Malyshev Artem

From the Christology of “Perfection” to the Christology of “Humiliation”: christological discussions in Russian academic theology of the 19th century

Malyshev Artem (2020) "From the Christology of “Perfection” to the Christology of “Humiliation”: christological discussions in Russian academic theology of the 19th century ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2020, vol. 87, pp. 26-46 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI202087.26-46


This article gives a historical analysis of the problem of the possibility for Christ to commit a sin as well as those conceptual Christological prerequisites that underlie this problem. It uses as an example Christology of St. Innokentiy (Borisov) and doctrines of theologians of Moscow Academy of the latter half of the 19th century related to the interpretation of temptations of Lord in the desert. The article expounds systematically the Christology of St. Innokentiy (Borisov), researches his original Christological conception of a gradual manifestation of Deity in Christ, analyses his views on the possibility for Christ to commit a sin. The Saint’s Christology has a clearly expressed moral-related and motivating tendency, i.e. Christ is presented as a pinnacle of moral perfection and an example for imitation. The foundation of the Saint’s doctrine is made up by his answer formulated in the conception of a gradual manifestation of Deity in Christ to Kant’s theses accepted as an axiom about the impossibility to imitate Christ without accepting the possibility for him to fall. The Saint agreed in his lectures that Christ was able to sin. The conception of a gradual manifestation of Deity in Christ was developed by archpriest Aleksandr Gorskiy, in whose lectures one can see an interest to the topic of temptations of Christ in the desert. Bishop Mikhail (Luzin), who became rector of Moscow Academy after archpriest Aleksandr, made more prominent the problem of the compatibility of the opinion about the possibility for Christ to experience inner struggle (which, in turn, implied the possibility for Him to fall) with the view about Christ’impeccability. This theological matter also interested Revd. Timofey Butkevich, who, in line with bishop Mikhail, tried to solve it in the exegesis of Christ’s temptation in the desert and followed the same principles as St. Innokentiy. Unlike these authors, M. M. Tareev built his Christological system on diff erent principles, i.e. on the new kenotic Christology. Christ is represented in his works not as an epitome of moral perfection that overcomes the temptations but as an example of religious humility. The article describes systematically his kenotic Christology which is characterised by a deliberate rejection of the doctrine about the possibility for Christ to sin but contains other, no less problematic theses of dogmatic nature.


Christology, self-consciousness, St. Innokentiy of Cherson, archpriest Alexander Gorskiy, bishop Mikhail (Luzin), archpriest Timofey Butkevich, M. M. Tareev


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Information about the author

Malyshev Artem

Student status: Graduate student;
Place of study: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for the Humanities; 6/1 Likhov pereulok, Moscow 127051, Russian Federation;
ORCID: 0000-0002-3674-3303;
Email: artema.malishev@gmail.com.