The anthropology implicit to the various Dormition narratives has been obscured by Catholic scholarship that has interpreted these works along the lines of their dogmas. Recent research in Byzantine Christology has identified the paradigm which the genre arose from and its anthropological implications. Contemporary Christology expounded Christ’s “discretionary manner of living,” the doctrine that Christ, being both God and sinless, voluntarily assumed some effects of the Fall. The authors of these Marian narratives including Jacob of Serug, Theodosios of Alexandria, Maximus, the Damascene, Andrew of Crete, Germanus of Constantinople, and Gregory Palamas, were explicit “discretionists.” The consistent thread in their narratives was that the Theotokos could be contrasted with Christ in that her experience of the Fall was involuntary and postlapsarian according to the anthropology of Cyril and, later, Maximus and Damascene. This contrast was drawn to address contemporary Christological and soteriological controversies. In so doing, the Byzantine narratives teach that the Theotokos had original sin.
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