The Black Swan

The late 1st Century Roman Poet Juvenal is generally credited with the earliest written reference to the Black Swan and like so much of his work it was satirical. He characterised something as being  ”a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan” by which he pretty much meant  what we might mean when we say…

Donatism

Essence The essence of Donatism is a gracelessness that expect the Christian, and especially the ministers of word and sacrament to perfect and devoid of any serious sin post baptism. History Donatism was the error first taught by Donatus, bishop of Casae Nigrae, that the effectiveness of the sacraments depends on the moral character of…

Docetism

Essence Jesus only seemed to have a body, but he was actually only a divine spirit appearing to be a body. History This teaching comes from dualistic outlook which understands matter as evil by nature as opposed to the spiritual which is seem to be good. As such it was impossible that God could not be…

Apollinarianism

Essence Though Jesus was a man, he did not have a human mind but that the mind of Christ was solely divine. Apollinarianism taught that the two natures of Christ could not coexist within one person. So Jesus was presented as a human body with a divine mind. History Apollinaris the Younger, bishop of Laodicea in…

Nestorianism

Essence Belief that Jesus Christ was a natural union between the Flesh and the Word, thus not identical, to the divine Son of God. History Advanced by Nestorius (386–450), Patriarch of Constantinople from 428–431. The doctrine was informed by Nestorius’ studies under Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch. Condemned at the First Council…

Adoptionism

Essence Belief that Jesus was born as a normal human being (ie not divine), was supremely virtuous and that he was adopted later as “Son of God” by the descent of the Spirit on him. History 1st propounded by Theodotus of Byzantium, a leather merchant, in Rome c.190, later revived by Paul of Samosata.  Theodotus…