Archetypal Heresy: Arianism through the Centuries by Maurice Wiles

By Maurice Wiles

Arians within the 3rd century advert maintained that Jesus used to be much less divine than God. considered as the archetypal Christian heresy, Arianism used to be condemned within the Nicene Creed and it seems that squashed through the early church. much less renowned is the truth that fifteen centuries later, Arianism used to be alive and good, championed through Isaac Newton and different scientists of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. This booklet asks how and why Arianism persisted.

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35 His strongest appeal is to the theophanies of the 31 H. Chadwick, Early Christian Thought and the Classical Tradition (Oxford, 1966 ), 10. 32 Justin Martyr, 1 Apol 6. The surprising inclusion of ‘the army of other good angels’ as recipients of Christian worship led several older commentators to propose other translations of the passage, but these have now rightly been abandoned. Even some more modern commentators, who fully accept the natural rendering of the words, still tend to gloss over the oddity of its order.

The 69 Gregory the Presbyter, Life of St Gregory (PG 35. 276A). 70 Augustine, De Haeresibus ad Quodvultdeum 1. 52 (PL 42. 39). 71 See N. Tanner, Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils (London, 1990 ), i. 30. THE END OF ARIANISM 31 followers of Eunomius, generally known in the fourth century as Eunomians or Anhomoians, are today most commonly referred to as neo-Arians. But the title seems to have originated only in the twentieth century. 75 The name ‘anhomoian’ (from άνóμōιōς meaning ‘unlike’) makes it sound as if they must have stood for a position diametrically opposed to that of the Homoians.

109 So in the Western empire as well as in the Eastern, the Arian churches virtually disappeared from public view. But the Arians did not disappear altogether. 110 Some interesting insights into the ethos of these continuing Arian communities are to be found in another commentary on St Matthew's gospel, known as the Opus Imperfectum in Matthaeum. It was preserved among the writings of John Chrysostom and enjoyed considerable popularity in the Middle Ages, its Arian source unrecognized and made harder to spot by orthodox ‘corrections’ to the original text.

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