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The political-religious role of Emperor Theodosius II in controversy between Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius of Constantinople (AD 428-450)

Grant number: 15/09002-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2015
Effective date (End): February 29, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Ancient and Medieval History
Principal Investigator:Margarida Maria de Carvalho
Grantee:Daniel de Figueiredo
Supervisor: Marie-Odile Tual
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais (FCHS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Franca. Franca , SP, Brazil
Research place: École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), France  
Associated to the scholarship:13/24320-4 - The political-religious role of Emperor Theodosius II in controversy between Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius of Constantinople (AD 428-450), BP.DR


This research aims to analyze the role of the Emperor Theodosius II in the theological conflict which became known, by historiography, as Nestorian Controversy. Theodosius II ruled the Eastern Roman Empire between AD 408 and 450, Such a conflict was featured by the bishops Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius of Constantinople, which disagreed about the relationship established between the divine and human natures of the personified Christ. Theological formulations of this nature, in Late Antiquity, could act as support to ideological feats of support and unit of imperial power. Thus, we intend to analyze the role of the Emperor as a mediator of this conflict . Historiography has highlighted the inability of Theodosius II while leading his policy in relation to ecclesiastic matters. This emperor would be susceptible to influences of groups created by the association among the members of the orthodox ecclesiastic hierarchy and imperial administration officials. In his speeches, expressed in letters, treaties and memoirs , Cyril and Nestorius tried to identify their doctrines as if they were of the Emperor's interest, with the intention of conditioning the Empire unity to the Church unity. Nevertheless we intend to show that such rhetoric and spread speeches, aiming to insert certain teaching current as model of orthodoxy to be followed, had larger involvements. Trying, through these speeches, to persuade officials from the imperial Court, with the aim of getting closer to the Emperor, Cyril and Nestorious created divisions inside the imperial administration. In this sense, our hypothesis of work, observed through actions done by the Emperor, through reading of documentation which we have at our disposal, one moment to privilege cyrilians and next nestorians, would be inserted in the perspective of manipulating the diversity with the aim of keeping the imperial unity. (AU)

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