The Most Pernicious of Heresies

Could the teachings of Meister Eckhart on the total extinguishing of the will and its replacement by God’s be a kind of “blowback” from the fact that the controversy over monothelitism was apparently never fully understood in the West? It’s especially telling that monothelitism is apparently not among the heresies of which he was accused. Perhaps this, rather than the filioque, is the issue that really separates East and West.

People make fun of it as a minor heresy, but monothelitism packs a punch.

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6 Responses to “The Most Pernicious of Heresies”

  1. Daniel Says:

    Does anyone seriously think the filioque is what’s keeping the East and West from reuniting? I mean, it’s something everyone mentions when writing polemics, but it hardly seems like a plausible candidate for a real breaking-point. It was an exculpation, not a justification.

    I think monothelitism gets downplayed because after you’ve worked through the Nestorian mess nobody cares about any heresy beginning with “mono.” Too much time has already been lost trying to puzzle out what was really at issue in all that dreck; another heresy which sounds a little like Nestorianism is not what anyone wants to spend time on. So you briefly mention it and then move on to the iconoclasts. At least, this is how I learned church history.

  2. Adam Says:

    I was talking about the level of theology, not the ecclesiastical separation — maybe this matter of the will is a more significant difference than the filioque.

    I do think you’re right that after Nestorianism, everyone’s tired of petty distinctions. A HUGE MISTAKE!!!

  3. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    I have no idea what difference is to be made here. Please tell me.

  4. JD Says:

    I think this is a problem inherent to all variations of Idealism.

  5. Currence Says:

    While I admittedly haven’t read more than the Wikipedia blurbs on monothelitism and the immediately related topics, Apollinarism gets my vote. It makes Jesus resemble a Cartesian subject, except His mind substance is the God substance… cool. (I countenance different things in philosophy and theology, it would seem.)

    Are all combinations of one/two nature(s) – one/two will(s) equally viable? One nature – two wills would be quite odd…

  6. nicolamasciandaro Says:

    “It is a certain and necessary truth that he who resigns his will wholly to God will catch God and bind God, so that God can do nothing but what that man wills” (Meister Eckhart).


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