Argh, I can’t help myself! I have a preliminary thought, subject to much revision. Ryn makes much of incarnation and synthesis, and, apparently, of the Incarnation as an example of synthesis. Which comes first for him, synthesis or Incarnation? If the former, then he strikes me as, ultimately, a polytheist opposed both to Judaism and Christianity, on the one hand, and to philosophy as Strauss understood it, on the other. ~Joseph Knippenberg

Why, oh, why won’t these people stop? Happily Mr. Knippenberg will be putting these remarks through “much revision,” because they certainly need it. No word yet on whether accusing Prof. Ryn of polytheism and apostasy is “uncharitable.”

A simple point: one of the most long-standing terms for describing the unity of the Incarnate Word in the Greek patristic tradition was synthesis (derived from syntithemi, it means simply that which has been put or joined together). Asking which “comes first” is to ask a very, very silly question. Funny that Mr. Knippenberg should mention this, as I was just thinking about this earlier this morning as I was working out the etymology of a term sometimes used by scholastics in their Christology, suppositum, which would occasionally have a very different usage from the earlier Greek use of synthesis.

The use of the term synthesis could be contentious, depending on the interpretation a particular author gave to it, and without the proper qualifications it could theoretically lead to monophysitic heresy (but I’m guessing Mr. Knippenberg is not terribly concerned about creeping monophysitism). Prof. Ryn’s connection of the Incarnation with the idea of synthesis or describing the Incarnation as a kind of synthesis is in agreement with one of those venerable teachings in Holy Tradition that Prof. Ryn’s critics would probably also find “historicist” or objectionable for some other raft of spurious, quasi-intellectual reasons.