In contemplating and reflecting on the mystery of Jesus Christ, every age emphasizes certain dimensions in relation to its precise historical context and the challenges it poses to the Church’s evangelizing mission. This happened in the patristic era when the Church had to face the challenge of Neoplatonic triadic philosophy.
Trinitarian theology and patristic Christology were born in response to this challenge. They re-read the mystery of the Incarnate Son in the light of the metaphysical categories of nature and person matured through critical confrontation with Neoplatonism. They constituted the backbone of the Christological-Trinitarian doctrine of the Ecumenical Councils, which became normative for all the Christian Churches that recognize themselves bound by these Councils. Thanks to this effort, the Church succeeded, among other things, in safeguarding and specifying ever more clearly the human nature assumed by the Son of God against the dangers of its practical denial induced by the widespread monophysite mentality of late Antiquity.
Modern research has never denied the historical humanity of Jesus. On the contrary, it has amply confirmed it. But it has often done so in open conflict with those asserting the divine nature of the Son of God, affirmed by Christian Tradition. This has shifted the challenge to the historical and anthropological terrain, where it is no coincidence that much of the effort of contemporary Christology has been concentrated since the middle of the last century.