Archetypal Heresy: Arianism through the Centuries by Maurice Wiles

By Maurice Wiles

Arians within the 3rd century advert maintained that Jesus was once much less divine than God. considered as the archetypal Christian heresy, Arianism was once condemned within the Nicene Creed and it sounds as if squashed by way of the early church. much less renowned is the truth that fifteen centuries later, Arianism was once alive and good, championed through Isaac Newton and different scientists of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. This publication asks how and why Arianism endured.

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32 THE END OF ARIANISM they consciously recognized as Arian, and then refining it in new ways of their own. They did not look back to or claim to be being loyal to an earlier Arianism, as the Neoplatonists did to the teaching of Plato. To that degree the new designation needs to be used with caution, even though it may no longer carry with it the stigma that was intended when qualified Arian labels were given to the Homoiousians and the Pneumatomachians in the fourth century. But it was not long before all these groups and their varied forms of ‘Arian’ thought would disappear from the Eastern empire.

Eusebius was Bishop of the imperial see, which suggests the possibility that Constantius may have had some role in relation to Ulfila's mission all along. 123 Whether or not such a policy was already operative and played a part in the origination of Ulfila's mission, there can be no doubt about the attitude of the emperor at the time of Ulfila's expulsion. 124 It is highly unlikely that Constantius' interest in Ulfila at that stage would have been purely religious in motivation. Ulfila's expulsion from the scene of his missionary activities, whatever the precise reasons for it may have been, gave rise in practice (as with many subsequent missionaries) to the most important aspect of his life's work.

His extant works are few, and mostly in fragmentary form. The crucial ones for our purpose survive only in passages cited during the debate about his teaching occasioned by rival claims to his authority in the Arian controversy itself. With passages selected to serve that polemical purpose, their originally intended meaning is often open to dispute, but the general thrust of Dionysius' teaching can be determined with reasonable confidence. Dionysius was concerned about some people within his own area of jurisdiction who did not allow for any real distinction between the 49 De Princ .

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