Towards the end of the eighth century the Nestorian Patriarch Timothy convened a council, which condemned several mystics for having held the belief that Christ’s humanity could see his divinity. This article draws attention to a Chalcedonian sermon on the Annunciation whose author shared Patriarch Timothy’s views. Through comparison with the Questions and Answers of Pseudo-Athanasius and with Theodore of Stoudios’ sermon on the Angels it shows that the author of the sermon on the Annunciation participated in a wider Chalcedonian debate about the ability of human beings to see God and the equally invisible angels and souls. Having presented the evidence it makes the case that as regards this topic the Eastern Christian religious discourse had not yet fragmented along sectarian and political boundaries and that throughout the East Christians were experiencing the same anxieties and responding to them in remarkably similar ways.
Cf. A. Treiger‘Could Christ’s humanity see his divinity? An eighth-century controversy between John of Dalyatha and Timothy I, Catholicos of the Church of the East’Journal of the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies9 (2009) pp. 9-27; A. Berti ‘Le débat sur la vision de Dieu et la condemnation des mystiques par Timothée Ier: la perspective du patriarche’ in A. Desreumaux (ed.) Les mystiques syriaques (Études syriaques 8 Paris 2011) pp. 151-176. Both authors seek to explain the controversy by linking it to contemporary developments within the Nestorian community.
D. Krausmüller‘Conflicting anthropologies in the Christological discourse at the end of Late Antiquity: the case of Leontius of Jerusalem’s Nestorian adversary’Journal of Theological Studies56 (2005) pp. 413-447; D. Krausmüller “Anti-Origenism and the ‘Sleep of the Soul’ in Seventh- to Ninth-Century Byzantium” in R. Young and J. Kalvesmaki (eds.) Evagrius and His Legacy (forthcoming 2012).