Christ as Copula: On the Incarnation and the Possibility of Religious Exclusivism

Tyler Tritten

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Focusing on F.W.J. Schelling’s lectures in Munich in the 1830s, published as Urfassung der Philosophie der Offenbarung,1 I will explicate Christ as the copula, i.e., the incarnation of the universal Word or Logos, in order to argue that Christ is not human and divine, but neither human nor divine, at least not as such. Humanity and divinity are rather the two termini or relata united by the differentiating enactment of the Logos as the copula itself. Copulation only unites by differentiating. Thus, humanity and divinity are not pre-given data to be combined in the incarnation, but are rather both consequents. The Logos is neither God the Father as the subject-term proper, who would accept the form of—i.e., acquire as a predicate-nominative—human nature, nor is the subject-term Jesus of Nazareth, who would be predicated with divinity. To say that Christ is both human and God is neither to say that God became human (which tends toward Docetism) nor that a human became God (which tends toward Arianism). It rather says that that which is God is the same as that which is human. That which is already a middle nature, the Logos as copula, becomes God precisely by becoming human (a sort of monophysitism or Eutychianism that does not begin with two distinct natures but nevertheless ends with two natures).

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