Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)




This thesis studies the fifth-century christological controversy surrounding Cyril of Alexandria (c. 378-444) and Nestorius of Constantinople (c. 381-451) and their debate around the person and nature of Jesus Christ, sparked by the theotokos dispute. At the First Council of Ephesus (431) the christologies of these two bishops and theologians were pitted against each other, and have since been studied in contrast to one another. The goal of this study is to examine the christologies of Cyril and Nestorius with the intention to seek reconciliation between the two. In the Introduction I first orient the reader to the problem and issues at stake, then examine issues of source material used, and finally I define the sources which formulated the christologies of Cyril and Nestorius. Chapter One begins the effort to determine the roots each theologian’s christology by examining the hermeneutical, soteriological, and philosophical underpinnings of their respective “schools” of Alexandria and Antioch. In Chapter Two I carefully develop the core christology of Cyril and Nestorius, highlighting their major features and points of contention. In Chapter Three I begin the move towards reconciling the two diverging christologies by noting the strengths and weaknesses of each, as well as points of agreement, finally setting each as the “edges” of an orthodox description of the Incarnation. In the Conclusion I summarize my thesis statement, while noting areas to improve this study and needs of further contribution to the field of Cyrilline and Nestorian studies.