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Leontius of Byzantium

SIXTH century. Anti- Monophysite theologian. In his early years he lived among Nestorians. Probably a Palestinian monk, he is known from the Vita Sabae of Cyril of Scythopolis. He entered a monastery in Palestine called “New Laura” about 520 and accompanied Sabas to Constantinople in 530, where he defended Chalcedon against the Monophysites (531-36). Back in Palestine in 537, he defended Origenism against orthodox attacks, then returned to Constantinople about 540. He with Boethius in the West and John Philoponus in the East helped make Aristotelian philosophy available for use in theology. His works show him to be well versed in Aristotelian logic and the psychology of the Platonists. He forcefully opposed Monophysitism* and Severus* of Antioch in his works, which included Three Books against the Nestorians and Eutychians; A Resolution of the Arguments Advanced by Severus; Thirty Chapters against Severus; and perhaps Against the Fraud of the Apollinarians. His Christology appeared to be closer to Theodore of Mopsuestia's* than to Cyril of Alexandria's. He argued that Christ's two natures were permanently distinct, but the existence of the humanity was concretely manifested in the one hypostasis of the divine Word. He used the term enupostatos (later developed by Maximus the Confessor and John Damascene) to argue that if a nature had its subsistence in another hypostasis it need not thereby become an accident. His favorite term was used earlier; the idea came from the Neoplatonists. In sum, in his Christology Leontius seemed to be trying to reformulate the Christology of Evagrius Ponticus* into Chalcedonian terms.