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Theopaschism is the belief that a god can suffer. In Christian theology this involves questions like "was the crucifixion of Jesus a crucifixion of God?".

Nestorianism and Monophysitism

The question is central to the Nestorian and Monophysite schisms. While not Nestorian, the Assyrian Church of the East along with their greatest teacher, Babai the Great, deny the possibility of a suffering God.

Byzantine period

Some theologians of the Byzantine period also held similar views, although they were never held to be very orthodox. Classicial Augustinian theology, on the contrary, maintains that the man Jesus suffered to a much greater extent, in order to avoid to charges of modalism and patripassionism.

Modern philosophy and theology

A number of modern philosophers and theologians have been called theopaschists, such as G.W.F. Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche and Simone Weil.

Some proponents of liberation theology have extended the theopaschist debate to the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit, questioning whether the Spirit may or may not have felt pain during the incarnation. This debate has had implications in ecclesiology, per Leonardo Boff's Church: Charism and Power.


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