Offerer and Offering: Cyril of Alexandria on Jewish and Christian Sacrifice

Friday 9 September 2022, 11:30
PhD defence
Speaker or Ph. D. student
J.R. Lucas
prof. dr. J. Behr, prof. dr. A. Louth
Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies

In "Offerer and Offering: Cyril of Alexandria on Jewish and Christian Sacrifice", Joseph Lucas examines the theology of Cyril as exhibited in his biblical exegesis. Focusing on three of Cyril's extant commentaries - The "Glaphyra" on the Pentateuch, the Commentary on Isaiah, and the Commentary on John - the author outlines the many references to sacrifice, and unpacks the Alexandrian's interpretation of these passages. Guiding this investigation are a series of questions: What external factors and influences motivated Cyril to focus on sacrifice in his commentaries; does Cyril believe that Jewish sacrifice of the Tabernacle and Temple was efficacious; does Cyril envision a Christian version of sacrifice; and do the ideas that Cyril forms about sacrifice in his exegesis influence his later theological works, after AD 428, dealing with Nestorianism. J. Lucas discovers that Cyril’s views on Jewish sacrifice are complex and nuanced, as is his understanding of the work of Christ as sacrifice. These ideas come together in his identification of the eucharist as an offering, as well as in his view of Christian spiritual life as sacrificial. These ideas all coalesce in his later thinking as he responds to Nestorius, particularly seen in his famous treatise, “The Twelve Anathemas”.

Joseph Lucas completed his Master of Divinity with specialization in Patristics and Church History at Saint Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania (US). He lives in Miami, Florida with his wife and children. He is the author of "Prayer of the Publican: Justification in the Desert Fathers" (ORI: 2011).


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