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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Beryllus, Bishop of Bostra

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Beryllus , bp. of Bostra, in Arabia, known in his day as one of the most learned teachers of the church. He conceived heretical views as to the person of our blessed Lord, to consider which a synod assembled at Bostra, a.d.244. The bishops unanimously condemned his teaching, and declared that Christ at His Incarnation was endowed with a human soul (Socr. H. E. iii. 7), but were unable to convince Beryllus of his error. Origen, however, who, having been recently degraded from Holy Orders and excommunicated at Alexandria, was then residing at Caesarea, had been invited to the synod, and by his intellectual superiority, dialectical skill, and friendly moderation succeeded in proving to Beryllus the unsoundness of his tenets, and in leading him back to the orthodox faith. For this, according to Jerome, he received the thanks of Beryllus in a letter extant in his time. Our only authority as to the tenets of Beryllus is a somewhat obscure passage of Eusebius, H. E. vi. 33, and a fragment of Origen's commentary on the Epistle to Titus, found in the apology of Pamphilus, Orig. Opp. tom. iv. p. 22, ed. Bened., which have led to very opposite conclusions. These may be seen in Dorner, where the whole question is discussed at length. His views were Monarchian, and are identified by Schleiermacher with those of the Patripassians, and by Baur with those of Artemon and the neo-Ebionites. According to Dorner, Beryllus occupies a middle place, forming a connecting link between the Patripassians and Sabellius. The leading ideas of his teaching as developed by Dorner from Eusebius were as follows: (1) there existed a πατρικὴ θεότης in Christ, but not an ἰδία θεότης : (2) Christ had no independent existence in a circumscribed form of being of His own (κατ᾿ ἰδίαν οὑσίας περιγραφήν ), before His Incarnation (ἐπιδημία ). (3) Subsequently to His Incarnation, He Who had been identified with the πατρικὴ θεότης became a circumscribed Being possessed of an independent existence; the being of God in Christ being a circumscription of the θεότης of the Father, i.e. of God Himself. According to Eusebius, H. E. vi. 20, Beryllus was the author of epistles and treatises displaying considerable elegance. Hieron. de Script. Eccl. No. lx.; Niceph. H. E. v. 22; Neander ii. pp. 350 ff.; Gieseler, v. p .219; Dorner, Person of Christ, First Period, Second Epoch, § i. c. 2, div. i. vol. ii. pp. 35-45, Clark's trans.; Schröckh, iv. 38; Mosheim, de Reb. Christ. ante Constant. p. 699; Ullman, Comment. de Beryll. Bost. (Hamb. 1835); Fock, Diss. de Christolog. Beryll. Bost. (1843).


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Beryllus, Bishop of Bostra'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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