THEODORE OF MOPSUESTIA.
An illustrious victim of a hypercritical orthodoxy. Like Chrysostom, with whom he was a fellow-pupil of Libanius and afterward of Diodorus, Theodore was the son of an Antiochian family of high station. Made a priest, he won the applause of his native city and, later, of Tarsus, by his learning and eloquence. About A. D. 390 he was chosen bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia, which see he held until his death, about A. D. 427. He is said to have been a teacher of Nestorius, and also to have ordained him; but, whether or not this was true, he belonged to the same school of thought with Nestorius and Theodoret. His writings were numerous, embracing commentaries on nearly the entire Scriptures, besides voluminous treatises upon doctrinal and polemical subjects. What Chrysostom did for the right interpretation of Scripture by homilies, that and more Theodore did by his commentaries and by his treatise "Of History and Allegory against Origen." His writings, more than any one's else save Theodoret's, put an end to the extravagances of Scripture allegorizing. But Theodore was to be placed by posterity, not by the side of Chrysostom, but of Nestorius and Theodoret. Whereas the cloud resting upon Chrysostom at his death was changed by the next generation into a halo of glory, four generations after Theodore's death his person and writings were formally condemned as heretical. This was done first by an edict of the Emperor Justinian and then by the Fifth General Council. The ostensible ground of this action was certain suggestions of heresy in his writings, which, however, were so meager that they had been passed over by his own contemporaries. The real cause of the condemnation was the rancorous spirit of the monophysite party, which had chafed many years under the action of the Council of Chalcedon, and now, having gained a temporary influence through the intrigues of the empress, was eager to brand the memory of all who had been in any way allied with Nestorius. Owing, probably, to this condemnation, the works of Theodore are almost entirely lost. But the narrow horizon of Justinian and the ecclesiastics of the sixth century was not forever to bound the Church, and modern scholars would gladly exchange whole alcoves of the monkish lore of his late enemies for the works of this Antiochian exegete.
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