Bishop Rufus and The Alexandrian Fathers' biblical exegesis after Chalcedon

"The Alexandrian Fathers' biblical exegesis after Chalcedon."  (Arabic):  

Fr Basilious Sobhy asserts that the exegetical tradition in Alexandria changed, and that Bishop Rufus of Shoteb was the last to carry the same tradition as earlier teachers (example he used was Origen).

Here's a book covering the exegesis on Luke and Matthew by Bishop Rufus.

Also check out The 'Patristic Cairo' website:


  • "The fifth exegesis that the holy father Apa Rufus delivered on the Gospel according to Luke on the following text: «In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth to a virgin betrothed to a husband whose name was Joseph from the house of David and the name of the virgin was Mary» (Luke 1:26-27). In God’s peace, Amen.

    Wonderful is the work of God, O my beloved. Amazing is the work of the greatness of love, this with which God has loved us so much from the first. For He created us from the beginning. He bestowed on us a kingdom of ease and goodness according to the measure which He knew that human nature would use and He made them worthy of the Paradise of delight. The deceiver turned us away from that place. We became guilty of death. As for God, the good one, He took pity on us. He pursued us to do good to us. He did not act in accordance with the multitude of our sins but so that, in accordance with the measure of his love and the good things He does for us, He might make the treacherous one bum all the more from jealousy. For it was in order that, God might hate him (i.e., man) through his (i.e., the enemy’s) plotting, that the enemy had plotted against man. But the wise one Himself, that is, God, loved him the more in order that the enemy might see and be angry and gnash his teeth and fall apart. He deceived us from the beginning in the Paradise, as well you know. He promised us what was not ours and he robbed us of that which was ours. For the deceiver said, «Your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods» (Gen 3:5). And when we listened to him, not only did we not achieve divinity - that indeed did not yet belong to our nature - but even the humanity which was ours we lost. For we ceased being human from that time. We became beasts. Since man, when he was held in honor, did not know Him, he was cast down with the unknowing beasts and he resembled them, if, indeed, we did not become inferior to the beasts. «For an ox knows its master and an ass the manger of its lord» (Isa 1:3).

    The man, on the contrary, did not know the one who created him. But he forgot the one who did good to him. He worshipped things made by hand, pieces of wood and stones, shapes of beasts and birds and reptiles. «These had eyes, they had ears and they did not hear. Their mouths did not speak, their noses did not smell, those who made them and everyone who trusts in them shall be like them» (Ps 114:2- 5). According to.the saying of the singer of psalms David, instead of dealing with us, however, according to our works, he did not do this (cf. Ps 102:10). Our adversary made him be distant from us. If he regards our works, no flesh will be saved before him (cf. Ps 129:3?). It is that we might be saved gratuitously through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ that he sets forth for us a living example. He saw that the enemy was dissembling in the guise of a friend of mankind approaching us as the counsellor. But God revealed his love toward us as a good God to the envy and consternation of the enemy. As I said before, the devil envied us, carrying us into slavery; God summoned us to sonship. The enemy let us be cast out of Paradise, but the Lord opened the gate of heaven to us. We were wronged in the Paradise of delight, but the one who acted wickedly toward us in the place of our rest was thrown out of the heavens down upon the earth, and you, the man of earth, were taken up to heaven. The enemy advised the man wickedly on how to obey, wishing to cause him to be separated from God. When he had turned aside from the commandment, he caused him to stumble into disobedience. God saw that it was because he had been misled that the man had been deceived. He exercised his mercy toward him. He was not unconcerned about the one who had turned aside and gone into error. Rather, he pursued him with kindness in order that he might punish the deceiver and bind the one who had misled and loose the one who had been misled. He sent his son in servile form (cf. Phil 2:7).

    He took a human body, precious and wonderful, having fashioned it for himself with your nature, O man. He appeared as man. He did not discard his prior divinity, but took a body and became man, that he might convert the one who had gone astray, help the one who had fallen, and bind the strong one, and raise the one who was dead. He summoned him (i.e., man) first through his prophets and he did not listen. He revealed his wonders to him through his holy ones and he did not believe. Therefore he took the creation which had been corrupted. He set it in order again and all that was lacking to it, he gave to it. It is this (creation) that he took and put on. «Wisdom has built herself a house» according to the saying of Solomon (Prov 9:1) - the one who forms every soul from the Theotokos Mary - in order that just as the former one was changed through a virgin, that is, Eve, so also the virgin bore away the sin. It was against the command of Paradise that Eve set her heart. It was in the temple that Mary, for her part, conceived life. Eve, when she was spoken to by the serpent, answered without duplicity. Mary, on the other hand,' was firm when she answered him. She showed him that she was worthy of the trust and she is in awe of what would be given her. With Eve, it was a serpent that spoke to her and he deceived her. Mary, on the other hand, was mindful of her who had been deceived and she confirmed her words. Moreover she answered with discernment and attention."

    Bishop Rufus of Shotep, Homilies on Luke, Fifth Exegesis, L.23-28 [D1 Paris 131.1.f.16 - D3v Paris 131.1.f.18v], in Sheridan, Mark J. "RUFUS OF SHOTEP HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS OF MATTHEW AND LUKE" (ROME: C.I.M. Universita degli Studi di Roma, 1998)(UNIONE ACCADEMICA NAZIONALE, Corpus dei Manoscritti Copti Letterari)(ISBN 88-85354-05-X) 227-229
  • "I hear: «Then Jesus was taken to the desert by the spirit to be tempted by the devil» (Matt 4:1). It is this good savior who put on the whole man for our salvation. He covered himself with the mortal nature for the sake of the restoration of our life, raising us up on the degrees of knowledge, putting himself down for the sake of building up our salvation, being an infant in the womb for the sake of those who will be in the womb of doctrine, those who will be guided by the comforting Holy Spirit and are overshadowed by the most high hand (cf. Luke 1:35), which guides all things until they complete the period of the womb and come forth upon this same earth, being wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger for the sake of those who are wrapped, like these mindless the cares of life, lying in the animal’s manger (cf. Luke 2:7) that he might draw them forth from their animal nature and change them into rational beings, advancing in age and wisdom (cf. Luke 2:52) so that they might advance in the age of virtue, coming to the Jordan to be baptized, although he is without uncleanness, although he is without stain himself, that he might purify those who have made unclean the temple of the Holy Spirit, since they have defiled the likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:27). Again now he is being taken to the mountain to be tempted, although he does not himself tempt anyone to evil, that he might give strength, power, might, and vindication, seasoning with salt (cf. Matt 5:13) all who are engaging in combat and who are being tempted by their antagonist."

    Bishop Rufus of Shotep, Homilies on Matthew, Eight Exegesis, On Verse "Then he was taken to,the desert by the spirit to be tempted." (Matt4:1), M.28 [B4v Naples I.B.12.fasc.437 (Zoega 260,f.1v)] in Sheridan, Mark J. "RUFUS OF SHOTEP HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS OF MATTHEW AND LUKE" (ROME: C.I.M. Universita degli Studi di Roma, 1998)(UNIONE ACCADEMICA NAZIONALE, Corpus dei Manoscritti Copti Letterari)(ISBN 88-85354-05-X) 142

  • Are there ANY Church Fathers, Chalcedonian or otherwise, that state that Jesus has a created human spirit that is distinct from his human rational soul and body?

    There is a belief among some that we can only talk about a body and human rational soul of Jesus. They say that any reference to the human spirit of Jesus in the Bible is actually speaking of his rational soul. Any talk of a human spirit in Jesus is avoided because it would amount to Him having two spirits. Jesus spirit is only the Holy Spirit.

    I feel this is similar to Eutychianism or Apolinarianism.

    The problem is, I can not argue against this from the Church Fathers because all of them speak of a rational soul. None of them speak of a created human spirit in Jesus that is distinct from his soul.

  • This issue is directly connected with whether you believe the human person to be composed of body and soul/spirit, or body, soul and spirit. As far as I understand from the fathers, the human is believed to be composed of body and spirit (it seems more a contemporary view that we are composed of body, spirit and soul). It is hard to identify what belongs to the soul and what belongs to the spirit, it seems more reasonable to assume that the human has a physical and a spiritual component.

    Whatever the human has, the Lord Jesus took on fully. He could not save the entire human being unless He Himself became everything we are. Therefore anything that is "replaced' in Christ makes salvation null. I know of many Protestants today who teach this erroneous theology and espouse this heresy of Apollinarius without realizing it.

    God Bless
  • If a clergyman contends that we are a body, soul, and spirit, then comparing to Jesus, he MUST say that Jesus also has a body, soul and spirit that is created (and united to the Divinity of the Hypostasis of the Logos).


    If a clergy man speaks only of the body and rational soul of humans, he CAN say that Jesus has a body and a rational soul WITHOUT reference to a human spirit and rightly contend that the Holy Spirit is the spirit of Jesus.  Would this be Orthodox Christology?


    But one can NOT properly say that humans have a body, rationl soul and spirit, while Jesus has a body and a rational soul and no human spirit.



  • The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ because He is the Spirit of God, not because this in any way replaces a part of His or our humanity.
  • Do we say then that He has two Spirits?
  • We say that Christ assumed human nature in its entirety and that the Holy Spirit, the third hypostasis of the Trinity, can be both referred to as the Sprit of God [the Father], or the Sprit of Christ as He is proper to both.

    God Bless
  • My limited understanding is that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ since it is Christ who sent Him into the world ("temporal mission") - and only in that sense. This has nothing to do with the fact that the man Christ/God the Word has a divine-human spirit, just as He has a divine-human body. This spirit is to be solely identified with the Second Hypostasis of the Trinity, and not with the Holy Spirit.
  • Let's put it this way: the Holy Spirit never became incarnate. So the Holy Spirit, that is the Spirit of Christ, can never replace any part of our humanity or Christ's humanity.

    So if you believe humans have spirits (as well as souls), then Christ had a human spirit (as well as a human soul). This does nothing to negate the existence of the second hypostasis of the Trinity (Spirit of Christ, Spirit of God, Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, whatever you want to call Him).
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