John McGuckin dissents strongly from the notion that Cyril of Alexandria failed to do justice to the “full humanity” of Jesus ( Saint Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controversy , 225-6). On the contrary, for Cyril, Jesus was the first fully human human.

Denial that Cyril did justice to Jesus’ humanity “presumes . . . that ‘humanity’ is to be defined on the basis of our common experience of humankind - a static and reductionist model of analysis arrived at by levelling down. Cryil’s point was that Christ was fully human because he offered the possibility of human transcendence. Far from being less than human, because he was God, Christ demonstrated, for Cyril, the most quintessential human life of all, a life that was fully alive, vibrantly merciful, and sublimely compassionate, precisely because it had transcended all its tendencies to the self disintegration and moral compromise that so often disfigure humanity.”

Jesus is fully human, and summons his disciples to the same because for Cyril “it is the destiny and definition of the human to become divine.”

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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