Imagery and the mysterium Christi in Cyril of Alexandria
This thesis examines the images Cyril of Alexandria uses in expressing his picture of Christ. It is divided into three parts. Part One is comprised of three chapters. Chapter One summarises Cyril's life and ministry, placing these many images within their broadest context. The second chapter explores his understanding of Scripture and his use of passages from especially the Old Testament as illustrations of various components of the Incarnational event. Chapter Three examines the images which have their background in the philosophical discussions concerning place and union. The conclusions reached in Chapters Two and Three develop a foundation on which to build a reconstruction of Cyril's Christology, the ultimate objective of the thesis. Part Two frames the structure by means of an inquiry into Cyril's rejection of Nestorianism and Apollinarianism in Chapters Four and Five, respectively. Not only are the tenets of his rejection of these heresies examined, but also the manner in which he employs images in his discussions of them. Through seeing those Christological pictures which he rejects, we are then in a position to reconstruct his picture of Christ through a reading of his Christological imagery. The third and final part, comprised of three chapters, seeks to extract from Cyril's analogies their Christological content. Chapter Six addresses his use of images to illustrate that Jesus Christ was fully God, homoousios with the Father. The seventh chapter examines his use of analogies to illustrate that Christ was also, simultaneously and completely, a human being. Tying the previous chapters together, Chapter Eight paints Cyril's picture of the person of Christ, using his images as the means by which to do so. Through this study, the thesis demonstrates that Cyril's imagery is an important part of his Christology, and provides the diligent interpreter with much rich material. Its guidance into Cyril's Christological thinking is indeed helpful in understanding the Archbishop. When considered within their intended context, they reveal to the reader an orthodox and consistent picture of Jesus Christ.