An introduction to christology surely the most important question in the world is the one that forms the title for this article. Preceding school of influence was the christology of origen who vaguely. Athanasius of alexandria, a dedicated defense of christology. Early christian history st athanasius of alexandria. Along with eusebius of nicomedia, arius studied under lucian of antioch, whose views foreshadowed arius s christology. Also, during this period the antiochene school suffered from the popular teaching of paul of samosata who represented a new movement called dynamic monarcianism. Arius was a libyan presbyter and ascetic, and priest in baucalis in alexandria, egypt. Arius, in denying the deity of christ, made the church articulate the doctrine that became the.
May 04, 2017 athanasius of alexandria egypt dedicates his life to defending orthodox christology in the wake of political and spiritual opposition s. He was called a doctor of the church and is considered one of the greatest theologians in the christian faith. Deposition of arius, and circular letter oxford translation by rev. The history of the great church council in the early church there was always tension between the schools of alexandria and antioch.
Consequently, arius challenged his bishop alexander of alexandria and teachers of alexandria to an christological conflict. While the alexandrian school adopted the hypostasis union or the nature union of the. This dissertation sets the christology of athanasius of alexandria in the context of its sources, and evaluates its reception up to the council of chalcedon. Arius said the word of god jesus was not coeternal with the father. Athanasius i of alexandria, st athanasius the confessor and primarily in the coptic orthodox church st athanasius the apostolic, was the 20th bishop of. Answering that question is the task of what we call christology, a word that means the study of christ and that refers to the. The christian community of alexandria became sharply divided over the samosatene doctrine. Saint arius 256 336 ad was a libyan theologian and of berber descent.
The trinity is separate gods the concept of the trinity has remained problematic for christian theology. His christological teaching helped to form our understanding of the trinity we hold today. Athanasius of alexandria quotes author of on the incarnation. Idem, athanasius of alexandria and the foundation of traditional christology, in. Saint athanasius the great the redemptive plan in on the. Arius this may be shocking to many, but as late as the fourth century ce, there was widespread heated debate about whether jesus was divine or not. Paul, of the catholic epistles, of the fourth gospel, and the synoptics. He, the life of all, our lord and saviour, did not arrange the manner of his own death lest he should seem to be afraid of some other kind. Arius, however, is truly an ancestor of the witnesses. Heresy in the early church heresy in the early church. The alexandrian and antiochian christological thoughts1 many scholars attribute the problem of the christological formula concerning the nature of christ miaphysis and dyophyses to the controversy between the alexandrian and the antiochian theology.
This is where athanasius is quite distant from contemporary biblical theologians, who write very little about the body, the flesh, or matter. He was a presbyter at alexandria who taught the created nature of christ. Athanasius, arius, contra arianos, eternal sonship. The controversy is widely misunderstood by people today, who frequently hear completely erroneous things about it for example, that arius thought that christ was human, not divine, or that he was not really the son of god. Along with eusebius of nicomedia, arius studied under lucian of antioch, whose views foreshadowed ariuss christology. Feb 18, 2014 an unfortunate credit to lucians account was that two of his pupils would be among the foremost heretics in early church historyarius and eusebius of nicomedia.
Thus we shall give the reader a complete christology of the new testament and at the same time the data necessary to control the contentions of the modernists. He then openly criticized his bishop, alexander of alexandria who succeeded achiles of alexandria as bishop, for his christology. The indications are that christianity was well established in middle egypt by a. Saint athanasius the great his life a staunch defender of christian orthodoxy, saint athanasius of alexandria is known as the father of orthodoxy in the christian east. Arius was a cultured and ascetic presbyter 256336 ad, a popular preacher from libya. Jun 25, 2019 one such doctrine was called arianism, named after the priest arius of alexandria 256336 a. This son is the firstborn to the watchtower, it means first created of all creation. Arius, a libyan priest, lived in the 4th century, a time when the leaders of the christian church, freed from persecution by the edict of milan in 312, were engaging in debates about the nature of humanity and the nature of jesus.
Marquette university elementary textbooks often paint a clear and dramatic picture of the arian controversy, more or less as follows. The center of athanasius theology the scriptorium daily. Arianism powerpoint arianism athanasius of alexandria. Arius was a presbyter in charge of a parish church in the same city. He was a pupil of lucian of antioch, a celebrated christian teacher and martyr. As arianism rejects the divinity of christ, salvation to mankind was at stake. Alexander attempted to explain the unity of the holy trinity. Shortly before 318, in alexandria, arius began to preach that the son of god is a creature. Study of christ christology christian research service. From the editor how to read this issue mark galli, editor its been said, god writes straight with crooked lines, meaning god has allowed heresy to arise to help christians clarify what they believe. The deep divisions created by the disputes were an.
The council, led by alexander, condemned arius as a. Arianism came after a second century heresy called modalism. Cyril of alexandria, a fifthcentury greek bishop, held to the generally accepted belief that god is. The arian controversy was a series of christian theological disputes that arose between arius and athanasius of alexandria, two christian theologians from alexandria, egypt. Nowadays, almost every evangelical leader runs around shouting, jesus is god. Athanasius of alexandria author of on the incarnation. Essays on early christian christology, supplements to novum testamentum boston leiden. Both arius and alexander thought that jesus was the son of god. The christology of the seven ecumenical councils prepared by gaylin r. Historical christology chapter v arianism and the council of nicea. He was eventually condemned at the council of nicea in a. His teachings about the nature of the godhead in christianity, which emphasized god the fathers uniqueness and christs subordination under the father, and his opposition to what would become the dominant christology. He was a more adamant champion of it, and a far more eloquent and persuasive speaker. In its full extent it comprises the doctrines concerning both the person of christ and his works.
If the person of christ was a stumbling block among his own contemporaries, and the test of discipleship was acceptance or rejection of the savior, the same condition prevailed as the church approached the end of her catacomb days and was to take her place of freedom in the roman empire. Of the 1,800 bishops invited to nicea, about 300 cameand argued, fought, and eventually fleshed out an early version of the nicene creed. In the fourth century, during the time of constantine, the church was rocked by a controversy started by arius, a deacon of the influential church of alexandria in egypt. Before that time, arius is an obscure figure and the reports of his history are conflicting.
It is probable that christianity came to alexandria in apostolic times, though the tradition that it was first brought by john mark cannot be verified. Here again we shall not infringe on the domain of the historian and oldtestament theologian, who present their respective. Arius, presbyter of alexandria, argued with alexander, bishop of alexandria. Christology is that part of theology which deals with our lord jesus christ.
Arianism affirmed a created, finite nature of christ rather than equal divinity with god the father and was denounced by the early church as a major heresy an ascetical moral leader of a christian community in the area of. As arius garnered support from leaders throughout asia minor, other bishops united against him. It was denounced as a heresy by the council of nicaea in 325. Mar 14, 2011 christology as bodily yet athanasius, in many ways, is careful to observe the bodily aspect of this work. Ariuss christology as a contemporary alexandrian theologian with athanasius. The alexandrian crisis, in the roots of egyptian christianity studies in antiquity and christianity, ed. The nature of christ christology human, divine, less than or equal to father, made or begotten. It was proposed early in the 4th century by arius of alexandria and was popular throughout much of the eastern and western roman empires.
Arianism and the council of nicea 325 ad first ecumenical council issue. Hardon archives chapter v arianism and the council of. Negative writings describe ariuss theology as one in which there was a time before the son of god, when only. Arianism, athanasius, and the effect on trinitarian thought. Alexandrian scholastic way of authenticating theology, not through ecclesial. Hardon archives chapter v arianism and the council.
The lingering disagreements about which christological model was to be considered normative burst into the open in the early 4th century in what became known as the arian controversy, possibly the mostintense and mostconsequential theological dispute in early christianity. This dissertation demonstrates that the influence of. While this isnt quite true, athanasius had a good deal to do with this matter, so this common supposition isnt far off the mark. Arius of alexandria a presbyter from alexandria, arius, dusted off the samosatene doctrine, and presented it to the church once more. The most important of these controversies concerned the substantial relationship between god the father and god the son. Alexander of alexandria called one of the fathers of arianism. The alexandrian and antiochian christological thoughts1. Kannengiesser, charles athanasius of alexandria vs. He accepted and bore upon the cross a death inflicted by others, and those other his special enemies, a death which to them was supremely terrible and by no means to be faced. Exploring our unitarian universalist principles and sources through wisdom tales boston. Answering that question is the task of what we call christology, a word that means the study of christ and that refers to the branch of christian theology dealing with the person of christ.
St athanasius of alexandria athanasius was a protege and successor of patriarch alexander of alexandria, whos generally credited with having come up with the trinity doctrine. It is important to state that there was no textuallcanonical issue at stake. Susan wessel, cyril of alexandria and the nestorian controversy. The debate spread quickly throughout the eastern empire, causing divisions in many communities. Anthanasius of alexandria is my own work and that all the sources that i have used or. But arianism got its start with arius, and is considered by some to be the greatest heresy in the history of christianity the problem arose because the gospels refer to god the father, the son, and the holy spirit, but they do not explicitly refer to how they relate to one another the concept of the trinity emerged as the best way to explain their relationship, but there were other. Athanasius i of alexandria, st athanasius the confessor and primarily in the coptic orthodox church st. Arius and athanasius were archrivals of the arian controversy. Arianism had its beginning with the theological investigations of arius of alexandria. It has been accepted for inclusion in school of theology and seminary graduate. Arius would read johns gospel this way in the beginning was the. Note the similarity of the watchtower christology to that of arius in the following. Arianism, in christianity, the christological position that jesus, as the son of god, was created by god. Modalism contended that god the father, god the son, and the holy spirit were only modes, or masks that god used on various occasions.
His defense of the council of nicaea 325 and the homoousios for nearly five decades, in spite of being in the minority and suffering religious and political. Arius was apparently of lybian and berber descent, born about 250 some sources say 256 in north africa. Modernized, abridged and introduced by stephen tomkins. Arius was the leading father in arianism whilst athanasius was the defender of the nicene theology for orthodox christianity against arianism. The christology of jehovahs witnesses, also, is a form of arianism. Arius was reinstated and then ordained by achillas patriarch of alexandria 312 3 as the presbyter of the district of baucalis in alexandria in ad 3, but when achillas died that same year arius was denied the patriarchate of alexandria to which he aspired by alexander i of alexandria a sebellianist heretic. Arius is probably the most famous heresiarch in all of christianity. Oct 24, 2012 1 arius of alexandria championed the position that though christ may be called god, he was not true god and in no way equal with god in essence or eternity. This debate was especially strong in the decades leading up to constantines reign. Arguing that the son was not eternal, that he was created by the father.955 1085 291 544 615 795 1380 890 895 1311 1228 766 279 665 509 808 1160 1142 258 918 867 1208 654 1412 1291 1497 204 508 299 482 911 1015 434 1283 1036 323 278