One City or Two
During the first millennium there had been a slow uncoupling of Eastern and Western views about the world (cosmology) and man’s place within it (anthropology).
Strickland continues to review the work from his previous book, and I believe it is worthwhile to offer a summary of this as foundation to the next chapters.
Augustine, virtually unknown in the East, had become the unrivalled theological authority in the West. Strickland describes Augustine’s cosmology and anthropology as “decidedly pessimistic” when compared to that of the Eastern fathers such as Basil the Great, Maximos the Confessor, and Gregory of Nyssa.
On the implications of original sin in particular, East and West had begun to show significant differences in ethos within a very short period of time.
The West, after Charlemagne, would come to distance themselves from the Greeks. For example, the filioque was added to the Nicene Creed. Political schisms even in the ninth century did not help the situation – with the pope claiming unilateral authority to intervene in the affairs of another patriarchate. In this time and place, many in the West would come to see the pope as the instrument to bring about a reformation of Christendom.
Strickland would describe the inhabitant of Christendom – from the earliest days of Pentecost – as “one who lived in an incongruous union of earth and heaven” (and this is what Strickland suggests the West would come to lose). At the same time, he writes:
It might have seemed to those who read the Scriptures that the world has little in common with the ways of heaven.
But this does not respect the meaning of the Incarnation – the “hypostatic union,” joining two natures in the person of Christ. Strickland describes this as the “most mysterious of the Christian doctrines and in a certain sense the key to th
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