Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. David M. Olster


The Disputatio cum Pyrrho purports to be a transcript of the 645 debate that took place in North Africa. The text initially addresses Monotheletism, the theology of the Constantinopolitan church that held that the Christ had a single will, then Monoenergism, which held that Christ possessed a single operation and which had in the 620’s and 630’s been the official position of the Constantinopolitan church, but which by 645 had been rejected and replaced by Monotheletism. Pyrrhus, the exiled, former Patriarch of Constantinople, represents the Monothelete and Monoenergist positions and Maximus the Confessor opposes them. Throughout the dialogue, Maximus repeatedly and overwhelmingly demonstrates the correctness of his position, eventually forcing Pyrrhus to renounce his position and to travel to Rome to receive absolution from the Pope. Traditionally scholars have accepted the authenticity of this document, and few have critically examined the claims the text makes about itself. The present study brings this authenticity into question, and reexamines the authorship, date, and purpose of the document, employing textual critiques and comparing the document with historical events later in the seventh century.

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