyed but only distorted. Man did not inherit any ”original guilt” from Adam. St. Cyril of Alexandria says, “How could all we who were not yet born, all be condemned with him...?”** Furthermore such a geneologically inherited original guilt does not correspond with the Angel’s salutation to the Virgin Mary, ”Rejoice thou who hast been shown grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women”.*** St. Leo says, ”What was assumed from the Lord’s mother was nature, not fault”.**** There was no ”immaculate conception”, like taught in the Western Church, but the Virgin Mary was purified when she accepted to bear God in the flesh, and became the Theotokos
    __________________________________________________ ___
    * The Nature of Christ p. 7
    ** The Ancestral Sin, p. 166.
    *** Luk 1:28. ONT.
    ****Tome of St. Leo p. 256.

    >>> To be continued

    †††التوقيع†††

    إِنْ لَمْ نُدْرِكْ فِيْ أَيَّةِ حَالَـةٍ خَلَقَنَا الله
    لَنْ نُدْرِكَ أَبَداً مَا فَعَلَتْ بِنَا الخَطِيْئَةُ

    القديس غريغوريوس السينائي

    john@orthodoxonline.org

  3. #3
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    افتراضي رد: A Critical Commentary on the Book "On the Nature of Christ" by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

    سلام و نعمة
    ...................
    My dear brother :
    1-The expression "original sin" equals that one we call"ancestral sin" which is the sin our father "Adam" committed
    when he chose not to follow the will of God" And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
    But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die"**
    The sin it self is not a heritable character :But the Corrupt nature is the one.so we inherited that nature which does not follow the will of God,because it came out of the loins of Adam who beard that nature by sin and we inherited it as will as the judgment of death
    2-The virgin Mary
    اقتباس المشاركة الأصلية كتبت بواسطة John of the Ladder مشاهدة المشاركة
    was purified when she accepted to bear God in the flesh, and became the Theotokos
    It is true 100%
    .................................................. .
    ** Genesis 2:16,17

  4. #4
    أخ/ت فعّال/ة الصورة الرمزية John of the Ladder
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    افتراضي رد: A Critical Commentary on the Book "On the Nature of Christ" by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

    اقتباس المشاركة الأصلية كتبت بواسطة مايكل فيت مشاهدة المشاركة
    ...................
    The sin it self is not a heritable character :But the Corrupt nature is the one.so we inherited that nature which does not follow the will of God,because it came out of the loins of Adam who beard that nature by sin and we inherited it as will as the judgment of death
    .................................................. .
    So, you are saying that we inherited the sin itself, because we inherited the judgment of death, but, you have no patrological reference, so your comment is not worthy to be considered, with all of my respect. Please see (again) the quotation of St. Cyril in the above response. This is the problem with Pope Shenouda III and the Coptic Church, there are no supporting writings from the fathers on what they believe (you will see this during the course of this subject). I am not offending anyone here, I am just telling this simple truth. Please refer to Rome 5: 12 and this subject in Arabic: The Ancestral Sin. Again:

    Holy Scripture must be understood within the Tradition of the Church, which is the experience of the Church, and this experience is handed down to us through the writings of the Fathers
    Just keep this in mind to avoid being a Sola Scriptura follower. Also, keep in mind that the Orthodox Church distinguishes between the "Original Sin" and the "Ancestral Sin", and It doesn't equate them, simply because they have different definitions, so, please, don't make this confusion again


    †††التوقيع†††

    إِنْ لَمْ نُدْرِكْ فِيْ أَيَّةِ حَالَـةٍ خَلَقَنَا الله
    لَنْ نُدْرِكَ أَبَداً مَا فَعَلَتْ بِنَا الخَطِيْئَةُ

    القديس غريغوريوس السينائي

    john@orthodoxonline.org

  5. #5
    أخ/ت فعّال/ة الصورة الرمزية John of the Ladder
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    افتراضي رد: A Critical Commentary on the Book "On the Nature of Christ" by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

    This unity of natures lead to the formation of “The One Nature of God” 1 , says Pope Shenouda quoting St. Cyril of Alexandria 2. The term “Monophysite” has been misinterpreted through the centuries, and has led to a false understanding among the Churches accepting the council of Chalcedon, that the Oriental Churches holding the Monophysite Christology, only believes in one nature of Christ and denies the other. Pope Shenouda says, “We wonder which of the two natures the Church of Alexandria denies?”3 It cannot be the divine nature, since the Alexandrian Church fought against Arianism. According to the Oriental Christology, “The expression One Nature does not in-dicate the Divine Nature alone nor the human nature alone, but it indicates the unity of both natures into One Nature which is the The Nature of the Incarnate Logos”.4 It can be likened to the human nature, which is composed of two united natures - soul and body. The divine nature is hypostatically united with the human nature. The expression “two natures” suggests separation or division, and this was why the Coptic Church rejected Chalcedon, where the,
    “tone of separation”,5 was obvious


    Let us listen to St. John of Damascus, ”How is it possible for the same nature to be at once created and uncreated, mortal and immortal, circumscribed and uncircumscribed? ...How can they ever say that Christ has two natures, while they are asserting that after the union He has one compound nature? For it is obvious to anyone that, before the union, Christ had one nature”.6 This is of course the Divine nature, since the flesh which the Lord took from the Mother of God was not pre-existent or consubstantial with the Divine Logos. What He took from the Virgin was created human nature. And when we speak of the human nature, ”...all share the nature of the soul and possess the substance of the body”.7 They form one species made up of human hypostases, individual beings with a soul and a body. However Jesus Christ is not an individual out of many, and there is no ”Christ-species” with whom He shares His hypostasis, because we are speaking about the Hypostasis of the second Person of the Holy Trinity. His Hypostasis is therefore different from the individual human hypostasis. His is one composite person (hypostasis) because, ”His natures are united in His person...and in this He differs both from the Father and the Spirit and from His Mother and us”.8 Again – Christ is not an individual, and therefore the union of the soul and body in one human nature cannot be compared to the union of the Divine nature and human nature in one Divine hypostasis!
    __________________________________________________ __
    1 The Nature of Christ p. 8.
    2
    No reference.
    3 The Nature of Christ. P. 9.
    4 Ibid. P. 10.
    5 Ibid.
    6 Writings p.272.
    7 Ibid.
    8 Ibid. P. 275


    >>> To be continued

    †††التوقيع†††

    إِنْ لَمْ نُدْرِكْ فِيْ أَيَّةِ حَالَـةٍ خَلَقَنَا الله
    لَنْ نُدْرِكَ أَبَداً مَا فَعَلَتْ بِنَا الخَطِيْئَةُ

    القديس غريغوريوس السينائي

    john@orthodoxonline.org

  6. #6
    أخ/ت نشيط/ة الصورة الرمزية سان مينا
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    افتراضي رد: A Critical Commentary on the Book "On the Nature of Christ" by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

    Dear Brother
    ?is this a dialog or one sided mono-loge

    †††التوقيع†††


    وارسل إلينا مرقساً يبني كنيستنا النقية
    وهلم واقبل سيدي واسكن بيوت المرقسية

    الحق يجعل نفسه واضحاً لأولئك الذين يحبونه
    ومحبو الإيمان غير الملوم يطلبون الرب "بقلب بسيط

  7. #7
    أخ/ت فعّال/ة الصورة الرمزية John of the Ladder
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    افتراضي رد: A Critical Commentary on the Book "On the Nature of Christ" by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

    اقتباس المشاركة الأصلية كتبت بواسطة سان مينا مشاهدة المشاركة
    Dear Brother
    ?is this a dialog or one sided mono-loge
    Actually, I prefer not to interrupt the subject by old comments we use to see from your side, but if there is something new to say with reference to the fathers, then, there is no problem.

    Just to remind you, you are not an active member in the forum, and just jump where you see someone talks about the Coptic church, and put yourself in the place of the defender. So, your existence here, is not for the understanding of the Orthodox Teaching, which is the main purpose of this site and forum, but to defend your church. So, I will ask you to get back to yourself, and think of this

    †††التوقيع†††

    إِنْ لَمْ نُدْرِكْ فِيْ أَيَّةِ حَالَـةٍ خَلَقَنَا الله
    لَنْ نُدْرِكَ أَبَداً مَا فَعَلَتْ بِنَا الخَطِيْئَةُ

    القديس غريغوريوس السينائي

    john@orthodoxonline.org

  8. #8
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    افتراضي رد: A Critical Commentary on the Book "On the Nature of Christ" by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

    سلام و نعمة
    ...................
    اقتباس المشاركة الأصلية كتبت بواسطة John of the Ladder مشاهدة المشاركة
    So, you are saying that we inherited the sin itself, because we inherited the judgment of death, but, you have no patrological reference, so your comment is not worthy to be considered

    Saint Athanasios said
    "1 for this, then there was more death and shed the corruption on human beings, and therefore the human race was walking towards the destruction, this on the one hand, on the other hand was a wise man and the creature bearing the image of God to fade, and the creature of God, taking into decay.
    2 because the death is also, as I said earlier, became a sovereign legitimacy of us (because of the infringement), since that time onwards, it was impossible to escape the judgment of law, because God is the one who put it because of the infringement, if this happened the result would be terrifying really and inappropriate in the same time.
    3 because of that (first), it is inappropriate of course, that after God spoke something once it is clear that later a liar, that God is after that that man shall surely die, that exceed the commandment not die, but invalidated the word of God. And God will be not telling the truth that man does not die after that God said he would die."*
    We were all sinners so the judgment is a normal consequence of sin due to the corrupt nature

    quote=John of the Ladder;66708]keep in mind that the Orthodox Church distinguishes between the "Original Sin" and the "Ancestral Sin", and It doesn't equate them, simply because they have different definitions, so, please, don't make this confusion again[/quote]

    I want to tell you that when I heard about the"Original Sin" it was in Sunday school the explanation of the word equated the explanation"Ancestral Sin"but frankly speaking the the expression"Ancestral Sin"is the one that i heard from all the Priests &read in books,so you may Kindly explain the difference
    .................................................. .................................................. ........................................
    *personal translation from the book incarnation of the logos
    the Arabic scripture is
    1ـ لأجل هذا إذن ساد الموت أكثر وعم الفساد على البشر، وبالتالى كان الجنس البشرى[1] سائرًا نحو الهلاك، هذا من ناحية، ومن ناحية أخرى كان الإنسان العاقل والمخلوق على صورة الله آخذًا في التلاشى، وكانت خليقة الله آخذةً في الانحلال.

    2ـ لأن الموت أيضًا، وكما قلت سابقًا[2]، صارت له سيادة شرعية علينا (بسبب التعدى)، منذ ذلك الوقت فصاعدًا، وكان من المستحيل التهرب من حكم الناموس، لأن الله هو الذى وضعه بسبب التعدى، فلو حدث هذا لأصبحت النتيجة مرعبة حقًا وغير لائقة في نفس الوقت.

    3ـ لأنه (أولاً)، من غير اللائق طبعًا أن الله بعدما تكلم بشئ مرة يتضح أنه فيما بعد كاذب، أى أن الله بعد أن أمر أن الإنسان يموت موتًا، أن يتعدى الوصية ولا يموت، بل تبطل كلمة الله. وسيكون الله غير صادق إن كان الإنسان لا يموت بعد أن قال الله إنه سيموت.









  9. #9
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    افتراضي رد: A Critical Commentary on the Book "On the Nature of Christ" by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

    Dear Mike,

    I have to ask you about the page numbers for the quotations to study them in their context.

    Regarding the difference between the "Original Sin" and the "Ancestral Sin", I prefer to return to the subject I mentioned above: The Ancestral Sin, but I may make the following comment: Original sin used to mean that we inherit the sin, and hence, the death as a punishment. This leads to the unavoidable result that God is the creator of death. Whereas the fathers say that death is the separation from the True Life, God, and this separation is because of the sin. So, the sin committed by Adam at the Paradise with free will, brought the corruption and death to the human nature. So, when Christ came, he came to break the corruption and death, which is done through His human nature, and when we baptized and contribute the Eucharist, we unite with His human nature, which is in hapostatic union with God the Word from the first moment. Otherwise, you will reach to the result that God was angry (change), and create death, and someone has to die in place of all others, and must be unlimited to be able to this sacrifice to be sufficient for all human race from Adam to the end of the world, ..., etc.
    God is the All-Good, Live-Giving, and He doesn't anger or change. Try to tell me what is the fate of the infants before baptism? We will get to the unavoidable result also, that they will be burn in Hell. We must understand the Ancestral Sin in this context, to correctly understand the purpose of the Incarnation

    †††التوقيع†††

    إِنْ لَمْ نُدْرِكْ فِيْ أَيَّةِ حَالَـةٍ خَلَقَنَا الله
    لَنْ نُدْرِكَ أَبَداً مَا فَعَلَتْ بِنَا الخَطِيْئَةُ

    القديس غريغوريوس السينائي

    john@orthodoxonline.org

  10. #10
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    افتراضي رد: A Critical Commentary on the Book "On the Nature of Christ" by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

    سلام ونعمة
    .................
    My dear brother
    1-thank You for your comment,of course God did not create death that's refused as well as creating a sinner by nature to live with him.In the liturgy of saint GREGORY we say about the LOGOS Who, for the sake of goodness only, formed man out of what existed not, and put him in the paradise of joy.And when he fell, through the guile of the enemy and disobedience of Thine commandment,and Thou desiredst to renew him, and to restore him to his first estate.THAT'S our faith in the same liturgy we say
    One plant did Thou forbid me to eat of.That concerning which Thou said to me, “Do not eat of it
    only.”
    I did eat, out of my will.I put away from me Thy law out of my counsel.I became slothful about Thy commandments.I plucked for myself the sentence of death
    2-I read the
    The Ancestral Sin as you told me from the firs time you advised me &it is great
    3-
    the page is 15 ,chapter 6 that explain why God incarnated



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