Book Series Studia Traditionis Theologiae, vol. 6

The Christology of Theodore of Tarsus

The Laterculus Malalianus and the Person and Work of Christ

James Siemens

  • Pages: 211 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2010

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53385-8
  • Paperback
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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-55955-1
  • E-book
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"This study should be commended for seriously investigating the theology of a fascinating, if perplexing text; its suggestions for further research in the final two chapters will be of interest to scholars of the Insular world. Nevertheless, much more work is required before we can confidently assert that the Laterculus Malalianus give us access to the theology of Theodore of Tarsus, or that Theodore himself gave Anglo-Saxon England access to all the intellectual riches of the East." (Conor O'Brien, in Peritia 26, 2015, p. 282-283)


Theodore of Tarsus served as archbishop of Canterbury for twenty-two years until his death in 690, aged eighty-eight. Because the only significant record we had of Theodore was that contained in Bede’s Historia, until recently it was very difficult to say anything about his life before this appointment, and even more difficult to determine anything about his thought. All of that changed in the last half of the twentieth century, when the discovery of some biblical glosses from Canterbury was revealed and the ensuing scholarship uncovered more of Theodore’s work than had previously been known. The Laterculus Malalianus is a text that benefited from treatment in this period. This present work examines the Laterculus for what it has to say about the person and work of Christ, and establishes that Theodore’s main theological inspiration was Irenaeus of Lyons and the concept of recapitulation, even while he cast his thought in language heavily drawn from the Syriac East, and Ephrem the Syrian in particular.

The volume represents a contribution to our understanding of the early medieval theological project in Britain, the transmission of eastern Mediterranean thought in the early medieval West and, ultimately, of the work of Theodore of Tarsus. 

James Siemens continues to research theological questions arising from the encounter between the Greek and Semitic East and Latin West through the late antique and early medieval periods. He is an honorary research fellow at Cardiff University, and director of the nascent Theotokos Institute for Catholic Studies.