As a ruler of the church of Alexandria and president of the Third Ecumenical Council of 431, Cyril was one of the most powerful men of the fifth century and played a decisive role in the history of his times. He was an important thinker who defined the concept of christological orthodoxy for the next two centuries. Cyril is also often regarded as an unscrupulous and power-hungry cleric who was responsible for the murder of the female philospher Hypatia and for the overthrow of the archbishop Nestorius. Cyril of Alexandria presents key selections of Cyril's writings in order to make his thought accessible to students. The writings are all freshly translated and an extended introduction outlines Cyril's life and times, his scholastic method, his christology, his ecclesiology, his eucharistic doctrine, his spirituality and his influence on the Christian tradition. Brief introductions and notes to the individual selections provide valuable contextualization and elucidation of the ideas contained in them.
Norman Russell is a freelance lecturer and translator. He is the author, with Benedicta Ward, of The Lives of the Desert Fathers: The Historia Monachorum in Aegypto (1980).