Was De Incarnatione Verbi Dei Athanasius’ defense in 337?

St. Athanasius, depicted with a book, an icono...

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Many scholars date Athanasius’ greatest work defending the Incarnation of Word of God to right after the Council of Nicaea. (You can read, and should read, the entire work.) Opening the letter, Athanasius writes,

In our former book we dealt fully enough with a few of the chief points about the heathen worship of idols, and how those false fears originally arose. We also, by God’s grace, briefly indicated that the Word of the Father is Himself divine, that all things that are owe their being to His will and power, and that it is through Him that the Father gives order to creation, by Him that all things are moved, and through Him that they receive their being. Now, Macarius, true lover of Christ, we must take a step further in the faith of our holy religion, and consider also the Word’s becoming Man and His divine Appearing in our midst. (1.)

Although most scholars date it this letter to this time, it may be that Athanasius was writing at a much later date than 326-328, perhaps as late at 337, the year in which a presbyter named Macarius  and several deacons traveled as deputies from the Eusebian Party to Rome to present the East’s case against Athanasius and Marcellus. (See Apol c. Arianos 22-24). It is possible that this letter was the response to Maracius which Athanasius sent, ultimately leading Macarius to feign illness and excuse himself from the case against Athanasius.

Could this treatise then be the defense offered by Athanasius in 337?

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Post By Joel Watts (10,113 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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