Volume 22, Issue 2, Autumn 2017
Thinking with Paul Ricoeur
Leontius of Byzantium and the Concept of Enhypostaton
A Critical Re-evaluation
The concept of “enhypostaton” was introduced into theological discourse during the sixth-century Christological debates with the aim of justifying the unitary subjectivity of Christ by reclassifying Christ’s human nature as ontically non-independent. The coinage of the term is commonly ascribed to Leontius of Byzantium. Its conceptual content has been recognized by contemporary scholarship as relevant to the core issues of Christology, as well as possessing significance for such philosophical questions as individuation and the nature of individual entityhood. Even so, despite its role in the formation of classical Christological thought, the notion of “enhypostaton” is often regarded as obscure and not clearly defined. This paper aims to shed some light on the meaning of Leontius’ conception of it, in respect of its specifically philosophical import.