It has rarely been recognized that the Christian writers of the first millennium pursued an ambitious and exciting philosophical project alongside their engagement in the doctrinal controversies of their age. The Rise of Christian Theology and the End of Ancient Metaphysics offers, for the first time, a full analysis of this Patristic philosophy. It shows how it took its distinctive shape in the late fourth century and gives an account of its subsequent development until the time of John of Damascus.
The book falls into three main parts. The first starts with an analysis of the philosophical project underlying the teaching of the Cappadocian fathers, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus. This philosophy, arguably the first distinctively Christian theory of being, soon became near-universally shared in Eastern Christianity. Just a few decades after the Cappadocians, all sides in the early Christological controversy took its fundamental tenets for granted. Its application to the Christological problem thus appeared inevitable. Yet it created substantial conceptual problems.
Parts two and three describe in detail how these problems led to a series of increasingly radical modifications of the Cappadocian philosophy. In part two, Zachhuber explores the miaphysite opponents of the Council of Chalcedon, while in part three he discusses the defenders of the Council from the early sixth to the eighth century. Through this overview, the book reveals this period as one of remarkable philosophical creativity, fecundity, and innovation.
This excellent book provides a thorough study-to my knowledge, the first of its kind-of the philosophical dimension of Christian doctrine in late antiquity...I think, the most important book on early Christian doctrine in the past decade or more. It is clearly written, though conceptually demanding, and thereby provides a needed model for how to study dogmatic theology's complex philosophical underpinnings. * Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, The Thomist * Zachhuber has produced an important work for the study of early Greek Christian thought, certain to appear in many footnotes and bibliographies in the years to come and rightly so. The work is highly recommended for its perceptive interpretive thesis and expansive scope and deserves a close reading by philosophers, church historians, and Christian historical and systematic theologians. * MATTHEW B. HALE, RESTORATION QUARTERLY * Zachhuber offers a fascinating journey through the fluctuating fortunes of ousia and hypostasis. Some will undoubtedly find it difficult to apply the phrase 'Christian philosophy', mostly I suspect due to outmoded prejudices - but if recent studies on the relation of theology and philosophy in late antiquity are anything to go by, it will become necessary to engage with it. This engagement with philosophical ideas cuts across the Christian communities of the time,
and unless we are prepared to examine what was happening in these variant traditions, we shall fail to grasp the historical significance of this intellectually exciting epoch. * Ken Parry, Macquarie University, Sydney, International Journal of Systematic Theology * This intellectual tour de force is necessary reading for patristic scholars and will be of great interest to historians of late antique and medieval thought generally * ANDREW RADDE-GALLWITZ, The Thomist * It is essential reading for anyone interested in the development of Christological doc-trine in the years between Chalcedon and John of Damascus * Richard Cross, ThLZ * A deeply philosophical book will be of enduring significance for historians of philosophy and theologians alike as well as scholars interested in the historical period from the perspectives of classical studies and ancient history * ANNA MARMODORO, The Classical Review * The significance of Zachhuber's book cannot be overstated. * J Warren Smith, Modern Theology * This astonishing book reconstructs in unprecedented detail the distinctive ontological systems of a host of Greek and Syriac patristic thinkers from Basil of Caesarea down to John of Damascus. * JOSEPH S. O'LEARY, The Journal of Theological Studies * Zachhuber's brief history of Christian philosophy in the Greek-speaking world from the fourth to the eighth century convincingly shows that the later so-called mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation can be explained by means of natural reason, that is, against the background of ancient, especially Aristotelian and Stoic philosophy. This leads to the discovery or rediscovery of almost forgotten authors within the tradition of "Christian philosophy." The
introduction afforded in this book, from Cappadocian philosophy to the philosophy of the individual, is of utmost relevance to the history of philosophy and to philosophy itself. * Theo Kobusch, Journal of Ancient Christianity [translated] * Z. has a penetrating eye for the subtleties of theological metaphysics, yet he is also admirably charitable to the writers he treats and capable of judiciously identifying both their strengths and their weaknesses ... This bookwill be of interest to students of patristic theology as well as to systematic theologians, given the fascination with Chalcedon in contemporary Christology. * Nathan Porter, Vigiliae Christianae * The significance of Zachhuber's book cannot be overstated ... this provocative book brings to the surface old battles [...] while at the same time inaugurating a new phase in Gregorian scholarship. * J. Warren Smith, Duke University, Modern Theology * Z.'s deeply philosophical book will be of enduring significance for historians of philosophy and theologians alike as well as scholars interested in the historical period from the perspectives of classical studies and ancient history. * Anna Marmodoro, The Classical Review * Zachhuber's work is a significant contribution to our understanding of the development of patristic thought. It lays a foundation for the study of its influence in Western and Eastern Christendom and beyond. * James Rutherford, Moore Theological College, Newtown, Australia, Themelios *