Tag Archives: Council of Ephesus

Controversies about Christ in the early church, part III: The werewolf Jesus and the third council


The Theotokos of Vladimir, one of the most ven...

The Theotokos of Vladimir, one of the most venerated of Orthodox Christian icons of the Virgin Mary

This post follows from “Who do you say that I am: Controversies about Christ in the early church and .

I acknowledge with gratitude the teaching of Susan Keefe of the Duke Divinity School. Much of what appears in this series comes from Dr. Keefe’s lectures on this topic.

At the Council of Ephesus (431), Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, was accused of dividing the two natures of Jesus in a way that made the Virgin Mary the mother of Christ, but not of God. His leading opponent, the patriarch Cyril of Alexandria, taught the full unity of Christ’s natures. Cyril’s views triumphed, with the support of the Roman pope, and the Nestorian party was condemned. It remains open to debate whether Nestorius did in fact hold the views attributed to him. In a sense, the view attributed to Nestorius made Jesus into a sort of werewolf, doing things as a man at one point, and as divinity at another time, turning on and off like a light-switch. We’ll see how that worked in a moment. Continue reading