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The Rise of the Monophysite Movement

By W.H.C. Frend

The Rise of the Monophysite Movement

The Rise of the Monophysite Movement

By W.H.C. Frend

A detailed and scholarly historical study of the schism between orthodox Christians and the Monophysites during the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries.

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Available as: Paperback

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ISBN: 9780227172414

Specifications: 234x156mm (9.21x6.14in), 424pp

Published: March 2008


The first lasting schism in Christendom was that between Monophysite and orthodox Christianity. This well-established, integrated study examines the social historical background to this significant two hundred year period from the council of Ephesus in 431 to the expulsion of the Byzantines from the Monophysite provinces.

Contemporary critics' views that Monophysitism can be considered as a 'quarrel about words' or as a symbol of the separatist movements in Syria, Egypt and Armenia are viewed as limiting in this authoritative survey, which moves beyond such criticisms. Frend asserts that regional identity does not have to imply separatism and examines this claim in detail. The work does not limit its scope to the history of the Christian doctrine either. The issues raised by the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon affected all areas of life beyond the political sphere in the east Roman provinces in the fifth and sixth centuries. Through this study, the reader can uncover how religion was the medium through which the harmony between government and the governed was mediated in this period.

Through nine extensive chapters – from The Road to Chalcedon, 428–451 through to Syria, A Long Farewell – Frend provides an examination of the doctrinal issues relating to the Early Church, which are essential to a deeper understanding of the history of the fifth and sixth centuries.


1. The road to Chalcedon, 428–451
2. The emperor and his church
3. The intellectuals and the monks
4. The Henotikon of Zeno, 451–484
5. Towards a Monophysite solution, 484–512
6. The orthodox reaction, 513–527
7. Justinian: the end of compromise
8. The Monophysite kingdoms
9. 'To Syria, a long farewell' (the Emperor Heraclius)


Professor William H.C. Frend devoted more than fifty years to the study of the Early Church and was one of the foremost church historians of the English-speaking world. He was Dean of the Divinity Faculty of the University of Glasgow from 1972 to 1975, and is Bye-Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and Emeritus Professor of Ecclesiastical History, University of Glasgow. He is also the author of: The Donatist Church, The Early Church, The Archaeology of Early Christianity, Saints and Sinners in the Early Church and The Rise of Christianity.

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