Arius’s Thalia

Our assignment this week for the Church History Intro class is on Constantine, essentially. Of course, again, one my academic loves is this time period. There are heroes here, and villains. Athanasius, Marcellus, and Arius. You can decide which is which…

Anyway, this is part of Arius’ writings. Thought I might share.

From here,

We have reproduced William Bright’s text of On the Councils 15, (The Historical Writings of St. Athanasius according to the Benedictine Text, Oxford: Clarendon, 1881, pp. 259-60). When compared to Opitz’ more recent edition of the text, we found that our text varies only in punctuation, capitalization, and one variant reading (χρόνῳ for χρόνοις, line 5)

Αὐτὸς γοῦν ὁ Θεὸς καθό ἐστιν, ἄῤῥητος ἅπασιν ὑπάρχει.
Ἴσον, οὐδὲ ὅμοιον, οὐχ ὁμόδοξον ἔχει μόνος οὗτος.
Ἀγέννητον δὲ αὐτόν φαμεν διὰ τὸν τὴν φύσιν γεννητόν,
τοῦτον ἄναρχον ἀνυμνοῦμεν διὰ τὸν ἀρχὴν ἔχοντα,
ἀΐδιον δὲ αὐτὸν σέβομεν διὰ τὸν ἐν χρόνῷ γεγαότα.
1. …And so God Himself, as he really is, is inexpressible to all.
He alone has no equal, no one similar, and no one of the same glory.
We call him unbegotten, in contrast to him who by nature is begotten.
We praise him as without beginning in contrast to him who has a beginning.
We worship him as timeless, in contrast to him who in time has come to exist.
Ἀρχὴν τὸν Υἱὸν ἔθηκε τῶν γενητῶν ὁ ἄναρχος,
καὶ ἤνεγκεν εἰς Υἱὸν ἑαυτῷ τόνδε τεκνοποιήσας,
Ἴδιον οὐδὲν ἔχει τοῦ Θεοῦ καθ’ ὑπόστασιν ἰδιότητος·
οὐδὲ γάρ ἐστιν ἴσος, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ ὁμοούσιος αὐτῷ.
6. He who is without beginning made the Son a beginning of created things.
He produced him as a son for himself by begetting him.
He [the son] has none of the distinct characteristics of God’s own being
For he is not equal to, nor is he of the same being as him.
Σοφὸς δέ ἐστιν ὁ Θεός, ὅτι τῆς σοφίας διδάσκαλος αὐτός.
Ἱκανὴ δὲ ἀπόδειξις, ὅτι ὁ Θεὸς ἀόρατος ἅπασι,
τοῖς τε διὰ Υἱοῦ καὶ αὐτῷ τῷ Υἱῷ ἀόρατος ὁ αὐτός.
10. God is wise, for he himself is the teacher of Wisdom -
Sufficient proof that God is invisible to all:
He is is invisible both to things which were made through the Son, and also to the Son himself.
Ῥητῶς δὲ λέξω, πῶς τῷ Υἱῷ ὁρᾶται ὁ ἀόρατος,
Τῇ δυνάμει ᾗ δύναται ὁ Θεὸς ἰδεῖν ἰδίοις τε μέτροις
ὑπομένει ὁ Υἱὸς ἰδεῖν τὸν Πατέρα, ὡς θέμις ἐστίν.
13. I will say specifically how the invisible is seen by the Son:
by that power by which God is able to see, each according to his own measure,
the Son can bear to see the Father, as is determined
Ἤγουν Τριάς ἐστι δόξαις οὐχ ὁμοίαις·
ἀνεπίμικτοι ἑαυταῖς εἰσιν αἱ ὑποστάσεις αὐτῶν,
μία τῆς μιᾶς ἐνδοξοτέρα δόξαις ἐπ’ ἄπειρον.
Ξένος τοῦ Υἱοῦ κατ’ οὐσίαν ὁ Πατήρ, ὅτι ἄναρχος ὑπάρχει.
16. So there is a Triad, not in equal glories.
Their beings are not mixed together among themselves.
As far as their glories, one infinitely more glorious than the other.
The Father in his essence is foreign to the Son, because he exists without beginning.
Σύνες ὅτι ἡ μονὰς ἦν· ἡ δυὰς δὲ οὐκ ἦν, πρὶν ὑπάρξῃ.
Αὐτίκα γοῦν, Υἱοῦ μὴ ὄντος, ὁ Πατὴρ Θεός ἐστι.
Λοιπὸν ὁ Υἱὸς οὐκ ὢν (ὑπῆρξε δὲ θελήσει πατρῴᾳ),
μονογενὴς Θεός ἐστι, καὶ ἑκατέρων ἀλλότριος οὗτος.
20. Understand that the Monad [eternally] was; but the Dyad was not before it came into existence.
It immediately follows that, although the Son did not exist, the Father was still God.
Hence the Son, not being [eternal] came into existence by the Father’s will,
He is the Only-begotten God, and this one is alien from [all] others
[Williams suggests a section on the Holy Spirit may have been omitted here (p. 310).]
Ἡ Σοφία σοφία ὑπῆρξε σοφοῦ Θεοῦ θελήσει.
Ἐπινοεῖται γοῦν μυρίαις ὅσαις ἐπινοίαις Πνεῦμα,
δύναμις, σοφία, δόξα Θεοῦ, ἀλήθειά τε καὶ εἰκὼν καὶ Λόγος οὗτος.
Σύνες, ὅτι καὶ ἀπαύγασμα καὶ φῶς ἐπινοεῖται.
Ἴσον μὲν τοῦ Υἱοῦ γεννᾷν δυνατός ἐστιν ὁ κρείττων·
διαφορώτερον δὲ, ἢ κρείττονα, ἢ μείζονα, οὐχί.
Θεοῦ θελήσει ὁ Υἱὸς ἡλίκος καὶ ὅσος ἐστίν,
ἐξ ὅτε καὶ ἀφ’ οὗ, καὶ ἀπὸ τότε ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ὑπέστη,
ἰσχυρὸς Θεὸς ὢν, τὸν κρείττονα ἐκ μέρους ὑμνεῖ.
24. Wisdom came to be Wisdom by the will of the Wise God.
Hence he is conceived in innumerable aspects. He is Spirit,
Power, Wisdom, God’s glory, Truth, Image, and Word.
Understand that he is also conceived of as Radiance and Light.
The one who is superior is able to beget one equal to the Son,
But not someone more important, or superior, or greater.
At God’s will the Son has the greatness and qualities that he has.
His existence from when and from whom and from then — are all from God.
He, though strong God, praises in part his superior .
Συνελόντι εἰπεῖν τῷ Υἱῷ ὁ Θεὸς ἄρρητος ὑπάρχει,
ἔστι γὰρ ἑαυτῷ ὅ ἐστι, τοῦτ’ ἔστιν ἄλεκτος·
ὥστε οὐδὲν τῶν λεγομένων κατά τε κατάληψιν συνίει ἐξειπεῖν ὁ Υἱός.
Ἀδύνατα γὰρ αὐτῷ τὸν Πατέρα τε ἐξιχνιάσαι, ὅς ἐστιν ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῦ.
Αὐτὸς γὰρ ὁ Υἱὸς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ οὐσίαν οὐκ οἶδεν,
Υἱὸς γὰρ ὢν, θελήσει Πατρὸς ὑπῆρξεν ἀληθῶς.
33. In brief, God is inexpressible to the Son.
For he is in himself what he is, that is, indescribable,
So that the son does not comprehend any of these things or have the understanding to explain them.
For it is impossible for him to fathom the Father, who is by himself.
For the Son himself does not even know his own essence,
For being Son, his existence is most certainly at the will of the Father.
Τίς γοῦν λόγος συγχωρεῖ τὸν ἐκ Πατρὸς ὄντα
αὐτὸν τὸν γεννήσαντα γνῶναι ἐν καταλήψει;
δῆλον γὰρ, ὅτι τὸ ἀρχὴν ἔχον, τὸν ἄναρχον, ὡς ἔστιν,
ἐμπερινοῆσαι ἢ ἐμπεριδράξασθαι, οὐχ οἷόν τέ ἐστιν.
39. What reasoning allows, that he who is from the Father
should comprehend and know his own parent?
For clearly that which has a beginning is not able to conceive of
or grasp the existence of that which has no beginning.

Translation by AJW

To that, I simply refer to Ignatius (Ephesians 7.2)

There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both begotten and unbegotten; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first passible and then impassible, even Jesus Christ our Lord.

εἷς ἰατρός ἐστιν σαρκικός τε καὶ πνευματικός γεννητὸς καὶ ἀγέννητος ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ θεός ἐν θανάτῳ ζωὴ ἀληθινή καὶ ἐκ Μαρίας καὶ ἐκ θεοῦ πρῶτον παθητὸς καὶ τότε ἀπαθής Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν

Anyone else want to contend with Ignatius?

Post By Joel Watts (10,059 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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