APOLLINARIS OF LAODICEA THE YOUNGER (’Απολιναρις [Apolinarios ho Laodikeus])—theologian and philosopher, b. around 310 in Laodicea in Syria, d. around 390.
The son of a grammarian (Apollinaris of Laodicea the Elder), he received a rigorous classical education. He taught rhetoric in Antioch and Laodicea. He was, together with his father, an ardent defender of the Nicene Creed (he opposed the Arian position). He was excommunicated by Bishop Theodotos for participating in pagan practices in the worship of Dionysius that were performed in visits at the place of the Sophist Epiphanius. He did penance and was quickly admitted to the community of the Church, but in 324 he was again excommunicated by the Arian Bishop George on account of his friendship with St. Athanasius and his defence of the doctrine of the Nicene Council. He was restored again to the Church and was elected as the Bishop of Laodicea around 390 by adherents of the Nicene Creed. As a scholar of classical culture and a recognized exegete he was master of St. Jerome.
Not many of Apollinaris’ numerous writings have been preserved (in view of the official condemnations of his Christological views), while others have been recognized as works by recognized orthodox authors.
Apollinaris wrote the following dogmatic works: Detailed Exposition of Faith; a sermon on the Holy Day of the Revelation of the Lord That Christ is one (Quod unus sit Christus); On the Incarnation of the Word of God (De incarnatione Dei Verbi) which is placed among the writings of St. Athanasius; an Exposition of Faith (‘Η κατα μερος πιστις [He kata meros pistis]; On the union of the body and divinity in Christ (De unione corporis et divinitatis in Christo); On Faith and Incarnation (De fide et incarnatione), which is placed among the writings of Pope Julius I; and a letter to the presbyter Dionysius. Apollinaris put down his Christological thought in his most important dogmatic work Demonstration of God’s Incarnation according to the Image of Man (‘Αποδειξις περι της Θειας σαρκωζεως [Apodeiksis peri tes theias sarkodzeos]), basic passages of which Gregory of Nyssa repeated in his Critique of the Doctrine of Apollinaris (Antirrheticus adversus Apollinarium, 385). Of his other writings, we should mention two Epistles to Basil the Great in which he analyzes the nature of the Divine Persons—Father and Son, and a Recapitulation (Recapitulatio), fragments of which we find in the fifth dialogue on the Holy Trinity. His exegetical works have not been preserved (St. Jerome mentions these in his Liber de viris illustribus), nor have his apologetic works or commentaries on Sacred Scripture. We should emphasize that Apollinaris was the author of works on the entire Sacred Scripture in the form of poems, according to Greek models—dialogues, epopees, and lyrics (this was a reaction to Julian the Apostate’s removal of Christian rhetoricians from the schools). All that remains of these works is a paraphrase of the Psalms.
Apollinaris was the author of a Christological doctrine called Apollinarianism. It presented a philosophical explanation of the question of the unity of the Son of God in two natures and was guided by the arguments advanced by the Arians. It argued that the statement that two full natures existed in Christ—human and divine—cannot be accepted because, in keeping with the principles of Aristotle, beings in the boundaries of their genus that are ontologically complete cannot produce a perfect unity. Apollinaris drew upon the Platonic conception of the soul and thought that in Christ the place of the rational soul (νους [nous]) was occupied by the divine Λογος [Logos]; the Son of God possessed only lower genera of the human soul—he is not fully a man, but has a full divine nature.
G. Voisin, L’Apollinarisme, Étude historique, littéraire et dogmatique sur le début des controverses christologique du IVe siècle, Lv 1901; H. Lietzmann, Appollinaris von Laodicea und seine Schule T 1904, Hi 1970; C. E. Raven, Apollinarianism. An Essay on the Christology of the Early Church, C 1923; G. L. Prestige, Father and Heretics: Six Studies in Dogmatic Faith with Prologue and Epilogue, Lo 1940, reprinted 1975; idem, St. Basic the Great and Apollinaris of Laodicea, Lo 1956; E. Mühlenberg, Appollinaris von Laodicea, Gö 1969; S. Longosz, “Klasyczna” twórczość Apolinarych z Laodycei [The “classical” works of Apollinaris of Laodicea], RTK 43 (1996) n. 4, 145–163.