Man am I Behind (or catching up with episode docs).

With all due apologies, below are my notes for episode 46, episode 47, episode 48, and episode 50 (as 49 was a round of addressing questions and comments from listeners).

So, going with the oldest first, Episode 46, which was a continuation of episode 45, and touched on the question of St. Constantine’s conversion, I have but the note on the riot in Nicomedia from Lactantius.

The next day, the edict was published. lt commanded that throughout the whole Empire churches were to be destroyed, and sacred books handed over to be burnt. Christians in the public service were to be removed from their offices: in civil life the honestiores were to lose their important privileges of birth and status, and no Christian might act as accuser in cases of personal injury, adultery and theft. Christian slaves might no longer be freed. Only the lives of the sectaries were spared; otherwise they were to be outlaws.

As regards episode 47, Arianism from Newman to Vaggione, I have several items, largely from cardinal Newman and his The Arians of the Fourth Century (a book penned while still an Anglican).

From the date of this Council, Arianism was formed into a sect exterior to the Catholic Church; and, taking refuge among the Barbarian Invaders of the Empire, is merged among those external enemies of Christianity, whose history cannot be regarded as strictly ecclesiastical. Such is the general course of religious error; which rises within the sacred precincts, but in vain endeavours to take root in a soil uncongenial to it. The domination of heresy, however prolonged, is but one stage in its existence; it ever hastens to an end, and that end is the triumph of the Truth. “I myself have seen the ungodly in great power,” says the Psalmist, “and flourishing like a green bay tree; I went by, and lo, he was gone; I sought him, but his place could nowhere be found.” And so of the present perils, with which our branch of the Church is beset, as they bear a marked resemblance to those of the fourth century, so are the lessons, which we gain from that ancient time, especially cheering and edifying to Christians of the present day. Then as now, there was the prospect, and partly the presence in the Church, of an Heretical Power enthralling it, exerting a varied influence and a usurped claim in the appointment of her functionaries, and interfering with the management of her internal affairs. Now as then, “whosoever shall fall upon this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Meanwhile, we may take comfort in reflecting, that, though the present tyranny has more of insult, it has hitherto had less of scandal, than attended the ascendancy of Arianism; we may rejoice in the piety, prudence, and varied graces of our Spiritual Rulers; and may rest in the confidence, that, should the hand of Satan press us sore, our Athanasius and Basil will be given us in their destined season, to break the bonds of the Oppressor, and let the captives go free.

And to add to the long quote above, we have Newman’s thought that the Arian tendency to derogate Christ arose from a carnal, worldly (read, “anti-allegorical”), and Jewish reading of Holy Scripture.

I will not say that the Arian doctrine is the direct result of a Judaizing practice; but it deserves consideration whether· a tendency to derogate from the honour due to Christ was not created by an observance of the Jewish rites, and much more, by that carnal self-indulgent religion, which seems at that time to have prevailed among the rejected nation.

In Episode 48, An Heresiarch Like None Other, I actually have a lot (that is, almost the entire corpus of Arius).

First, from the historian Sozomenus:

Although, as we have shown, religion was in a flourishing condition at this period, yet the churches were disturbed by sore contentions; for under the pretext of piety and of seeking the more perfect discovery of God, certain questions were agitated, which had not, till then, been examined. Arius was the originator of these disputations. He was a presbyter of the church at Alexandria in Egypt, and was at first a zealous thinker about doctrine, and upheld the innovations of Melitius. Eventually, however, he abandoned this latter opinion, and was ordained deacon by Peter, bishop of Alexandria, who afterwards cast him out of the church, because when Peter anathematized the zealots of Melitius and rejected their baptism, Arius assailed him for these acts and could not be restrained in quietness. After the martyrdom of Peter, Arius asked forgiveness of Achillas, and was restored to his office as deacon, and afterwards elevated to the presbytery. Afterwards Alexander, also, held him in high repute, since he was a most expert logician; for it was said that he was not lacking in such knowledge. He fell into absurd discourses, so that he had the audacity to preach in the church what no one before him had ever suggested; namely, that the Son of God was made out of that which had no prior existence, that there was a period of time in which he existed not; that, as possessing free will, he was capable of vice and virtue, and that he was created and made: to these, many other similar assertions were added as he went forward into the arguments and the details of inquiry.

Next is Arius’s own words to Eusebius of Nicomedia.

That the Son is not unbegotten nor in any way a part of an Unbegotten. nor derived from some (alien) substratum, but that he exists by will and counsel before times and before ages, full of truth, and grace, God, Only-begotten, unaltering. And before he was begotten. or created or determined or established, he did not exist. For he was not unbegotten (or unoriginated).

Then his (and that of some others) confession to St. Alexander of Alexandria:

He who has begotten the only-begotten Son before aeonian times, through whom also he made the aeons and everything, who produced him not in appearance but in truth, giving him existence by his own will, unchangeable and unalterable, a perfect creature of God, but not like one of the creatures. a product, but not like one of the things produced, the product of the Father not as Valentinus laid down an issue, nor as Mani a consubstantial part of the Father. nor as Sabellius said, dividing the Monad, a ‘Sonfather’, nor, as Hieracas a light lit from a light or as a lamp (spread) into two. nor as one who existed before but was later made into a Son by begetting or creation . . . but, as we hold, created by the will of God before times and before aeons and having received life and being from the Father and various’ kinds of glory, since he gave him existence. alongside himself. For when the Father gave him the inheritance of everything he did not deprive himself of that which he possesses unoriginatedly in himself; for he is the source of all. Consequendy there are three existing realities. And God is the cause of them all for he is supremely sole without beginning, and the Son, having been begotten timelessly by the Father and created and established before aeons, did not exist before he was begotten. but, begotten timelessly before everything, alone has been given existence by the Father; for he is not eternal nor co-eternal nor co-unoriginated. with the Father, nor does he possess being parallel with the Father, as some say who rely on the argument from relations thereby introducing two unoriginated ultimate principles, but as the Monad and origin (apxi)) of everything, so God is prior to everything. Therefore he is also prior to the Son, as we have learnt from you (i.e. Alexander) when you were preaching in the midst of the church.

And lastly, Arius’s theological poem (here in prose), the Thalia.

God himself then, as he is, is inexpressible to all. He alone has none equal or like himself, none one-in-glory. We call him unbegotten, because of him who is begotten by nature. We praise him as without beginning because of him who has a beginning. And adore him as everlasting, because of him who in time has come to be. The one without beginning established the Son as a beginning of things created, and having engendered him bore him as his own son. He has nothing proper to God, as a real property. For he is not equal to, nor yet one-in-essence with, him.
Wise is God, for he is the teacher of Wisdom. This is a sufficient demonstration that God is invisible to all: he is invisible both to what is created through the Son and to the Son himself; I will say clearly, how the Invisible is seen by the Son– by that power by which God sees, and in his own measure, the son endures to see the Father, as is lawful.
Again there is a trinity not in equal glories, for their hypostases are not mixed with each other. In their glories, one is more glorious than the other in infinite measure. The Father is alien to the son in essence, for his is without beginning. Understand that the Monad always was, but the Dyad was not before it came to be.
It immediately follows that the Father is God, even when the Son does not exist. Hence the Son, not being (for he came to be by the eternal will), is the only-begotten God, and this one is other than both. Wisdom came to exist through Wisdom by the will of the wise God. Thus he is conceived in numberless conceptions: Spirit, Power, Wisdom, God’s glory, Truth, Image and Word. Understand that he is conceived to be Radiance and Light. The higher One is able to beget one equal to the Son; but one more excellent, or superior, or greater, he is not able.
At God’s will the Son is such as he is and as great as he is. From when and since when, from then he has subsisted from God. Being a strong God, he yet praises the Superior only partially. To speak in brief, God is inexpressible to the Son. For his is what he is to [in/for] himself, that is, unspeakable. So that no words expressing comprehension does the son know to speak, for it is impossible for him to search out the Father, who exists in himself. For the Son, he came into real existence by the will of the Father. What argument then allows, that he who is from the Father should know by comprehension the one who begot him?
For it is clear that one who has a beginning is not such as could conceive or lay hold of the one without beginning, as he is in himself.

And finally, from Episode 50, The Nicaean Crisis, Part 1 we have first the Confession of the Council of Antioch, and then second, an excerpt from the letter that St. Constantine wrote to the Church of Alexandria to “knock off” all the arguing and bickering about who out-heresied whom.

{We confess} one Lord Jesus Christ, only begotten Son, begotten not from that which is not but from the Father, not as made but as properly an offspring, but begotten in an ineffable, indescribable manner…who exists everlastingly and did not at one time not exist…but the Scriptures described Him as validly and truly begotten as Son so that we believe Him to be immutable and unchangeable, and that He was not begotten and did not come to be by volition or by adoption…. For He is the image, not of the will or of anything else, but of His Father’s very substance. And we anathematize those who say or think or preach that the Son of God is a creature or has come into being or has been made and is not truly begotten, or that there was when He was not…Furthermore, we anathematize those who suppose that He is immutable by His own act of will, just as those who derive His birth from that which is not, and deny that He is immutable in the way the Father is.

And from the pen of the Emperor

As long as you continue to contend about these small and very insignificant questions, I believe it indeed to be not merely unbecoming, but positively evil, that so large a portion of God’s people which belongs to your jurisdiction should be thus divided.


About Gary Cyril Jenkins

Professor of History
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