This article resolves a long-standing problem in the interpretation of the Instituta regularia divinae legis, the exegetical handbook produced by the imperial quaestor Junillus Africanus at the time of the Three Chapters controversy. Specialist historians of late antique exegesis consider the text to be heterodox because it owes a significant intellectual debt to the condemned Theodore of Mopsuestia. In the broader scholarly imagination, however, Junillus is an orthodox ideologue. The article argues that this debate reflects an unhelpful binary mode of thinking about orthodoxy. It compares Junillus’s Christological statements against the terms on which the contemporary imperial régime condemned the Three Chapters, which relate specifically to the mode of the union of Christ’s natures. It shows that the Instituta is neither orthodox nor heterodox; rather, the text expresses a carefully ambiguous Christology that admits multiple models of the union. The article then situates the Instituta in its imperial and North African contexts to show how this ambiguity did not subvert the régime’s orthodox imperial project, as is commonly assumed, but advanced it. The text models an ambiguous mode of confessing Christ under an extensive imperial authority to define orthodoxy and heterodoxy. It does so to accommodate recalcitrant stricter Chalcedonians in North Africa to the régime’s theological settlement with Miaphysites in Syria and Egypt. Junillus’s imperial politics of ambiguity invites deeper consideration of the ways that imperial power reproduces itself, in certain contexts, through ambiguity as well as through order and certainty.

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