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Full text of "The Letters of Saint Athanasius concerning the Holy Spirit"

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THE 

LETTERS OF SAINT ATHANASIUS 
CONCERNING THE HOLY SPIRIT 



Ob 




The Jitters of 
SAINT ATHANASIUS 

Concerning the Holy Spirit 



"Translated 

with Introduction and Notes 

by 

C.R.B. SHAPLAND 



London 



THE EPWORTH PRESS 



Published by 
THE EPWORTH PRESS 

(FRANK H. CUMBERS) 
25-35 City Road, London, E.C.i 



New York . Toronto 
Melbourne . Capetown 



All rights reserved 
Made in Great Britain 
First published in 1951 



PRINTED AND BOUND IN ENGLAND BY 

HAZELL WATSON AND VINEY LTD 

AYLESBURY AND LONDON 




To the 

Memory of 

MY FATHER 

R. H. B. Shapland 









v3(*//t 



ELL 



CONTEN 


TS 




Preface 




9 


Introduction 




ii 


i. The Letters 




ii 


ii. Date of the Letters 




16 


m. Who were the Tropici 


? 


18 


iv. Athanasius's Doctrine 


of the Holy Spirit 


34 


v. The Text 




43 


Table of Manuscripts 




48 


Synopsis of the Epistles 




5° 


Select Bibliography 




54 


Epistle I 




58 


Epistle II-III 




150 


Epistle IV 




179 


Index of Words and Subjects 




191 


Index of Names 




193 


Index of Patristic References 




l 95 


Index of Scripture References 




201 



PREFACE 



It is strange and sad that these letters of Athanasius on 
the Holy Spirit have had to wait so long for translation into 
English. They are indeed only the first and most important 
of a whole series of Patristic writings on the same subject 
which require the same service. I am very grateful to the 
Trustees of the Hort Memorial Fund for a generous grant 
which has helped to make possible this small contribution in 
a neglected field of study. 

I had hoped to prepare a text to go with the translation, but 
the task proved too great for my resources both in time and 
skill. It would indeed have been impertinent for me to try 
to anticipate a further stage in the great edition of the text 
of Athanasius which is being made under the sponsorship 
of the Kirchenvater-Kommission of the Prussian Academy. 
All students of Athanasius are looking forward to the com- 
pletion of this work; and all will desire to pay homage to 
Hans Georg Opitz, upon whose brilliant critical studies it 
is based and whose death in 1 94 1 deprived the editors of a 
most zealous and learned collaborator. 

The present work was completed and in the hands of the 
printers before the excellent French translation of these 
letters, by Professor Jules Lebon of Louvain University, 
appeared. It is gratifying to find my opinion on a 
number of points confirmed by so distinguished an author- 
ity. I cannot, however, agree with him when he maintains the 
unity of the fourth letter as it is contained in the Paris MSS. 
R and S. The arguments of Stuelcken and Opitz seem to me 
to be conclusive on this point. 

My indebtedness to those who have gone before me, 
notably to Newman and Robertson, will be obvious on 
every page of the introduction and commentary. Thanks are 
due to the authorities at many libraries both in this country 

9 



10 



PREFACE 



and on the Continent who have readily and courteously 
granted whatever facilities were asked of them. The Rev. 
H. G. Meecham, D.D., Principal of Hartley-Victoria College, 
Manchester, and other friends have helped with advice 
and suggestions. But, above all, two debts are outstanding. 
The first is to the Rev. R. Newton Flew, D.D., Principal of 
Wesley House, Cambridge, who first suggested this subject 
to me, without whose encouragement and criticism I could 
never have carried it through. The second I owe to the 
Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge, the Rev. W. Telfer, 
D.D.,who read the work upon its completion and made many 
helpful suggestions and criticisms. 

C. R. B. Shapland 



INTRODUCTION 



I. THE LETTERS 

In the Benedictine edition of Montfaucon, 1 the correspondence of 
Athanasius with Serapion concerning the Holy Spirit is arranged in 
four letters. There is every reason to believe that this is not the original 
form of the material. To begin with, the fourth letter, as Montfaucon 
gives it, clearly falls into two parts: 1—7, which is the final letter of this 
correspondence, and 8-23, which is an exposition of Matthew 1232 
and has no connexion with it at all. In uniting them, Montfaucon 
follows his usual authorities, the Paris MSS.R and S. But the collection 
of twenty-eight works, found in the BKA and UWL groups, preserves 
IV. 8-23 as a separate treatise; while 1—7 is not found in the collection 
at all. Even in RS a marginal note preserves what appears originally 
to have been a title to 8-23. Moreover, internal evidence confirms the 
independence of these chapters. No reference is found there to the 
controversy with the Tropici. It is the Arian blasphemy against the 
Son that forms the target for Athanasius's exposition. Indeed, nvev/ia 
dyiov in Matthew 12.t2 is taken to refer not to the Holy Spirit at all, 
but to the Godhead of Christ as opposed to His humanity. This is the 

i 1 Published at Paris in 1698, and reprinted with additions at Padua in 1777, 
and in Migne's Pat.Gr.(25-8). Among earlier editions and translations the 
following are noteworthy : 

Epistle I was the second of eight works translated by Omnibonus and published 
at Vicenza in 1482. The translation is slightly condensed. 

In his translation often works, published at Basle in 1527, Erasmus has III and 
IV, styled respectively I and II, ff.304 and 307 ; Quicunque dixerit (IV.8-23), 
f-400 ; and I, entitled simply de Spiritu Sancto, f.410. 

Peter Nannius, at Basle in 1556, prepared his own (highly inaccurate) translation 
of I and II, and for III and IV reproduced that of Erasmus. Ep. II is in Tom.l, 
297-302, after the anti-Arian works, under the title of : 'Compendium e superioribus 
descriptum contra eos qui dicunt Spiritum Sanctum creaturam esse'. I is in Tom.3, 
664-86 ; III and IV in Tom.4, 64-9. 

In the editio princeps, Commeliniana, of the Greek text, published at Heidelberg 
m 1600, under the editorship of Peter Felckmann, the inverted order of II and I is 
maintained, Tom.l, 338-44 and 344-71. Ill and IV are found in Tom.2, 20-9. 
The translations are taken from the edition of Nannius. 

The great Paris edition of 1627 is a reproduction of the Commelin. 

u 



12 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

more striking inasmuch as he has already, in 1.33 and III. 7, taken the 
words in the usual sense and applied the passage to the Tropici. We 
may safely conclude, therefore, that IV. 8-23 belongs to an earlier 
period in Athanasius's ministry. RS show abundant traces of literary 
editing; and no doubt the redactor responsible was led by the citation 
of Matthew 1 232 in these letters, together with the likeness between 
the opening of Ep. I and IV.8, to tack on 8-23 as a sort of appendix 
to the correspondence. 1 

A further problem arises with regard to the relation of I, II, and 
III. In the collection of twenty-eight works referred to above, I and 
II stand together, but III and IV are not included. These letters 
reach us through another collection, which Opitz calls the 'middle 
corpus'. As these collections can be traced back to the sixth and seventh 
centuries, and as the edition represented by RS is ultimately derived 
from them, it is obvious that this division is very ancient. 3 There is 
other evidence to show that I and II were, at an early date, closely 
connected. Severus of Antioch, c. Impium Grammaticum, fr.l68B, 
quotes from II. 8 as though it belonged to the first letter; and the two 
are counted as one work in the Armenian corpus. 4 Moreover, the title 
of II in RS is found in the margin of B, which would suggest that it 
existed first as a marginal gloss. But when we come to examine the 
contents of the letters, it is obvious that II is far more closely con- 
nected with III than with I. In answer to a request from Serapion, 
Athanasius promises (II.l) that he will abridge the contents of I. 
Instead, however, he goes on to give a statement of the doctrine of the 
Son. Now the explicit reference to the Spirit in II.l makes it certain 
that Athanasius is referring to the preceding letter, and not, as Felck- 
mann supposed, to c. drianos, I— III. In any case, II is not a summary 
of that work or of any other. In III.l he explains why he has begun 
by giving an account of the Son, and goes on to make the promised 

l a See Stuelcken, Athanasiana, pp.59-60. He also notes the following points : the 
doxology at the end of IV.7(189) suggests the formal conclusion of the letter; the 
reference to the Gospels and Psalms in IV.23, from which Tillemont inferred a 
connexion between this work and the ad Marcellinum ; the 'pathetic' style in which 
Athanasius writes, as contrasted with the more robust and forceful character of 
these letters ; the respectful attitude to Origin and Theognostus in 9-1 1 which 
suggests an early date. In the present work we shall henceforward refer to IV.8-23 as 
'Quicdix', 1-16. 

Note. — The bold figures refer to page numbers in this book ; thus IV.7(189) = 
Fourth Letter, paragraph 7, page 189. 

3 See Opitz, Untersuchungen. * ibid.173. 



INTRODUCTION 13 

abridgement of Ep. I. Thus III.l takes up the promise made at the 
beginning of II. The conclusion of II, moreover, is very abrupt, and 
there is no doxology. As Montfaucon saw, 6 this makes it very probable 
that originally II and III were one letter containing a brief 
statement of Athanasius's teaching on the Trinity. But as II 
formed by itself a short and self-contained exposition of the 
Sftoovcnov it was detached from III (which adds nothing at all to 
the contents of I) and incorporated with I in the collection 
of twenty-eight works. 

Thus the correspondence originally consisted of three letters. In the 
first, Athanasius takes cognizance of the new heresy and answers its 
arguments as Serapion has described them. He deals firstly with the 
passages of Scripture to which they appeal, notably Amos 4i3 and 
1 Timothy 521 (3—14). He then turns to an argument based on the 
relationship of the three divine Persons. If the Spirit proceeds from 
the Father, He must be the Son's brother. If He belongs to the 
Son, the Father is His grandfather. Turning to the alternative, that 
the Spirit is a creature, he shows that the ministry and operation of 
the Godhead is one, hence the Godhead Himself must be one 
(15-21). There follows an examination of Scripture to show that 
the Spirit belongs to God and not to the creatures (21-7). The 
letter ends with an appeal to tradition (28), a discussion of the 
consequences for faith of regarding God as dyad rather than as 
Triad (29-30), and further texts. 

II— III is designed for a wider purpose than that suggested to 
Athanasius by Serapion. II. 1—9 contains a summary of the doctrine of 
the Son, using the same arguments applied in I to the Spirit, and with 
an exposition of the 6/xoovaiov (3), and of Proverbs 822 and of Mark 
1332. III. 1-7 is a summary of 1.22-33. 

In III, Athanasius makes no allusion to the argument of the Tro- 
pici outlined and answered in 1.15-21. Serapion, in announcing the 
persistence of the heresy, draws his attention to this omission, and 
Athanasius remedies it by writing IV. 1-7, which is, however, an 
independent work rather than a summary of the corresponding 
section in I. 

The authenticity of these letters has not been disputed by any 
modern student of Athanasius. Erasmus, however, in his translation, 
treats III and IV only as genuine. He adds a version of I as a kind of 
appendix to the other works, with the following comment: 
i 6 Migne, P<rf.0.26.526-7. 



14 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

Salvo et integro doctorum iudicio, ego censeo hoc opus esse hominis 
otiosi, nulloque ingenio praediti, qui voluerit imitari divi Athanasii 
libellos ad Serapionem. Hie mira congeries locorum et rationum confusio, 
molestissimaque semel dictorum iteratio. 

He adds a further note at the conclusion to the effect that I is followed 
in the MS. by another libellus: i eiusdem phraseos, quern piguit vertere.' 
Such hasty and subjective criticism was characteristic of Erasmus. We 
may compare his rejection of the conclusion of Basil's de Spiritu 
Sancto. In this case he receives a merited castigation from Montfaucon." 
That the style of these letters is heavier and less attractive than that of 
Athanasius's best works will readily be admitted. But it must be 
remembered that it was written under very difficult circumstances, 
and that the writer himself regards it as needing correction and polish. 
Parts of it are little more than a series of Scriptural quotations. As 
Montfaucon says, to complain of a stiff and heavy style in the handling 
of such material, l idipsum sit quod nodum in scirpo quaerere\ If further 
proof is needed, the reader is referred to the notes, which illustrate at 
many points the close connexion in thought and language between 
these letters and the other works of Athanasius. 

Apart from isolated references in later works, 8 we cannot be certain 
that Athanasius ever wrote anything further on the doctrine of the 
Spirit. Few genuine works survive from the last decade of his ministry. 
Had we, for instance, his correspondence with Basil, the story might be 
different. As it is, two works which Montfaucon thinks genuine 
and dates after 362 fall to be considered. The de Incarnatione et contra 
Arianos deals with the Godhead of the Spirit, 9-10 and 13-19; and 
the de Trinitate et Spiritu Sancto, which survives only in Latin, is 
chiefly a series of proof texts in support of that doctrine. The two 
works are closely connected; without being a transcript, one of them is 
clearly dependent upon the other. 8 The de Inc. et c. Ar. is attested by 

l« Praef.uA. 7 cf. 1.1 (61). 8 e.g. ad Ant.3, ad JovA, ad Afros, 1 1 . 

» cf. de Incet r.^r.9,998c-10,1000B with de Trin.et Sp.S. 19, 1213A-B ; 1000c- 
1001b with 16,1207c-1208b ; 13,1005b-c with 11,1201c-1202a ; 1005c with 
12,1202b ; 14,1008c-1009a with 5,1195b-c ; 15,1009a-b with 17,1210c- 
18,1210c ; 17,1011c-1013a with 9,1199b ; and 1013a-18,1016a with 10,1200b- 
11, 1201b (an exact transcript). Stuelcken, pp.63-4, is probably right in thinking 
that the de Incet c.Ar. is more likely to be dependent on de Trin.et Sp.S. than 
vice versa. The writer of the former work quarries parts of the latter, interfering 
with the order, abbreviating, and occasionally introducing lections or comments 
of his own. The arrangement of the material is less coherent and satisfactory than in 
de Trin.et Sp.S. 



INTRODUCTION 15 

Theodoret, Dialogus II, and by Gelasius, de Duabus Naturis, but 
there are serious objections to its authenticity. 10 The external evidence 
for de Trin. et Sp. S. is not good. It is found in two Paris MSS., tacked 
on to a Latin confession of faith which is itself an appendix to eight 
Libelli de Trinitate, bearing the name of Athanasius, but being in fact 
Latin works credited by Montfaucon to one Idatius, and by others to 
Vigilius Tapsensis. 11 On the other hand, it is certainly from the Greek, 
and it must be earlier than 380. 12 The opening section is very close to 
the beginning of ad Ser. I, as far as language goes, and 2-5 have 
affinities with 1.13-14. As far as we can judge from the indifferent 
rendering, the style has something of Athanasius's vigour, and some 
characteristic turns of phrase are to be found. 13 But the impression 
made by a study of both the works is that their exegesis of passages 
relating to the Spirit belongs with that of Didymus rather than with the 
exegesis we find in these letters. It is not merely that we find passages 
such as Acts 53-4, 13i-4, Matthew 1228 and Luke 1 120 used as they are 
used in his de Spiritu Sancto. 1 ' The characteristic Athanasian approach 
to the doctrine of the Spirit through that of the Son is abandoned, 
and we have an exposition that correlates in great detail the attributes 
and activities of all three Persons. 16 It is, of course, not impossible 
that Athanasius should have anticipated these later developments; 
not impossible that he should have advanced to the use of ngdaconov 

I 10 See Bright, Later Treatises, pp. 143-5, Hoss, pp. 127-8, and Stuelcken, 
pp.61-6. The objection to the exegesis of Proverbs 822 in 6 is peculiarly strong. 
Athanasius does indeed modify his interpretations, but always to gain some con- 
troversial advantage. That he should go out of his way to offer so drastic a modifica- 
tion of an exegesis so often presented is unthinkable. See on 11.7(162). Moreover, if 
the authenticity of the earlier sections of de Inc.et c.Ar. be allowed, it is hard to 
resist Stuelcken 's conclusion that the paragraphs 9-19 form no part of the original 
work. The unity and authenticity of the book are, however, defended by Weigl, 
Vntersuchungen zur Christologie, pp.150-8. 

11 See Migne, Pat.Gr.28, 1433, etc. 

12 (a) The de Inc.et c.Ar. is allowed by Bright and Stuelcken to be early. (6) Al- 
though directed against Pneumatomachi who were orthodox on the Son, the term 
'Macedonians' is not used. See Intro.III(22-5). (c) Ambrose is dependent upon this 
work in his de Sp.S. cf. ibid.1.23 and de Trin. et Sp.S. 1 ; 95 and 17 ; 140 and 
18 ; 149-50 and 19 ; 11.34 and 8 ; 11.50 and 20 ; 111.14 and 21. Ambrose was 
certainly acquainted with the Quic.dix. (cf. ibid.1.47), but there is no conclusive 
evidence that he knew these letters. His de Sp.S. is usually dated early in 381. 

u e.g. 'Aut si audieritis . . .', 4 ; 'impium, vel in sensum subire', 8; 'plane mirabiW, 
10. 
14 de Trin. etSp.S. 12 and de Sp.S.18 ; 10 fin. and 23 ; 21 and 20. 
u cf. especially de Trin.et Sp.S. 10-12. 



16 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

in a sense approximate to that of the Latin persona}* The question can 
only be settled after a thorough study of the work. Until then the 
verdict of Robertson 17 and Stuelcken 18 must stand and the de Trin. et 
Sp. S. be regarded as one of the 'dubta 1 . 

II. DATE OF THE LETTERS 

The beginning, at least, of this correspondence falls within the third 
exile of Athanasius, between February 356 and the death of Con- 
stantius, November 361. If, as is almost certain, Patrophilus is referred 
to in IV.7, then that letter was probably written not much later than 
the spring of 36 1. 1 

From Epiphanius, Haer. lxxiii.26, we learn that one Ptolemaeus 
was present at Seleucia in 359 as bishop of Thmuis. Were we entitled 
to assume from this that Serapion was by this time dead, the problem 
of dating these letters would be easier. But it is no less likely that he had 
been exiled or merely deprived. Moreover, there is some evidence to 
show that he was alive after this date. In ^.Leontius, adv. Fraudes 
Jpollinaristarum, there is a fragment of a letter from Apollinarius to 
Serapion commending a communication sent by Athanasius to Corinth 
on the Christological question. This can only refer to ad Epictetum. 
Unfortunately the date of this work is doubtful. Raven 2 puts it as early 
as 360 or 361, Robertson 3 in 364, and Lietzmann in 370. 4 But even if 
Raven be right, and the statements in ad Epictetum 1 answer to the 
account of the Council of Ariminum given in de Syn., Serapion cannot 
have been dead by the autumn of 359. As it is, the evidence we have 
points to a later rather than an earlier date in the exile. 

(i) Athanasius was in the desert, eagerly sought for by his enemies 
(1.1). Apparently Athanasius did not really retire from Alexandria 
until late in 358. The Festal Index speaks of him as concealed in the 
city during 357-8. In the late summer of the latter year feeling was 
running so high against the Arians that George was ejected, and the 
Orthodox actually regained possession of the churches for a few weeks. 

I M cf. de Tr.et Sp.S.U, 'ex persona Patris', etc. But cf. de lnc.ct c.Ar2, where the 
use approximates more closely to that of Athanasius in de Dec.lA and c.Ar.1.54. 

17 Intro.lxiv. ,8 Athanasiana, p.76. 

n 1 See on IV.7(188). Montfaucon puts the letters in 358 ; Le Bachelet in the 
following year, 'contemporaneous with the Orations' ; Swete, 'probably near the 
end of 359'; Robertson in the same year, though with less assurance. He thinks that 
de Syn. may have been written first. Loofs thinks that Ep. I may be as late as the 
summer of 361 ('Macedonianism,' E.R.E.). 

* Apollinarianism, pp. 103-7. * in for. and Intro.bnV. 4 Apollinaris, p.279. 



INTRODUCTION 17 

Then the attitude of the authorities stiffened, and in December 
Sebastian entered Alexandria. The Fest. Ind. (xxxii) speaks of a search 
for Athanasius conducted by Artemius in 359-60. We know that his 
inquiries extended as far as Tabenne. 6 It seems most likely that 
Athanasius is here referring to his activities. 

(ii) Athanasius does not need to add anything to what he has already 
written against the Arians (1.2). This must mean that c. Jr. I— III 
had already been written and circulated. If this work is to be assigned 
to the third exile, as the older commentators thought, we have an addi- 
tional reason for putting back the date of these letters. But Stuelcken 
(pp. 46-50) has given very cogent reasons for putting their composi- 
tion much earlier, and Loofs would put it back perhaps as far as 338.* 
But, even so, the literary output of the first two years of the exile, 
bearing in mind the circumstances, was very considerable,' and makes 
it less likely that these letters were started before the second half of 358. 

(iii) The letters are written against certain persons who had left the 
Arians. It is not stated when this defection occurred, and changes of 
side were frequent throughout the whole period. But it is at least 
plausible to assume that it had taken place no long time before Sera- 
pion wrote to Athanasius. Such a movement away from Arianism 
is best connected with the reaction against George's misrule in 
September-October 358. 

(iv) The mention of the 'Eunomii' in IV.5 points in the same 
direction. During his visit to Alexandria, 356-8, Eunomius appears 
to have occupied a very subordinate position as Aetius' secretary. 8 It 
was only later, after his departure to Antioch, that he came to the 
front as an Anomoean leader. 

(v) Finally, we have to consider the relation between these letters 
and the de Synodis. The emphasis upon the personal subsistence of 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in 1.28; the stringent qualification of 
ofioiog in 1 1.3 init.; and the interpretation given to the dfioovaiov 
there, suggesting the equality rather than the unity of the three 
Persons: these points suggest that the mind of Athanasius was already 
responding to the impulse that inspired the de Synodis. The reference 

II 5 See Vita Pachomii, 88. 6 'Athanasius', H.R.E.U.2Q0. 

7 Ad Episcopos, 356 ; de Fuga and Ap.ad Constantium, 357 ; Historia Arianorum, 
357-8. There is also the refutation of Arianism mentioned in ad Monachos I and 
de Morte Arii, which Felckmann identified with ad Ser.ll, besides a number of 
letters. 

8 See J5.C.B.II.287. 

S.A. — 2 



18 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

to Eudoxius Acacius and Patrophilus in IV. 6 and 7 also suggests a 
parallel with that work, for these three names are equally prominent 
there. This does not, of course, mean that these letters necessarily 
follow the de Synodis. Nor can we be certain at what date Athanasius 
became aware of the possibility of a rapprochement with Basil of 
Ancyra and the rest. But it certainly suggests that no long time 
separates them. 

We therefore conclude that the letters can scarcely have been begun 
before the summer of 358; that much of the evidence leads us to put 
them several months later in 359 or early in 360. It is less likely that 
they were written at any later date. It does not seem possible to reach a 
more definite conclusion. 

III. WHO WERE THE TROPICI ? 

As Athanasius observes at the beginning of these letters (1.2), the 
Arian doctrine of the Son necessarily involves that the Spirit is a 
creature. If the Son differs in essence from the Father, so likewise must 
the Spirit. If the Second Person in the Trinity had a beginning, how 
much more the Third ! If the Son is capable of moral progress and de- 
clension, then the Spirit also is holy, not by nature and essence, but 
by grace. 

Yet the issue was not debated in the earlier stages of the contro- 
versy. The Creed of Nicaea stopped abruptly at the words: 'and in the 
Holy Spirit.' How far Arius himself took account of the Spirit in his 
doctrine is doubtful. The indications are that he only treated the sub- 
ject incidentally. 1 His silence, if silence it was, need not be attributed 
to policy. 8 Arianism only followed the line of development taken by 
Monarchianism. It was inevitable that the new heresy should first be 
formulated in terms of the Son of God, and that the controversy 
should spend its first strength about that centre. 

But the issue could not indefinitely be avoided. Moreover, the first 
half of the fourth century saw a revival of interest in the office and 
work of the Spirit, which, under the influence of asceticism, began to 
recover from the neglect into which the development of the Logos doc- 
trine in the second century had brought it. 8 The first stirrings of this 
revival can already be noticed in Methodius 4 ; further evidence comes 

in 1 cf. c.Ar.1.6 and de SynAS, and Harnack, HJD.IV.X9. 

1 As Swete attributes it (H.S.J.C.165). 

» cf. Harnack, ibid.lOS, and see note on 1.9(82). 

« e.g. CotFv.iu.8. See Swete, op.cit.147 etc. 



INTRODUCTION 19 

later in the synodal pronouncements of the period and in the Catechet- 
ical Lectures of Cyril of Jerusalem. 6 Both creeds and lectures were 
predominantly the work of Conservatives, and we observe in them a 
clear and deliberate attempt to avoid any inquiry into the Spirit's 
Person and origin. But the emphasis laid upon His teaching and 
sanctifying ministry must have stimulated more interest in His Person 
than Cyril's admonitions suppressed. How soon Arian propaganda 
turned its attention to the subject we cannot say. There are some 
indications that Asterius touched on it.* Certainly, when writing 
these letters, Athanasius takes it for granted that both Homoeans and 
Anomoeans call the Spirit a creature.' 

But it may well have been that the first shots in the engagement 
were fired from the Nicene camp. Marcellus not only brought the 
Spirit within the scope of his theological system, 8 but developed a 
doctrine of His double procession, from the Son as well as from the 
Father; and used it to prove that the Father and the Word cannot 
eternally be two hypostases." Eusebius tries to refute him by showing: 
firstly, that John 1 526 etc. refer only to the mission and not to the pro- 
cession of the Spirit; secondly, that the same Gospel clearly asserts the 
hypostasis of the Spirit; thirdly, that the Spirit is in fact the creature 

III 6 The text of these creeds is preserved in de Svb.21-30. For comment upon them, 
see Harnack, H.ZJ.IV.l 11-12 and Swete, op.cit.166-9. For the reticence of Cyril, 
cf. Cat. xvi.2, 5, 24. There is, however, no trace of subordinationism in his teaching. 
The Spirit receives honour with the Father and the Son (Cor.iv.16). 

6 See note on 1.2(64). 

7 There is little evidence to go upon, but the following facts have significance. 
In 356, or a little later, Lucifer of Cagliari, in his de Regibus Apostaticis (Migne, 
Pat.L.l3,807D), charges Constantius with believing that the Spirit is from nothing. 
The same charge is made against the Arians by Athanasius himself, c.Ar.lllAS. 
The date of c.Ar.l-lll is uncertain, but the references to Constantius in 1. 10 and 
111.28 make it sure that, whenever it was written, the work was either issued or 
reissued after 356. In 362 the Council of Alexandria anathematized those 'who say 
that the Holy Spirit is a creature and separate from the essence of Christ. For this is 
in truth a complete renunciation of the abominable heresy of the Arians, to refuse 
to divide the holy Triad or to say that any part of it is a creature' (T.ad Ant.S) . To 
the same period, possibly a little earlier, belongs the eighth epistle of Basil, which 
was written against those who believe the Son and the Spirit to be creatures. The 
doctrine of the Council of Alexandria is insisted upon by Apollinarius in a letter 
which was almost contemporary with it (among the correspondence of Basil, Ep. 
ccclxiv). In his Liber Apologeticus, written very little later, Eunomius specifically 
declares the Spirit to be a creature (25). 

8 See Basil, £/.cclxiii. According to Theodoret, Fab.Haer.ll.18, he calls the 
Spirit naqixiaaiv ttjq ixrdaews. See Harnack, H.D.IV.112, note 1. 

» Eusebius, Ecc.Thcol.\l\.4S. See on 1.2(64). 



20 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

of the Son. For this last point he reproduces Origen's exegesis of 
John 13 from his Commentary (11.10). It was perhaps inevitable that 
this particular exposition should be brought out at some stage of the 
controversy. But it was none the less disastrous, and it is an indication 
of the mediocrity of Eusebius's mind. Not only does he ignore the 
hesitation and reserve with which Origen offers this interpretation, 10 
he wrenches it out of its proper context in the subtly balanced 
theology of that great thinker, wherein the Word — and, by 
implication, the Spirit — mediates between God and His crea- 
tion. 11 Worst of all, he hurls it into a controversy which could 
never have arisen at all had not the system of Origen been thrown 
over and a line drawn between God and the creature such as he 
never drew. 12 To him yevr]x6v, as applied to the Spirit, indicates 
origination, dependence, distinction. 13 To Arius and Athanasius it 
signifies 'otherness'. 

What consequences had this passage of arms in the subsequent 
course of events? It may well explain Athanasius's bitter reference to 

III 10 'In passing through the mind of Eusebius, Origen's conjectures have become 
dogmas,' Swete, op.cit.197. 

11 For the Son, cf. de Prin.l.ivA : 'in hac igitur Sapitntia, quae semper erat cum 
Patre, descripta semper inerat ac formala conditio, et numquam erat quando eorum 
quaefutura erant, praefiguratio apud Sapientiam non erat.' He does not develop this 
idea in relation to the Spirit. But His mediation is suggested, in ^oA.XIII^S, where 
it is said that the Father exceeds the Son and Spirit in glory as much as they exceed 
the rest. The truth is that there is no place for the Spirit in Origen's theology. He is 
compelled by the tradition to include Him, but he cannot relate Him to the whole 
with the confidence he shows in dealing with the Word. He finds in Him the same 
twofold character as in the Son : one with God {de Prin.l.ui.2), essentially holy 
{in Num.X1.8), of a nature which is eternal and uncreate {de fVin.IV.iv.8); and yet 
apparently originated as the creatures (t6idM.praef.4), strictly subordinated to the 
Father and Son {ibid, fr.9, in JoA.ll.lO; but ngea^vTSQog in the latter passage, as 
Harnack notes, is logical and not temporal), and limited in the sphere of His 
operation {de Prin.I.iii.5-7). But whereas this two-sidedness in the case of the Logos 
serves a definite purpose in the doctrine, the Spirit hovers vaguely and confusedly 
between the creatures and the Son. See Harnack's excellent summary, H.D.ll.357-9. 

a See Robertson, Intxo.xxvii, Harnack, H.D.IV.28. 

u yevrjrov, from John Is and as opposed to ayewrjzov. There is significance for 
Origen in the fact that the Spirit is not called xria/ia or nolrjfta in the Scriptures, 
{de Prin.l.iii.3) . Yet the Son is xrlofia, from Proverbs 822! It is clear that the origina- 
tion of the Spirit does not, in the eyes of Origen, make Him more of a creature than 
the Son. Yet it is true to say, with Harnack, loc.cit. : 'The idea of createdness was 
already more closely associated with the Holy Spirit than with the Logos.' Firstly, 
in that His yheaig is through the Son; and secondly, in that He does not stand in 
any creative, or indeed truly mediatorial, relation to the creatures. 



INTRODUCTION 21 

'the Eusebii' in IV.6. He probably knew the Ecc.TheolM; and personal 
considerations disposed him to see Eusebius as an angel of darkness 
rather than as a muddle-headed old man. Hereafter, we shall discover 
reasons for thinking that the theology of Marcellus influenced him, 
albeit negatively. Conservative opinion in the East must have been 
scandalized and alarmed by Marcellus's views upon the Spirit 
scarcely less than by his doctrine of the Son. But probably the incident 
is significant as symptom rather than as cause. After all, there is no 
reason to think that the generality of the bishops were theologically 
less obtuse than Eusebius. Loofs, indeed, fails to make sufficient allow- 
ance for the complexities of the case when he speaks of the Mace- 
donian doctrine as 'the old tradition unaffected by Nicaea'. 1 * By 
'tradition' he can only mean the doctrine of Origen; and this, as we 
have seen already, was really a tension of opposites only capable of re- 
conciliation within its own theological framework. There are signs 
that Theognostus and Pierius modified it in the direction afterwards 
taken by the Macedonians. 16 But it is no less probable, as far as the 
scanty evidence goes, that (as with the doctrine of the Son) other im- 
pulses were drawing it in an opposite direction. At any rate, the insis- 
tence on the eternity and uncreatedness of the Spirit in the Confession 
of Gregory Thaumaturgus and in the Origenistic tract de Recta 
Fide" is of interest. Significant too in this connexion is the fact that 
Basil, self-confessed disciple of Gregory," writing in 360, at a time 
when he could hardly have been influenced by these letters, finds no 
difficulty in extending the 6/.ioovaiov to the Spirit. 1 ' But, none the 
less, as the hypostasis of the Spirit gained universal and conscious 
acceptance, 10 and men were forced to think of Him as a Person in per- 
sonal relation with the Father and the Son, there must have been 
many who found it easier to regard Him as a creature possessed of 
unique dignity and power, or as an intermediate being, neither God 
nor creature. And, no doubt, there were many more who preferred to 
shelve the whole business and say nothing at all. All three strands of 
opinion were probably represented in 'Macedonianism'. 

That movement itself is something of a mystery. In 358 there 

Hi" See on 1.9(83). 16 'Macedonius,' H.R.E.XUAI-&. 

11 At any rate, Photius singles out their teaching upon the Spirit for special 
condemnation, even though he allows that Pierius taught piously concerning the 
Father and the Son. See Harnack, H.D.Ul.95-7. 

" See Swete, op.cit.UB. " See £/.cciv and de Sp.S.74. " £/>.viii.l0. 

so cf. Origen, in JoA.ll.lO. Hesitation on the point persisted in some quarters, 
otherwise orthodox, until 380. See Gregory Nazianzen, Orar.xxxi.5. 



22 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



emerges, in opposition to the avowed Arianism of Ursacius and Valens 
at Sirmium, a group of Conservative bishops headed by Basil of 
Ancyra, which includes Macedonius of Constantinople and Eusta- 
thius of Sebaste. Successful at first in securing general support both 
from the Eastern bishops and from the Court, they obtain the exile of 
Homoean and Anomoean leaders. Both Athanasius and Hilary greet 
this new development with sympathy. But in the following year Basil 
shows himself incapable of offering any real opposition to the intrigues 
of the Homoeans. He and his friends compromise themselves at 
Sirmium and are outmanoeuvred at Seleucia. In January 360, the 
triumphant Acacius and Eudoxius secured the deposition of all the 
leaders by a Council held at Constantinople. The theological charac- 
teristic of this group was the use of the term Sfioiovoiot; to de- 
scribe the relation of the Father and the Son. 21 Epiphanius credits them 
with an open and avowed denial of the Godhead of the Spirit, 22 but the 
documents he cites nowhere bear this out. 

Twenty years later, at the Council of Constantinople, we find a 
party of thirty-six recalcitrant bishops who refused to reaffirm the 
Creed of Nicaea and the Godhead of the Spirit. 28 Their leader was 
Eleusius, who had been appointed bishop of Cyzicus by Macedonius 
and shared in 360 the latter's fate. The Council anathematized them 
as 'Semiarians or Pneumatomachi'. 21 Damasus of Rome, in an almost 
contemporary pronouncement, 15 refers to them as 'Macedonians'. 
Under that name they continued to exist as a separate sect, at least up 
to the middle of the next century, in Constantinople and Pontus. 
What connexion is there between this Macedonian sect and the group 
of Conservatives assembled round Basil in 358—60? There must be a 
connexion. Epiphanius 2 * calls Basil and the rest 'Semiarians', and, as 
we have seen, it was under this name that the thirty-six were con- 

m 11 Socrates, H.£.II.4S, says that they did not distinctly assert the 6/ioiovoiov 
until after 360, but the term is discussed by Athanasius (de SynAX) and by Hilary 
(de Syn.72, etc.). 

"Haer.lxxm.X. 

28 Socrates (H.E.V.8) suggests that the 6/ioovotov rather than the Godhead of 
the Spirit was the immediate cause of their leaving the Council. 

24 Swete (o/.a'M85) is mistaken in supposing that this refers to the Homoeans. 
They had already been anathematized as 'Arians or Eudoxians'. This threefold 
division of heresy was maintained by later writers. Loofs collects the evidence in his 
article, 'Macedonians', kit., E.R.E.Vlll. 

n Synodical Letter to Paulinus. A Greek translation is to be found in Theodoret, 
ff.£.V.ll. It is variously dated 380-4. 

26 Haer.ham. 



INTRODUCTION 23 

demned at Constantinople. Again, it is clear that these Macedonians 
confessed the 6[ioi6vaiov in preference to the o/noovaiov." 
Socrates and Sozomen also link the two movements together through 
Macedonius. They assert that, following his deposition, he organized 
the supporters of the displaced bishops into a party whose doctrinal 
differentiae were : the Lucianic Creed, the 6/uoiovoiov, and a 
refusal to acknowledge the Godhead of the Spirit. 28 According to these 
writers, previous to his deposition Macedonius had been associated 
with Acacius and Eudoxius. These statements are open to grave objec- 
tions. All the evidence suggests that from 358 Macedonius had been a 
supporter of Basil of Ancyra. 29 Although Sozomen says that the term 
'Macedonian' came into general use during the reign of Julian, 80 we 
find no record of it before 380, and then chiefly in Constantinopolitan 
writers or in writers who are likely to depend for their information 
upon Constantinopolitan sources. 31 Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, 
who both wrote against the Pneumatomachi, never use it; and neither 
does Epiphanius. The evidence of Didymus is of particular significance. 
In his earlier work, de Spiritu Sancto, which falls between 370 and 
380, he never uses the term. But in the de Trinitate, dated circa 392, 
he expressly writes against the Macedonians, and makes many refer- 

III 27 See Didymus, de 7Wh.I.437a, and ^j.Athanasius, dial, de Trra.III.1,16. 
Loofs in his earlier work, in H.R.E '.XII (see also his Eustathius -von Sebaste), doubts 
how far the Macedonians were committed to the ofioiovaiov. But he modified his 
views later. See Article, E.R.E.Yttl. 

28 Socrates (H.E.11A5) is very clear that the position they took up with regard 
to the Spirit was negative. Macedonius 'declined to include the Holy Spirit in the 
Godhead of the Triad'. And to Eustathius he attributes the words: 'I would rather 
not give the Holy Spirit the name of God, and I would not dare to call Him a 
creature.' Sozomen (H.E.IV.27) adds certain details which may well have been 
drawn from later Macedonian writings, and says that Macedonius 'affirmed that 
the Holy Spirit is inferior in dignity, and designated Him a minister and a servant, 
and applied to Him whatever could be said without error of the holy angels'. See 
also the vague statement in Theodoret (H.E. 11.6). It is possible that all these accounts 
go back, through Socrates, to Rufinus, who says simply^.f.I^S) that Macedonius 
was appointed by the Arians: 'quia similem Patri Filium fatebatur, licet Spiritum 
Sanctum aeque ut illi blasphemaret.' Rufinus in his turn may be indebted to Jerome, 
who, when translating and supplementing the H.E. of Eusebius at Constantinople 
in 380, makes reference to Macedonius 'a quo nunc kaeresis Macedonian*' . 

29 cf. Epiphanius, ff<z*r.bcriii.23 and 27 ; Socrates, ff.£.II.40 ; Sozomen, H.E.1V. 
13 and 22 ; Philostorgius, Epitome, IV.9 and VIII.17. 

20 Sozomen, H.E.W.U. 

31 The evidence is collected by Loofs (Article, fl r .fJ.£.XII.41). See also A. M. 
Merenda, Migne, Pat.L.13, 108-9. 



24 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

ences to them and to their opinions. It is indeed these references which 
constitute the only cogent evidence in support of the statements of 
Socrates and Sozomen. But it is by no means certain that Didymus 
had any authoritative information about the genesis of Macedonian- 
ism. He certainly had before him a Macedonian dialogue, perhaps the 
same as that known to the author of /tf.Athanasius, c . Macedonianum, 
I. 32 But there is little to show that he was able to supplement it from 
any other source than hearsay. He does indeed know that Mace- 
donius owed his appointment at Constantinople to Arian influence.* 3 
But in II. 620c he certainly gives a wrong impression of the relation 
of these Pneumatomachi to Arius, and in 632a he seems to think that 
Marathonius was advanced by the Arians as Macedonius' successor. 34 
While he has heard that the Macedonians confess the Ofioiovaiov, 
not the ofioovaiov, of the Son, 35 he elsewhere *• repeats the error found 
commonly in Western Fathers 37 that their heterodoxy was limited to 
the Spirit. 

Further evidence is forthcoming from Socrates himself who makes 
frequent references to a Macedonian writer, Sabinus of Heraclea, but 
tells us that his writings contain no mention of Macedonius himself. 88 
Almost equal importance in the movement is attached by both 
Socrates and Sozomen to the Homoiousian bishop of Nicomedia, 
Marathonius, who is credited by the former historian with having 
introduced the ofioiovatov, and by the latter with having given 
such help, both spiritual and financial, as saved the new body from 
premature extinction. 38 From him the name 'Marathonians' was also 
in use. Taken together, these facts suggest that Macedonius, who 
apparently died soon after his deposition, 40 had very little to do with 
'Macedonianism'. Loofs is probably right in conjecturing that the 
name originally attached itself to those Christians in Constantinople 

III 81 See de TW».H.604d and c.Mac.l.l, etc. Loofs thinks the dialogue used by 
Didymus was longer than the other. 

88 613c. Loofs is certainly right in assuming that the reference here is to Mace- 
donius himself. 

84 His information about Macedonius is, in fact, such as might well have been 
obtained from the apologetic works of Athanasius himself. 

86 de 7Vra.I.437A. ■ ibidMlK. 

87 e.g. AugusUne, Haer.lii. cf. also Serm.Ar., fr.6 and 9, Migne, Pa/.Z.ar.l3.610c 
and 613b. 

88 Socrates, H.E.ll.l5Jin. 

39 ibid.ll.45i Sozomen, H.E.IV.27. See also Didymus, de TWh.II.633a. 
«o Sozomen, H.E.W.26. 



INTRODUCTION 25 

who refused to recognize the intrusion of Eudoxius; just as there were 
Meletians at Antioch and Athanasians at Alexandria. Later the 
scope of the term was extended to cover those representatives of the 
old Conservative tradition who survived the drift to Nicene orthodoxy. 
This would be all the easier inasmuch as these die-hards were chiefly 
concentrated in Pontus and Thrace. 

To the student of these letters all this is of importance because it 
discredits the statement that Macedonius called in question the God- 
head of the Spirit. Apart from the writings of Athanasius, there is no 
evidence of anything analogous to Tropicism before 368, when we 
may perhaps discover the first reference to the Pneumatomachi in 
Basil.* 1 Such evidence as we have points in the opposite direction. 
During the reign of Julian, the deposed Homoiousian bishops began 
an agitation in the hope of recovering the churches they had lost. 
Upon the accession of Jovian they petitioned the new emperor, who, 
however, dismissed them with the comment that he did not like 
contention. 41 This hint was reinforced, after Valens had succeeded, by 
his co-emperor in the West, Valentinian. 43 Accordingly, in 365 a 
number of them, under the leadership of Eustathius of Sebaste, opened 
negotiations " with Liberius of Rome and were by him received into 
communion upon confession of the Nicene faith. But the question of 
their orthodoxy upon the Spirit was not raised. It is, of course, 
possible to attribute this to bad faith upon their part. 45 But not only is 
the charge beyond proof; it is difficult to believe that Liberius would 
have been ignorant of the fact, had they really made a stand against the 
decisions taken at Alexandria in 362.** 

m 41 See Basil, Ep.iacv.2. The nature of the reference certainly suggests that Basil's 
correspondent has been charging him with Homoiousian views on both Son and 
Spirit, and that Basil is endeavouring to clear himself by referring to his writings 
against the Anomoeans. The term 'Pneumatomachi' is not to be found in his works 
before Ep.vd, dated 373. 

« Socrates, H.£.III.25. 

43 They had appealed to him against the renewed hostility of the now predomin- 
ant Homoeans. See Socrates, H.E.IV.7. 

44 The documents are to be found in Socrates, H.E.IV.12. 
46 As Swete suggests, H.S.A.C.177. 

48 This is not the place to consider the subsequent history of the movement. It is 
clear that the acceptance of the Nicene Creed was not unanimously endorsed by the 
Semiarians. There was a Homoiousian Party Continuing. We miss the name of 
Eleusius among the bishops to whom Liberius wrote. Its absence is all the more 
significant inasmuch as Socrates (H.E.TVA and 6) implies that at this time he was 
an acknowledged leader. Sozomen (H.£.VI.12) tells us that, while a synod met at 
Tyana to affirm the Nicene faith, a second met in Caria to ratify the SfioiotKHOv 



26 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

But what of the evidence of these letters and of the Alexandrian 
'tome' itself? These documents presuppose a body of opinion which, 
while substantially orthodox as to the Son, denies the Godhead of the 
Spirit. If the Semiarians did not put forward views of their own upon 
that subject for several years after these letters were written,how are we 
to account for Athanasius's opponents here? Not only is their doctrinal 
position generally similar to that of the Macedonians; it is supported 
by an appeal to the same Scriptures and by the use of the same argu- 
ments. If what has been said above be correct, we may dismiss the 

III 46 {continued) 

once more. It has been suggested that this reference is a doublet of that we find later 
in the same author, VII.2 (cf. Socrates, H.E.VA), to a similar gathering ten years 
later at Carian Antioch. But Loofs, in his later work, admits that there is no real 
difficulty in believing that such a synod did meet in 367. The alliance between the 
Nicenes and those Homoiousians who followed Eustathius, Tarsus, and Sylvanus 
was not of long duration. The rupture between Basil and Eustathius no doubt had a 
good deal to do with disturbing it. We are not told what objections Theodotus and 
Meletius (Basil, Ep.xcv and xcix) brought against the orthodoxy of Eustathius. But 
we are justified in concluding from the confession he was made to sign that they 
included a charge of heresy on the Spirit. There seems by this time to have been a 
hardening of opinion among the Nicenes. Even the cautious Basil was being forced 
out of his reserve. (It is unfair to say^ith Loofs that he did not finally make up his 
mind until 372. If he made up his mind only then, he must have unmade it after 
writing .fi^.viii in 360. We must not take Basil's reserve for anything except what it 
was. He depended upon Semiarian support against the Homoeans.) Basil indeed 
accuses Eustathius of negotiating with Euzoius (ii^.ccxxvi.3) and with various 
compromising activities (ibid, and cxxx). But the only really definite charge he can 
bring against him before 375 is that he showed an Arian creed to Gelasius (probably 
in 373). The contents of this creed have not been preserved to us, and we do not 
know how far Eustathius committed himself to it. In 375 or the following year, he 
did, according to Basil in Ep.cadxv.9, sign a creed at Cyzicus which substituted the 
ofioiovaiov for the 6[xoovaiov. A little later, when denouncing him to the Westerns, 
Basil refers to him (£/.cclxiii.3) as 'consorting with those who are anathematizing 
the 6/j.oovaiov, and prime mover (nQO(rtdrr)q) of the heresy of the Pneumatomachi'. 
The difference in the wording is worth notice. He is associated with the Homoiousians; 
he leads the Pneumatomachi. This helps us to understand how it is that Epiphanius, 
writing 374-8, distinguishes the Semiarians from the Pneumatomachi as separate 
parties differing as to their doctrine of the Son. For a little while during that period 
the Eustathians — i.e. such of the Semiarians who were reconciled to the 6/j.oovaiov 
in 365 as were prepared to follow Eustathius out into the wilderness again — were 
indeed an isolated group, parting company from the Nicenes only as to their doc- 
trine of the Spirit. But, feeling the weakness of their position, they returned to their 
former allies, Eleusius and the other intransigeants of 365. At least, most of them did. 
As late as 381 it is still possible for Gregory Nazianzen to address Macedonians in 
Constantinople as orthodox upon the Son (Orar.xli.8). 



INTRODUCTION 27 

suggestion 47 that Serapion had intercepted a communication from 
Macedonius to some of his friends. Not only does it depend upon the 
statements of Socrates and Sozomen to which we have discovered 
grave objections. It does not harmonize with the indications offered by 
the letters themselves. To begin with, it means that Ep. I was not 
written before 361; a possible, but unlikely, date. If it be accepted, 
these letters will come after the de Synodis. The difference between the 
tone of Athanasius's references to the Semiarians in that work and 
the way in which he speaks of the Tropici presents a very real difficulty. 
Even granting the change of context, it is not easy to believe that 
the 'beloved' of de Syn. 43 and the dvdrjroi xai ndvza TohfirjQOi 
of 1.18 are the same people. The epithet 'Tropici' is itself worthy of 
consideration in this connexion. From the abrupt way in which 
Athanasius introduces it, 48 it seems that he did not invent it, but that 
it was already in circulation when Serapion wrote to him. Were these 
letters directed against the Semiarians, we might reasonably expect to 
find traces of it in the later stages of the controversy. But there is 
nothing to show that Basil or Didymus or any of the later Catholic 
writers ever knew their antagonists under this name. Again, what of the 
habitat of the new heresy? Athanasius never explicitly says that it 
belongs to Egypt. But he does write as though, through Serapion, he 
were addressing a body of teachers and pastors toward whom he had 
special responsibilities, and who naturally looked to him for guidance 
and instruction, in short, the clergy of his diocese. 49 Serapion is not 
only the channel through which information as to the new heresy 
reaches Athanasius. He is to be the mouthpiece, and even the editor 
and interpreter, of the latter's reply. This would be natural enough if 
Athanasius were dealing with a matter domestic to his own diocese, 
but not so natural if he were trying to intervene in the affairs of Asia 
or Pontus. Nor do we get the impression that these letters were written 
in answer to a more or less private document, but to an opinion that 
had already obtained public expression and which required to be met 
with propaganda. 

Moreover, when we come to compare the doctrine of the Tropici 

m 4 ' See Loofs, £.R.£.VIII.228-9. K. Holl {'Gesammelte Jufsatze zur Kirchen- 
geschichte,' 11.303) offers reasons for believing that the relation between Macedonius 
and Macedonianism was closer than Loofs suggests in his H.R.E. article. 

48 See on 1.10(85). 

4 * cf. especially II.l, m«V.(150). The yvrjaioiof 1.1 suggests that Serapion in writing 
to Athanasius was acting on behalf of a group of his supporters and friends. Once 
again, Egypt is the natural place to look for such a group. 



28 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

with that of later Pneumatomachi, we find, side by side with important 
similarities, certain subtle but significant differences. The teaching of 
the Macedonians as to the Spirit was hesitant, confused, and contra- 
dictory. The Spirit is not to be called lord nor to be glorified with the 
Father. 60 He is not God's crwegyo'c, 51 for He does not create or 
bestow life." Like the angels, He is a minister and instrument of 
God. 6S Yet He is not to be regarded as an angel nor as a creature of 
any kind. 54 He is not unlike the Father and the Son. 55 He is Oelov 
but not de6$,™ yevrjTov but not xnarov," fiovadixov, of a 
fi&or\ (pvoig* The Tropicist doctrine, by comparison, appears 
clear cut and consistent. The Spirit is a creature differing from the 
angels only in degree. 6 * He is, in fact, an angel and a creature,* and 
unlike the Son.' 1 It is of course possible that Athanasius and Serapion 
have sharpened the edges and intensified the colour of Tropicism. 
But even more significant than the description of the new heresy in 
these letters is the tone Athanasius takes in dealing with it. The 
insistence in 1.17 that he will be satisfied with the acknowledgement 
that the Spirit is not a creature; his assertion, in IV. 1, that all he asked 
for from his opponents was silence; the persistent refutation of the one 
thesis, that the Spirit is a creature; the negative line taken in the argu- 
ment of 1.16 — all this would be largely ineffective and inapposite 
against the Macedonians, who asked for nothing better than to fall 
back on comfortable question-begging formulae. 

We find the Macedonians defending their doctrine by the argument 

in 60 See //.Athanasius, c.Mac.l.l-3,\7 ; Gregory of Nyssa, adv.Mac.l j Basil, 
de Sp.S.24, etc. 

61 //.Athanasius, c.Mac.1.17. 

62 //.Athanasius, dial.III de TW».16, c.Mac.\.\2 ; Gregory of Nyssa, ad<v.Mae. 
11 ; Didymus, de Trm.II.564B, etc. 

68 cf. VTirjQerrjg, c.Mac.\.\7, and see Gregory of Nyssa, ad<v.Mac.l7, Didymus, de 
Trin. 11.600c. But here too, according to Basil (de S/.S.51), there was some equi- 
vocation, the Spirit being said to occupy an intermediate position oide. ev 
fte.anoTixfj fj dovfoxjj rd(si. 

54 //.Athanasius, dial.III de 7W/J.19 ; Didymus, de rWn.II.620A. For a contrary 
judgement, see Gregory of Nyssa, adv.Mac.15. 

65 c.Mac.l.lS. M ibid.XS, dial.III de Trin.19. " c.Mac.1.20 (from John la). 

66 For fwvadixdv, see dial.III de TrinA9, c.Mac.lA; for the fisarj <pvaig, Didy- 
mus, de 7Vm.II.548a, 576b. Yet there are numerous passages where Didymus 
speaks as though the Macedonians took Him for a creature, e.g. 564c, 604D. 

"£/.I.l. «° ibid.10, etc. 

81 ibid.9. But the reference may be merely a generalization on the part of 
Athanasius. 



INTRODUCTION 29 

to which the Tropici also gave prominence, that no relationship is 
conceivable within the Godhead other than that of Father and Son, 
and that the existence of a second originated Person is precluded by the 
fact that the Son is only-begotten." The credit for introducing this 
argument, however, must go to Eunomius who uses it in his Apology; 
and, indeed, ultimately to Origen. The Macedonians also laid empha- 
sis, in the baptismal formula, etc., upon the order in which the divine 
Persons are enumerated, holding such enumeration to be a sub- 
ordination of the Spirit to the Father and the Son, rather than a co- 
ordination of theThree." Some of them insisted, in the doxology, upon 
the form h IIvEVfiaxi dyia>, making the Spirit the instrument 
of the praise offered to God." Neither of these points is noticed 
by Athanasius. 86 

But both Tropici and Macedonians claimed to establish their case 
from the Scriptures. Whereas, however, Athanasius only alludes to 
three texts as cited by the former, the exegesis of the latter was very 
comprehensive and elaborate. They pressed into service a series of 
passages which suggested His inferiority to the Father and Son, or 
which, by their silence, seemed to imply that He has no place in the 
divine life and activity." This battery of texts was, no doubt, built up 
in the course of the controversy. But in view of the large number of 
lections they employ, the fact that we find them using the three that 
are quoted as from the Tropici is not so surprising as Loofs thought it. 
Their chief appeal is always to the silence of Scripture 07 as to the God- 
head of the Spirit; and Athanasius never suggests that the Tropici 
had recourse to this or found it a difficulty. The lack of any explicit 
Scriptural authority for calling the Spirit Oeog naturally counted 
for everything with these conservatives. But it would count for a good 
deal less with quondam disciples of Eunomius who were concerned, 
not that the Spirit should not be called God, but that He should be 
acknowledged as a creature. 88 

HI 82 For references, see note on 1.15(96). 

83 cf. Gregory Nazianzen, Ora/.xxxi.l7-20 ; Basil, de Sp.S. 41, etc. ; Gregory of 
Nyssa, aahi.Mac.Q ; Didymus, de Trin. 11.548b ; ^/.Athanasius, c .Mac.l.6-7. 

84 cf. Basil, ibid.S8-64 ; Gregory Nazianzen, ibid.20. 

85 For samples of other arguments adduced by the Macedonians, see c.Mac.l.W. 
88 For examples of the passages used by the Pneumatomachi in their doctrine of 

the Spirit, see Didymus, de Tn'n.III.949-84. 

87 cf. Didymus, de Trin. 11.632b, etc. ; Gregory Nazianzen, Onzr.xxxi.25-8 ; 
^.Athanasius, c .Mac .1.15, dial. HI de Trin., passim. 

88 See note on 1.31 (142f.)- 



30 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



But let us examine the three passages to which the Tropici appealed. 
As to Amos 4i3, it is quite uncertain how far the Macedonians made 
use of it. It is, indeed, discussed by Gregory of Nyssa in his de Fide, 
but this work is not expressly directed against them. The most positive 
evidence we have is that of Didymus. But from the way in which he 
introduces his discussion of the passages which relate to the Spirit, 
de Trinitate, 1 1 1. 949b, it is clear that he makes no effort here to dis- 
tinguish the argument of the Macedonians from that of the Euno- 
mians. There remains his treatment of the text in de Spiritu Sancto, 
14-15. But against whom is it directed? Primarily, the de Spiritu 
Sancto is an exposition of Didymus's own doctrine and not a refutation 
of another's. References to heretical opinions are few and incidental, 
and do not suggest that the writer had any written evidence in front 
of him. The distinctive Macedonian arguments are not touched. It is 
at least a plausible theory that these scanty references reflect the 
character of local, Egyptian, Pneumatomachism, Tropicist rather than 
Macedonian. On the other hand, we have the silence of Basil in his de 
Spiritu Sancto and of Gregory of Nyssa in the section of his adv. 
Macedonianos which has come down to us, of Gregory of Nazianzus 
in his Oration on the Spirit and of the writer of ps. Athanasius, c. Mac. 
I. The manner in which the passage is cited in dial. Ill de Trinitate 
only confirms this." 

For their use of 1 Timothy 521 we have the evidence of Didymus, 
de Trin. II. 548c, and Basil, de Sp. S., 29—30. Didymus expressly 
attributes it to the Macedonians, but the value of his attestation is 
diminished by the fact that at this point he is markedly dependent on 
Athanasius.' The significance given to the passage by Basil's oppon- 
ents is not the same as that discovered in it by the Tropici. The latter 
held that the absence of any reference to the Spirit means that He is 
included with the angels. The former used it to weaken the force of 
such passages as Matthew 28i9, by showing that angels, as well as the 
Spirit, are enumerated with the Godhead. But, either way, no great 
importance can be attached to its appearance in Macedonian propa- 
ganda. We know that they made much of passages such as John 173; 
and 1 Timothy 521 was obvious ammunition for the same target. 

Didymus likewise attributes to the Macedonians the use of Zecha- 
riah 19. Here again, he is indebted to Athanasius for the answer he 

ill** See on 1.3. Even if accepted, the identification of nvsv/na in Amos 4 is with 
the Holy Spirit would prove too much for the Macedonians. 
'• See notes on I.10-12(86ff.). 






INTRODUCTION 31 

makes to them. But the context in de Trin. II.628b, is not that in 
which it is introduced in Ep. 1. 11. The Macedonians seem to have 
laid the emphasis on the fact that the angel delivered a divine message, 
seeking to invalidate the argument which deduced the Godhead of the 
Spirit from His function in the inspiration of prophecy. The point of 
the citation in Ep. I is not altogether clear, but it seems that the Tropici 
rather stressed the words h> ifioi, to prove that the angels, no 
less truly than the Spirit, may be said to dwell in believers. Athanasius's 
answer, at any rate, seems to imply this. 

Finally, it is contended by Loofs that 'the mockery poured by 
Athanasius upon the tropes recognized by his adversaries recalls the 
Macedonian practice of resorting to oficovvfiiaiq, awcow/xiaig, 
etc' But, as Loofs states it, this reference is liable to mislead. What 
the Macedonians actually said, according to Didymus, de Trin. II. 
476a, was this: 'Attention ought not to be paid to homonyms and 
synonyms and equivocal expressions.' Thus they would argue that no 
significance attaches to the term 'good' as applied to the Spirit in 
Scripture. It is indeed said, in Mark 10i8, to belong to God alone, but 
it is none the less equivocal because we also find it applied to men and 
things. 71 In other words, when confronted with any term or expression 
which suggested the unity or coequality of the Spirit with the Father 
and Son, they searched the Scriptures until they found the same words 
used of creatures, albeit in a different context, dubbed them homo- 
nymous or equivocal, and dismissed them. There was nothing original 
about this. They were simply reviving the technique of Arius and 
Eusebius at Nicaea,'* where they were prepared to confess the Son to 
be the Power and Image and Glory of God inasmuch as they could 
find Scriptural authority for applying these terms to men and even to 
locusts! It may have been quibbling of this kind which led Epiphanius 
to criticize the Arians as favouring 'tropical' exegesis. 75 They played 
off one meaning of a word against another. It is very hard to see why 
this innuendo should have attached itself peculiarly to Athanasius's 
opponents in these letters. Certainly, in the exegesis of Amos 4i3, it is 
not the Tropici but their adversaries who raise the question of the 
equivocal meaning of nvevfia. Indeed, Didymus expressly uses the 
term 'homonymous' to characterize it, de Sp. S. 58. 74 It would seem, 
therefore, that the charge of 'Tropicism' or 'Trope-mongering' was 

71 cf. also ibid. 5 1 6c and 605a. 7 « See de Dec! 9-20. 

7 » ftor.lxix.50. See on 1.10(85). 

74 So also Cyril of Alexandria, de Trm.VII.H08A. 



32 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

wider and more indefinite than that of 'resorting to homonyms and 
synonyms', which Loofs brings against the Macedonians. As a matter 
of fact, all parties in the great controversy played with 'tropical' inter- 
pretations of Scripture when the literal interpretation was unfavour- 
able to their own opinions, and none more so than the orthodox in their 
exegesis of Proverbs 822. 

We are now in a position to state the conclusions to which these 
considerations seem to point. The Macedonians were essentially con- 
servatives. They did not understand the character of the theological 
crisis which had overtaken them, and they thought it could be resolved 
by repeating the watchwords and formulas of a previous age. They 
sought to preserve a fragment of Origenism in a theological vacuum. 
In 358 their precursors reacted against the brutal clarity of Ano- 
moeanism and produced the inconclusive ofiocovaiov. Fifteen or 
twenty years later, when the younger Nicenes were growing more 
precise and dogmatic in their definition of the Spirit's nature and 
Godhead, they themselves took refuge in the untenable and contra- 
dictory opinions that bear their name. The reaction of 358 carried 
them towards Athanasius. That of 373-80 carried them away from 
Athanasius' spiritual successor, Basil. But both were really inspired 
by a dislike of clarity and sharpness of definition. They never faced 
the question, and consequently resented any answer that really was an 
answer. 

The doctrine of the Tropici developed in the same general direc- 
tion, but it sprang" from different roots. In the opinion of the present 
writer, Tropicism was, above all, a local Egyptian movement. Egypt 
was not Asia or Pontus. The prestige of Athanasius and the authority 
which had been concentrated in his hands had destroyed the materials 
for a conservative reaction. The Tropici had rallied to the Arians 
after the expulsion of Athanasius and came under the influence of 
Aetius and Eunomius during their sojourn in Alexandria in 356. 
From them they learned a form of Arianism more thorough and 
comprehensive than that previously current in Egypt, which taught 
that the Spirit was the creature of the Son. Later, perhaps in the 
autumn of 358, when the stupidity and brutality of George had clearly 
ruined whatever chances Arianism had of rehabilitating itself in Egypt, 
they returned to the Church. But while they were prepared to confess 
the 6/xoovaiov of the Son, they would not give up the doctrine of the 
Spirit which they had learned from the Anomoeans. No council, 
whether general or provincial, had pronounced upon it. The subject 



INTRODUCTION 33 

itself was one which their own 'pope' had never treated except in 
the most general and incidental way. So, while claiming to be in com- 
munion with the orthodox, they circulated this Anomoean doctrine 
and gave publicity to the arguments of Aetius. 

Such a situation would, at any rate, adequately account for these 
letters. It explains why Athanasius links Tropicism not with Homoi- 
ousianism but with Arianism pure and undefiled; and why he com- 
bines the abridgement of his arguments against the Tropici, in Ep. Ill, 
with an exposition of the Godhead of the Son, in Ep. II, not materially 
different from that in the de Synodis, which was specifically written to 
conciliate the Homoiousians. It helps us to understand why he so 
persistently labours to show that, by their doctrine of the Spirit, the 
Tropici compromise their orthodoxy upon the Son. Not merely 
strategically, but tactically, this was the weak point in their position. 
It brought them into collision with an undisputed canon of orthodoxy. 
In such circumstances and from such opponents Athanasius might well 
be content with a bare denial that the Spirit is a creature or even with 
silent acquiescence. It is very doubtful whether Athanasius would, at 
this juncture, have taken up the cudgels against so cautious and limited 
an expression of opinion as that attributed by Socrates to Macedonius 
and Eustathius. But, had he done so, he would have been obliged to 
ask for a much more definite assurance of the Spirit's Godhead. 

Moreover, the hypothesis does j ustice to the close affinity the doc- 
trine of the Tropici has, on the one hand, with that of Eunomius, and, 
on the other, with that of the Pneumatomachi in Didymus's de Spiritu 
Sancto. Eunomius taught that the Spirit is a creature existing by the 
will of the Father and the activity of the Son, subordinated to the 
Father and the Son in a third degree of being, and excluded from the 
creative power of the Son. 76 He argues that the only alternative to 
calling Him a creature is to call Him a son." The only texts the 
Eunomians are known to have cited upon this subject are John 13 
and Amos 4i3." In the de Spiritu Sancto Didymus deals with heretics 
who, apparently without qualification, call the Spirit a creature 78 and 
an angel 79 ; who deny that He is creator 80 ; who argue that the Catholic 
doctrine must make Him a son 81 ; and whose exposition of Scripture 

III™ Liber Apologeticus, 25. 76 ibid. 77 Basil, ad<v.Eun.\\l.l. 

78 de Sp.S.6 init. etc. n ibid.7 and 13. 80 ibid.32. 

al ibid.62. The objection, discussed in 60-1, that Satan also is said to indwell 
Judas, etc., seems to have presented itself to Didymus's mind rather than to have 
been raised by his opponents. It follows upon his own characteristic doctrine 



34 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



appears to be confined to John 13 and Amos 4i3. 8 * If we may assume 
that these heretics are Egyptian Pneumatomachi, then their depend- 
ence upon the Anomoeans seems to have been far closer than any we 
can attribute to the Macedonians, though the latter borrowed argu- 
ments and expositions from Eunomius and his disciples. This con- 
clusion is confirmed by the account given of the Tropici in these 
letters. It is true that Athanasius does not discuss John 13; that there 
is nothing to suggest that the Tropici gave publicity to the notion 
of vnaQidfirjgig ; and, at least in Ep. I, little to suggest that they 
denied the Spirit His part in creation. 88 But allowance must be made 
for the information at Athanasius's disposal. He had not met these 
people face to face, nor had he anything of theirs in writing. He was 
entirely dependent upon the letters Serapion sent him. Moreover, it is 
probable that the 'AQiarorehx^ dEivoxrjq of Aetius and Eunomius 
suffered a little in transmission through the Tropici. There is nothing 
to suggest that the new movement boasted intellectual substance. Its 
supporters were probably confined to parish clergy and laymen. They 
certainly failed to found a school or a sect, and their very name would 
have perished but for these letters. 



IV. ATHANASIUS S DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT 

For Athanasius, the doctrine of the Spirit stands in the closest possible 
relation to that of the Son. We have already seen the immediate 
practical advantages he obtained from insisting upon that relationship. 
It enabled him to maintain that Tropicism was inconsistent with the 
formulated doctrine of the Church. But this co-ordination was not 
merely a tactical device to outflank his adversaries. It was strategically 
sound. In the context of the Arian controversy, the relationship 
between the two doctrines was exactly as he held it to be. The question 
of the Spirit arose c ut of the question of the Son. It was a crisis within 

m 81 {continued) 

developed in 24-5. The heretics referred to in 38 and 45 are, of course, not Pneu- 
matomachi at all, but, apparently, Sabellians and Manichaeans. 

88 j'i«'aU4-16, 59. He also mentions, in 59, in connexion with Amos 4is, Zechariah 
12i. But the passage is so entirely inapposite that it is hard to believe that any 
Pneumatomachist, who was not an utter imbecile, would have cited it. Can it be 
that Didymus knew that Zechariah came into the argument somewhere and, by 
lapse of memory, substituted this passage for Id/ 

88 cf. 1.9(83) and 24(127). It may be that the greateremphasis laid upon the creative 
activity of the Spirit, in III.4-5(172ff.), is due to the fact that his attention had 
been drawn to this point by Serapion. 



INTRODUCTION 35 

a crisis. The Christian doctrine of God depended, in its entirety, upon 
this issue. To have yielded to the Tropici or to have acquiesced in the 
inclusion of the Spirit with the creatures would have been to surrender 
everything Athanasius had contended for. How clearly he realized this 
connexion can be understood from the references to the Spirit in 
c. jfrianos, I — III. They are not numerous. 1 They are all incidental 
to the main argument, and not one of them is introduced for the sake 
of the Spirit. Yet, were these letters and all the later works lost, we 
should have little difficulty in determining where Athanasius stood in 
regard to this subject and what he believed. 

These considerations should be sufficient to dispose of the notion 
that faith in the Spirit's essential Godhead was something that 
Athanasius had picked up on his travels in Rome and the West. It is 
not an addendum artificially stitched on to his confession of the Son. 
The one doctrine springs naturally and inevitably from the other. 
They are entirely integrated. But by insisting that it is from our 
knowledge of the Son that we must derive our knowledge of the Spirit, 1 
Athanasius reveals, not only an exact appreciation of the contemporary 
situation for theology, but also a vigorous and profound apprehension of 
his subject. Here we recover once again the Mew Testament concep- 
tion of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the Son, not only inasmuch as 
the Son gives anu sends Him, but because He is the principle of Christ's 
life within us. His ministry is the ministry of the Son; and all the 
activity of the Son is accomplished in Him." We may justly say of 
Athanasius what Lebreton says of Paul: 'behind his conception of 
the Spirit stands Christ.' But we can scarcely say it of any of his con- 
temporaries or predecessors. Origen, indeed, brought the Spirit and the 
Son into close relationship at one important point,* by teaching that the 
former is originated through the latter; and Dr. Prestige does well to 
remind us 6 of the significance of this for the doctrine of the double 

rv l The principal points are : the Spirit sent and given by the Son as His own, 
1.47-8 ; the equality of the Spirit with the Son, 1.50 ; the Spirit peculiarly the gift 
of God, and His mission from the Son thus proving the Son's Godhead, 11.18; the 
Spirit in the Trinity, as the activity of light is in the radiance which comes from the 
sun, III. IS ; God in us by the indwelling of the Spirit, 111.24. 

MILL » cf. I.19-20(108ff.). 

4 And, to a certain degree also, by affirming the personality of the Spirit, cf. de 
Prin.X.ai.l : 'De subsistentia <vero Spiritus sancti ne suspicionem quidem ullam habere 
quis potuit praeter eos qui in lege et prophetis <versati sunt <vel eos qui se credere Christo 
profitentur.' 

6 God in Patristic Thought, p.249 etc. 






36 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

procession. But the subordinationism which, even here, is clearly 
marked in Origen's approach, led him to distinguish the activity of the 
Spirit by assigning to Him a limited sphere of action. The majority of 
early Fathers would probably have been willing to say with Irenaeus* 
that the Word and the Spirit are the two hands of God; with the impli- 
cation that what one hand does not perform is left for the other. But 
inasmuch as the activity of the Word was gradually correlated with the 
whole activity of God, it became harder and harder to think of the 
Spirit at all, and faith in Him became largely a matter of reaffirming 
the baptismal tradition.' The very fact that a final distinction of 
function cannot be drawn within the Godhead, which embarrassed 
Justin and Irenaeus, 8 is the very substance of Athanasius's case. 'There 
is nothing which is not originated and actuated through the Word in 
the Spirit.' 8 This formula, 'through the Word in the Spirit', based on 
1 Corinthians 8e and 1 23, etc., occurs over and over again in these 
letters 10 ; and Athanasius obviously attaches a more definite significance 
to the prepositions than Basil does. 11 For Athanasius, the co-activity 
of the Three Persons does not simply mean — as it does for Basil and 
Didymus — that they work together in one activity. 12 The action of 
the Godhead, as he understands it, derives from the Father and is 
accomplished through the agency of the Son in the Spirit. It must be 

iv*Haer.lV.PraefA. 

7 cf. Raven, Apollinarianism, p.36, on the Logos doctrine: '. . . it also appropriates 
to the Second Person the work and attributes of the Third. It is the Logos, not the 
Spirit, who is the Lord and Giver of life.' But the writer, while criticizing the Logos 
doctrine, falls a victim to its influence. The tragedy did not lie in the fact that it 
acknowledged the Word to be the Giver of life, but that it so subordinated the Spirit 
to the Son as to make possible that division of operation which Professor Raven's 
criticism presupposes. 

8 See Swete, H.S.A.C.38; Harnack, H.Z3.II.209 and 266. It also has this advan- 
tage, that it enables him to conserve the older traditions of the creative Logos-Sophia 
which we find in Justin and Theophilus, and of the Logos Paedagogos of Clement 
of Alexandria. See on 1.31(145) and 111.5(174). 

> 1.31. 10 e.g. 1.9,12,24,25,30; III.5. 

a cf. de Sp.S.7, on 1 Corinthians 86 : 'These are the words of a writer not laying 
down a rule, but carefully distinguishing the hypostases.' 

u For Didymus, the treatment of 2 Corinthians 13is in de Sp.S.16-17, may be 
compared with that in Ej>.l.30-l. See also the whole section on the activity of the 
Spirit in de Trin. 11.560-632. The same feature, in the thought of Basil, can be 
recognized in his de Sp.S.37-40. By contrast, Gregory of Nyssa is thoroughly 
Athanasian in such passages as ad-v.MacA3\7A: 'Every activity which, coming 
from God, reaches the creature, originates with the Father, goes forth through the 
Son, and is perfected in the Holy Spirit." 



INTRODUCTION 37 

admitted that he does not make altogether clear what he means by 'in 
the Spirit'. But two statements are suggestive. Firstly, the Spirit is the 
higyeia of the Son"; secondly, 'The things created through the 
Word have their vital strength out of the Spirit from the Word'." We 
may add what he says in c. Ar. III. 15, that the Trinity is 'sun and 
radiance, and one is the light which is from the sun in the radiance'. 
We must beware of reading into these statements a more precise 
significance than they are well able to bear. But, taken together, they 
seem to imply that Athanasius conceives of the Spirit as realizing and 
giving actuality to the power of God. 16 'Radiance' suggests that which 
the sun diffuses; 'light' suggests that which the eye receives and which 
justifies and fulfils the whole process of illumination in the enlightened 
activity of the recipient. This line of thought is most easily related to 
the work of the Spirit in the sanctification of the creature, and it was 
probably suggested by reflection upon this theme. It is true that, for 
Athanasius, the formula, 'The Son creates and the Spirit sanctifies', 
is too simple. It suggests that there is a work of God from which the 
Spirit is excluded. Rather, he thinks of creation and sanctification as 
one single work. 1 " Thus, in his review of the Spirit's ministry in 1.22-4, 
he deals with His creativeness not independently but, as it were, in the 
context of His sanctifying operation. This was all the easier for him 
because of his doctrine of creation itself. 17 God cannot create without 
imparting to His creatures something of His own character; and the 
continuance of His works is only secured by His presence within them. 
It is true that in contra Gentes and de Incarnatione he does not relate 
this to the Spirit, but only to the Son. When writing these letters, 
however, he is forced to reconsider and reinterpret both creation and 
'deification' in order to do justice to the work of the Spirit. So in 1.29 
he insists, from Ephesians 46, that by denying the Spirit the Tropici 
virtually deny the immanence of God. 

In his exposition of the Spirit's work in sanctification, Athanasius 
once again takes us back to the New Testament. It is true that he falls 
far short of the great Pauline and Johannine doctrine. He has little to 
say of the ethical fruits of the Spirit or of His witness with the spirit of 
the believer. Nor is he concerned, as his contemporary, Cyril of 

iv ls 1.20 and 30. " tjjv rov shot laxuv (III.5). 

16 cf. Swete, H.S.A.C.379: 'He gives actuality to the work . . . and brings it to its 
destined end ... the Spirit is the Spirit of power; the vitalizer, the perfecter of the 
works of God.' 

" See note on I.9(82f.). " cf. c.Gentes 41 and de IncA. 






38 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

Jerusalem, is concerned, with the illumination of the mind and con- 
science by the Spirit. To His prophetic ministry he does indeed give 
prominence; but it is for him a ministry exhausted in the inspiration of 
Scripture. This limitation is partly due to the purpose with which he 
writes. He does not set out to describe the work of the Spirit but to 
establish His propriety to God. In his treatment he necessarily selects 
such points as most directly bear on his main subject. But, more funda- 
mentally, his apprehension is limited by his conception of sanctifica- 
tion, which is metaphysical rather than ethical. Although the term 
deonofyau; and its cognates are not as prominent in these Epistles 
as they are in c. Arianos I— III, the idea dominates his thought. By 
sanctification he means the elevation of human nature to a state of 
divine incorruption so that it is enabled, as far as its creatureliness 
permits, to partake the blessedness of God. This concept did not, of 
course, originate with Athanasius. Origen taught that human nature 
can, in fact, be transmuted into something divine; that this has actually 
happened " to the particular humanity assumed by our Lord, and, in a 
lesser degree, happens to all believers. But whereas Origen (and, even 
more pronouncedly, his predecessor, Clement) interprets this trans- 
formation, at any rate at its highest level, in terms of enlightenment, 1 ' 
Athanasius relates it more directly to the fallen condition of mankind 
and our consequent loss of immortality. 10 The purpose of the Incarna- 
tion is not only to enlighten, but also to recreate our humanity by reunit- 
ing it with God and thus staying the process of death. In this insistence 

18 For the relevant passages, see Harnack, H.D.I1.371, note. That human nature 
is, in some way, deified in all those who receive Christ with faith can be seen from 
such passages as c.Cels.lll.28 and de Prin.l.vi.2. 

19 cf. Harnack, H.Z?.II.374f. 'At bottom there is nothing obscure and mystical 
here ; the whole process takes place in the will and in the feelings through knowledge. 
... In this view the thought of regeneration in the sense of a fundamental renewal of 
the Ego has no place.' But when he attempts (in de Prin.ll.vi.6) to distinguish and 
to relate the fusion of the two natures in Christ and the work of God in human 
nature generally, he uses the symbolism of physical processes in the same way as 
Athanasius in 1.23. Moreover, as Harnack observes, the metaphysical terminology 
is retained in connexion with baptism, cf. in yoA.V1.33. 

30 cf. the interesting comparison of Athanasius's doctrine with that of Clement, 
in Tollinton's Clement of Alexandria, 11.21, etc., and see Robertson, Intro.lxix— lxxi. 
It should be noticed that whereas for Athanasius and Irenaeus the work of grace 
means the elevation of human life to an entirely new level of communion with the 
divine and incorruptible, Origen starts with the assumption that immortality is an 
inalienable attribute of the soul. Thus, for him: 'if man conquers ... he attains 
liteness to God ; the image of God he bears, beyond danger of loss, in his indes- 
tructible, rational and therefore immortal spirit' ; Harnack, ibid, p.364. 



INTRODUCTION 39 

upon axpdaQoia as the characteristic quality in the divine life as it is 
bestowed upon men he takes up the teaching of Irenaeus. 21 Beyond 
Irenaeus, it may be traced back to Ignatius, and thence to the Fourth 
Gospel." 

Athanasius's treatment of this subject in these letters is important, 
not because it modifies or enlarges the concept of sanctification found 
in de Incarnatione, but because it relates it to the Holy Spirit. The very 
fact that sanctification, so conceived, was an extension to 'all creation' 23 
of that which the Word had accomplished, by His Incarnation, Passion 
and Resurrection, in His own humanity, tended to obscure and to mini- 
mize the operation of the Spirit therein as a fuller and more ethical 
interpretation would not have done. This development is not a mere 
expeditious device to meet a new situation. The teaching of 1.22—4 is 
to be found 'in nuce' in c. Ar. 1.47, where the principal Scripture 
passages he makes use of are already cited. 24 The attribution of 
deonoirjois to the Spirit in de Dec. 14 26 is also significant. Here again, 
the thought of Athanasius is close to that of Irenaeus, who, more than 
any other writer of the second and third centuries, lays emphasis, in 
his account of sanctification, on the work of the Spirit. Nor is the 
resemblance confined to the general idea. The symbols and terms under 
which it is expressed and the texts from which it is established are 
largely common to them both. 26 Athanasius may well be directly 

rv 21 For references, see Harnack, ibid .TAX, note 2. Theophilus (ad Aut.lX.27) is 
apparently the first Christian writer to identify the gift of immortality as deonotrjcng. 

22 E. F. Scott's criticism of the conception of 'life' in the Fourth Gospel might 
have been made of Athanasius's doctrine: '. . . John involves himself in a view that 
may fairly be described as semi -physical. The true life is regarded as a kind of 
higher essence inherent in the divine nature, analogous to the life principle in man, 
but different in quality — spiritual instead of earthly. Ethical conceptions fall into a 
secondary place. Man requires to undergo a radical change, not in heart merely, but 
in the very constitution of his nature. Until he possesses himself of the higher, 
diviner essence there can be no thought of his participating in the life of God' (Tie 
Fourth Gospel, p.258). How far the categories Athanasius uses, categories which, of 
course, he inherited from his predecessors, adequately express his own thought, is a 
matter for consideration. Certainly his doctrine of redemption, as expounded in the 
de Inc., is profoundly ethical. See the discussion in Sellers, Two Ancient CAristologies, 
pp.15-17. 

22 1.23/n. See note in /oc.(124). 

24 His use of 2 Peter U is specially noteworthy, cf. also c.Ar.X.XG, ad AdelA, ad 
Epict.6, etc. It is curiously neglected by earlier writers, and Athanasius may be said 
to have fixed its significance for the soteriological doctrine of the Church. 

2 * See note on I.24(126f.). 

M See especially Haer.XXX. xvii and xviii ; V.i, vi.l, vii.l. 



40 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

indebted to his predecessor here. But, even if he borrows his materials, 
he adapts them to his own use and makes them serve his conception 
of the Spirit's propriety to the Son. For example, both Origen and 
Irenaeus make use of the symbol of unction. For the former, it 
expresses, from Psalm 448, the permeation of Christ's human soul by 
the Word and Wisdom of God, so that its fragrance extends to those 
that partake of Him. 27 Irenaeus relates it, from Isaiah 61 1, to the 
descent of the Spirit upon Christ: 'It is the Father who anoints, but 
the Son who is anointed by the Spirit who is the unction.' 88 And, as He 
receives, so the Lord transmits the gift to those who partake of Himself. 
Athanasius, as is clear from c. Ar. 1.46-7, also starts from Isaiah 61i 
and the baptism of Christ. But, from the beginning, the Spirit is the 
Spirit of the Son: 'I, being the Father's Word, give to myself, when 
becoming man, the Spirit.' 29 That the anointing is from the Father is, 
for the moment, disregarded. So in 1.23 the emphasis is again laid upon 
Christ as the anointer; and, no less, upon trie fact that the character- 
istic quality imparted by the Spirit is that of Christ. Here he takes up 
the point Origen has made. Being anointed with the Spirit, 'we are the 
fragrance of Christ'. So likewise, Irenaeus regards the Spirit as convey- 
ing to man the image of the Father and of the Son, 30 or, in other words, 
the similitude of God. 81 Athanasius, in speaking of the Spirit as seal 
and image, limits the metaphor to His relation with the Son. Similarly, 
in Irenaeus the Spirit is generally the Spirit of God, occasionally the 
Spirit of the Father, 82 never the Spirit of the Son. In Athanasius the 
last is the most usual designation. 

In all this there is, of course, no intention on the part of Athanasius 
to alienate the Spirit from the Father. Perhaps it was because he felt 
that what he says in 1.22, etc., is capable of such misinterpretation that 
he insists explicitly in III. 1 that 'the Holy Spirit, which is said to 
belong to the Son, belongs to the Father'. The Son forms, as it were, 
the link between them. It is from the Spirit's propriety to the Son that 
we apprehend His procession from the Father. 33 Can we go on from 
this to assert that Athanasius teaches a doctrine of double procession, 
from the Son as well as from the Father, or, as the Eastern Fathers put 
it, from the Father through the Son? It must be confessed that Athana- 
sius's explicit teaching on this point is far less clear and conclusive than 

iv 2 ' de Prin.U.vi.6. m Haer.UI.xvui.3. •» cAr.lMfin. 

30 tfa<?r.III.xvii.3. 31 ibid.VM.l ; cf. V.viii.l . 8S e.g. III.xvii.1 ; V.i.I, vi.2. 
88 '. . . which is said to proceed from the Father because it is from the Word, who 
is confessed to be from the Father, that it shines forth and is sent and is given' (1.20). 



INTRODUCTION 41 

Montfaucon 34 supposed it to be. It is made plain that the Spirit 
proceeds from the Father, ixnogeveodcu has already acquired a 
technical meaning in this connexion. 88 His relation to the Son is set 
forth by saying that He is sent or given from Him. The preposition 
naqd is generally preferred here. 8 * Athanasius also says, from John 
16h, that the Spirit receives ex rov Ylov. A close examination 
of the passages in which these and analogous expressions occur 87 sug- 
gests that, in using them, he thinks primarily, if not exclusively, in 
terms of the Spirit's mission in the world. Indeed, the interpretation 
given to John 2022 in 1 1 1. 1, that by breathing upon the disciples Christ 
gave them the Spirit 'out of Himself, might lead us to conclude that, 
even in his own thinking, he has not clearly distinguished procession 
and mission. 88 On the other side, in 1.15, when he speaks clearly and 
unequivocally of the Spirit's being, he confines himself to the statement 
that the Spirit is 'of the Son', no preposition being used. This is the 
more significant in that it follows a direct assertion of the Spirit's pro- 
cession from the Father. 

It is not difficult to account for Athanasius's hesitation. The notion 
of a double procession was not a novelty. As we have already seen," 
both Eusebius and Marcellus approached it, the former in insisting that 
the Spirit is originated by the Son, the latter by setting His procession 
from the Son side by side with His procession from the Father. In each 
case the conclusion finally reached was heretical. Eusebius dismissed 
the whole notion of procession and refused to regard the Spirit as 
anything more than one of the yevrjrd of John 13. Marcellus found 
here a new argument against the drawing of any final distinction 
between the Person of the Father and that of the Son. Confronted 
thus with the Scylla of Arianism and the Charybdis of Sabellianism, 
Athanasius might well be reluctant to pursue the subject. For his pur- 
pose it was sufficient to establish that the Spirit derives His exist- 
ence from the Father as truly as the Son, and that He stands in as close 
and unitive relation to the Son as the Son to the Father. 40 He might 

iv** Prolegomena, xxix, Migne, Pat.Gr.25. ** See note on I.2(64f.). 

86 See note on 1.2(65). 87 See especially on 1.20(117). 

88 Greek theology seems never entirely to have transcended this confusion, cf. 
what Swete says of John of Damascus, H.S.A.C.2M. 

*• p.19 f. 

40 Langen summarized the teaching of Athanasius on the relation of the Spirit to 
the Father and the Son in four propositions : 

(a) The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father ; 

(b) He belongs to the Son whose image He is; 



42 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

well be content to leave to others the final correlation and adjustment 
of the two statements. 

This was all the easier for him because he had attained to a fuller 
and more satisfying conception of the divine unity than his predeces- 
sors had known. Earlier theology found the ground of that unity in the 
one Father from whom the Son and the Spirit derive their being. 
Origen had conceived that derivation at once as an eternal fact and as 
the first link in the chain of creation. The Lucianic tradition, as repre- 
sented by Asterius, with a sharper and juster sense of the distinction 
between God and His creatures, regarded the generation of the Son as 
an act, beyond time indeed, but by its very nature temporal and con- 
tingent; while, at the same time, it strove to preserve the uniqueness 
of the Son by insisting upon the immediacy of His generation. He is 
fiovoyevrji; in the sense that He is the sole direct work of the 
Father. 41 For persons in this tradition, the question of the Spirit's God- 
head resolved itself into the question of the mode of His derivation. 
How is He from God? yevqxdv He must be, if the unity of God is 
to be maintained. But any attempt to distinguish His yiveaig from 
that of the creatures seemed to sacrifice the reality of Christ's Sonship. 
Athanasius, on the other hand, starts from different premises. The 
Father is, indeed, nr\yr\ Osoxtjxoq. But the Godhead of which He is 
the source is not something transmitted to and partaken by His Son 
and His Spirit. Each person is God and Lord, and the divine unity is 
maintained by the coinherence of each Person in the rest. The decisive 
formula for his Trinitarian doctrine is clearly given in III. 5: ov 
yag ixxog eaxi xov Aoyov xo Ilvevfia., 621a, iv xa> A6yq> 6V iv xa> 
&sq> diavxov iaxiv. Thus for Asterius and his Anomoean 
successors the significant preposition is ex, for Athanasius it is iv. 
If the Spirit is fully understood to be in God, how He comes from 
God is a secondary question into which we need not proceed. Indeed, 
to speculate upon it is impertinent and dangerous." 

Yet if we regard what is implicit, rather than what is explicit, in 
these letters, we are justified in claiming that the procession of the 
Spirit through the Son is a necessary corollary of his whole argument. 

IV 40 {continued) 

(c) He has the whole divine nature of the Father through the Son, who thus far 

is His source j 

(d) He is in the Father through the Son. 

(Quoted by Lauchert, Die Lehre des hi. Athanasius, p.64.) 
w See de Dec.8 and de Syn.18. « So 1.17,18, IV.5, etc. 



INTRODUCTION 43 

If, as he argues in c. Ar. 1 1 1. 3-6, the fact that the Son is in the Father 
involves that the Son is from the Father, 43 must it not be equally true 
that the Spirit, being in the Son, must be from the Son ? If it is lawful 
to argue from unity of operation to unity of essence, 44 must we not 
acknowledge that He from whom the Spirit receives the things of the 
Father no less bestows upon Him that divine life of which the Father 
is the unique source? Must not the temporal mission rest on an eternal 
relationship? By reaffirming the propriety of the Spirit to the Son, 
Athanasius not only secured, at a decisive hour, the Church's faith in 
the one Godhead; he fixed the line upon which its Pneumatic doctrine 
was to develop. 48 

V. THE TEXT 1 

In preparing the editio princeps, Commeliniana, Felckmann used a 
collection of MSS. from Geneva, fifteenth— sixteenth centuries (b), and 
the great Basle codex B (thirteenth century), which is a copy of a 
recension of Athanasian corpora made by Doxopater at the beginning 
of the twelfth century. The text of ad Ser. I and 1 1 was reproduced 
from the first fascicle of the Genevan collection (b 1 ), which still bears 
marks of the ruthless handling it received, with occasional emenda- 
tions and variants from B and a MS. now in the British Museum 
(Harley 5579), Codex Goblerianus, a copy of the Paris MS. S. For Ep. 
Ill and IV, which are lacking in b 1 , he made use of B. Montfaucon, 
for the Benedictine edition, took over Felckmann 's apparatus, such as 
it was, without further examination of the MSS., but constructed a 
new text based on the Paris MSS., R (eleventh century) and S (twelfth 
century). These two supplement each other, the first nine works in R 

iv 48 Seethe quotationin note onI.21(119). 44 SeeonI.14(93f.)and 19(110ff.),etc. 

45 J. Draseke claims the credit for the development of the doctrine of the Spirit's 
Person for Apollinarius. 'Aber da ist es nicht Athanasios, der hier als Bahnbrecher 
und Wcgweiser sick erweist . . . sondern Apollinarios <von Laodicea.' [Zur Athanasios- 
Frage, in ZeitschriftfiirWiuenschaftliche Theologie, Vol.XXXVIII (1895). See also 
his Apollinarios, Leipzig (1892), pp. 134-6.) But this claim chiefly rests on the 
attribution to Apollinarius of /X.Basil, c.Eunomium IV and V and the first three 
dialogues de Trinitate which were current under the name of Athanasius or Maxi- 
m us Confessor, and the assignment of these works to the seventh decade of the fourth 
century. Neither of these assumptions seems to be justified. 

v 1 The classification of MSS. is that of H. G. Opitz in his Untersuchungen. The 
following notes are no more than a summary of some of the conclusions reached in 
that work, with such comments as the present writer is able to make out of his limited 
acquaintance with the MSS. 



44 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

being the last in S. It is clear that the former MS. originally contained 
also S 1—20. They have a similar type of text. 

Both RS and B represent the work of editors who have combined 
various corpora of Athanasian works to form complete editions. Thus 
we can identify an ' apologia corpus', composed of historical writings, 
which is contained in B 45-88 and R 10-26. By comparing B with 
Opitz's 'W Group' — U(N), WLQ, etc. 2 — we discover a collection of 
dogmatic writings contained, to a greater or lesser extent, in all these 
MSS. and found in its entirety in B 1-28. Finally, there is what Opitz 
calls the 'middle corpus', the source of B 29-44. By contrast, the dog- 
matic section of the RS collection (S 1-29) differs considerably from 
B, both in the works it contains and the order in which they are 
given. With the exception of a small group, ZDN'W 1 and K 52-7, 
which preserves fragments of an independent Antiochene corpus, all 
our MSS. can be related either to the B or RS collections, or else to 
both. 

Earlier critics, misled by the date of R and S, assumed that the 
Doxopater edition could be regarded as dependent on the RS collec- 
tion. But Opitz has shown conclusively that this is not the case. On the 
contrary that collection is itself dependent on the sources of the 
Doxopater edition. It is 'the result of a ruthless redaction of Athana- 
sian writings'. Eighteen works from the 'W collection' (B 1—28) have 
been carefully edited and their text revised from a MS. of Z type. 3 To 
these have been added twelve works from the 'middle corpus', the 
Quic. dix. (B 17) having been joined toad Ser. IV (B 31) to form one 
work. These contents have been arranged in a 'literary' order. Thus 
de Inc. Verbi Dei and de Inc. et c. Ar. immediately follow the de Inc. 
itself, c. Ar. IV and ad Episc. have been put with c. Ar. I— III to form 
the nevrd^ifiXoQ of antiarian works which was familiar to Photius. 
Ad Ser. Ill and IV were taken from the 'middle corpus' and added to 
I and II. Finally, to the collection of dogmatic works thus formed 
there was appended the 'apologia corpus'. Opitz thinks that this edition 
was made in Constantinople between 600 and 750. The sources he 
traces back farther, the 'apologia corpus' to the fifth century, and the 
'W collection' to the middle of the sixth. Less satisfactory conclusions 

v* b 1 is descended from Q. 

* Opitz establishes this from examination of the text of ad Adelphium. Ludwig 
had already reached the same conclusion for that of ad Epictetum. We cannot be 
sure of the contents of this Antiochene corpus, or whether it was known in its 
entirety to the editors of RS. 



INTRODUCTION 46 

can be reached for the 'middle corpus\ but it is certainly not later than 
the RS edition. 

Doxopater, on the other hand, uses the same sources in good exem- 
plars and quite mechanically. Examination of the text oiadEpisc. in B 
reveals no such traces of the influence of RS text as can be discovered 
in U, for which a MS. of W type has been worked over with one of S 
type. The Doxopater edition was, however, re-edited at the beginning 
of the thirteenth century by a redactor who, at any rate in the 
nevxafiifiXot;, introduced readings from a MS. of S type. This revised 
edition is represented by the Vatopedi codex K (fourteenth century) 
and the Milan codex Ambrosianus (thirteenth century). The latter 
MS. is more faithful to it than the former, which is really a new 
edition in itself. 

In preparing this translation of the Epistles, the writer has been able 
to consult B, R, S, and A, and also L, M, N, and P. Any conclusion 
based on so partial and inadequate a survey of the evidence must neces- 
sarily be tentative. No attempt has been made minutely to revise the 
Benedictine text; but here and there emendations have been introduced 
from BA or, more rarely, from RS where Montfaucon prefers to 
follow B. A complete collation of MS. evidence would, no doubt, lead 
to a far more drastic revision. In all, there are some sixty places where 
the translation is based upon correction or emendation of the text as it 
stands in Migne. The more important emendations are mentioned 
in the notes, and many of the others can be followed from Mont- 
faucon's apparatus. 

In Ep. I and II we discover two text types, represented respectively 
by RS and BALNM. In the first group, R and S stand very close 
together, and there is nothing to show that either of them approxi- 
mates more nearly to the B text than the other. The literary character 
of this type of text is indicated by its smoothness and amplitude; by the 
quotations from the New Testament, where the text is often assimi- 
lated to the Textus Receptus; and by a few instances in which the 
language of Athanasius has been modified so as to conform to later 
usage— e.g. the insertion of xai owdo£d£eiv in 1.9, the excision of 
ay£v[v]r)Tq> inl.21, the substitution of dvdQcondrrjra for ovOqcotiov in 
1 1.9. To these examples we may perhaps add the reading fiovoyevrfs 
in S, 1.20, for yiwrjfia [tovoyevdg. But it is doubtful if S represents 
the recension here. 

In the second group, each MS. represents a separate strand in the 
tradition. They all clearly go back to a common ancestor, a MS. 



46 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

embodying a good text but very carelessly written. Omissions due to 
homoioteleuton are especially noticeable. Members of the group 
mostly reproduce this exemplar faithfully without attempt at correc- 
tion. For the greater part of the two letters (1.1-14, 30 to II. 9) B is 
the best representative of the group, with A in close support. The latter 
MS. shows few, if any, traces of being influenced by RS text. It has, 
however, suffered fairly extensive correction, and a proportion — but 
not all — of these emendations come from this direction. Collation of L 
with b 1 shows .agreement, in 1.1—14, 30 to II. 9, in fifty-seven places 
against RSB. In the same sections, they are at thirty-four points 
supported by A. 

In 1.15-29 the relation of MSS. is very different. B is much closer 
to RS and correspondingly farther from A and L. BA agree against 
RS only thirty times; AL agree against BRS nearly 150 times. M, 
which elsewhere is very close to B, deserts it in this section for AL at 
many points; and the same holds good of N, except insofar as it is 
affected by RS influence. In a number of passages, e.g. in 20, 22, 24, 
there are strong suggestions in B of a conflation of the two types of 
text. Though it never entirely loses its character, it is hard to resist the 
conclusion that in this section B has come under the influence of the 
RS recension. If Opitz is right in assuming that KAYF are dependent 
upon the Doxopater edition, then the influence must have been exer- 
cised between the preparation of the edition and the copying of B; for 
there are no traces of it in A. The readings of A, therefore, assume a 
greater importance here; though A is never as good a representative of 
the group as B in the rest of the work. In order adequately to evaluate 
the tradition it will be necessary to have the evidence of other repre- 
sentatives, notably W and K. 

Examination of N fully bears out the conclusion of Opitz, 
that in its exemplar, U, a text of B type has been modified in the 
light of the RS recension. It is a mixed text. In 1.1-14, 30-33 
there are seventy readings in which the influence of RS text can be 
observed. In 15-29 we find N in agreement with RS against BA 
only eight times; but twenty-eight times in agreement with RSB 
against AL. 

For III and IV our authorities are RSBP and A 3 . These two letters 
are to be found in the 'middle corpus' of B and have not received the 
attention paid by editors to the works in the 'W collection'. All our 
MSS. contain the same type of text with few and unimportant vari- 
ants. There is no evidence, from these letters, to show that A 8 is inde- 



INTRODUCTION 47 

pendent of S, as Opitz thinks it to be. P is very closely connected with 
R. There are only five points at which their disagreement can have 
any significance. B has twenty-five readings which are independent of 
RS. Elsewhere, it is slightly closer to RP than to S. On the whole it is 
the best representative. 



TABLE OF MANUSCRIPTS 
to which reference is made in the Introduction 

A — Codex Ambrosianus, Milan, Bib. Amb., 464 (1.59), chart., 
cent, xiii-xiv, 490 ff. It has been badly damaged and extensively 
restored. The final sections, from 431a, known as A 2 , were written by 
the restorer of the MS. They contain the residue of the contents of S 
after the works in the first part, B 1-2, 4-26, have been disregarded. 
From this fact, Stegmann, Die pseudoAthanasianische IVte Rede gegen 
die Arianer, p. 32, concludes that A 2 was actually taken from S. From 
examination of the text, Opitz rejects this view. Ad Ser. I and II are 
numbered 9 and 10, ff. 295b-325b; III and IV, 36 and 37, ff. 
485a-90a. 

B — Codex Basiliensis, Basle, Universitatsbibliothek,gr. A. III. 4, 
chart., cent, xiii, 595 ff. The contents of this MS. have been suffi- 
ciently described above. Ep. I and II are 10 and 11, ff. 170a-85b; 
III and IV, 30 and 31, ff. 259a-64a. 

K — Codex Vatopedi, Vatopedi 5-6, membr., cent. xiv. Ep. I 
and II are 9 and 10, III and IV, 35 and 36. This MS. represents a 
revision of the Doxopater edition, and includes most of the contents 
of B, including the Apologia corpus. 

L — Codex Burneianus, London, B.M., Burney 46, membr., 
cent. xiii. Contents : B 1-21. 282 ff. Ep. I and II are included as nos. 
10 and 11. 

M — Codex Marcianus, Venice, Bib. Marc, gr. XLIX, chart., 
cent. xiii. In two parts, the first of which contains B 1— 21 ; the second 
von der Goltz — De Virginitate^ pp. 15-16 — traces back to S. 
Ep. I and II, nos. 10 and 1 1, ff. 188a, etc. 

N — Codex Marcianus, Venice, Bib. Marc, gr. L. In two parts, 
the first, ff. 1—95, chart., cent, xv, has affinities with D and Z. The 
second, ff. 96-415, membr., cent, xi, is a copy of the Patmos MS. U. 
For Ep. 1.1-6 it is sole representative of the group, U being lacking. 
Ep. I and II are nos. 3 and 4, ff. 1 12a-38b. 

P — Codex Parmensis, Parma, gr. 10, membr., cent, xii, 269 ff. 
Very much damaged. Contains the contents of R in disorder, with six 
works missing. Ep. Ill and IV are nos. 4 and 5, ff. 70b-8a. 

48 



TABLE OF MANUSCRIPTS 49 

Q — Codex Riccardianus, Florence, Bib. Laur., gr. 4, chart., 
cent, xv, 231 ff. Contents : B 1-18. 

R — Codex Parisinus, Bib. Nat., gr. 474, membr., cent, xi, 457 
ff. Ep. I-IV are nos. 6-9, ff. 83b-125b. 

S — Codex Parisinus, Bib. Nat., Cois. gr. 45, membr., cent, xii, 
434 ff. Ep. I-IV are nos. 26-29, ff. 387a-426a. 

U — Codex Patmiacus, Mon. of S. John, Patmos, A 3, membr., 
cent, xi, 304 ff. Contents: B 10-14, 16, 15, 17-20. The first part of 
BIO, Ep. I, 1-6, is missing. 

W — Codex Vatopedi, Vatopedi 7, membr., dated 1052-3. Two 
vols, bound together. The first has associations with N 1 etc. and 
occupies ff. l-99a. The rest contains B 1—20. 



SYNOPSIS OF THE EPISTLES 
EPISTLE I 

1. Introduction. The Character of the new heresy. 

2. Trophism destroys the unity of the Triad and involves that the Son, as 
well as the Spirit, is a creature. 

3—10. Refutation of the Tropicist exegesis of Amos 4i3. 

3. The Tropici appeal to the words 'createth spirit' in Amos 4i3. 

But 'spirit' has not the article here. 
4—6. The Holy Spirit is not designated in Scripture without the 

article. Examples. 
7-8. Various meanings of 'spirit' in Scripture. Here it refers to the 

wind. 

9. The Tropici reinforce their argument from the fact that the 
passage also speaks of Christ. If the force of this be conceded, we 
may take 'spirit' here to refer to the human spirit which is 
renewed by His Incarnation. 

10. The rest of the passage can be accommodated to this inter- 
pretation. 

10-14. Refutation of the Tropicist exegesis of 1 Timothy 5-2 1. 

The Tropici argue from the silence of Paul as to the Holy 

Spirit in 1 Timothy 52i that He is to be numbered with the 

creatures. 
1 1-12. The Spirit is never called an angel in Scripture. Zechariah 

19 no exception. The Spirit is always carefully distinguished 

from the angels; as can be seen from Exodus 33 and other 

passages. 
13-14. The absence of any reference to the Spirit in 1 Timothy 5ai 

justified and paralleled. True explanation of the passage. 

15-21. Refutation of the argument that the Spirit, if not a creature, 
must be a son. 

15. The argument stated. Athanasius shows its absurdity by 
applying it to the Father. 

60 



SYNOPSIS OF THE EPISTLES 51 

16. Generation in God is not as it is in man. Both Father and Son 
are unique. 

1 7. We know that the Spirit is one with God in the Triad and that 
He is not a creature. Further speculation is futile and im- 
pertinent. 

18. We do not understand the universe, let alone God. 

1 9-^20. The Scriptural illustrations of fountain and stream, light 
and radiance, show us that the Spirit is active in every activity 
of the Son. That the Son is in the Spirit as the Father is in the 
Son proved from Scripture. 

21. Therefore, if the Spirit is a creature, the Son must be a 
creature also. 

22—27. Proof from Scripture that the Spirit pertains to the Son, and has 
no likeness to the creatures. 

22. He is from God; they are from nothing. 

He is Spirit of holiness and renewal; they are sanctified and 
renewed. 

23. He bestows life; they receive it. 

He is unction and seal; they are sealed and anointed. 

24. In Him we partake of God; He is creator; and the Image of 
the Son. 

25. Though not a son, He is none the less in God and from God. 

26. The Spirit is incapable of change and alteration; the creatures 
change. 

He is omnipresent; they are circumscribed. 

27. He is partaken; they partake. 
He is one; they are many. 

28-31 . Appeal to the tradition and life of the Church. 

28. The Church confesses God to be indivisible and co-active 
Triad. 

29-30. By asserting that God is not Triad but dyad, the Tropici 
confess the creature with the Creator, and thus invalidate their 
own baptism. 






52 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

30-31. Proof of the unity of the divine activity from the Apostolic 
Benediction. Other passages of Scripture, notably illustrating 
the unity of the Spirit and the Word in the inspiration of 
prophecy, and in the Incarnation. 
32—33. Conclusion. Exposition of "John 421, etc. 

EPISTLE II-III 

II. 1—9. Against the doctrine that the Son is a creature. 

1. Introduction. Athanasius promises to abridge the first letter. 
The scepticism of the Arians. 

2. That God is fountain, light, and Father involves that His Son 
is coeternal and coequal. Proofs of this from Scripture. 

3-4. Unity of essence involves likeness and identity of nature. 
Can this be discovered between the creatures and the Son? 
Relevant illustrations. 

5. Having no likeness to the creatures but possessing all the 
qualities of the Father, the Son was confessed at Nicaea to be 
one in essence with Him. 

6. The fact that God is Father implies that the Son is coessential. 
7—8. Discussion of Proverbs 822. 

9. Discussion of Mark 1332. Conclusion. 

III. 1—7. Against the doctrine that the Spirit is a creature. 

1. Why Athanasius has begun his abridgement by writing against 
the Arians. We must derive our knowledge of the Spirit from 
our knowledge of the Son. He is proper to the Son as the Son 
to the Father. Thus He is proper also to the Father. 

2-4. Considerations which show that the Son is not a creature 
show the same of the Spirit. He comes from God; He is unction 
and seal; one, not many; omnipresent; creator. 

5—6. The indivisibility of Son and Spirit shown from their co- 
activity in the inspiration of prophecy and in the Incarnation. 
This is the faith of the Church which is rooted and grounded in 
the Triad. 

7. If God is Triad, then the Spirit is eternal. If the Spirit is a 
creature, then God is a dyad expanding into a triad; and thus 
His existence is contingent. Therefore God is eternally Triad. 
Conclusion. 



SYNOPSIS OF THE EPISTLES 53 

EPISTLE IV 

1. The obstinacy of the Tropici in insisting that if the Spirit is not a 
creature, He must be son either to the Father or to the Son. 

2. Athanasius retorts their question upon them. Is the Spirit a 
son ? If so, why is Scripture silent ? If not, why is He said to be 
from God ? 

3—4. Similar questions to expose the impertinence of such specu- 
lation. 

We must keep to what Scripture says. The Son is Son and the 
Spirit, Spirit. 

5. Yet they are not to be divided. Nor may we invert the names, 
for that would be Sabellianism. 

6. To rely on the analogy of human generation is to be led bacV to 
paganism. Men do not beget as God begets. 

7. Conclusion. 



SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 
Text 

H. G. Opitz, Untersuchungen zur Uberlieferung der Schriften des 

Athanasius (Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte, Bd. 23) (Berlin, 1935). 
R. P. Casey, Article, 'Greek Manuscripts of Athanasian Corpora', 

in Zeitschrift fur neutest. Wissenschaft., XXX. 49ff. (1931). 
K. Lake and R. P. Casey, Articles, 'The Text of the de Incarna- 

tione' and 'The Text of the de Virginitate', in Harvard Review of 

Theological Studies, XIX. 25fF. and 173ff. 
R. P. Casey, Article, 'The Athens Text of Contra Gentes and de 

lncarnatione\ in Harvard Review of Theological Studies, XXIII. 

51ff. 
E. Schwartz, Sermo Maior de Fide des Athanasius (Munich, 1925). 
A. Stegmann, Die pseudoAthanasianische IVte Rede gegen die 

Arianer (Tubingen, 1917). 
C. M. G. Ludwig, Epistola ad Epictetum (Jena, 191 1). 
E. von der Goltz, De Virginitate; eine echte Schrift des Athanasius 

(Leipzig, 1905). 

In the edition of Athanasius prepared by the Kirchenvater- 
Kommission of the Prussian Academy under the editorship of 
H. Lietzmann and R. P. Casey, and published by W. de Gruyter & 
Co., Berlin, the following works have already appeared: 

Documents relating to the Arian Controversy, 318-28 (1934—5). 

De Decretis Nicaenis (1935). 

De Sententia Dionysii (1936). 

Apologia de Fuga (1936). 

The text of Athanasius is in Migne, Patrologia Graeca, 25-28, 
with the translation, apparatus, notes, etc., of Montfaucon. 

An English Translation of selected works of Athanasius forms 
Volume IV of the Library of Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers (New 
Series), edited with an Introduction by A. Robertson, and with 
Newman's notes (Oxford 1892). 

A translation of a number of other works is included in W. Bright's 
Later Treatises of Athanasius (Oxford, 1887). 

64 



SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 55 

General Works 

A. Harnack, History of Dogma (English Translation) (London, 

1896-8) (cited as H.D.). 
J. Tixeront, Histoire des Dogmes, Vol. II, Ninth Edition (Paris, 

1921). 
J. Lebreton, Les Origines du Dogme de la Trinity Vols. I and II 

(Paris, 1919- ). 
O. Bardenhewer, Patrologie, Third Edition (Freiburg, 1910). 
H. B. Swete, On the Early History of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit 

(Cambridge, 1873). 
H. B. Swete, On the History of the Doctrine of the Procession (Cam- 
bridge, 1876). 
H. B. Swete, The Holy Spirit in the Ancient Church (London, 1912) 

(cited as H.S.A.C). 
T. Schermann, Die Gottheit des heiliges Geistes nach den griechischen 

Vatern des Vierten Jahrhunderts (Freiburg, 1901). 
H. M. Gwatkin, Studies of Arianism (Cambridge, 1900) (cited as 

S.A.). 
R. M. Woolley, The Liturgy of the Primitive Church (Cambridge, 

1910). 
C. E. Raven, Apollinarianism (Cambridge, 1923). 
G. L. Prestige, God in Patristic Thought (London, 1936) (cited as 

G.P.T.). 
G. L. Prestige, Fathers and Heretics (London, 1940). 
R. V. Sellers, Two Ancient Christologies (London, 1 940). 

E. A. Sophocles, Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods, 
Memorial Edition (Cambridge, Mass., 1914). 

J. H. Moulton and G. Milligan, Vocabulary of the Greek Testament 

(Edinburgh, 1920-6) (cited as V.G.T.). 
Liddell and Scott's Lexicon is cited from the New Edition (1925— 

40). 

F. Blass, Grammar of New Testament Greek (English Translation) 
(London, 1905). 

Athanasius 
W. Bright, Article, Dictionary of Christian Biography, I. 179ff. 
H. Straeter, Erlosungslehre (Freiburg, 1894). 
F. Lauchert, Die Lehre des hi. Athanasius (Leipzig, 1895). 



56 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

C. Hoss, Studien iiber das Schriftum und die Theotogie des Athanasius 

(Freiburg, 1899). 
A. Stuelcken, Athanasiana (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Gesch. 

der altchr. Literatur, T.IV, N.F.) (Leipzig, 1899). 

E. Weigl, Untersuchungen zur Christologie des heiligen Athanasius 
(Paderborn, 1914). 

F. Loofs, Article, Herzog Realencyc/opaedie, II. 202ff., Third 
Edition. 

X. le Bachelet, Article, Dktionnaire de Theologie Catholique, I. 

2143, etc., Third Edition (Paris, 1923) (cited as D.T.C.). 

Earlier works on Athanasius are referred to by Robertson in his 
Introduction, pp. xii and xiii. 

Macedonianism 

A. M. Merenda, Prolegomena to his edition of the works of 
Damasus (Rome, 1754). (Migne, Pat. Lot. 13.109-442). 

F. Loofs, Eustathius von Sebaste (Halle, 1898). 

K. Holl, TJber die Gregor von Nyssa zugeschriebene Schrift, adv. 

Arium et SabelHum (Zeitschrift fur Kirchengeschichte, XXV, 1904), 

republished in l Gesammelte Aufsdtze zur Kirchengeschichte,' 1 II. 298ff. 

(Tubingen, 1928). 
F. Loofs, Zwei Makedonianische Dialoge (Sitzungsberichte der 

Koniglich Preussischen Akademie, XIX. 526-51) (1914). 
F. Loofs, Article, l Makedonius', Herzog Realencyclopaedie, Third 

Edition, XII. 41ff. 
F. Loofs, Article, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, VIII. 225ff. 

B. J. Kidd, A History of the Church to A.D. 461, Volume II (Oxford, 
1922). 

The de Principiis of Origen is quoted according to the arrangement 
of chapters and fragments in the edition of P. Koetschau (Leipzig, 
1913). 

The Comm. in Johannem of the same author is quoted according to 
the edition of A. E. Brooke (Cambridge, 1896). 

References to the de Trinitate I— III of Didymus, to the adv. 
Eunomium of Gregory of Nyssa, to the adv. Eunomium IV and V 
of ps. Basil, to the de Trinitate {ad Hermiam) VII of Cyril of 
Alexandria, and to the de Fide Orthodoxa I— III of John of Damascus, 
are made according to the pages of Migne. Passages from other works 
of Athanasius are usually cited in the translations, by Newman, etc, 






SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 57 

in Volume IV of the Library of Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers. 
Passages from Cyril of Jerusalem and Basil are usually taken from 
Volumes VII and VIII in the same series, prepared respectively by 
E. H. Gifford and Blomfield Jackson. In the notes occasional 
reference is made to C. F. H. Johnston's Edition of the de Spiritu 
Sancto of Basil. 



EPISTLE ONE 

A LETTER OF ATHANASIUS TO BISHOP 

SERAPION CONCERNING THE 

HOLY SPIRIT* 

1. Your sacred Kindness's* letter was delivered to me in 
the desert. 3 Though the persecution directed against us 
was indeed bitter, and a great search made by those who 
sought to slay us, yet 'the Father of mercies and God of all 

l 1 Title: The reading of RS, EagcmCcova, is to be preferred to the SeQcuilwva 
of BA, etc. The form Sagtmlcov is read in the title to de Morte Ar. and in 
Sozomen, H.E.TV.9. In ad Drac.7 there is again a divergence of reading, but 
elsewhere in Athanasius SoQanlwv is uniformly found: Vit.Ant.82, 91 aperies 
omnes MSS.', Montfaucon) of our Serapion ; and of others, Apol.c.Arian.50 
(twice), 73, 75, Hist.Arian.il. Moreover in the title to Eps.lll and IV almost 
all MSS. concur in this reading, cf. also Socrates, H.E.YV.2Z, 6 Tjjfe Gpov'Crcbv 
ixxhjolaq ayyeXot; ZoqotiUdv, and III. 7, VI.4 and 11. This conclusion is con- 
firmed by examination of the Indices to the volumes of Greek Papyri pub- 
lished by Grenfell and Hunt. Sa^antmv is there the dominant form. The same 
variation is to be found in the Vatopedi and Geneva MSS. of Serapion's own 
work, adv.Manichaeos. For Serapion's life, see D.C.B.1V.613. Almost all we 
know about him is derived from scattered references in Athanasius's writings. 
In his earlier days a monk (ad Drac.7), he enjoyed the friendship of Antony 
(Fit.Ant.82, 91). Athanasius consecrated him bishop of Thmuis, probably 
soon after his return from the first exile, in 337. (See Robertson, p. 564, note 
1.) On the importance of Thmuis, see Ammianus Marcellinus xxii.16, who 
classes it with Oxyrhynchus, Memphis, and Athribis, the largest towns in 
Egypt after Alexandria. In 353 (Sozomen, H.E.YV.9, Hist.Acepb.3, Fest.Ind. 
xxv), Athanasius sent him to negotiate with Constantius. The date of his 
death has already been discussed, Intro.II (16). 

2 sacred Kindness: 'tuae charitatis', Montfaucon. cf. the rendering in the 
Syriac version of Severus of Antioch, c.Imp.Gramm.\68B (Opitz, p. 173). 
diddeois is similarly used as a title, de Dec. 2 and de Sent.Dion.l. See also John 
of Antioch, Ep.1.2, and Synesius, Ep.xcvui. This use of abstract nouns as titles 
of courtesy is common in Athanasius and his contemporaries, cf. 6ai6rr)g infra 
and ad LucifX, edXdfJeia infra IV. 1, ad Ruf., de Mor.Ar.\, etc. It is found in 
great variety of expression in Basil, cf . especially his use of aycmrj, e.g. Ep.hooA, 
xc, c, etc. From this reference to Serapion, as well as from the character of 
the correspondence as a whole, we are compelled to conclude that Serapion 
was at this time living in Egypt and had ready means of communication with 
the orthodox clergy there. We have already noticed that by the time of the 

58 



EPISTLE ONE 59 

comfort'* used even this to comfort us. As I remembered 
your Kindness and all my friends, I imagined that you were 
with me at that moment. I was indeed very glad to have your 
letter. But when I read it, I began again to be despondent 
because of those who once before set themselves 5 to make 
war 6 against the truth. You write, beloved and truly longed 
for, 7 yourself also in distress, that certain persons, having 
forsaken the Arians on account of their blasphemy against 
the Son of God, yet oppose the Holy Spirit, saying that He 

l 2 (continued) 

Council of Seleucia he had been put out of his see. But Athanasius never 
mentions him as a victim of the Arian persecution, and it is probable that, 
although he lost his office, he contrived to escape exile or imprisonment. His 
deprivation would be suffic'int to account for Jerome's statement (de Fir. 
IU.99) : 'sub Constantio principe etiam in confessione inclytus fait.' That a simi- 
lar fate favoured many of the Egyptian bishops may be supposed from Apol. 
ad Const.27, where it is said that ninety of them came under the persecution ; 
whereas the lists of those banished (Hist.jirian.72 and de Fug.7) total only 
twenty-six. 

3 in the desert: cf. Bright, D.CB.I.194: 'As Athanasius appears to have 
made secret visits to Alexandria, he probably spent some time among the 
recluses of lower Egypt, in the Nitrean mountain, or in the "wilderness of 
cells" farther inland, or in the yet remoter Scetis, but he also doubtless visited 
. . . the pathless solitudes which surround upper Egypt, and the monasteries 
and hermitages of the Thebaid.' It is impossible to track his movements, but 
the renewed activity of his enemies and the receipt of this letter suggest 
Nitria or the lower Thebaid, where he would enjoy the protection of the 
wilderness without being entirely cut off from Alexandria. 

4 2 Corinthians Is. 

5 who once before set themselves: 'qui contra veritatem pugnare semel in animum 
induxerunt,' Montfaucon. But the Latin perfect scarcely does justice to the 
aorist, &taf fiekerrjaavreq. Athanasius grieved for them once before when 
they joined the Arians. Now they are causing him fresh distress. Or possibly it 
should be translated: 'Who once and for all set themselves'; i.e. in spite of 
their renunciation of the Arians, their disposition toward heresy persists. For 
examples of fteXetdio conveying the notion of purpose or intention, cf. 
c.Ar\.\\ and de Sent.Dion.l, where it is suggested by the LXX of Psalm 2i. 

• to make war: cf. de Sent.Dion.24, where he speaks of the Arians as being 
prompted by to tiqo; xr\v d.Xrfieiav /ilcsog, and the general use of such terms 
as deofidxoi, xQi-cnondyoi, etc., in the anti-Arian works. For examples in other 
Fathers, see Newman's note on de Dec.3. 

7 beloved and truly longed for: This elaborate form of address occurs also, 
ad Max. (tit.), ad Ant. (init.), ad Adelph.2. See also ad Ruf.l, ad Lucif.W 
(init.), and Ep.Enc.7. 



60 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

is not only a creature, 8 but actually one of the ministering 
spirits, and differs from the angels only in degree. In this 
they pretend to be fighting against the Arians; in reality 
they are controverting the holy faith. For as the Arians in 
denying the Son deny also the Father, 9 so also these men in 
speaking evil of the Holy Spirit speak evil also of the Son. 
The two parties 10 have divided between them the offensive 
against the truth; so that, with the one opposing the Son and 
the other the Spirit, they both maintain the same blasphemy 
against the holy Triad. As I regarded these things and 
reflected deeply upon them, I grew despondent because the 
devil had got another chance to make game of those who are 
acting his folly 11 ; and I had decided to keep silence 12 at this 

l 8 not only a creature: The offence of the Tropiciin the eyes of Athanasius 
is twofold: firstly, that they call the Spirit a creature, and secondly, that they 
distinguish Him from the angels in rank only and not in nature. We may 
compare Basil, Ep.cv: ol de xxlafia Xeyovreg 17 tov Ylov fj xo Ilvevfia, fj Shot; 
aired elg rfjv ?^irovQyixfjv xal 6ovh.xfn> xardyovreg rdgiv (see also Ep.cxxv.3, 
cxl.fin., and de Sp.S.25); and the terms in which Sozomen, H.E.TV. 27, 
describes the doctrine of Macedonius, duixovov xal vjtrjgezrjv xafabv xal 
oaa neol ra>v BeUov dyyiXtov teycov tic ovx av dfidgzoi. But the 'Macedon- 
ians,' while admitting that the Spirit is vnrjQerrjg (c.Mac.1.17), were at pains 
to deny that He is an angel, cf. Dial.de 2Ym».III.19 and Didymus, de 7Wrc.II. 
576b etc. From Basil {de Sp.S.Sl) we learn that Eustathius and his associates 
tried to draw a similar distinction. But the Tropici apparently employed no 
such refinements, but without equivocation called Him an angel, cf. infra, 
10(87-8) and 26(132). Athanasius found this even more outrageous than the 
fundamental error itself, though Didymus and Basil are quick to point out 
that it must inevitably follow from it. See further infra on 1 1 (88). 

* deny also the Father: By denying the eternity of the Son they necessarily 
deny the eternal Fatherhood of God. So Arius explicitly in the Thalia, c.Ar. 
1.5, ovx del 6 &sog ITarfJQ fp>. Athanasius develops this criticism, ibid.li. 
Arianism involves that the essence of God is incomplete, since something 
external must accrue to Him. Moreover, by denying the eternity of the Word 
it imputes to God dXoyla, and thus makes Him less than personal, cf. infra 
on 11.2(152). 

10 two parties: cf. infra 10 (86). Throughout this letter Athanasius insists 
that the position of the Tropici is fundamentally identical with that of the 
Arians. See also infra 17 (105-6), 2 1 (119), 29 (137). So Gregory Nazianzen.Or at . 
xxxi.l, likens the Arians and Pneumatomachi to a river which divides and 
meets again; and Didymus conjoins them as f\ dAe'Sgwc 6vdg, de Th'h. II. 619c. 

11 acting his folly: the metaphor is common in Athanasius. cf. Ep.Ene.6, 
Apol.M, 46, 71, etc. 

11 to keep silence: and so again 15(98), II.l (151), and IV. 1(179). Wefindthis 



EPISTLE ONE 61 

juncture. But because of your Holiness's entreaty, and on 
account of the spirit of innovation 13 and the diabolical 
impetuosity 14 displayed by these people, I write this letter in 
brief, 16 though I am scarce able 16 to do this much; only that 
you, making these facts your excuse, may supply what it 
lacks in the light of your own understanding, and the 
argument against this unholy heresy may be complete. 

2. To the Arians 1 indeed this way of thinking is not 
strange. Having once denied the Word of God, they natur- 
ally say the same evil things against his Spirit. Therefore it 
is not necessary to say anything more in reply to them ; what 
has previously 2 been said against them is sufficient. But it 

l 12 (continued) 

same distaste for controversy expressed, ad Mon.l.l, etc., ad Max. I, de Dec. 2. 
It was not uncommon for ecclesiastical writers to confess reluctance of this 
kind. cf. Irenaeus, Haer.TieL, Basil, de Sp.S.79, Didymus, de Sp.S.l. But this 
surely is no mere literary convention here. Besides the natural discouragement 
of which he speaks, caused by this recrudescence of heresy and the stress of 
the peril in which he stood, there was the difficulty of securing the necessary 
detachment for writing on such a subject. There was, besides, the danger, 
vividly expressed in de Morte Ar.5, of documents falling into the wrong hands 
and, either through malice or incompetence, being misinterpreted and falsified. 

13 spirit of innovation: cf. c.Ar.111.22, r\ aklobo&a rcov Xgiaro/idxcuv, and 
Dio Cassius, 79.5, xadrjyenwv aXlodoiiaq, 'leader of a revolutionary spirit'. 
The 'pravam opinionem' of Montfaucon scarcely does justice. 

14 impetuosity: A favourite term of abuse with Athanasius. cf. de Fug.13, 
c.Ar.1.6, 111.44, 63. It conveys an imputation of shamelessness, stubbornness, 
immoderation, and lack of judgement. 

16 in brief: The letter is not intended primarily for publication, but to 
furnish materials for a more careful and comprehensive refutation of the 
Tropici. In this it resembles ad Max. (cf. ibid.S), and differs from c.Ar.l-lll. 
Similar ad hoc communications are mentioned, ad Mon.1.2 and de Morte Ar.5. 

" scarce able: For the strain of self-depreciation cf. Quic.dixA init., ad 
Epict. 12. 

2 1 To the Arians: See Intro.III (19). It is not certain at what date they 
explicitly asserted that the Spirit is a creature. But it is noteworthy that 
Athanasius takes such an assertion for granted. In IV.5 he attributes it to 'the 
Eunomii, Eudoxii, and Eusebii', and it is possible to conclude from this that 
he himself traced the Arian doctrine back to Eusebius of Caesarea, whose 
statements in the Ecclesiastica Theologia III give colour to such a view. (The 
Ecc.lheol. was written soon after 336.) But it is possible that Athanasius is 
referring to Acacius, who was very active about the time of these letters, 
and who is clearly intended in IV.7. 

1 previously: May refer to e.Ar.I-HI, as Montfaucon takes it ; or, more 



62 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

is right 3 that, in some way 4 (as they themselves would say !) 
we should make a careful reply to those who have been 
deceived about the Spirit. We might well wonder at their 
folly, inasmuch as they will not have the Son of God to be a 
creature — indeed, their views on this are quite sound! 
How then have they endured so much as to hear the Spirit 
of the Son 5 called a creature ? Because of the oneness of the 
Word with the Father, 6 they will not have the Son belong to 
things originated, but rightly regard him as Creator of 
things that are made. Why then do they say that the Holy 
Spirit is a creature, who has the same oneness with the Son 
as the Son with the Father ? Why have they not understood 
that, just as by not dividing the Son from the Father they 
ensure that God is one, 7 so by dividing the Spirit from the 

2 2 (continued) 

probably, to the whole corpus of Athanasius's anti-Arian writings, which by 

this time was substantially complete. 

3 But it is right: The author of de Irin.et Sp.S. has copied this in the open- 
ing of his work. 

* in some way: Playing upon the double meaning of rgdjioc. Athanasius does 
not, of course, mean that he will reproduce the exegesis of the Tropici. cf. 
infra 3 (66) : 'In what tqotioq did you fall into such error ?' 

6 the Spirit of the Son: No doubt suggested by the argument here, but the 
phrase is none the less characteristic of the whole treatment of the subject 
by Athanasius. He associated the Spirit primarily with the Son, and it is 
through the Son and in the Son that he apprehends His unity with the 
Father.cf. the important passage infra 20 (116ff.), and again in III.l (170),and 
the discussion, Intro. IV (34ff.). 

• Because of the oneness of the Word . . .: The following sentences really form 
an introduction to the later sections of the Epistle, 19-31 (108fL), in which 
Athanasius develops the doctrine of the Spirit, but from which they are 
separated by the long exegesis of Amos 4i3 and 1 Timothy 5ai. The three 
main points of Athanasius's argument are sufficiently indicated here. Firstly, 
the Spirit has with the Son the same unity as the Son with the Father. The 
two relationships are not identical, for the Spirit is not the Son's son {infra 
15-16.95ff.), but they are of the same kind. The Spirit is in the Son as the 
Son is in the Father (19.109ff.). Secondly, and following from this, the divinity 
of the Spirit is a necessary inference from that of the Son, and every argument 
for the creaturehood of the Spirit is a fortiori an argument that the Son is a 
creature (21.118-19, etc.). Thirdly, since Scripture and tradition declare the 
Godhead to exist in Trinity, to say that the Spirit is a creature is fatally to 
impair the unity and perfection of God and to render void the means of 
grace (28-31.133fL). 

' that God is one: This assertion of the unity of God follows the doctrine 



EPISTLE ONE 63 

Word they no longer ensure that the Godhead in the Triad 
is one, for they tear it asunder, 8 and mix with it 8 a nature 
foreign to it and of a different kind, and put it on a level 10 
with the creatures? On this showing, once again the Triad 
is no longer one but is compounded of two differing natures ; 
for the Spirit, as they have imagined, is essentially different. 
What doctrine of God 11 is this, which compounds him out of 
creator and creature ? Either he is not a Triad, but a dyad, 12 

2' {continued) 

of Athanasius in his earlier works, cf. cArX.Yl and the discussion of John 14, 
i'6<V.III.l-6; and, above all, de Dec.20, the importance of which passage is 
well shown by Prestige, G.P.T. 214. But far greater prominence is assigned to 
it in the argument here than elsewhere. This is no doubt partly due to the 
fact that all three Persons come now clearly within the scope of the argument. 
But it is also due to the character of the heresy he is now opposing. The 
Arians and Eunomians started from the strict numerical unity of God; even 
though the conclusions they reached invalidated their premise (see infra on 
29.137). The Tropici, by acknowledging that the Son is not a creature, make 
their starting point His essential equality with the Father. But this involves 
them in the admission of a unity within God which is capable of sustaining 
within itself real distinctions of person. Yet when they come to the actual 
distinctions, they limit themselves arbitrarily and stop short in the middle of 
a Trinitarian confession. That they confess so much is a ground of objection 
against them that they do not confess more. The Athanasians found their 
problem in the unity of God. The Arians found theirs in the relationship of 
the three Persons. The Tropici had to face both problems at the same time. 

8 tear it asunder: cf. c.Jr.i.W init., de Dec.26, Basil, de Sp.S.25, etc. Notice 
the threefold aggravation of the error as Athanasius describes it. The Tropici 
destroy the unity of the Godhead by rending it asunder; its simplicity by 
making it a compound; and its unique dignity by ranking a creature with it. 

' mix with it: From this it must follow that the divine yvois is avyxeiftevtj 
and ffwOerdc, and hence capable of analysis and even of partition. See the full 
statement, de Dec.22 init., c.Ar.11.38, de Syn.34. 

10 on a level: so also infra 10(87) : 'By reducing the Spirit to the level of the 
angels, they are ranking the angels with the Triad.' 

11 What doctrine of God: This passage is adapted from c.Ar.\Xl. See also 
ibid.lA. 

12 not a Triad, but a dyad: The consequences for faith which follow from 
this supposition are described at length, infra 29(137f.).cf. also 111.7(177). But 
whereas here he simply confronts the Tropici with the dilemma that God 
is either Triad or dyad, in this last passage he charges them with believing 
in a dyad that develops ex /iexajioXfjQ xai iiQoxonrjg into a triad; just as in the 
passage, c.Ar.1.17, just referred to, he charges the Arians with believing in 
a monad which becomes a triad. There is a striking, if superficial, resemblance 
between the notion Athanasius imputes to the Tropici and Arians and the 



64 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

with the creature left over. Or, if he be Triad — as indeed he 
is ! — then how do they class the Spirit who belongs to the 
Triad with the creatures which come after the Triad ? For 
this, once more, is to divide and dissolve the Triad. There- 
fore, while thinking falsely of the Holy Spirit, they do not 
think truly even of the Son. For if they thought correctly of 
the Word, they would think soundly of the Spirit also, who 
proceeds from the Father, 13 and, belonging to the Son, 14 

2" (continued) 

Sabellian doctrine set out for criticism in c.^r.IV.13. But whereas the Arians' 
triad is developed by increment from without, the Sabellian doctrine is of 
a God who expands by a process of evolution from within. 

M proceeds from the Father: Particular significance was, apparently, first 
attached to the use of ixnogeveoBat in John 15u6 by Clement of Alexandria. 
See the fragment quoted by Swete, 'On the History of the Doctrine of the Pro- 
cession' , p. 60, in which occur the words 61 ixnogevaecag rov dyCov Ilved/iarog. 
The context suggests that, in speaking of the Spirit's ixjiogevacg, Clement did 
not distinguish between His procession from the essence of the Father and 
His mission at Pentecost. Origen does use the term, according to Rufinus's 
translation, in a way suggesting a distinctive formula (&e PfMi.Iii.18). But 
elsewhere he uses exjiogeveodai of the Son (e.g. ibid.7). Examples of its use are 
rare in subsequent writers before Athanasius, but the persistence of these 
two confusions is well illustrated in Eusebius, Ecc.Theol.lllA. Eusebius here 
quotes a passage from Marcellus in which the latter argues from John 16n 
and 20a that the Spirit came forth (ngoijXOe) out of the Word no less than 
He proceeds (ixaogeverai) out of the Father, and hence concludes that the 
Father and the Word are one. Eusebius resists this conclusion by refusing to 
refer John 15ae to anything more than the Spirit's descent at the baptism and 
upon prophets and apostles. No doubt Asterius, who, as we learn from Mar- 
cellus, also took cognizance of the term, understood it in the same way as 
Eusebius. It would appear from this that the meaning of ixnogeveodai had 
been a matter of debate more than twenty years before this letter was written. 
On the other hand it is plain, from Marcellus no less than from Eusebius, that 
the word was not yet exclusively appropriated to the Spirit, for both freely 
use it of the Son. Athanasius seems to hold a position midway between this 
and that of later writers with whom ixnogeveaOai and its cognates are invari- 
ably used as technical terms. There can be no doubt that in these letters he 
understands it not only of the Spirit's ministry but of His essential life. cf. 
infra 15 j>w'2.(96-7). No doubt the interesting phrase, ixn6gev/ia rovllargdg in 
Exf.FidA is to be understood in the same way; though the subsequent words, 
iv rale X E 6 ai r °v ninnovroq Ilargd; xal rov qiegovrog Yiov, might seem to 
restrict the reference to the Spirit's mission. But the fact that they are also to 
be found in Dionysius of Alexandria (ap. de Sent.Dion.il) suggests that the 
whole phrase may be a liturgical formula. Nor does Athanasius use ixno- 
geveodai in any sense whatever of the Son. On the other hand, we do not 



EPISTLE ONE 65 

is from him given to the disciples and all who believe in him. 
Nor, erring thus, do they so much as keep sound their faith 
in the Father. 15 For those who 'resist the Spirit', as the great 
martyr Stephen said, deny also the Son. 16 But those who 
deny the Son have not the Father. 17 

3. Where then do you find excuse for such audacity, so 
that you do not fear that which was spoken by the Lord, 
'Whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath 
no forgiveness, neither in this present age nor in the age to 
come' 1 ? The Arians, having misunderstood the incarnate 
presence 2 of the Word and the things which were said in 

2 U (continued) 

find the term ex7t6gevoig in his writings. He does not contrast ixTiogetjeadai, 
used of the Spirit, with yevvaodai, used of the Son ; though such a contrast 
would have been useful to him in the argument of 15-19. He always argues 
from the terms Son and Spirit. Athanasius here follows the text of John 15m 
in using the preposition naqd. Later on (e.g. in 15, 20, etc.) he prefers ex, 
possibly under the influence of those phrases in the Nicene Creed which 
speak of the Son as yewrfiivza ex rov IJargog and as &edv ex QeoV. Scriptural 
authority could be found for it in 1 Corinthians 2ia. 

14 belonging to the Son: Accords with Athanasius's teaching elsewhere in these 
letters on the relation of the Spirit to the Son. The Spirit derives His existence 
from the Father and receives His mission from the Son; and the former 
relationship is manifested in and apprehended from the latter. See infra on 
20(117). The preposition here again is Tiagd. Athanasius does say exrov Ylovoi 
the Spirit, but only in passages where it is suggested by John 16m, as in e.Ar. 
111.25 and infra 11 fin. (89), 20(118), IV. 1(180). The Spirit's relation to the 
Father is very clearly contrasted with His relation to the Son, infra 15 init. 
(97), el . . . ix rov Ilcngog exnogeverai . . . ei 6e rov Ylov eanv. . . . 

" their faith in the Father: cf. infra 22(121) and 111.2(171), Basil, deSp.S. 27, 
Gregory Nazianzen, Oraf.xxxi.12, and Gregory of Nyssa,- adv. Mac .20. 

" Acts 761-a. " 1 John 2m. 

3 1 Whosoever shall blaspheme . . . : Mark 3as; Matthew 1232. So again, infra 
33(149) and 111.7(178), he applies this saying to the Tropici. But contrast Quic. 
dix.S, etc., where the words 'Holy Spirit' therein are understood of our Lord's 
divine nature, and it is interpreted in an anti-Arian sense. 

* having misunderstood the incarnate presence: i.e. the limitations and affec- 
tions of our Lord's human life, the nadr/para, some of which he sets forth infra 
in 11.8(165), where see note. These manifestations of weakness gave a certain 
plausibility to the Arians in their contention that He could not be true God. 
cf. Quic.dix.8 : 'When therefore men, regarding his human attributes, see the 
Lord athirst or weary or suffering and foolishly say of the Saviour such things 
as they would only say of a man, great is their sin ; but none the less, upon a 
speedy repentance, they can receive forgiveness, for they have an excuse in 



66 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

consequence thereof, took from them an excuse for their 
heresy and were condemned as enemies of God and as 
speaking things which are in truth idle and earthly. 3 But 
whence were you deceived ? From whom did you hear * such 
error? In what way did you fall into it? 'We read', they say, 
'in the prophet Amos, 5 where God says 8 : "I am he that 

3 2 (continued) 

the weakness of his body.' We must not read into the words here a reference 
to the peculiar Christology of the Anomoeans, and possibly of Axius himself, 
that in Christ the divine Logos took the place of a human rational soul. See 
Robertson, Intro.xxviii, note 2, and Gwatkin, S.A.25, note 5. In his earlier 
works, Athanasius never attributes such an opinion to Arius. It is not men- 
tioned in the summary of his teaching, c.Ar.1.3. In III.32-5 he answers it 
without clearly associating it with the Arians, and in the passage from Quic . 
dix.8 he goes on to speak of those who deny that the Word was made flesh, 
without suggesting that he has any particular school of heresy in mind. It is, 
moreover, noteworthy that in ad Adelph.l (dated 369 by Montfaucon, but 
it may have been earlier), where he definitely charges the Arians with denying 
our Lord's Manhood, he calls it a new blasphemy. These considerations go 
far to support R. V. Sellers when he suggests that the doctrine of Eunomius 
has been read back into the mind of Arius and his contemporaries (Two 
Ancient Christologies, page 32, note 3). The only contemporary evidence 
seems to be a hypothetical allusion in a fragment of Eustathius of Antioch, 
which is curiously paralleled in c.Ar.W.8. The truth was that whether they 
denied its reality or no, the Arians, by attributing human passions and affec- 
tions to the Logos, removed the necessity for any incarnation which was 
more than the mere assumption of a body. Even if they did not appreciate 
the point themselves, it can hardly have escaped their opponents. 

* idle and earthly: John 3si. So also de DecSfin. cf. ihid.X, and ad Afr.G. 

* From whom did you hear: dxoveiv here has an almost technical sense, 'to 
hear from a recognized authority'. So c.Ar. 1.8: 'Who ever heard such doc- 
trine ? Whence or from whom . . . did they hear it ? Who, when they were 
under catechizing, spoke thus to them?' cf. infra IV.5(186), deDec.XZ, and 
c.^r.II.34. So, too, de Trin.et Sp.S.X, 'ubi in auctoritate legisti creaturam 
Spiritum sanctum?', the Epistle of Alexander, in Socrates, H.E.l.G, and the 
epigrammatic phrase in p/ Athanasius, c.Apoll.1.22: 6 ex tu>v idtojv KaX&v 
ipevdog XaXsl. 

6 in the prophet Amos: The interpretation of Amos 4ia was hotly debated 
in the earlier stages of the Pneumatomachist controversy, and almost every 
writer on the Catholic side refers to it. Apart from this passage, we have no 
less than ten exegeses of the text. These are to be found in : Basil, adv.Eun. 
III.7; Epiphanius, ff^r.bariv.8; Didymus, de Sp.S.U-15 and de Trin.III.951; 
Ambrose, de Sp.S.llAS; Gregory of Nyssa, de Fide, Jin.; pj.Athanasius, de 
Trin.et Sp.S.20, Disp.c^irAO, Dial.de Trin.lll.26; Cyril of Alexandria, Dial, 
de 7>i».VTI.1108. In fact, the text takes a place analogous to that held by 



EPISTLE ONE 67 

establisheth thunder and createth spirit and declareth unto 
men his Christ, that maketh dawn and mist, that ascendeth 
unto the high places of the earth. The Lord God omnipotent 
is his name". 7 Hence we believed the Arians when they said 
that the Holy Spirit is a creature.' So you read the passage 
in Amos. But that which is spoken in Proverbs, 'The Lord 
created me as a beginning of his ways for his works' 8 — did 
you not read that? Or did you read it? You explain 9 this 
passage in accordance with the truth, so that you do not call 
the Word a creature. But the passage in the prophet you do 
not explain. Simply hearing the word 'spirit', you supposed 
that the Holy Spirit is called a creature. Although in Pro- 
verbs it is clearly Wisdom who says 'created', yet you do well 

3 6 (continued) 

Proverbs 8m in the Arian controversy. From its appearance in the adv.Eun. 
of Basil, it must have been urged by the Anomoeans, but we find it expounded 
already by Eusebius (Ecc.Theol.lI1.2) in a discussion of Proverbs 823. Eusebius 
takes nvev/ia of the Holy Spirit, but interprets jm'fcov as nazanefinoiv ij 
xaiardaaaiv. For 'God did not create the Spirit at that time when He through 
Him declared His Christ to all men'. TheTropici took it up and the Pneuma- 
tomachi of Pontus after them. The argument is that because the passage 
makes mention of Christ, nveiifia must refer to the Holy Spirit. But even so, it 
proved a brittle weapon, and later Macedonian writers probably used it little. 
Gregory of Nyssa does indeed discuss it briefly, but not in his work against 
the Macedonians. It is not referred to in pj.Athanasius, Dial.c.Mac.l. In 
Dial.de Trin. III. 26 it is actually cited, not by the Macedonian, but by the 
orthodox, who uses it to prove that the Spirit is creator. Athanasius's exposi- 
tion was very largely used by his successors. No other treatment of the passage 
approaches his in length and elaboration; and, apart from noticing the tense 
of xtI£o>v (Didymus, Basil, Ambrose, Disp.cAr.), others add very little to the 
points he makes. It should be noticed that Didymus gives two expositions, 
of which the later, in de Trin.lll, shows a greater dependence on the work 
of Athanasius. 

• where God says: A point which acquired great importance later in the 
controversy. Didymus, de Trin.lll, loc.cit., contends that these words must 
be spoken ix nQoawnov aylov nvevfiaTog, who, a fortiori, cannot be the spirit 
referred to. He charges his opponents with excising idoi) iyc& from the text in 
order to make the prophet the speaker, and so avoid the conclusion that the 
Spirit is creator, cf. Dial.de 7Wn.III.26. 

7 Amos 4is. 8 Proverbs 822. 

8 explain: emphatic. They realized that the text required interpretation 
if its proper sense was to be apprehended, cf. c.Ar.ll.62, on Colossians lu: 
el /J.EV oro ftovoyevrjs eortv, Staneq ovv xal lartv, iefir)vevio6<o t6 'Ttgcotdroxo;. 



68 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

enough. You explain the text so as not to put the Artificer 
Wisdom among the creatures. But the text in the prophet 
gives no indication of the Holy Spirit; it only speaks of 
spirit. Why then, although there is in Scripture a great 
difference in the use of the word 'spirit', and although the 
text can properly be interpreted 10 in an orthodox sense, do 
you — either out of love of contention or because you have 
been poisoned by the Arian serpent's 11 sting — suppose that 
it is the Holy Spirit who is referred to in Amos ? Only that 
you may not forget to regard him as a creature ! 

4. Tell us, then, is there any passage in the divine Scrip- 
ture where the Holy Spirit is found simply referred to as 
'spirit' without the addition of 'of God', or 'of the Father', 
or 'my', or 'of Christ' himself, and 'of the Son', or 'from 
me' (that is, from God), or with the article so that he is 
called not simply 'spirit' but 'the Spirit', or the very term 
'Holy Spirit' or 'Paraclete' or 'of Truth' (that is, of the Son 
who says, 'I am the Truth'), 1 — that, just because you heard 
the word 'spirit', you take it to be the Holy Spirit ? Leave out 
of account 2 for the moment cases in which people who have 

3 10 can properly be interpreted . . . : cf. c.Ar.W.44. Athanasius is not merely 
concerned to ask, What is the most simple and natural interpretation of this 
passage ? But, Can it be interpreted in conformity with the tradition of faith ? 
Thus in 7 and 9 he puts out two different exegeses. For his own part, he is 
satisfied with the first, but he is prepared, in answer to the objections of his 
opponents, to offer a second, 'tropical', interpretation, if it will reconcile 
them to belief in the Spirit's Godhead. He is in the position of counsel urging 
a series of pleas, not particularly concerned which of them is accepted, pro- 
vided he wins his case. 

11 serpent: a favourite figure with Athanasius. He elaborates it, c.Ar.\.\, 7, 
etc. 

4 1 John H«. 

1 Leave out of account: cf. de Dec.24 and c.Ar.II.20. The construction here 
is curiously compressed, and the association of two clauses, the one referring 
to characters in the Scriptures and the other to readers of the Scriptures, is 
awkward and unhappy. The sense, however, is clear from the examples that 
follow and from the corresponding passages in Didymus, de Sp.S.15 and de 
Trjn.III.953A. Here is the latter passage, which appears to be almost a tran- 
script of the former: onavuog ydg to aytov IlrEVfia xov Qsov dl%a rot) 
awdmeoQai avrq> to "Sytov", rj to "rov Qeov", r) to aodgov, f) tt)9 iieroxnv 
avrov, coc fp/txa ygoxpu "IJvev/ta 'HXela", xai "LTvev/xaxi TtsQutarelTt' For the 
first of these illustrations Didymus has in mind Luke In or possibly 2 Kings 2» 



EPISTLE ONE 69 

already received the Holy Spirit are mentioned again, and 
places where the readers, having previously learned of him, 
are not ignorant of whom they are hearing when he is referred 
to again, by way of repetition and reminder, merely as 'the 
Spirit*. In these cases too it is generally used with the article. 
To sum up, unless the article is present 3 or the above- 

4 J (continued) 

(see /^.Athanasius, de Comm.Ess.6). By rrjv neroxty avzoC, which it illustrates, 
he obviously means the first of the exceptions Athanasius makes here. cf. also 
his Enarr.in Joh.4.l-2 (1794c): 'Units et idem Spiritus Dei est Patri unicus et 
Filio; qui pluraliter nominator, in diversis describitur qui eo participantur, quale 
est Spiritus Eliae et Spiritus unius cuiusque sanctorum, ita ut tanti spiritus 
videantur, quanti sunt qui eo participantur.' We may compare the distinction 
drawn by Blass, 'Grammar', p. 149, between dyiov nveti/ja, 'used to a certain 
extent personally and with the article', and its use 'for the godlike spirit 
moving in man, and then without the article'. There are passages, especially 
in St. Paul, where it is not easy to determine whether the writer is referring to 
the divine Spirit, as possessed by and abiding in the human, or the human 
spirit, as energized and sanctified by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Athan- 
asius and Didymus are striving to cover such cases, cf. Duncan, Moffatt 
Commentary on Galatians, p. 166. The second class of exception Athanasius 
refers to is not so much different in type from the first as an amplification and 
extension of it, to cover all cases where the context makes it necessary that 
nvevfta should be understood of the Holy Spirit. Of the illustrations which 
follow, those from the Epistles are intended to illustrate the first, those from 
the Gospels the second. 

' unless the article is present: The problem of differentiating the various 
uses of Tirevfia had been realized by earlier writers. Origen, de Prin.l.iu.4, 
speaks of certain of his predecessors who thought that the Holy Spirit is 
referred to in the New Testament even when the word 'Spirit' is used without 
a qualifying adjective ('sine adjectione ea quae designet qualis est spiritus'). 
He applies the same principle to the Old Testament, e.g. in Isaiah 42». But 
of other writers in this controversy only Didymus attaches importance to 
the matter, cf. his observation in de Sp.S.XS, that the article in this context 
is ' singularitatis significator' , and also ibid.Z and de Trin.II.4S7c. The use of 
the article as a criterion to distinguish the Holy Spirit from the spirit of man 
in disputed New Testament passages has long been abandoned by com- 
mentators. See Burton, International Critical Commentary, on Galatians 
5s,ie. Some, however, think it possible to distinguish, in accordance with 
Middleton's celebrated canon, between Ttvev/ta with the article, signifying the 
Holy Spirit considered as a divine Person, and mevfia without the article, 
signifying the Holy Spirit as an endowment bestowed upon man. See Swete, 
'The Holy Spirit in the New Testament', additional note P, and A. J. Mac- 
donald, "The Interpreter Spirit and Human Life', Chapter 4. It is interesting 
to notice that Athanasius does not abide by his own rule. Thus, infr a 33(148-9) 



70 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

mentioned addition, it cannot refer to the Holy Spirit. Take, 
for example, what Paul writes to the Galatians, 'This only 
would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit by the works 
of the law or by the hearing of faith?' 4 What had they 
received but the Holy Spirit who is given to those who be- 
lieve and are being born again 'through the laver of re- 
generation' 5 ? When he wrote to the Thessalonians, 'Quench 
not the Spirit', 6 he was speaking to those who themselves 
knew what they had received ; lest through lack of care they 
should quench the grace of the Spirit which had been 
kindled within them. When, in the Gospels, the evangelists, 
for the sake of the flesh he took, use human terms of the 
Saviour and say, 'Jesus, full of Spirit, returned from the 
Jordan', 7 and, 'Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the 
wilderness', 8 it has the same sense. For Luke has already 
said: 'But when all the people had been baptized, and Jesus 
also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was 
opened, and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, 
as a dove, upon him.' 9 This made it clear that, in the mention 
of 'the Spirit', the Holy Spirit was intended. So likewise 
where the Holy Spirit is with men, even if he is mentioned 
without addition to his name, there is no doubt that it is the 
Holy Spirit who is intended; especially when it has the 
article. 

5 . But do you answer the question which has been put to 
you whether anywhere in the divine Scripture you have 
found the Holy Spirit called simply 'spirit', without the 
above-mentioned addition and apart from the qualification 
we have recorded. You cannot answer it ! For you will not 
find it so in Scripture. 1 But it is written in Genesis, 'And the 

4 s (continued) 

he takes iv nvsv/ian in John 4a« of the Holy Spirit; while, infra 8(78), he pro- 
poses a different interpretation for t<5 nvevfia in 2 Corinthians 3i7. 

* Galatians 3a. ■ Titus 3s. • 1 Thessalonians 5i9. 

7 Luke 4i. 8 Matthew 4i. * Luke 3ai-s. 

5 1 in Scripture: This long list of proof texts may be compared with that 
compiled by Didymus, de Trin. 11.453b, etc., to show the Spirit's propriety 
to God. The order in which the books are quoted is the same as that of Ep. 
Heort.xxxix, with one or two accountable exceptions. Thus he turns to 



EPISTLE ONE 71 

Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.' 2 And a little 
later, 'My Spirit shall not abide among these men, for they 
are flesh.' 3 In Numbers, Moses says to the son of Nun, 'Be 
not jealous for me. Would that all the Lord's people were 
prophets, when the Lord bestows his Spirit upon them !' 4 
In Judges it is said of Gothoniel: 'And the Spirit of the 
Lord came upon him and he judged Israel.' 8 And again: 
'The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah.' 6 And con- 
cerning Samson: 'The child grew', it says, 'and the Lord 
blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to accompany 
him,' 7 and, 'The Spirit of the Lord came upon him might- 
ily.' 8 David sings: 'Take not thy Holy Spirit from me' 9 ; and 
again, in the one hundred and forty-second Psalm: 'Thy 
good Spirit shall lead me in a plain country, for thy name's 
sake, O Lord.' 10 In Isaiah it is written: 'The Spirit of the 
Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me.' 11 
And before this it was said : 'Woe to you, rebellious child- 
ren ! Thus saith the Lord : You took counsel, but not from 
me, and made covenants, but not through my Spirit, to add 
sins to sins.' 12 And again: 'Hear these things. From the 
beginning, I have not spoken in secret. When it was, I was 
there. And now the Lord hath sent me, and his Spirit.' 18 A 
little later he speaks thus: 'And this is my covenant with 
them, saith the Lord, My Spirit which is upon thee' 1 *; and 

5 1 (continued) 

the Major Prophets before citing from the Book of the Twelve, no doubt 
because Isaiah is peculiarly rich in passages suitable to his purpose. So likewise 
he goes to John before the Synoptics, and interrupts his citations from 
Thessalonians to go on to Hebrews. The examples have been chosen with 
care, from a text, and not reproduced from memory. Notice the accuracy 
of his quotation of 1 Corinthians 2io-ia compared with the wording of thil 
passage, infra 22(121), 26(130), etc. 

I Genesis la. 3 Genesis 6s. 4 Numbers 11 at. 
6 Judges 3io. • Judges lias. 7 Judges 12a4-o. 

8 Judges 15u. » Psalm 51n. 10 Psalm 143io. 

II Isaiah 61 i. la Isaiah 30i. 

u and his Spirit: Isaiah 48i«. Athanasius gives no indication whether he 
takes 7tvsvfta here as subject, with Ambrose (de Sp.S.111.7), or object, with 
Origen (in Afatt.XIII.18) and Didymus (de Sp.S.26). See further Johnston's 
note on Basil, de Sp.SA9. 

" Isaiah 59ai. 



72 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

again in what follows he adds: 'Neither envoy nor angel, but 
the Lord himself saved them, because he loved them and had 
mercy on them ; he himself redeemed them and took them up 
and exalted them all the days of the age. But they were 
disobedient and provoked his Holy Spirit, and he was 
turned to enmity toward them.' 15 And Ezekiel speaks thus: 
'And the Spirit took me up and brought me to the land of 
the Chaldaeans, to the Captivity, in a vision, by the Spirit of 
God.' 16 In Daniel: 'God raised up the Holy Spirit of a 
young man 17 whose name was Daniel, and he cried with a loud 
voice, I am clear from the blood of this woman.' Micah says: 
'The house of Jacob provoked the Spirit of the Lord' 18 ; and 
by Joel, God says : 'And it shall be after these things that I 
will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.' 19 Again, through 
Zechariah the voice of God says: 'But receive my words and 
my commandments which I charge by my Spirit to my 
servants the prophets' ; 20 and when the prophet rebukes the 
people a little farther on, he says: 'They make their hearts 
disobedient, lest they should hear my law and the words 
which the Lord of hosts has sent by his Spirit in the hands of 
the prophets of old.' 21 These few examples we have collected 
and set down from the Old Testament. 

6. But inquire also about the contents of the Gospels 
and the writings of the Apostles, and you will hear how 
there also, inasmuch as there is a great difference between 
spirits, the Holy Spirit is not particularized simply as 'spirit', 
but by the addition we have mentioned above. As already 
stated, when our Lord was baptized in human fashion 
because of the flesh he was wearing, the Holy Spirit is said 

5" Isaiah 63»-io. »• Ezekiel 1 lu. 

17 the Holy Spirit of a young man: Susannah m, from the Theodotian text. 
It is likewise read and understood by Ambrose (de S^.S.III.40-3), who argues 
at length that it is the Holy Spirit and not the spirit of Daniel that is intended 
here. But observe Didymus (de 2V»».II.652c), igqyeiQev 6 &eog to Ilvev/ta to 
ayiov rov AaviriX, cited to prove that the Holy Spirit is God ; and de Sp.S.2, 'ft 
Danieli adhuc puero suscitens dicitur Deus Spiritum sanctum' (possibly under 
the influence of the LXX text). In Cyril of Jerusalem (Cai.XVI.31) we find 
the reading inl natdaQlov. See the commentary of A. Scholz in loc. 

» Micah 2r. " Joel 2o«. "> Zechariah 1«. " Zechariah 7m. 



EPISTLE ONE 73 

to have descended upon him. In giving him to his disciples 
he said : ' Receive the Holy Spirit' l ; and he taught them : "The 
Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in 
my name, he shall teach you all things.' 2 And a little later, 
concerning the same : 'When the Paraclete is come, whom I 
shall send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who 
proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me.' * 
Again : 'For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your 
Father that speaketh in you' 4 ; and a little farther on: 'But 
if I, by the Spirit of God, cast out devils, then is the kingdom 
of God come upon you.' 5 And in him perfecting 8 all our 
knowledge of God and the initiation 7 whereby he joined us 
to himself and, through himself, to the Father, he charged 
the disciples: 'Go ye and make disciples of all nations, 
baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son 
and of the Holy Spirit.' 8 When he promised to send him to 
them, 'he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem'; 9 
and, after a few days, 'when the day of Pentecost was now 
come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly 
there came from heaven the sound as of the rushing of a 
mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sit- 
ting. And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, 

6 1 John 20m. * John 14m. * John 15a«. 

• Matthew 10ao. • Matthew 12as. 

• in him perfecting: It is possible that iv rovrq> here refers to the ensuing 
quotation, as in Galatians 3a, 'in this saying perfecting'. Athanasius would 
then mean that it was in the baptismal formula that Christ made perfect our 
knowledge of God and our initiation into Him. This is fully in accordance with 
what he says elsewhere, e.g. infra 28(135-6), 11.6(160), 111.6(176), etc., where 
Matthew 28i9 is regarded as a definitive summary of doctrine, the 'founda- 
tion' of the faith (28). But this interpretation of iv rovrq) is awkward and puts 
a forced meaning upon avfinXriQwv. It is better, therefore, to take rovrco, as 
Montfaucon does, of the Spirit. Our knowledge of God is made perfect in 
the confession of the Spirit's Godhead, and baptism avails because it is in 
the threefold name. 

7 the initiation: For the full phrase, )J reXeCcoaig rov pa7trla/iarog, see 
c.Ar.WAl, etc. But reXeiaxrig is used absolutely, with the same meaning, infra 
30(140), 11.7(168), and c.Jr.11.42. cf. also p/.Athanasius, ad Jov., fj iv nknei 
reXelcoat?, and the usage of Gregory Nazianzen, Orat.sl, e.g. 18 and 28, and 
also the use of reAeicoTjfc of the officiant, 44. 

• Matthew 28i». • Acts 1«. 



74 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were 
all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other 
tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.' 10 Hence also, 
through the laying on of the Apostles' hands, the Holy Spirit 
was given to those who were being born again. One Agabus 
prophesied by him, saying: 'Thus saith the Holy Spirit.' 11 
Paul said: '. . . in the which the Holy Spirit hath made you 
bishops to feed the Church of God which he purchased with 
his own blood.' 12 When the eunuch was baptized, 'the Spirit 
of the Lord caught away Philip'. 13 And Peter wrote: 
'Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your 
souls. Concerning which salvation the prophets sought and 
examined diligently, who prophesied of the grace which 
should come unto us, searching what time or what manner 
of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point 
unto, when he testified beforehand of the sufferings of 
Christ and the glories which should follow them.' 1 * And 
John wrote: 'Hereby know we that we abide in him and he 
in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.' 15 

Paul writes to the Romans: 'But ye are not in the flesh 
but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in 
you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none 
of his. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of 
sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the 
Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in 
you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall 
quicken also your mortal bodies through His Spirit that 
dwelleth in you.' 16 To the Corinthians: 'For the Spirit 
searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For who 
knoweth the things of man save the spirit of the man which 

6 10 Acts 2i-«. u Acts 21n. l » Acts 20m. 

11 Acts 8»». 14 1 Peter I9-11. ™ 1 John 4is. 

16 through his Spirit . . . : Romans 89-n. Here and infra 19(113) and 23(123) 
Athanasius has the genitive, the reading of Codex Alexandrinus, as opposed 
to the accusative of Codex Vaticanus. So also Didymus (de Jrin.II.559B), but 
in de Sp.S.39 the Latin has the accusative. The reading was of considerable 
importance later in the controversy inasmuch as it was held to establish the 
operation of the Spirit in the Resurrection. It was challenged by the Mace- 
donians, cf. Dial.de 7 rin 111. 20. 



EPISTLE ONE 75 

is in him ? And so the things of God none knoweth save the 
Spirit of God. But we received not the spirit of the world, 
but the Spirit which is of God ; that we might see the things 
that are freely given us by God.' 17 And a little later: 'Know 
ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of 
God dwelleth in you?' 18 And again: 'But ye were washed, 
but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the 
Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.' 19 And again : 
'But all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing 
to each severally, even as he will.' 20 And again: 'Now the 
Lord is the Spirit, 21 and where the Spirit of the Lord is, 
there is liberty.' See how he writes to the Galatians also: 
'That the blessing of Abraham might come in Christ Jesus, 
that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through 
faith.' 22 And again : 'Because ye are sons, God sent forth the 
Spirit of his Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father. 
Wherefore thou art no more a servant but a son ; and if a 
son, then an heir of God through Christ.' 23 To the Ephe- 
sians he speaks thus: 'And grieve not the Holy Spirit of 
God, in whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.' 24 
And once more: 'Endeavouring to keep the unity of the 
Spirit in the bond of peace.' 25 To the Philippians he writes 
very confidently: 'What then? Only that in every way, 
whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and 
therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this 
shall turn to my salvation, through your supplication and the 
supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest 
expectation and hope, that in nothing shall I be put to 
shame.' 28 And again : 'For we are the circumcision, who wor- 

6" 1 Corinthians 2io-u. " 1 Corinthians 3u. 

" 1 Corinthians 611. *> 1 Corinthians 12n. 

n the Lord is the Spirit: 2 Corinthians 3i7. It is not clear whether Athanasius 
intends us to regard this as a reference to the Holy Spirit, or whether he is 
merely quoting the whole verse for the sake of what follows. In c.Ar.l.ll he 
refers it to the Son. But inconsistencies on such points are found elsewhere 
in his exegesis (see on Genesis 48is, infra 14.93). Basil likewise understands 
it of the Spirit, de Sf.S.52, and of the Son, adv.Eun.lll.3. 

" Galatians 3i4. M Galatians 4«-7. M Ephesians 430. u Ephesians 4s. 

86 Philippians lis-ao. 



76 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

ship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus.' 27 To 
the Thessalonians he testifies: 'Therefore he that rejecteth 
rejecteth not man but God who giveth his Holy Spirit unto 
you.' 28 And to the Hebrews thus : ' . . . the Holy Spirit signi- 
fying that the way unto the holy place hath not yet been 
made manifest, while the first tabernacle is yet standing.' 29 
And again: 'Of how much sorer punishment, think you, 
shall he be judged worthy who hath trodden under foot the 
Son of God and hath counted the blood of the covenant, 
wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing and hath done 
despite unto the Spirit of grace ?' 30 Again : 'For if the blood 
of bulls and of goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling 
them that have been defiled sanctify unto the cleanness of 
the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who 
through eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto 
God, cleanse our conscience from dead works?' 31 To the 
Thessalonians: 'Then shall be revealed the lawless one, 
whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the Spirit of his mouth 
and bring to naught by the manifestation of his glory.' 32 

7. See how the Holy Spirit is denoted in all divine 
Scripture ! Did you, then, notice 1 anything of this kind in 
the prophet? The 'spirit' of which the prophet is now speak- 
ing has not even the article, to give you an excuse. But out of 
sheer audacity you have invented 'tropes' 2 for yourselves 

6" Philippians 3s. ** 1 Thessalonians 4s. M Hebrews 9s. 

80 Hebrews 10a». sl Hebrews 9i3-u. 

** with the Spirit of his mouth . . . : 2 Thessalonians 2s. He interprets on the 
analogy of Psalm 33«. cf. infra 31(143). 

7 1 Did you then notice: Or possibly, 'Why do you speculate in this way about 
the prophet ?' In later writers, e.g. Cyril of Alexandria, in Joh.lll.iv, Oecogia 
is used for the allegorical interpretation of Scripture. But Athanasius gener- 
ally uses Bsmgeiv transitively. 

1 you have invented 'tropes': knivoeiv is almost a technical term for the intro- 
duction of novel teaching, cf. Socrates, H.E.lll.7, on the Council of Alexan- 
dria in 362 (quoted by Newman on c.Ar.\.\. The whole note should be 
consulted), oi5 ydg veagdv riva Bg-qaxelav enivorjaavric, els T V V exxXr^alav 
elarjyayov. So also infral 7(105— 6),and c .Ar.1.8, drasaigeaeig lmvov\aac. <5«i/?oAoc. 
rgonoQ is generally used for any figure of speech. Thus Cicero, Brutus XVII.69 : 
'ornari orationes Graeci putent si verborum immutationibus utentur, quos appel- 
lunt rgdnoC. And Tryphon, Tropi, init. (in Boissonade's 'Anecdota Graeca', 



EPISTLE ONE 77 

and identified the spirit which is said to be created with the 
Holy Spirit himself; though even from students of language 
you could have learned of the difference between spirits. 3 
For Scripture speaks of the spirit of man, as David in the 
Psalm: 'I communed with my heart and was troubled in my 
spirit.' 4 Baruch says in prayer: 'The soul in anguish, the 
spirit of the troubled, crieth unto thee.' 6 And in the Song of 
the Three Children: 'Bless the Lord, ye spirits and souls of 
the righteous.' 6 The Apostle writes: 'The Spirit himself 
beareth witness with our spirit that we are children of God; 
and if children, then heirs.' 7 And again: 'No man knoweth 

7 2 (continued) 

Volume III), where it is defined as Xdfccus <p(>doig ix Ttjg xaff&avxfpi 
oncoaotiv Idiorrjrog fisraTQ07tfjv elAr]<pvia, Sid xai Tgojroc xaXelrat. Although, 
properly speaking, allegory is only one species of trope, among ecclesiastical 
writers the term came to mean a figurative interpretation of Scripture. This 
kind of exegesis was regarded as legitimate in the Church from the beginning. 
See the article by Darwell Stone, 'The Mystical Interpretation of the Old 
Testament' in 'A New Commentary on Holy Scripture'. Origen raised it to the 
level of a science with fixed principles and laws; cl.in Gen.X1.2 anddePrin.IV. 
i. Athanasius does not question its legitimacy; though he favours literal inter- 
pretations and eschews the extravagance that, at Alexandria, characterized 
the exposition of Dionysius before him and of Didymus after him. He cer- 
tainly employs figurative explanations, especially in his earlier works, e.g. on 
the Fall, c.G.2, 3, and in his apologetic treatment of Proverbs 82a, etc., c.Ar.ll. 
He also incorporates in his exegesis fragments of traditional allegorizing, as on 
Deuteronomy 2866, de Inc.35 and c.Ar.W.16, and on Job 4 lis, ad Episc.3 and 
Vit.Ant.S. What then is the force of this accusation ? He objects not so much 
to the method used by the Tropici as to the mind and temper which direct 
their use of it and the ends to which it is addressed. We may compare his 
observation on Arian exegesis, c.Ar.1.37: 'But since they allege the divine 
oracles and force on them a misinterpretation, according to their private 
sense, it becomes necessary to meet them just so far as to vindicate these 
passages, and to show that they bear an orthodox sense.' Any system of 
exposition is vitiated, in the eyes of Athanasius, if it is used to discredit the 
tradition of faith. 

* the difference between spirits: A similar classification of the various meanings 
of Tivevfta is to be found in Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat.XVl. 13-15. Athanasius 
may well have read these lectures. Basil certainly seems to have done so (cf. 
Gifford's note on Cyril of Jerusalem, loc.cit.). But there is no trace of depend- 
ence here. On the other hand, Athanasius's summary may have served as a 
basis for the long disquisition in Didymus, de Sp.S.54-9. See also Epiphanius, 
Anc.72. 

4 Psalm 77«. • Baruch 3i. « Daniel 3m. ' Romans 816-17. 



78 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

the things of man save the spirit of the man which is in him.' 8 
In the Epistle to the Thessalonians he prays: 'May your 
spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame 
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.' 9 It speaks too of 
spirits of the wind, as in Genesis: 'And God made a spirit to 
pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged.' 10 And of 
Jonah: 'And the Lord aroused a spirit upon the sea, and a 
great wave rose in the sea, and the ship was in danger of 
being broken.' 11 And in the one hundred and sixth Psalm it 
is written : 'He spoke, and a spirit of storm arose, and its 
waves were lifted up.' 12 And in the one hundred and forty- 
eighth Psalm: 'Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons 
and all deeps, fire, hail, snow, ice, spirit of storm, fulfilling 
his word.' 13 And in Ezekiel, in the Lament for Tyre 14 : 'In 
the heart of the sea, in much water, thy rowers have brought 
thee; the spirit of the south wind hath broken thee.' 16 

8. Read the sacred Scriptures, and you will find 'spirit' 
used of the meaning which is in the divine words, as Paul 
writes: 'Who also made us sufficient ministers of a new 
covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter killeth, 
but the spirit giveth life.' 1 For that which is expressed is 
inscribed by letter, but the meaning which is in it is called 
spirit. Thus too, 'the law is spiritual' 2 ; so that, as he says 

7 8 1 Corinthians 2n. » 1 Thessalonians 5a3. 10 Genesis 7i. 

11 Jonah U. la Psalm 107a». " Psalm 148 7 - 8 . 

M Lament for Tyre: So Codex Marchalianus (MS.M), an Egyptian MS. of 
the sixth century, entitles Ezekiel 27. 

16 Ezekiel 2726. 

8 1 the spirit giveth life: 2 Corinthians 3e. Apparently Athanasius intends to 
exclude any reference to the Holy Spirit from these words. If so, we find him 
in opposition, not only to modern commentators, but also to other writers in 
this controversy, who found in them valuable evidence that the Spirit is 
'Lord and Giver of life', cf. Basil, de Sp.S.56, Didymus, de Tr j'b.II.560b, ps. 
Athanasius, de Trin.et Sp.S.2, Dial.de Trin.lll.20. So likewise, infra, he fakes 
'the law of the spirit of life' to mean 'the spiritual lifegiving law', as opposed 
to the old literal law of Moses. This is curious in view of the principle he laid 
down, supra 4, but here he is following Origen, Comm. in Rom.Vl.ll : 'Nam 
de lege literae dicere hoc non poterunt . . . quia "litera occidet" . . . Utrumque 
ergo continet lex, et literam occidentem et spiritum vivificantem.' 

* Romans 7i4. 



EPISTLE ONE 79 

again, we may serve not 'in oldness of letter' but 'in newness 
of spirit'. 8 The same writer says, when giving thanks: 'So 
then I myself with the mind serve the law of God, but with 
the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemna- 
tion to them that are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit 
of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin.' 4 
Philip, desiring to turn the Ethiopian from the letter to the 
spirit, said: 'Understandest thou what thou readest?' 8 Such 
a spirit 8 Caleb is, in Numbers, declared to have had, when 
God says: 'But my servant Caleb, because he had another 
spirit in him and he followed me, him will I bring into 
the land whereunto he went.' 7 For he pleased God, because 
he spoke with a different mind from the rest. Such a heart 
God enjoined his people to keep, when he said through 
Ezekiel: 'Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.' 8 
In view of these facts, and as we have demonstrated so great 
a difference between spirits, you would have done better, 
upon hearing of 'created spirit', had you thought of one of 
the foregoing. Such a spirit was that of which it is written in 
Isaiah: 'Syria is confederate with Ephraim, and his heart 
was moved and the heart of his people, as in a forest a tree is 
shaken by the wind.' 9 Such too was the spirit which the 
Lord 'aroused upon the sea', 10 because of Jonah. For the 
spirits of the wind do follow the thunder, 11 as with the rain 
that fell against Ahab, when it is written : 'And it came to 
pass in a little while that the heavens grew black with clouds 
and wind.' 12 

8 3 Romans 7e. * Romans 7an-8a. 6 Acts 8so. 

6 Sue h a spirit: from m/ev/ia in the sense of 'meaning', Athanasius naturally 
passes to that of 'intention' in the human mind, which he expresses in the 
following sentence by Sidvoia. 

' Numbers I4u. 8 Ezekiel I831. » Isaiah 7a. 10 Jonah U 

11 follow the thunder: The order of natural events corresponds with that of 
the terms in Amos 4is. cf. Ambrose, de Sp.S. 11.50: 'Ipse ordo nos doceat. . . . 
Neque enim antiquiora tonitrua sunt quam Spiritus sanctus; quamvis impii sint, 
tamen id non audent dicere. . . . Cum enimfiunt aliquae tempestates istius mundi, 
praecedere tonitrua, sequi ventorum flatus, coelum nebulis caligare, lucetn refundi 
ex tenebris, ipso usu quotidians exemploque cognoscimus.' The same point is 
made by Didymus, de Trin., loc.cit., and also in de Trin.et Sp.S.20 and Dial, 
de Trin.lU.26. « 1 Kings 18u. 



80 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

9. 'But', say they, 'since the text makes mention of 
Christ, 1 to be consistent we must take the spirit it speaks of 
to be none other than the Holy Spirit.' So you observed that 
the Holy Spirit is named together with Christ ! But when 
did you find him distinguished in nature and separated from 
the Son, that, while you say that Christ is not a creature, you 
say that the Holy Spirit is a creature? It is absurd to name 
together things which are by nature unlike. 2 For what com- 
munity or what likeness is there between creature and 
Creator? At this rate 3 you will number and join together 
with the Son, as well as with the Spirit, the creatures origin- 
ated through his agency. It would therefore be satisfactory, 
as we have said, to understand what is written of the spirit 
of the winds. But since you plead the fact that Christ is men- 
tioned in the text, we shall have to look at the passage care- 
fully, lest haply we find a more suitable interpretation * of 

9 1 makes mention of Christ: Most of those who comment upon this passage 
feel the difficulty raised here. Didymus is the only one to appeal to the 
Hebrew against the LXX, in de Sp.S.15. His own rendering, in Jerome's 
Latin, is 'hquelam suam'. It enables him to interpret it in an anti-Manichaean 
sense. The same God who is creator inspires the prophets and declares Him- 
self to mankind. But in de Trin. he tacitly disavows this and returns to the 
LXX text. Basil explains the allusion to Christ on the ground that the works 
of nature recorded here display His power as artificer. Cyril of Alexandria 
finds here another illustration of the sovereign power of God, which, accord- 
ing to him, is the motif of the whole passage. The rest take refuge, with 
Athanasius, in a figurative interpretation. 

1 things which are by nature unlike: It is interesting to notice that Athana- 
sius here uses, to describe the relation of the Spirit to the Son in the doctrine 
of the Tropici, the term dvofioiog, which the Macedonians expressly repudiate 
in this context. See /^.Athanasius, c.Mac.lAS. After owovofidfeiv here, RS 
insert xai owdo£dfeiv. The addition is reminiscent of Basil's language (cf . de 
Sp.S.29), rather than that of Athanasius. Moreover the corresponding clause 
above has only owovofid&odai, and there is no ground for asserting that the 
Tropicist exegesis of Amos 4i3 involves the association of the Spirit with the 
Son in glory. 

* At this rate . . .: cf. cArX.Yl: 'Henceforth a thing originated is reckoned 
with the Creator, and what once was not has divine worship and glory with 
him who was ever.' The point is made over and over again by critics of 
Arianism. See the references given by Newman, on c.Ar.1.8. 

4 a more suitable interpretation: There is no need to suspect irony here. 
Athanasius is entirely in earnest in offering this alternative explanation. So 
likewise, c-Ar.lAA and 11.13, he provides a secondary explanation of points 



EPISTLE ONE 81 

this spirit which is said to be created. What is meant by 
'declare unto men his Christ' 5 but that he himself becomes 
man ? It is equivalent to the saying, 'Behold a virgin shall 
conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call his name 
Emmanuel', 6 and the other references to his coming. 7 But if 
it is .the incarnate presence of the Word that is declared, 
what spirit must we understand to be created, but the spirit 
of man which is recreated and renewed ? 8 For this God prom- 
ised by Ezekiel, saying : 'A new heart also will I give you, 
and a new spirit will I put within you ; and I will take away 
the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of 
flesh, and I will put my Spirit within you.' 9 When has this 
been fulfilled, save when the Lord came and renewed all 
things by grace? See how in this text too 10 the distinction 
between spirits is made clear. Our spirit is renewed; but 
the Holy Spirit is not simply spirit, but God says it is his 

9 4 (continued) 

in passages he has already expounded. For a similar combination of a literal 
with a figurative interpretation, cf. Basil, Ep.v'iii.G, on Mark 13sa. In Dial.de 
7rtfi.HI, loc.cit., the two explanations given here are tersely introduced 
together — ei fiiv xaxa to qtjtov — el 6e xard diAvowv — Didymus, de IrinXW 
and Gregory of Nyssa, de Fid., take Ttvevfia to refer to the spirit of man. 
Ambrose, de Sp. S.II.48, takes it of the anima Cbristi, 'guam suscepit rationa- 
bilem et perjectam'. 

6 declare unto men his Christ: Basil, adv.Eun., loc.cit., also sees here a pos- 
sible reference to the Incarnation. Didymus,^ Trin.lll, contrasts anayyilXetv 
with xrtfetv as expressing the true relation of Christ to the Father, but asso- 
ciates it with His baptism rather than His birth. So also Ambrose, loc.cit. 
The neatest of all these speculations is that of Gregory of Nyssa : 'He who is 
born of the Spirit and made spirit . . . declares Christ.' 

• Isaiah 7i4. 

7 his coming: im&i]/*ia as in c.Ar .1.59 and 11.67. His usual word is nagovaia. 

8 recreated and renewed: It is always in such terms that Athanasius describes 
the work of the incarnate Word. cf. de Inc.l, 10, 13, etc. 'The first need of 
man is a change in his nature ; or rather, the renewed infusion of that highest 
and divine nature which he has gradually lost' — Robertson, Intro., p.lxx. 
How this is accomplished by the presence of the Word in human nature is 
set forth in de iW.4-18, and his later works give no indication that Athanasius 
ever modified his doctrine. So here he accommodates to it his interpretation 
of this text. 

9 Ezekiel 36*>. 

10 in this text too: This distinction is likewise noted by Didymus, de Trin. 
11.456a and 572c. 



82 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

Spirit, whereby ours is renewed. As the Psalmist says in the 
one hundred and third Psalm: 'Thou shalt take away their 
spirit, and they shall die and return to their dust. Thou shalt 
put forth thy Spirit, and they shall be created, and thou shalt 
renew the face of the earth.' 11 But if it is by the Spirit of 
God 12 that we are renewed, then the spirit here said to be 
created is not the Holy Spirit but our spirit. And if, because 
all things come into being through the Word, you think 
correctly that the Son is not a creature: then is it not blas- 
phemy for you to say that the Spirit is a creature, in whom 
the Father, through the Word, perfects and renews all 
things? 13 And if, because of the simple statement that spirit 

9 U Psalm 104s9-»o. 

11 But if it is by the Spirit of God: The following three sentences, all cast 
into the same form, convey the conclusions, as to Amos 4is, which Athanasius 
wishes us to draw from the passages he has just quoted. Firstly, the identifica- 
tion of 'thy Spirit' in Psalm 104ao with the Holy Spirit precludes a like inter- 
pretation of 'spirit' in Amos 4u. Otherwise we shall be left with an absurdity 
analogous to that of the 'creature-Creator' he has already exposed d propos 
of Arianism, c.Ar.Yl. 19-21. Secondly, the perfective and recreative activity 
of the Spirit, no less than the creative activity of the Word, make it impos- 
sible for Him to be a creature. Thirdly, the Tropici should be as quick to 
draw the right conclusion from Ezekiel 36 and Psalm 104 as they are to draw 
the wrong from Amos 4i3. 

18 perfects and renews all things: cf. infra 23(124-5). This appropriation of 
function within the Godhead, of creation to the Word and of sanctification 
to the Spirit, follows the general line of Christian thought in the fourth cen- 
tury. We observe it in the Catechetical Lectures of Cyril of Jerusalem, especi- 
ally in such passages as IV. 16 and XVI. 3, and in the definitions of the post- 
Nicene synods, especially the Fourth Synod of Antioch, the Second of Sir- 
mium, and that of Seleucia. This development may ultimately be traced back 
to the influence of the Logos doctrine, which, by overemphasizing the cos- 
mological function of the Word, limited and impoverished the Church's 
conception of the Spirit. See Harnack, H.D. II. 207-9, and Raven, 'Apolli- 
narianism' p.36. Eunomius, of course, actually divided the functions, ex- 
plicitly excluding the Spirit from any part in the creative power of God. See 
Basil, adv.Eun.lll.5 and the Apology of Eunomius himself, 27 init.: Ylov 
■6nr\v.oov, tinovQy&v, reXuoraxov ngog naaav drj/iiovgylav . . . vTirjQetjj 
Xecofisvov t<j> IlaQaxXrJTm Jtgdc ayiaofidv, Jtgdg didaaxaXtav, Trgoc Psfialcoatv. 
In this the Macedonians imitated him. cf. Gregory of Nyssa, adv.Mac.li and 
^/.Athanasius, Dial.de Trin. III. 16-19. Catholic writers repudiate Eunom- 
ius's doctrine, but continue to accept, and even to stress, the differentiation. 
Thus Basil (de Sp.S.38) on Psalm 33s: '. . . the Lord who commands, the Word 
who creates, the Spirit who confirms. And what else would confirmation be 



EPISTLE ONE 83 

is created, they have imagined that this means the Holy- 
Spirit, let them know that the Holy Spirit is not created, but 
that it is our spint which is renewed in him. Of this spirit 
David also prayed 14 in the Psalm: 'Create in me a clean 
heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.' 15 Here 
he is said to create it, but aforetime, as Zechariah says, he 
formed it: 'Stretching forth the heavens and laying the 
foundations of the earth, and forming the spirit of man with- 
in him.' 16 For when that which he formed aforetime had 
fallen he remade it, coming himself in the creature, when the 
Word became flesh; so that, in the words of the Apostle, 

9 13 [continued) 

but perfecting in accordance with holiness ?' So Didyraus (de Trin.lI.S6Sc) 
interprets Genesis la7, etc. The Father commands, the Son creates, the Spirit 
blesses, i.e. sanctifies, cf. Dial.de Trin.111.24, Sid rov Aoyov xiit,u xal Sid tov 
IIvev/iaTog dyid£ei. There is nothing in these letters to show that the Tropici 
circulated the views of Eunomius on this matter. Athanasius's argument here 
arises strictly from the exegesis he is proposing for Amos 4is. His own sense of 
the unity of the activity of God was so strong that he did not hesitate to 
associate the Spirit with the work of creation. See infra 24(127) and 31(143). 
Here he seems to have gone farther than Basil. Compare the latter's hesitation, 
adv.Eun.111.4, on Job 334: ovx inl rfjg drjfuovQyias, cue ol/icu, dXX' ini rfjg 
xard tjjv dvOqwneiav dgerjjv refairixjecog Myayv. But although Athanasius is 
not concerned to answer Eunomius, his successors found in the argument of 
this passage useful material for that purpose. If xzlfetv and dvaxaivl&iv are in 
some sense synonymous terms, no absolute distinction can be drawn between 
the work of creation and that of sanctification. The whole is the work of the 
one God, and He who makes perfect that which the Word performs cannot be 
without part in His creative power. So de Trin.et Sp.S.8: 'Ita plane (i.e. from 
His operation in baptism) et creatorem Spiritum sanctum agnoscimus.' The 
whole passage is worth careful study, cf. Basil, de Sp.SA9, and Didymus, de 
Trin.ll.569B, Sri Si xrlaat icrxlv xal ro dyidaai . . . AavtS fiagrvQei xpdXlcov • 
xagSlav xaOagdv xrlaov iv e/ioi, 6 Ge6q. So too Dial.de Trin.111.24, on Psalm 
5 ho: rd dyidfeiv xrlfeiv iarlv. And in Gregory of Nyssa, adv.Mac.lZ, the 
whole activity of creation 'begins from the Father, proceeds through the Son 
and is perfected in the Holy Spirit'. 

14 Of this spirit David also prayed: Athanasius seeks justification for taking 
xrl£eiv as equivalent to dvaxaivlfeiv in Psalm 51io andEphesians 2i<s. His atten- 
tion was probably drawn to this evidence by Eusebius, Ecc.Theol.111.2. He 
has already used it once, c.Ar.UA6, against the Arian interpretation of 
HxTuse in Proverbs 822. Similarly, Zechariah 12i is apparently quoted to show 
that Scripture has other and more precise terms than xrtCeiv to denote the 
constitution of the human race. 

16 Psalm 51io. " Zechariah 12i. 



84 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

'He might create in himself of the twain one new man, who 
after God had been created in righteousness and holiness of 
truth'. 17 For it was not as if another man had been created, 
other than he who from the beginning was made in God's 
image. But he was counselling them to receive the mind 
that was remade and renewed in Christ; as is once more 
made clear through Ezekiel, when he says: 'Make your- 
selves a new heart and a new spirit. For why will ye die, O 
house of Israel ? For I have no pleasure in the death of him 
that dieth, saith the Lord God.' 18 

10. Accordingly, if created spirit bears this meaning, we 
can appropriately take the thunder 1 which is established to 
be the sure word and unshakable law of the Spirit. 2 It was 
of this word that our Lord wished James and John to be 
ministers when he called them Boanerges, which is, Sons 
of thunder. Wherefore John cries aloud, veritably from 
heaven 3 : 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was 
with God, and the Word was God.' 4 For aforetime the law 
had 'a shadow of good things to come'. 5 But when Christ 
was declared to men, and came saying, 'I that speak unto 
thee am he', 6 then, in the words of Paul' : 'his voice shook 

9" Ephesians 2i»; 4a«. 18 Ezekiel 18ai-2. 

10 1 the thunder: Athanasius completes his exegesis by interpreting the pre- 
vious words in Amos 4is. The connexion of thunder with 'sons of thunder', 
suggesting the 'faithful word' of 2 Timothy 2n, is simple. So Eusebius under- 
stands it of the evayyehxov xrfgvyfia, and so likewise Gregory of Nyssa and 
Ambrose. Basil associates it with John 12a». 

1 unshakable law of the Spirit: B here, supported by A infra, reads 'Father' 
for 'Spirit'. But the reading of RS better accords with the contrast between 
the old law and the aodXevxoq vdfiog, suggested by Hebrews lOi. The associa- 
tion of ideas is not easy to trace here. Apparently it ran — oregewv — Psalm 92i 
— ov aaXevdrjaeTai — dcrcUetrroc — Hebrews 1228 — flaoiteia — vd/iot;. 

8 cries aloud, veritably from heaven: cf. de Inc.\&, 40, c.Ar.W.ld. Possibly 
he has in mind Revelation 10s. 

4 John li. * Hebrews lOi. * John 14m. 

' the words of Paul: Hebrews 12m-8 (Haggai 2e). While keeping more or less 
to the actual words of Hebrews, Athanasius completely alters the significance 
of the passage. Tore in the New Testament text refers back to the epiphany 
at Sinai as recorded in Exodus 19, and is contrasted with apocalyptic oeioftdg 
which is to come. Athanasius makes tots . . . iadXevaev refer to the Incarnation, 
and treats it as the fulfilment of the prophecy in Haggai. Gregory Nazianzen, 



EPISTLE ONE 85 

the earth, as he promised of old, Yet once more will I make to 
tremble not the earth only, but also the heaven. And this 
word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of the things 
that are shaken, that the things which are not shaken may 
remain. Wherefore, receiving a kingdom which cannot 
be shaken, we have grace whereby we offer service well 
pleasing to God.' But that kingdom which he calls unshak- 
able, David in the Psalms declares to be established. 'The 
Lord reigneth, he hath clothed himself with majesty. The 
Lord hath clothed and girded himself with strength. He 
hath also established the world, that it shall not be shaken.' 8 
So then this text in the prophet signifies the coming of the 
Saviour, whereby we are renewed and the law of the Spirit 
remains unshaken. 

But these Tropici, 9 true to their name, having made a 

10' (continued) 

Orat.xxx\.25, finds a partial realization of this prophecy in the transition 

from the law to the Gospel. 

8 Psalm 93a. 

9 Tropici: For T(j» ovri cf . 32 (p. 147, infra) and de Inc.33, etc. Here it suggests 
that the name was not invented by Athanasius. It was used in a technical 
sense by the Stoics, e.g. Diogenes Laertius, vii.194, Arrian, 1.29, 40, Diony- 
sius of Halicarnassus, v.15, etc., and hence by Origen, e.g. c.Cels.ll\A3. But 
it is not found outside these letters as an epithet, except in ^/.Athanasius, 
c.Omnes Haereses 5, a work of which Montfaucon says with justice: 'patet ex 
operibus Athanasii expressum fuisse.' Nor does it occur in this correspondence 
outside Ep.l. Epiphanius, H aer.\xix.5Q, charges the Arians with being addicted 
to the use of tropes, fiaQrvgiq. zivl xexgtjvrm jj tqotidcuiteqov 7io?.Mxig fj rgacprj 
xe%Qr)fievr] dufyeijai. The term may well have been used quite generally to 
stigmatize Arians of all shades for their exegesis. But it is difficult to see why it 
should have been attached in particular to the Egyptian Pneumatomachi. 
There seems to have been nothing original about their use of Scripture, and 
their interpretation of Amos 4i3 is certainly matched in extravagance by that 
of Athanasius and the others who write on his side. Possibly the name is due 
to the prominence the Tropici assigned to this passage and to 1 Timothy 5ai. 
Certainly Athanasius seems to regard their case as resting solely on these 
two lections. See infra 2 1(119). It may be significant also that Basil in adv.Eun. 
Ill inverts the order of treatment and appends a brief discussion of Amos 4u 
and John la to his main argument; whereas Athanasius treats the more meta- 
physical points raised by the Tropici as incidental to their exegesis. Mont- 
faucon, indeed, offers an alternative translation, 'versatile*', and it is quite 
possible that the epithet derived some of its sting from this additional nuance. 
To the orthodox, these heretics were twice turn-coats, once from Arianism 






86 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

compact with the Arians and portioned out with them the 
blasphemy against the Godhead, so that these may call the 
Son a creature and those the Spirit — the Tropici, in their 
own words, have dared to devise for themselves tropes and 
to pervert also the saying of the Apostle which he blame- 
lessly wrote to Timothy, saying: 'I charge thee 10 in the 
sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels that thou 
observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by 
partiality.' But they say that, because he mentions God and 
Christ and then the angels, the Spirit must be counted with 
the angels, and belong himself to their category, and be an 
angel greater than the others. This discovery first proceeded 
from the impiety of Valentinus, 11 and they have not been 
10 9 (continued) 

.and then back again to something very like it. (The charge of making a com- 
pact with the Arians must not, of course, be taken literally. It is indeed 
expressly contradicted, infra 32.147.) But it is unlikely that the name was 
first attached to them in this sense. The technical meaning was far too 
strongly fixed to it in Christian usage. Moreover, Athanasius has already pre- 
ferred the charge of 'trope-mongering' against them (supra 2.62) without 
any reference to the epithet. 

10 / charge thee . . . : 1 Timothy 5ai. It is difficult to see in what sense 
Athanasius could describe the inference drawn by the Tropici from this verse 
as a trope. The term here can mean no more than that they refused to be 
satisfied with the bare sense of Scripture, but drew speculative conclusions 
from it. The text is discussed by Basil, de Sp.S.29 and Didymus, de Trin.ll. 
547c. The former is replying to an attempt to use it as evidence that the 
conumeration of the Three Persons in the baptismal formula does not involve 
their association in nature and glory. He dismisses it as nrjSe/ila; anoxQlaetog 
oiftoc. Didymus has a very brief account which reproduces the substance of 
Athanasius's treatment here. 

11 Valentinus: For his doctrine of the Spirit, see Hippolytus, Ref. .VI. 26, and 
Swete, H.S.J.C.55-6. The charge of imitating him and other Gnostics is 
brought by Athanasius against the Arians, c.Ar.1.56, 11.21, 111.60. Didymus 
reproduces the accusation here, de Trin. II.548b, etc. Valentinus certainly 
associated both Christ and the Spirit with the hierarchy of aeons. He also 
affirmed the descent of the Spirit upon Jesus and Mary. But he places His 
main activity in the pleroma rather than on earth, and there is no evidence 
that he ever spoke of the angels accompanying the Spirit upon a mission 
thither. Athanasius's statement here seems to rest upon a misunderstanding 
of Irenaeus (Haer.l.iv.5): 8q (Christ) avekdcbv els to nfajgio/ja avrog /nev, elxoQ 
ot» &xvr\aev ex devrigov xaxeXQelv, xov IlaQdxXrjzov de ejjhienyiev irgdc avrfjv, 
Tovriari tov JEam;oa, evdovxoQ avr<p ndcav tjjv dtivafxiv rov ZTargo'c . . . 
ixndfinerai 6i jioo; afdrtjv fiera zuyv ijfoxitoToov ivrov t&v dyyiXcov. By a 



EPISTLE ONE 87 

able to conceal the fact that they are expressing his senti- 
ments. For he said that, when the Paraclete was sent, his 
contemporaries among the angels were sent with him. Yet 
they have not realized that, by reducing the Spirit to the 
level of the angels, they are ranking the angels with the 
Triad. For if, as they say, after the Father and the Son 18 
come the angels, then clearly the angels belong to the Triad 
and are no longer 'ministering spirits sent forth to do ser- 
vice', 13 nor are they sanctified, but rather themselves 
sanctify others. 

11. What is this mighty folly of theirs? Once again, 
where in the Scriptures have they found the Spirit referred 
to as an angel? I am obliged to repeat what I have said 
before. He is called Paraclete, Spirit of adoption, Spirit of 
sanctification, 1 Spirit of God, and Spirit of Christ; but never 
angel 2 or archangel, or ministering spirit, as are the angels. 
10 u [continued) 

natural error Athanasius takes this to mean that Christ sent the Paraclete 
Spirit in His own stead. But actually in Irenaeus it is the heavenly or 'first' 
Christ who sends the 'second' Christ, Jesus or the Saviour, who is here called 
Paraclete after 1 John 2i. 

14 after the Father and the Son: There is, of course, nothing exceptionable 
in the statement that the angels come after the Father and the Son. Indeed, 
Athanasius has already used fierd, supra 2(64), to express the relation of 
creatures to God. The argument here is carelessly compressed. What he 
means is, If the fact that the angels come after the Son in this passage leads 
to the conclusion that the Spirit is an angel, then the angels, no less than the 
Spirit, belong to the Triad. 

18 Hebrews I14. 

1 1 1 Spirit of sanctification: Not actually a Scriptural phrase, but sums up 
the association of the Spirit with sanctification in the Scriptures. 

1 never angel: The opinion of Athanasius here was by no means maintained 
by all his predecessors. There is truth in the observation of Harnack, H.D.II. 
359, note 2: 'From Hermas, Justin, and Athenagoras we learn how in the 
second century, both in the belief of educated by Christians and of the 
Apologists, Son, Spirit, Logos, and angels, under certain circumstances, 
shaded off into one another . . . they have certain names and predicates in 
common, and it frequently remains uncertain, especially as regards the 
theophanies of the Old Testament, whether it was a high angel that spoke, 
or the Son through an angel.' So Justin Martyr, in a celebrated passage (Apol. 
Prima 6), interpolates a reference to the 'host of good angels' between the 
Son and the Spirit. In estimating the significance of this, however, attention 
should be paid to the observations of Swete, H.S.A.C.37, and Harnack, H.D, 



88 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



Rather he is himself ministered unto with the Son by Gab- 
riel when he says to Mary, 'The Holy Spirit shall come upon 
thee, and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.'* 
But if the Scriptures do not speak of the Spirit as an angel, 
what excuse have they for so great and absurd an audacity? 
For even Valentinus, who implanted this evil-mindedness 
in them, called him Paraclete and them angels; though at 
the same time he very foolishly ranks the Spirit as coeval 
with the angels. 'But see,' they say, 'it is written in the 
prophet Zechariah, "These things saith the angel that spake j 
within me". 4 Clearly, he means that the Spirit who spake 
within him was an angel.' They would not say this if they 
gave heed to their reading. 6 For Zechariah himself, upon 
seeing the vision of the candlestick, says: 'And the angel 
that spake within me answered and said, Knowest thou not 
what these things be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he 
answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of 

ll 2 (continued) 

11.209, note l.Tatian (adv.Grtec.13 and 15) speaks of the Spirit as ngsa/idvi; of 
God and diaxovog of the Son. Irenaeus (Haer.TV. vii.4) says that the Son and the 
Spirit minister to the Father in all things. Origen, according to Justinian 
(de Prin.ii.7), did not shrink from describing both Son and Spirit as XeiTovgyma 
fcoa. Later Catholic writers continue to seek a manifestation of the Spirit, as 
well as of the Son, in the angelic epiphanies of the Old Testament. Athanasius 
himself virtually admits that the Son is sometimes called an angel in Scripture. 
See further, 14(93) on Genesis 48ie. Didymus, de 7Vin.II.628c, and the author 
of Dial.de 7W».III.9, develop the thought of Justin Martyr, Tryph.56, and 
identify the angels of Genesis 19i with the Son and the Spirit. The latter, in 
commenting on the very passage here discussed by Athanasius, Zechariah 1», 
admits that the angel there may be the Holy Spirit. So also Epiphanius (Anc. 
71) appears to mistake the 'angel of good counsel' of Isaiah 9e of the Holy 
Spirit, and allows the title of Him, but not 'as the other angels'. 

' Luke 1 35. 

4 the angel that spake within me: Zechariah la, etc., 6 ayyeXot; 6 XaXibv iv 
i/tot, a recurrent phrase in Zechariah. The Tropici, on the analogy of Matthew 
lOao, assumed that it referred to the Holy Spirit. Didymus (de 7Vik.II.628b) 
records the argument, though in a different context, and disposes of it, in 
the same way as Athanasius, from 4e. 

* to their reading: A reminiscence of 1 Timothy 4i3. cf. de Dec.lO. Mont- 
faucon misses it with his rendering, 'quod legunt'. Moreover, such a sense is 
unusual for avdyvcomg, though Apollonius Dyscolus (Synt.164.2) has it of a 
textual reading. 



I 



EPISTLE ONE 89 

the Lord unto Zerubbabel, Not by great might, nor by power, 
but by my Spirit, saith the Lord Almighty.' 6 It is therefore 
clear that the angel who spoke to the prophet was not the 
Holy Spirit but an angel, while the Holy Spirit is the Spirit 
of the Almighty, to whom an angel ministers, who is in- 
separable from the Godhead and might of the Word. 

But as they make the words of the Apostle the basis of 
their plea, because after Christ he mentions the elect angels, 
let them tell us which of all these ' is the one who is ranked 
with the Triad. They do not all amount to one ! Which of 
them is he who descended to the Jordan in the form of a 
dove ? For 'thousand thousand' and 'ten thousand times ten 
thousand' 8 are they that minister. Why, again, when the 
heavens were opened, is it not written, 'One of the elect 
angels came down', but, 'the Holy Spirit'? Why did the 
Lord himself, when conversing with the disciples concerning 
the End, 9 distinguish them by saying, 'The Son of Man shall 
send forth his angels' 10 ? And before this it says : 'The angels 
ministered unto him.' 11 He himself says again : 'The angels 
shall come forth.' 12 But in giving the Spirit to the disciples, 
he said: 'Receive ye the Holy Spirit.' 13 And, when sending 
them out, he said: 'Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing 
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the 
Holy Spirit.' 14 He did not rank an angel with the Godhead; 
nor was it by a creature that he linked us to himself and to 
the Father, but by the Holy Spirit. And when he promised 
him, he did not say that he would send an angel, but 'the 
Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father', and from him 
receives and gives. 15 

12. Moses 1 too knew that the angels are creatures and 

I I s Zechariah 4s-6. 

7 which of all these: see infra 29(138) and also c.Jr.II.27 and 29. 

8 Daniel 7io. 

• the End: as in Daniel 1 24,13. It is not thus used absolutely in the New 
Testament. 

10 Matthew 13«. u Matthew 4n. 

II Matthew 13i9. " John 20m. 
u Matthew 28i». 16 John 15a6. 

12 1 Moses: The whole of this section is followed closely, both in substance 



90 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

that the Holy Spirit is united with the Son and the Father. 
For when God said to him, 'Depart, go up hence, thou and 
thy people which thou hast led up out of the land of Egypt, 
unto the land of which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac and 
to Jacob, saying, To your seed will I give it. And I will send 
my angel before thy face, and he will drive out the Canaan- 
ites' 2 , he refused him, saying: 'If thou goest not with us 
thyself, carry me not up hence.' 3 For he did not desire a 
creature to lead the people, lest they should learn to worship 
the creature beyond God who created all things. So, of 
course, he refused the angel, and besought God himself to 
lead them. But after God had given him a promise, saying 
to him, 'I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken; for 
thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee beyond 
all men', 4 it is written in Isaiah : 'He that raised up from the 
earth the shepherd of the sheep, where is he that put the 
Holy Spirit in the midst of them, that led up Moses by his 
right hand?' 5 And a little farther on he says: 'The Spirit 
came down from the Lord and led them. So didst thou lead 
thy people to make thyself a glorious name.' 6 Who cannot 
from these things perceive the truth? When God promised 
to lead them, lo ! he promises no longer to send an angel, but 
the Spirit who is above the angels, and he leads the people. 
He shows that the Spirit does not belong to the creatures 
nor is he an angel, but is above the creation, united to the 
Godhead of the Father. For it was God himself who, 
through the Word, in the Spirit, 7 led the people. Hence 

12 1 (continued) 

and form, by Didymus, de 7Wn.II.629. Nowhere is his dependence upon 
Athanasius more clearly to be seen. He proceeds from the citation of Exodus 
33a to that of Isaiah 63ii-is,i4, Deuteronomy lso, and Psalm 136is. He even 
copies the curious combination of texts, 'I brought you. . . .' He tends to 
abridge slightly, and has an eye for subtle and pedantic points which Athana- 
sius does not notice. Characteristically, he adds Isaiah 48ie and finds in it a 
reference to all Three Persons of the Trinity. 

2 Exodus 33i-a. * Exodus 33w. 4 Exodus 33i7-is. 

8 Isaiah 63n-u. • Isaiah 63i4. 

7 God . . . through the Word, in the Spirit: Athanasius evidently intends us to 
see in Isaiah 63i4 a reference to all Three Persons of the Trinity, the Spirit 



I 



EPISTLE ONE 91 

through all Scripture he says: 'I brought you up out of the 
land of Egypt. You are witnesses if there was a strange God 
among you but me.' 8 The saints also say to God, 'Thou 
leddest thy people like a flock', 9 and, 'He led them in hope, 
and they did not fear'. 10 To him also they offer up the 
hymn which says: 'To him who led his people through the 
wilderness, for his mercy endureth for ever.' 11 And the 
mighty Moses 12 unceasingly declares: 'The Lord your God 
who goeth before you.' 13 Thus the Spirit of God is neither 
angel nor creature, but belongs to his Godhead. For when 
the Spirit was with the people, God, through the Son in the 
Spirit, was with them. 

13. 'But granting this,' they say, 'why did the Apostle 
after Christ make mention not of the Holy Spirit 1 but of the 
elect angels ?' In like manner we might ask them : Why was 
it not archangels or cherubim or seraphim or dominions or 
thrones or some other, but only elect angels that Paul men- 
tioned? Because he makes no mention of them, are the 
angels archangels, or are there only angels, and no seraphim 

12' (continued) 

descending from the Son by the will of the Father, who is apostrophized in 
the following sentence. It is expounded along similar lines and at great length 
by Didymus, de Sp.S.43-53. The author of de Trin.et Sp.S.9 takes it with 
Jeremiah 2e instead of Exodus 33n, to establish the association of IJvEv/ia and 
KvQiot;. cf. also de Inc. et c.Ar.Vl and Cyril of Alexandria, de 7W».VII.l 104d. 

8 I brought you up ...: As Athanasius suggests by 'through all Scripture', 
this is not so much a quotation as a reminiscence of two familiar Old Testa- 
ment phrases. The first is found in a form very close to that used here, in 
Leviticus 1986, Judges 6s, Hosea 13*. The second is taken almost verbatim 
from Isaiah 44s. 

• Psalm 77»o. l0 Psalm 78ss. n Psalm 136i6. 

11 mighty Moses: So frequently in Athanasius, e.g. c^r.II.51, 59, ad Drac.5, 
etc. Likewise Didymus, de Sp.S.30 and de TWn.II.629B. 

18 Deuteronomy lso. 

13 1 make mention not of the Holy Spirit . . . : In various forms the argument 
from the silence of Scripture was constantly pressed by the Pneumatomachi 
against the divinity of the Spirit, cf. Didymus, de 2Vw.II.729b, Dial.de Trin. 
III.9, 14, 15, etc., and the famous passage in Gregory Nazianzen, Orai.xxxi. 
25-8. The particular difficulty raised here is discussed in de Trin.et Sp.S.3-5, 
in connexion with a long list of passages that are held to mention the Father 
and Son and to ignore the Spirit, cf. also Ambrose, de Sp.S.1.32 and p/.Basil, 
adv.Eun.V. 744, etc. 



92 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



or cherubim or archangels or dominions or thrones or 
principalities or any other ? But this is to put the Apostle to 
the question, why he wrote thus and not thus, and to be 
ignorant 2 of the divine Scriptures, and therefore to err in 
judgement of the truth. For behold ! it is written in Isaiah : 
'Come ye near unto me, and hear ye these things. From the 
beginning I have not spoken in secret; where it was, there 
was I. And now the Lord hath sent me, and his Spirit.' 3 And 
in Haggai: 'Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the 
Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the High 
Priest, saith the Lord; and be strong all ye people of the 
land, saith the Lord, and work; for I am with you, saith the 
Lord of hosts . . . and my Spirit abode among you.' 4 In both 
these prophets mention is made only of the Lord and the 
Spirit. What will they say about this? Because Paul, after 
mentioning Christ, passed over the Spirit and made mention 
of the elect angels, they, for this reason, rank the Spirit 
among the angels. But when they read these prophecies, 
they must, to be consistent, speak yet more rashly concern- 
ing him who is passed over. If they are going to say that the 
Lord is the Son, what will they say about the Father? If 
they say he is the Father, what will they say about the Son ? 
The blasphemy which, according to them, must follow, does 
not even bear thinking about. For either they must say of 
the one passed over that he does not exist, or they must 
number him among the creatures. 

1 4 . What will they say * if they hear also the Lord saying : 
'There was in a certain place 2 a judge who feared not God 

13 2 to be ignorant: We may translate 'not to recognize the divine Scriptures', 
i.e. not to acknowledge their divine authority. This would accord well with 
the tone of the previous clause. But it is better to take dyvoelv in its usual 
sense, 'to be ignorant of, and to regard it as anticipating the list of passages 
which begin in the next sentence, cf. de Dec XI, a similar context : rrjs akrfiziac, 
dyvcoala y.aX twv BeIojv rgatpGiv aneiqia. 

8 Isaiah 48i6. 4 Haggai 2*-t. 

14 l What will they say . . . : cf. de Trin.et Sf.SA: 'si audieritis Serif turas 
■mentionem facientes Dei et Spiritus, quid eritis facturiP' Then follows a long 
list of passages similar to those cited here. See also pj.Basil, adv.EunN . 761b. 

2 in a certain place . . . : %ci>ga, read here by RSB, is not supported by any 
New Testament authority. Its persistence in RS is particularly interesting. 



EPISTLE ONE 93 

and regarded not man' 3 ? Because, after God, he spoke of 
man, is the Son that man whom the unjust judge did not 
regard ? Or because after God he spoke of man, does the 
Son take third place, after man, and the Holy Spirit fourth ? 
What if they hear the Apostle saying once again in the same 
epistle: 'I charge thee in the sight of God who quickeneth 
all things, and of Jesus Christ who before Pontius Pilate 
witnessed the good confession, that thou keep the com- 
mandment without spot, without reproach' ? 4 Because he 
here says nothing about angels and Spirit, are they in doubt 
concerning the Spirit, whether he exists, and concerning the 
angels, whether they exist? Yes, they are in doubt, until 
practice has made them perfect in this evil-speaking against 
the Spirit ! If they hear Scripture saying in the book of 
Exodus, 'And the people feared the Lord, and believed in 
God and in Moses, his servant', 5 are they going to include 
Moses with God and think only of Moses, and not of the 
Son, as coming after God ? What if they hear also the patri- 
arch Jacob blessing Joseph and saying: 'The God who hath 
nourished me from my youth unto this day, the angel who 
hath delivered me 6 from all evil, bless these lads'? Because 
after God he mentions an angel, is the angel before the Son, 
or is the Son included among the angels ? Yes ! Once again, 
they will think so, for their heart is corrupted ! But the 
Apostolic faith is not thus, nor can a Christian endure these 
things for a moment. For the holy and blessed Triad is 
indivisible and one in itself. When mention is made of the 
Father, 7 there is included also his Word, and the Spirit 

14" Luke I82. * 1 Timothy 613. s Exodus 14si. 

• the angelivho hath delivered me ... : Genesis 48is-ie. But in c.Ar.lll.XI he 
allows this to refer to the Son. For his general doctrine on the subject, cf. 
ibid. 14. 

7 When mention is made of the Father . . . : What Athanasius says here is 
repeated by later writers. Thus Didymus, de Sp.S.29 : 'in nuncupatione Spiritus 
etiam nomen Domini intelligi.' He returns to the point and works it out in 
great detail from Scripture, de Trin.1.356, etc. cf. also ibid.440B and II.548c. 
Others take it up in regard to baptism in the name of Christ only. So Basil, 
de Sp.S.28: i\ ydg rov Xgiarov nQoar^yogta rov navrdi; eotiv dpoXoyla. See 
also de Trin.et Sp.S.17 and Ambrose, de Sp.S.1.32. As Newman observes, on 



94 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

who is in the Son. If the Son is named, the Father is in the 
Son, and the Spirit is not outside the Word. For there is 
from the Father one grace which is fulfilled through the Son 
in the Holy Spirit; and there is one divine nature, and one 
God 'who is over all and through all and in all'. 8 Thus Paul 
also, when he said, 'I charge thee before God and Jesus 
Christ',* realized that the Spirit had not been divided from 
the Son, but was himself in Christ, as the Son is in the 
Father. But with them he appropriately introduced 10 the 
elect angels; so that the disciple to whom he was speaking a 
charge should obey his teacher's injunctions, inasmuch as 
the guardians were there to witness what was said. For the 
disciple knew, not only that what is spoken from God is said 
through Christ in the Spirit, but also that the angels minister 
to our affairs, 11 overseeing 12 the deeds of each one. Or per- 

14' (continued) 

cAt.WAI, what Athanasius says here must be distinguished from the argu- 
ment, touched on in c.Jr.1.34 and fully stated by Hilary, de 7Wn.VII.3I , that 
the existence of the Son is involved in the very term 'Father'. Here he goes 
much farther. It follows from the unity of the holy Triad that the three Per- 
sons cannot even conceptually be dissociated. God is to be known only through 
His self-manifestation, and that manifestation, as is all the divine activity, is 
from the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. Hence we can know 
nothing of the Father, apart from the fact of His relationship with the Son 
and the Spirit, which we do not know also of the other two Persons. The con- 
verse of this, that those predicates and titles which Scripture uses to distin- 
guish the Father from the creatures and from the gods of heathenism, cannot 
be held to distinguish Him from the Son, is argued in c^r.III.7-8. It is thus 
entirely natural that Athanasius should choose this point to introduce what is 
a main argument in these epistles, the unity of the divine ivigyeia. The suc- 
cession of sentences should be noticed here. Starting from the unity of the 
Triad, we realize the necessary association of the Son and the Spirit in any 
reference the Scriptures make to the Father. But this necessity itself springs 
from the fact that God in the Scriptures speaks and acts always as one Being. 
Finally, from this unity in activity we apprehend a unity of essence, one divine 
nature (Oeorrjg). deorrjQ is obviously generic here, as infra, in 32(146). cf. Basil, 
Ep. clxxxix.8. Elsewhere he has it as a synonym for 8e6$, e.g. c.Ar.\.2l. 

8 Ephesians 4e. * 1 Timothy 5m. 

10 he appropriately introduced: cf. Chrysostom, on the same passage: 'So 
also we often call to witness the greater with the less.' He takes the point from 
Basil (de Sp.S.29), who quotes Psalm 504 and Deuteronomy 426 to show that 
inanimate objects are invoked in the same way. 

11 minister to our affairs: The guardianship of angels was a very ancient 



EPISTLE ONE 95 

haps he here invokes angels to witness, because of those 
who always look upon 'the face of the Father who is in 
heaven', 13 for the sake of the little ones in the Church 14 ; 
that the disciple, recognizing the people's guardians, should 
not neglect the injunctions of the Apostle. 

15. Such, it seems to me, is the meaning of the divine 
oracles 1 ; and it refutes the evil which these irrational men 2 
speak against the Spirit. But they, persevering in their 
antagonism to the truth, as you write, speak again, no 
longer out of the Scriptures — they find nothing there — but 
proclaiming 3 out of the abundance of their own heart: 'If he 

14" (continued) 

doctrine, cf. Hennas, Mand.vi.2, Justin Martyr, Apol.Sec.S, Athenagoras, 
Leg.24. Origen received it, de Pn'n.I.viii.l, c.Cels.V.4, etc., and thence it 
passed into the main stream of Eastern theology. 

11 overseeing: Suggests that the angels not only exercise nqdvoia over our 
lives, but record and observe our actions. Basil likewise explains the reference 
to angels here as due to their association with Christ in the judgement, cf. 
also his use of icpoqoi of the angels, £/>.ccxxxviii; also Gregory Nazianzen, 
Or at. xLii, Jin. 

u Matthew 18io. 

11 the little ones in the Church: cf. Origen, de Prin.II.x.7 : 'Every believer, 
even the humblest, is attended by an angel, who is declared to behold the 
face of the Father in heaven.' See also c.Cels.Vlll.34. 

15 1 the divine oracles: The argument enters a new stage here. Having dis- 
posed of the proof texts employed by the Tropici, Athanasius turns to an 
objection based on the conception of relationship within the Godhead. To 
this he devotes the next seven paragraphs, which are the core of the whole 
treatise. Thus he reverses the order of treatment in c.Ar.I-IIl. There he deals 
with the general objections raised by the Arians before he examines their 
citations from the Bible. Here he states the objection, in 15; then criticizes 
it as intrinsically absurd, based on a false conception of the Fatherhood in 
God (16), and as an impertinent speculation (17-18). In the concluding 
sections he suggests the lines along which a true doctrine of the Trinity should 
be developed. 

* irrational men: aXoyoi: In his earlier works Athanasius frequently refers to 
the Arians thus, finding the term particularly appropriate because they 
impute iXoyla to God by denying the Word. cf. c.Ar.1.35: 'If they slander- 
ously impute alteration to the Logos, let them learn how much their own 
logos is in peril.' See Newman's note on de Dec.l and the examples he gives 
there. The Tropici repudiated the doctrine but inherited the epithet. 

' proclaiming: eQevyofievoi, 'eructant,' Montfaucon, as also in c.Ar.lll.l, 
where Newman has 'vomit'. In view of the Scriptural associations of the word, 
in Psalm 19s and Matthew 13s6, it is very doubtful whether Athanasius meant 



96 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

is not a creature 4 nor one of the angels, but proceeds from 
the Father, then he is himself also a son, and he and the I 

15 3 {continued) 

it to bear this opprobrious sense. On the other hand, he must have intended 
to strengthen the expression when he substituted this term for the XaXel of 
Ecclesiastes 2i5. A similar use is found in Didymus, de 7W«.II.548c. See also 
infra IV.5, fin.(175i). For the whole sentence cf. Didymus, de ?rti>.I.280A: 
oi ETSQodoSoi avazfjaai and roatpwv xd xfjg Ogrjoxeias avxdjv dnogovvxeg, . . . 
did<poga ootpiapaxa awxayevxa avxoig xaxoxexvcog xal xard noXv fxe'kexr}- 
devxa ngofidXXovoiv. 

* // he is not a creature: The objection stated by Athanasius here is given 
in a more scientific form by Gregory Nazianzen, Orat.xxxi.7 . Either the 
Spirit is dyiwr/xog or else yewrjxog. If He is dyewrjxog, then there are two un- 
originates (avagxa). If He is yewrjxog, then He is begotten either of the Father 
or of the Son. If of the Father, then there are two sons. If of the Son, then we 
have a 'grandson-god'. There is also the more succinct statement of Euno- 
mius himself, as given by Basil, adv.Eun.lll.6: idv ftrj xxiofta iaxlv, ovxovv 
yevvrjfia fj dyewrjxov. elg d£ dvagxog 6eog xal dyiwtjxog. ovxe fiijv yewrjfia. 
It is a strong proof of the popular character of Tropicism that the argument 
should have reached Athanasius in this form. For the difficulties connected 
with the use of ay&vvrftoQ are obviously the foundation upon which it rests. The 
reader should consult the examination of this term made by Prestige, G.P.T., 
Chapter 2, and also Chapter 4, pp. 15 1-4, and his articles in Journal of Theo- 
logical Studies, XXIV and XXXIV. The difficulty of describing the Spirit 
as dyewtjrog was felt by Origen. cf. in ^0^.11.10 : Ta> 6e /xf) jiovXo/ih(o to dyiov 
IIvEVfia did xov Xqiotov yeyovevat, ijierai to dyhvrfcov avrd teyeiv, it being 
assumed that He cannot be a son; and even more clearly in de Prin.PraefA: 
'in hoc non iam manifeste discernitur utrum natus an innatus (Jactus an infectus, 
Jerome, ad Avit.2), velfilius etiam ifse Dei hahendus sit necne.' The twentieth 
anathema of the first confession of Sirmium, in 351, de Syn,27, expressly for- 
bids its use in connexion with the Spirit. Nor was the difficulty resolved by 
the drawing of a clear distinction between dyhivqroz and dyevrjrog, for both 
yewrjfia and yevrfiov are inapplicable to the Spirit. Dr. Prestige, indeed, in 
J.T.S. XXXIV.264, says that dyewrjrog was later employed of the Spirit 'as a 
purely privative term'. But it seems to have remained repugnant to Catholics, 
in this context, throughout the fourth century. Athanasius never so uses it. 
Even when faced with the syllogism of Eunomius, Basil expressly disavows it. 
Didymus refers to the Spirit as dvdo^coc ixnogevdev (de 7W».II.448c and 
673b), and even as avagxov (513b), dvagxog @eog (641b), and dyevrfzog 0e6g 
(748a); but not as dyevvr\xog. Gregory Nazianzen, Orat.xxxi.8, contrasts 
the exnogevaig of the Spirit, no less than the yewrjoig of the Son, with the 
dyevvrjola of the Father, cf. also Augustine, de Trin. XV. xxvi. 47. From the 
rejection of the term in its wider sense, the Eunomians urged the adoption of 
its opposite in its stricter sense. The result was to exclude any mode of exis- 
tence within the Godhead other than that of Father and Son. See Newman's 
note on de Syn.27. But he does not do justice to the objection when he calls it 
'a device of the later Macedonians'. There can be no doubt from Didymus, de 



EPISTLE ONE 97 

Word are two brothers. And if he is a brother, how is the 
Word only begotten? 5 How is it then that they are not 
equal, 6 but the one is named after the Father, and the other 
after the Son ? How, if he is from the Father, is he not also 
sa.d to be begotten or called son, but just Holy Spirit? But 
if the Spirit is of the Son, 7 then the Father is the Spirit's 

15 4 {continued) 

Trin. 11.492c and ^.r.Athanasius, c.Mac.1.1 that the Macedonians pressed it. 
But its history had been long and even respectable. Moreover, the necessity of 
finding a different category for the Spirit came home with particular urgency 
to people who, like the Tropici, were influenced by the teaching of Asterius. 
For Asterius had insisted that the Son, inasmuch as He is fiovoyevtfg, is the sole 
direct yevrjrov of the Father. See Intro.IV(42). 

5 only begotten: cf. Gregory of Nyssa,adv.Eun. II. 557: otfre raj Yua owegto- 
ovfievog, fiovoysv^g yag iariv 6 Ylo£, oiSiva k'x (ov 6lioyevr\. But, as Didymus 
pointsout {de Trin. II. 447c), fiovoysvfjg implies not only that the Sonis unique, 
but also that He is begotten; and thus sufficiently distinguishes the Spirit 
from the Son. See also Dial.de fZV»».III.4. Later Macedonian criticism was 
concentrated against the reality of the distinction between yiwrjaig and 
ixnooevoig. Didymus, loc.cit., declares it to be a mystery beyond the know- 
ledge of angels. 

• that they are not equal: Whatever the nature of Athanasius's information 
about the Tropici, the terms in which this question is stated are not his. His 
concern is not so much with the equality of the three Persons in the Godhead 
as with their unity. In setting out their relationship he rarely uses laog; no 
doubt for the same reason that he generally scouts the use of Spotog, because 
it suggests that the divine nature is possessed by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit 
as an attribute which can be weighed and compared, whereas God is beyond 
comparison (c.Ar. 1.57): Qeog fiiv datiyxgitov iariv TiQayfia. When laog does 
occur, it is generally suggested by Scripture, e.g. c.Ar.1.41, de SynA9; or else 
it corrects a possible misapprehension, as in c.Ar.l.SO, where he quotes John 
20aa, etc., over against Matthew 12sa, to show that the Son is not less than, but 
equal to, the Spirit, cf. Quic.dix.lO. On the other hand, later Pneumatomachi 
argued the inferiority of the Spirit from the fact that in the baptismal formula 
He is after the Son. See Basil, de Sp.S. 41-7, and Gregory Nazianzen, Or at. 
xxxi.17-20. This passage might appear to suggest that a similar line of argu- 
ment was current among the Tropici. Athanasius is not unaware that such 
deductions can be drawn, as we see from IV.5(185). But he nowhere deals with 
vnagidfirjaig as do Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, and Didymus. These words here 
are no more than a general reflection of that traditional subordinationism to 
which Eunomius gave an Anomoean application, cf. his own words, apud 
Basil, adv.Eun.lll.l : tqItov airid dgubfiari xai rdfet /jaddvreg, tqituv elvai xal 
rfj q>vaei 7ieniazevxa/HEV. 

' of the Son: The omission of ex here is surely in deliberate contrast with 
ix tov Ilargdg above, cf. supra on 2(65). It is not suggested that Catholics 
would say that the Spirit is ix rov Yiov, but that they might put Him in a 
s.a. — 7 



98 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

grandfather.' Thus the wretches make mock, 8 like busy- 
bodies desiring to 'search the deep things of God' which 'no 
one knows but the Spirit of God', 9 against whom they speak 
evil. We ought therefore to answer them no more, but, in 
accordance with the Apostle's precept, 10 after the warning 
they have had from what has been said already, to shun them 
as heretics; or else to ask them questions on a level with 
those they ask, and to demand an answer from them such 
as they demand from us. u Let them tell us then : whether 
the Father is from a Father 12 ; whether another has been 
begotten with him, so that they are brothers from the one 
father ; what are the names of these 13 ; who is the father and 

15' (continued) 

relation of so close dependence as to make possible the conclusion that His 
yivvrjotg is from the Son. 

8 make mock: Montfaucon translates 'cavillando effutiunf; as though the 
participle, negtEoyaCdfievoi, expressed the principal idea of the sentence as in 
Acts 12ie (cf. Sophocles, Oedipus Col. 1038 and the other examples Jebb gives 
in his note there). But the connexion between TiEgisgya^ofievot and OiAovrec, 
is very close, and it is better to take them in conjunction. negiegya£6fievoi can 
then bear its usual sense in Athanasius, as infra 17(105), c.Ar.1.24, 29, etc., 
'inquiring out of idle and impertinent curiosity,' derived from 2 Thessalo- 
nians 3n. 

* 1 Corinthians 2io-n. 

10 the Apostle's precept: i.e.Titus 3io, which heagain invokes, infra IV.1(179), 
ad Adelph.2, ad Max.l. 

11 as they demand from us: i.e. to force from them the same kind of con- 
tradictory answer which their questions were calculated to exact from the 
orthodox. 

12 whether the Father is from a Father: If the analogy of human relationships 
is to be applied in this indiscriminate fashion to the Spirit and the Son, it 
must also be applied to the Father. So, c.Ar.1.22, init., he answers the argu- 
ment that if the Son is in the Father's image He must resemble Him in being 
a father: 'Let him, therefore, who asks why the Son is not to beget a son, 
inquire why the Father had not a father.' It is a favourite device with 
Athanasius to apply to the Father questions his opponents ask concerning the 
Son. cf. ibid.25, 111.63. 

13 what are the names of these . . . : tovtoiq . . . tovtov . . . xdxelvcov. . . . 
There can be little doubt that this, the reading of RSB, is to be followed here, 
nor should it offer any difficulties, tovtoiq refers to both the hypothetical 
persons, the Father's father and His brother; tovtov to the first of these only. 
ixdvcov then may be taken either simply to stand for avrwv, as in 2 Corin- 
thians 8s and Titus 37, or else, in contrast with rot/raw, to refer to the 'father 
and grandfather'. 



EPISTLE ONE 99 

the grandfather of this father ; and who are their ancestors. 
But they will say there are none. How then, let them tell us, 
is he a Father who is not himself begotten of a father? 
Or how could he have a Son who was not first begotten a 
son ? I know the interrogation is impious. 14 But when they 
make mock of such things, it is right to make mock of them, 
that even from such absurd and impious interrogation they 
may be able to perceive their own folly. For it is not so. God 
forbid ! Nor is it fitting to ask such questions about the 
Godhead. For God is not as man, that we should dare to ask 
human questions 15 about him. 

16. We ought therefore, as I said before, to be silent on 
these matters and to disregard l these people. But lest our 
silence should furnish an excuse for their effrontery, let 
them listen. Just as we cannot ascribe a father to the Father, 
so neither can we ascribe a brother to the Son. 2 Other than 

15" the interrogation is impious: We find similar apologetic disclaimers in 
c.Ar.1.25 and 111.63. cf. also Quic.dix.7 and the references given by Newman 
in his note on c.Ar.1.25. Also Didymus, de Trin.lAOOB, II.477c, and Basil, 
adv.Eun.ll.33. 

16 human questions: cf. c.Ar.1.15: negl tov daui/idrov rd aco/idrcov ivdv- 
HovfiEvoi. So it is the answer of Didymus that such terms as brother and 
grandson are 'corporum nomina et imbecillitatis humanae vocabula', de Sp.S.62. 
Gregory Nazianzen, Orat.xxxi.7, charges his opponents with being Xiav 
(pihxs&fiaxoi, and argues that it is not necessary, because the term 'son' is 
used: rag xdr<o xfaqaeu; xai rfjg Tjfiieregag avyyevelag fiercupigetv ini to Oelov. 
It is lawful to use the analogy of human and purely material relationships 
to express the mystery of God. See further infra on 19(108ff.). But Athanasius 
recognizes two limitations to this use. Firstly, the various analogies are to 
be checked one by the other. So, c.Ar.1.28, he defines the Sonship of Christ 
from His being called also Word of God. Secondly, the scope of these analo- 
gies is to be determined by Scripture. The terms 'brother' and 'grandfather' 
belong to the cycle of human relationships no less than 'father' and 'son'. But 
Scripture ignores the former and adopts the latter. See infra 16 /£n.(103) ; and, 
even more emphatically, IV.5(186) : 'The disciples did not hear, Into the name 
of the grandfather. . . .' 

16 1 disregard: This is not the usual sense of ngoonoieloOai in Athanasius. 
But cf. Plotinus, £««.VI.iii.8, to ef 5>v avyxeirai ftrj ngoOTioielodai, and also 
ibid.lQ and i.l. 

* neither can we ascribe a brother to the Son: As Revelation guarantees the 
uniqueness of the Father by insisting that God is one, so it also guarantees 
the uniqueness of the Son by insisting that He is only-begotten. If the human 
analogy may not be pressed to the denial of the one, it may not be pressed 



100 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

the Father, as we have written already, there is no God 3 ; 
there is no other Son than the Son, for he is only begotten. 
Hence the Father, being One and Only, is Father of a Son 

16 2 (continued) 

to the denial of the other. It is to be observed that Athanasius meets the 
objection of the Tropici by showing that it is inconsistent with what we 
know of the Son. The Son cannot have a brother, and therefore, a fortiori, 
the Spirit cannot be a son. The Son cannot be a father, therefore the Spirit 
cannot be a grandson. This line of thought undoubtedly disposes of the 
immediate difficulty. But it has this defect that, starting from a consideration 
of the Son rather than of the Spirit Himself, it supplies us with no positive 
conception of the Spirit's place within the divine life. It leaves us with a 
series of negatives, 'not brother', 'not son', 'not creature'. See infra on 17(104). 
For Athanasius it is not the mode of the Spirit's existence that is in question, 
but what it is that exists, whether creature or God. The answer to the second 
question does not depend, as the Tropici would have it depend, on the answer 
to the first. The Godhead, as Didymus replied to the Macedonians, de Trin. 
11.492c, inheres in the nature and not in the relationship. See also fs. 
Athanasius, cMacX.X. 

8 Other than the Father . . . no God: Athanasius might perhaps have made 
his point more clearly had he written Ilarrjg for &e6g here. But to postulate 
two fathers would, in effect, be to postulate two gods; for it is the distinctive 
property of the Father, qua Father, that He is agx?) of the divine life which 
is in the Son and the Spirit. Hence he adds here 'as we have written already', 
in reference to the argument at the end of supra 15(98f.). To suppose that the 
Father could have a father is virtually to deny that He is Father ; for ayevvrpla 
is the distinctive property of the divine Fatherhood. Thus there is no incon- 
sistency in associating the title 'God' peculiarly with the First Person in the 
Trinity. So, infra 32(146), he speaks of the Spirit as being 'proper to the Word 
and to the Godhead of the Father' ; and in 111.6(176) of the Godhead : 'which 
is recognized as from the Father'; and a little farther on, in 7, of 'one God, 
the Father'. The Son and the Spirit are the 'participate' of His nature; 
c.Ar.\.\5, of the Son, ex rrjg ovalag rov Ilargog ion to fterex6/*evov. Like- 
wise, ibid.58, on John 1428, he acknowledges that the Father is greater than 
the Son: ov fieyedei nvi ovde xqov<o, dAAd did rfjv eg avrov rov Ilargog 
yhvr\aiv. In all this Athanasius is only using the language of the Nicene 
Creed. It is interesting to observe that Apollinarius, who shows a very clear 
appreciation of the characteristic Athanasian doctrine, insists upon the valid- 
ity of such expressions, cf. his Kara Megog Iliarig iii, on 1 Corinthians 8e: 
tuore yvcogit,ea6o) fiev jj vnoaraaig rov Ilargog rfj rov Qeov ngootjyoglq, fffj 
diarerfirjodai de ravrr/g 6 Yiog dig &v ex Qeov. But it is not his usual prac- 
tice. More characteristic is the passage in c.^r.III.9, where he insists that the 
Son can be called first as truly as the Father. The divine unity, for Athanasius, 
is most truly expressed, not in the fact that the Son and Spirit derive their 
Godhead from the Father, but that each Person is in the others, cf. Prestige, 
G.P.T. 233 : 'the three Persons no longer lead back to a unity that is primarily 
found in one Person; they are in a real sense one in themselves.' 



EPISTLE ONE 101 

who is One and Only, and in the Godhead alone* the term 
'Father' and the term 'Son' keep to their meaning and are 
ever thus. For with men, if a man is called a father, he is, 
notwithstanding, another man's son; and if he is called a 
son, he is, notwithstanding, another man's father. So that 
with men the names 'father' and 'son' are not kept to their 
strict meaning. 5 Abraham, for example, being Nahor's son, 8 

16* in the Godhead alone: cf. c.Ar.1.21 : did ovdd iariv iv roig Toioiiroic (i.e. 
creatures), xvglcog narfjg xai xvgtu>g Ylog, ovdi iarrjxev inatowv to, 
'IlaTTjQ,' xai to, Yloq. The relation of Father and Son in the Trinity, being 
outside time, is absolute. It is fact rather than act, and therefore is not to be 
thought of as the transmission of something which has been received and may 
be again transmitted. Thus, as we have already seen, to say that the Father is 
Father is not only to say that He begets a Son ; it also carries with it the im- 
plication that He is not son. And to say of the Son that He is Son involves that 
He is not father, cf. c.Ar.111.4 and 11. So Didymus, de f7>»B.II.552A, calls 
Him 'Son and not Father, uncreated by nature, by reason of His being truly 
begotten but not begetting'. In de DecAO-12 Athanasius draws out in detail 
this distinction between generation in God and in man. Man begets, in 
accordance with the nature of bodies, by emanation and partition, many sons. 
God, being without parts, begets without partition or passion (a/iEglariog 
xai anaSfc), one only Son, whose unique generation is expressed in the title, 
Word of God. Human generation is in time ; divine generation is beyond time, 
and not to be understood save by means of similes and analogies. The sub- 
stance of this passage is reproduced, in more or less detail, in all his later 
references to the subject; as in c.Ar.\. 14-16, 21, 28, de Syn.41, 51, and the 
summary of this present passage, infra IV.6(187). 

* to their strict meaning: xvglcog. It is applied by Aristotle, Met.V. 1015A.14, 
to words used in the ordinary and everyday sense, as opposed to metaphors, 
which he characterizes by the term Toomxwg. From this the Fathers used it to 
signify a real, but not necessarily a literal, meaning, as opposed to one that is 
merely nominal or analogous. Thus Didymus, de Trin.lI.648A, says that we are 
the temple of God : ovts xaff ofnowjilav r\ owtovv/zlav, ovre xax' aXhyyoglav, 
ovts xaxa /xetacpogav . . . dXXa xvglcog xai xax' aktfitiav. Basil, adv.Eun.11. 
24, uses it, as here, of God, who is xvglcog xai ngoarjxovrcog Ilarfg, if the 
Fatherhood be conceived as relation (olxelcooig), but roomxcog and ix 
fteracpogag, if as passion. But Basil can none the less use it of our sonship in 
Christ, adv. Eun. 11. 23, inasmuch as that sonship also has validity and reality. 
Here, however, and in c.Ar.\.2\, Athanasius uses it of the divine Fatherhood 
and Sonship in contrast with all other; as it is apparently used by Justin 
Martyr, Apol.Sec.6, 6 fiSvog Xeydpevog xvglcog Yl6g. (But xvglcog there may 
mean 'in the sense of Lord'.) Hence it might almost be translated 'absolutely'. 
It should be noticed that to Athanasius the terms 'Father' and 'Son' are not 
merely symbolical or pictorial. The same is true in some measure of all the 
titles and images which Scripture uses of Him. In employing them we are not 



102 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

is Isaac's father; and Isaac, being Abraham's son, is Jacob's 
father. And so it is by the nature of men. For they are parts 
of one another; and each, when he is begotten, receives a 
part of his father, that he may himself become father of 
another. But with the Godhead it is not so. For God is not as 
man, nor is his nature divided. Hence he does not, by divi- 
sion of himself, 7 beget a son, so that he may himself become 
father 8 to another ; for he himself is not from a father. Nor is 
the Son a part of the Father. Hence he does not beget as he 
himself has been begotten, but is whole image and radiance 
of the whole. 8 And in the Godhead alone, the Father is a 

16 5 [continued) 

attempting to express the divine in terms of the human and material. Indeed, 
when we use these terms to denote human and physical relationships, we are 
applying on the plane of time and matter concepts which are only finally 
relevant in the divine life. This interesting legacy of Platonism is well set out, 
c.Ar.1.23: 'For God does not make man His pattern; but rather we men, for 
that God is alone properly and truly Father of Ffis Son, are also called fathers 
of our own children. For of Him "is every fatherhood in heaven and earth 
named".' cf. also Newman's note on de Dec.\ 1 and the references there, and 
Le Quien's note on John of Damascus, de Fide Orth.l.820A. 

1 Nahor's son: The reading of RSB is confirmed by its repetition, infra 
IV.6(187). 

7 by division of himself: The notion that the Son is a part of the Father, 
produced by a division of the divine essence, was denounced by Arius in his 
letter to Alexander (de Syn.16). He associates it with Hieracas and the 
Manichees. Though he never makes the point, Athanasius in fact retorts the 
Arians' censure upon themselves. By applying to God the language proper 
only to human generation, they treat the divine nature as though it were 
something physical, just as do the Manichees. 

• that he may himself become father: That is, of course, the son. xai avrds . . . 
fit] c' avrog here refer respectively to that son and to the Father. For avrog used 
of different subjects in the same sentence, see Mark 9a7-s and Acts 8m. 

• whole image and radiance of the whole: So, c.Ar.ll.35, the Son is yewrj/ta 
riXeiov ix T£?xtov, and ibid.IIl.6, 6'Aoc xai nXrJQTjg Qsoi;, and de Inc.Yl, 
6'Aoc £v t<5 IIoxqL cf. Gregory Nazianzen, Orai.xxx.20, oXov SXov tvjiov. As 
in c.Ar.\.22 t Athanasius here corrects the Arians' misuse of the analogy of 
human generation from the concept of image. For the conjunction of elxdyv 
and anavyaofia, see infra 19(109f.). But the second term here adds little to the 
first. The reiteration 6'Aog . . . 67o« signifies the perfection and totality of the 
image in contrast with the fiegiCo/ihrj tpvaig of men. The Son is not a picture 
of the Father projected or emanated from Him. He is the perfect expression 
of all that God is. As the use of 8f.og excludes the notion of partiality and 
defect, so the term elxdiv involves the unity of the Son with the Father and 



EPISTLE ONE 103 

father in the strict sense, and the Son a son in the strict 
sense; and of these it holds good that the Father is ever 
Father and the Son ever Son. As the Father could never be 
son, so neither could the Son be a father. As the Father will 
never cease to be Only Father, so the Son will never cease to 
be Only Son. By all accounts then, it is madness to envisage 
a brother to the Son, or to ascribe to the Father the name of 
grandfather. For the Spirit is not given the name of son in 
the Scriptures, lest he be taken for a brother; nor son of the 
Son, lest the Father be thought to be a grandfather. But the 
Son is called Son of the Father, and the Spirit of the Father 
is called Spirit of the Son. 10 Thus the Godhead of the Holy 
Triad and faith therein u is one. 

17. For this reason 1 foo, it is madness 2 to call him a 
creature. If he were a creature, he would not be ranked with 
the Triad. For the whole Triad is one God. It is enough to 
know 3 that the Spirit is not a creature, 4 nor is he numbered 

16* (continued) 

His inherence in Him. Athanasius is careful to distinguish his use of this 
analogy from the sense in which the Arians used it, that of the delineation or 
reproduction of an original, cf. c.Ar. 1.20-1 : 'God's image is not penned from 
without,' and (of the Arians), *. . . sooner than confess that the Son is the 
Father's image, they conceive material and earthly ideas concerning the 
Father, ascribing to Him severings and effluences and influences.' cf. also 
Gregory Nazianzen, Orat.xxx.20: elxwv a>g 6/xoovotov. 

10 the Spirit of the Father . . . Spirit of the Son: The reading of BA as opposed 
to the simplified reading of RS which omits rov Ylov. This undoubtedly 
corresponds in form with the previous clause, but that of BA is in fuller 
accord with the line of these letters. 

11 faith therein: See infra on 30(141), where the unity of the Christian faith 
and the singularity of baptism is related to the unity of God. 

17 1 For this reason: Having dealt with the objection, Athanasius turns to 
the contention it was intended to establish. It is no less madness to call the 
Spirit a creature than to call Him a son. tovto at the beginning of a section 
generally refers to the subsequent argument, as in 26, 27, and II.3. Here, 
however, ovkovv makes it clear that it looks back to the conclusion already 
reached at the end of 16, the unity of the Triad, which is the subject of the 
ensuing sections. 

1 madness: Takes up the fiavla aga of the last sentence but one. Athanasius 
regularly describes the opinions of his opponents in this way. cf . Apol.G, 49, 
de Sent.Dion.25, 26, c.Ar.1.1, etc. 

* It is enough to know: i.e. in contrast with the impertinent speculations of 



104 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

with the things that are made. For nothing foreign is mixed 
with the Triad; it is indivisible and consistent. 8 These 
things are sufficient for the faithful. Thus far human know- 
ledge goes. Here the cherubim spread the covering of their 
wings. He who seeks and would inquire into what lies 
beyond these things disobeys him who said: 'Be not wise 
in many things, lest thou be confounded.' 6 For the things 
that have been handed down by faith 7 ought not to be 

17 3 (continued) 

the Tropici. It is not necessary to know the mode of the Spirit's existence, 
but only that His existence is not creaturely. 

1 not a creature: This denial carries with it the positive affirmation that the 
Spirit is ISiov rov Qeov, and Athanasius generally couples some such statement 
vv ith the negative, e.g. infra2\ (119), 25(128), 26(129), 32(146). But the emphasis 
upon the negative both here and elsewhere is significant. It shows clearly 
the positive character of the heresy he is opposing, in contrast with the 
ambiguity of the later Macedonians; and also the prudent restraint of 
Athanasius. No one can doubt that his own conviction embraced the essential 
Godhead of the Spirit, and he does not hesitate to apply to Him the decisive 
term, ofioovatog, infra 27(138) and III . 1 (171). But he is content with any state- 
ment which will safeguard the unity of the Godhead and the reality of the 
divine Sonship. This attitude is reflected in the language of Tomus ad Antio- 
chenos, in which the decisions of the Council of Alexandria were formulated, 
in 362. cf. especially 5, where the Spirit is confessed to be, 'not a creature, 
nor external, but proper to and inseparable from the essence of the Father 
and the Son'. See also ad Jov.l, 4. It was through the decisions of this council 
that the language and thought of Athanasius concerning the Spirit first 
influenced Basil and the later controversialists in Asia and Pontus. cf. Basil, 
Ep.xxv, cxiii, cxiv, and especially the confession of Eustathius, cxxv.3 : 'They 
must anathematize all who call the Holy Spirit a creature . . . and who 
alienate Him from the blessed, divine nature.' 

* consistent — Sfiola iavrfj. Athanasius makes use of this phrase only here and 
infra 28(135). In both places it is used, not so much for its adequacy to express 
the unity of God as to exclude its opposite, dvo/notog iavrfj, which is how the 
Tropici must describe the Trinity, if they are to be consistent. See infra on 
30, t«if.(140), »5 avrrj ovaa iavrfj, which much better accords with Athana- 
sius's doctrine. 

' Ecclesiastes 7ia. 

7 handed down by faith: rd yaq nUrrei nagadodivra must not be taken as if 
it were equivalent to rj jifortc rtagadoOeioa of Judea. The dative is instru- 
mental : faith is the means whereby the deposit is delivered to us. So, infra 
20(114), he says the Godhead is not 'traditioned' by demonstration in words, 
but in faith. Hence b> axofj nlcrtecug here retains its original Pauline sense, 
Galatians 3a, the hearing that makes for faith, as opposed to the rationalism of 
the Eunomians who rejected all mystery; and not 'obedience to the faith', as 



EPISTLE ONE 105 

measured by human wisdom, but by the hearing of faith. 
What speech shall be able worthily to interpret the things 
that surpass originated nature? Or what hearing is able to 
understand things it is not lawful for men either to hear or to 
utter ? For that is how Paul spoke of what he heard ; but of 
God himself, 'How are his ways past tracing out !', and, 
'Who hath known the mind of the Lord and who hath been 
his counsellor?' 8 Abraham was not a busybody, nor did he 
question him who spoke, but believed and 'it was counted 
to him for righteousness'. 9 Thus Moses was called 'a faithful 
servant'. 10 But if the disciples of Arius, because wisdom will 
not enter their deceitful hearts, are not able intelligently to 
believe J1 in the indivisible and holy Triad, let them not on 
that account pervert the truth as well, neither let them say 
that what they cannot understand cannot be true. 12 They 
have put themselves in an absurd position. Because they 
cannot understand how the holy Triad is indivisible, the 
Arians make the Son one with the creation, and the Tropici, 
for their part, number the Spirit with the creatures. It 
would be better for them either to say nothing at all 18 in 

17' (continued) 

in 1 Samuel 15m. For Athanasius's conception of the Jiagd<5o<rtc, see infra on 

28 «»tr.(133f.)- 

* Romans llss-4. • Romans 4j. l0 Hebrews 3s. 

11 intelligently to believe: A recognition, unfortunately rare in Athanasius, 
that his opponents may really feel the force of the arguments they raise. His 
more usual attitude is to be found in such passages as c.Ar.l.li: 'This is not 
an objection of men really ignorant, for they comprehend how the truth lies.' 

18 cannot be true: cf. infra 11.1(151): 'as though nothing can be unless they 
understand it.' 

18 either to say nothing at all: cf. c.Ar.W.ZQ: 'Nor, if anyone is perplexed 
in such inquiries, ought he to disbelieve what is written. For it is better in 
perplexity to be silent and believe, than to disbelieve on account of the per- 
plexity. For he who is perplexed may in some way obtain mercy, because, 
though he has questioned, he has yet kept quiet. But when a man is led by 
his perplexity into forming for himself doctrines which beseem not and utters 
what is unworthy of God, such daring incurs a sentence without mercy.' In 
the present passage, however, two alternatives are offered to the Arians and 
Tropici. Either let them say nothing (cf. Basil, de Sp.S.44 : aiwnfj Tifidadco xa 
aQQijra), and not presume to think for themselves, taking their places with the 
dxiQaioi and adopting a simple and uncritical faith — Or, if they must teach, 
let them defer to the authority of Scripture (imyivwaxetv, as in 1 Corinthians 



106 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



their incomprehension, the Arians not ranking the Son with 
the creatures nor the Tropici the Spirit; or else to acknow- 
ledge what is written, and join the Son to the Father and not 
divide the Spirit from the Son — so that the Holy Triad may 
still be rightly characterized as indivisible and of one nature. 
Having learned these truths, they ought not to be so bold 
as to ask doubting, how these things could be; lest, even if 
he whom they question 14 be at a loss for words, of their own 
accord they think out false notions 15 for themselves. For all 
created beings, and especially we who are men, find it im- 
possible to speak adequately concerning the things that are 
ineffable. All the more presumptuous, then, if, when we 
cannot speak, we devise for these subjects strange forms of 
expression other than those in the Scriptures. Above all is 
this present attempt madness, both on the part of him who 
asks and of him who so much as thinks of answering. For 
he who asked such questions even about originated things 
would not be regarded as of sound mind. 

18. Let them presume to tell us, as they have a glib 
answer 1 to everything, how the heavens were formed, 2 and 
from what material, and what is their composition; and 
likewise of the sun and each of the stars. Small wonder if we 

17 13 (continued) 

16i8) and dismiss their difficulties in face of the unequivocal testimony it bears 
to the unity of the holy Triad. 

14 even if he whom they question: Iva x&v 6 igtoribftEvog. The significance of 
x&v here is shown by the emphatic afrioi . . . iavrolg in the final clause. If no 
one will do it for them, they will do it for themselves. 

"false notions: xaxovolag, 'fravos sensus'', Montfaucon. It retains its sugges- 
tion of moral quality, notions that are not merely false, but perverse. 

18 1 a glib answer: cf. Apol.37, c.Ar.1.33, de Syn.39, and infra IV.3(183). 
Also Basil, EpM: 3> rfjg avatdeiag rtov nana cpOeyyonivviv gadicog. 

2 how the heavens were formed: So likewise, in the same argument, Basil, adv. 
£un.III.6, and Gregory Nazianzen, Orai.xxxi.8, challenge their adversaries 
to elucidate the mysteries of nature before attempting to explain those of 
God. cf. also Gregory of Nyssa, adv.Eun.X.828A, where he invites Eunomius 
to interpret rd fuxgdrarov tu>v nQoqxuvophoyv. Athanasius takes up the point 
again against the Arians, infra 11.1(151). cf. also Irenaeus, Haer.ll.xxx'm.2 : 
'There is no cause for wonder if that is the case with us as respects things 
spiritual and heavenly and such as require to be made known by revelation, 
since many of the things that lie at our very feet transcend our knowledge.' 



EPISTLE ONE 107 

expose their folly by referring to the things above us, 3 when 
we do not understand the 'how' of the nature of the trees 
here below, 4 of 'the gathering together of the waters', and of 
the fashioning and forming of living things. But they could 
not tell us. For even Solomon, who had a far greater share of 
wisdom than any, saw that it was impossible for men to find 
out about these things, and said: 'He hath set eternity 
within their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work 
that God hath done from the beginning even to the end.' 6 
Because they cannot find out, do they admit 6 that these things 
do not exist ? Yes, they will admit it, for their understanding 
is corrupted. 7 Wherefore we might reasonably ask them: 
'You who are without sense and in all things reckless, why 
do you not the rather cease your impertinent inquiries about 
the holy Triad, and only believe 8 that it exists ? You have the 
Apostle as your teacher for this, when he says: "It is neces- 
sary first to believe on God that he is, and that he is a 
rewarder of them that seek after him." 9 He did not say, 
"how he is," but only, "that he is".' But if they are not over- 
whelmed by this, let them say how the Father is, that so 

18* the things above us: ex tcov VTiegxetfUvtov. cf. Gregory of Nyssa, adv. 
Eun.X. 828c: fiijre nvdg roov ngooto, /ujjts Tajv fineo xe<pcdfjs lq>ixelo6ai. 

* of the nature of the trees here below: At first sight this expression seems very 
strange, and one is tempted to emend to vfaov. But the whole passage is re- 
miniscent of Genesis 1 and 2. cf. in addition to lio, from which the next 
phrase is taken, 2ia. So he may well have had in mind the various f tUa of 2o : 
nav £vAov wgaiov etc ogaaiv xai xaXdv elg figwaiv ■ xai to £v\ov rfjg CcoJjc . . . 
xal zd §vXov tow elSevat. . . . 

5 Ecclesiastes 3u. 

6 do they admit . . . : 'contendunt non existere,' Montfaucon. In spite of the 
somewhat forced interpretation it attaches to dfioXoyovai, this is probably 
correct. It would be possible to translate: 'Do they not admit that these 
things exist?' But such an admission scarcely calls for the comment that their 
minds are corrupted ! Moreover, Montfaucon's rendering gives a greater force 
to fiaXXov in the following sentence. Rather than be forced by the logic of 
their position into so absurd an admission, let them abandon their speculations. 

' corrupted: cf. supra 14(93) and ad Adelph.X, init. 

8 only believe: So also Basil, £/>.ccxxxiv.2, likewise on Hebrews lie: 'The 
object of our worship is not that of which we comprehend the essence, but 
of which we comprehend that the essence exists.' cf. adv.Eun.1.14, and ps. 
Basil, adv.Eun.V.752c. 

* Hebrews lis. 



108 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

they may learn how his Word is. But it is absurd, they will 
say, to ask such questions about the Father. 10 Let them hear, 
then, that it is also absurd to ask them concerning his Word. 
19. Since, therefore, such an attempt is futile madness, 
nay, more than madness !, let no one ask such questions any 
more, or else 1 let him learn only that which is in the Scrip- 
tures.* For the illustrations 3 they contain which bear upon 

18 w about the Father: cl. Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat.Xl. 19: 'Tell me first what 
He is who begat, and then learn that which He begat; but if thou canst not 
conceive the nature of Him who hath begotten, search not curiously into the 
manner of that which is begotten.' Also Gregory Nazianzen, Orrff.xxxi.8: 
elne av tjjv ayewrjalav rov IJarodi;, xdycb rijv yevvr/olv rov Ylov (pvoio\oyr)aa>, 
xai rfjv ixnooevaiv rov Ilvevfiaxo^. 

19 1 or else: i.e. if they persist in asking questions. There is no need to impart 
an adversative sense to r), as Montfaucon does by translating 'sed ea tantum'. 

* in the Scriptures: from the exclusive misuse of one particular analogy, 
Athanasius turns to other analogies found in Scripture. So elsewhere, de Dec. 
12 and c~Ar. 1.27, he has already used these similes of fountain and stream, of 
light and radiance, to guard the title of Son from improper inferences drawn 
from human generation. 

8 illustrations: nagadelyfiaTa, a philosophical term, used by Plato of the ideas 
or forms considered as exemplars of material things, e.g. Parmenid.es 132d. 
Aristotle has it in the same sense, e.g. Af*<.I.991.a.20, etc. But he also uses it 
of the establishment of a truth as to one particular from its truth as to 
another, analogous, particular. For its use as 'instance' or 'precedent', 
cf. the examples in LS and F.G.T. Following earlier writers, notably 
Origen and Eusebius, Athanasius regularly uses it of those material 
analogies, sanctioned by Scripture, through which we may apprehend and 
express the truth concerning the divine nature. In de Dec. 12 he calls them 
elx6va riva . . . ix xu>v oQco/ih'wv. Of the two employed here, that of the 
light and its radiance goes back to Tatian (see note infra, 109f.). It is by far the 
most important of all such illustrations used by the Fathers, and Prestige, 
G.P.T.214, justly calls it 'the traditional way of expressing the divine unity'. 
We first find it in association with the other, that of the fountain and stream, 
in Hippolytus, adv.Noet.ll : 'Light from light, water from fountain, ray from 
sun.' Origen, de Prin.I.ii.4-12, discusses a large number of these naQadely/xara, 
derived from Hebrews Is and Wisdom 7as. See also the fragment apud 
Athanasius, de Dec.27. As the great Trinitarian controversy began to take 
shape, interest in them was naturally intensified. We find them used over 
and over again to express the eternal and impartitive character of the divine 
Sonship. Thus Theognostus (apud Athanasius, de Dec.25) describes Christ's 
generation as 'the radiance of light and the vapour of water'; Dionysius of 
Alexandria (apud Athanasius, de Sent.Dion.18) : 'Life was begotten of life and 
flowed as river from a well, and of light unquenchable bright light was 
kindled.' See also ibid.XS. Lactantius, Inst.iv.29: 'The Father an overflowing 
fountain, the Son a stream; the Father like the sun, and the Son as it were 



EPISTLE ONE 



109 



this subject are sufficient and suitable. 4 The Father is called 
fountain and light: 'They have forsaken me,' it says, 'the 
fountain 6 of living water'; and again in Baruch, 'Why, O 
Israel, art thou in the land of thine enemies ? Thou hast for- 
saken the fountain of wisdom'; and, according to John: 
'Our God is light.' 6 But the Son, in contrast with the foun- 
tain, is called river: 'The river of God is full of water.' 7 In 
contrast with the light, he is called radiance 8 — as Paul says: 

19 3 (continued) 

a ray.' Eusebius and Marcellus joined issue as to whether the pre-existent 
Son could rightly be called the Image of the invisible God (Eusebius, c.Mar. 
II. 2, init.). See also the long explanation of the light and the radiance with 
the interesting safeguards against a Sabellian interpretation (Dcm.Ev.lV.3.1). 
Athanasius, ad Afr.G, says that the Fathers at Nicaea collected (owtjyayev) 
from Scripture the radiance and the river and the expression, and summarized 
them in the dfioovmov.He himself makes frequent use of the two TtagaSelytiaxa 
set out here, and also of the elxwv already referred to, supra 16(102), and more 
rarely of the indaxaav; and its xaewettfe which he adds in the following sec- 
tion. The principal passages are de Dec.\2, 15, 23, c.Ar.1.20, etc., 11.33, etc., 
III. 3, etc., 10. It must finally be observed that, while they are thus employed 
to express the relationship of Father and Son, these naQadefyfiara are intim- 
ately connected with a still vaster symbolism of light, water, etc., which sets 
forth the nature and activity of God. This is well seen in de Inc.ll, where the 
notion of the Son as the Father's image is correlated with that of the divine 
image in man; and by the use of Psalm 36» in later writers, e.g. in de Trin.et 
Sp.S.18. 

4 sufficient and suitable: It is not clear whether ixavd is merely periphrastic, 
as Montfaucon takes it to be, or whether it means 'suitable to the conditions 
and powers of our minds'. For Athanasius's conviction of the sufficiency of 
Scripture, see Robertson, Intro., lxxiv, and the passages referred to there. 

6 the fountain: Jeremiah 2i3 and Baruch 3io-i2. While the interpretation of 
Psalm 65a given below is unique in Athanasius, we find a similar exposition 
of the Jeremiah and Baruch passages in combination in de Dec.\1 and c.Ar\. 
19. It is interesting to observe that Didymus, de Trin. II.553b applies them, 
not to the Son, but to the Spirit, as proving His procession from the Father : 
otfrtoc ivravda on rj Tirjyfj ov yeveaiov^yel xo i£ avxrjs vdcoQ, dXK ixnogevd- 
fievov iyei xai ofioovaiov. Likewise, in de Trin.et Sp.S.19, the Jeremiah 
passage is held to be spoken by the Son with reference to the Spirit, so that 
the Son is 'Fons Spiritus'. cf. also de Inc. et c.Jr.9-10, and Ambrose, de 
Sp.S.lAS2. 

« 1 John Is. ' Psalm 65». 

8 radiance: The light which a light diffuses by means of the atmosphere. So 
we must interpret the phrase in the Nicene Creed, <fS><; ex ycordc, rather than 
as one light kindled from another. In this latter form the simile is criticized 
by Athanasius, de Dec.23. Arius also condemned it, according to Epiphanius, 



110 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

'Who, being the radiance of his glory and the image of his 
essence.' 9 As then the Father is light and the Son is his radi- 
ance — we must not shrink from saying the same things 10 
about them many times — we may see in the Son the Spirit 11 

19 s (continued) 

Haer.hax.l, because it suggested that the divine nature is partitive. It was, 
however, so used by some earlier writers, e.g. Tatian (adv.Graec.5), whom 
Justin Martyr follows (Trypb.61 and 128), expressly preferring it to the 
adaptation used by Athanasius, on the ground that it safeguards the real 
subsistence of the Word. But Athenagoras, Leg.10, using it of the Spirit, 
says 'as a ray of the sun', cf. also ibid.24, and Tertullian, Apol.2\, etc. The 
Gnostics seem to have used it in both forms of the TigofloXri of the aeons. See 
Irenaeus, Haerl\.x\xi.5 and xvii.4. 
• Hebrews Is. 

10 the same things: 'It is quite a peculiarity of Athanasius to repeat and to 
apologize for doing it' (Newman), cf. supra 1 1(87) and infra 19(113), etc. This 
and similar expressions abound in his writings. See de Inc.20, c.Jr.l.3l, 11.22, 
80, III. 54, Quic.dix.11. The greatness of Athanasius as a theologian chiefly 
rests on the fact that he saw clearly one great truth of fundamental import- 
ance in the spiritual crisis of his time, and that he was prepared to state it 
and restate it in the context of each succeeding phase of controversy. 

11 in the Son the Spirit: Athanasius does not try to develop this simile until 
it corresponds with the whole life of the Trinity; as does Tertullian, adv. 
Prax.8: 'sicut tertius a radice fructus ex jrutice, et tertius a fonte rivus ex 

jlumine, et tertius a sole apex ex radio? Nor does he simply extend the scope 
of the comparison, following Athenagoras, so that the Spirit becomes a second 
radiation and stream, by the side of the Son; or, as in Epiphanius, Anc.Tl : 
9?coc tqItov txxqo. IJargog xai Yiov. His thought follows the line it has already 
taken, c.Ar. III. 3-6, where he expounds the notion that the Son is in the Father; 
cf. ibid.3, 'For the Son is in the Father . . . because the whole being of 
the Son is proper to the Father's essence, as radiance from light and stream 
from fountain.' The radiance is not a second light, nor does it participate in 
the light. It is 6'Aoj> Idiov avrov yhvr\na. The sun and the radiance are two, 
but there is one light, from the sun in the radiance enlightening the universe. 
Farther on, in ibid.l5,in a passage which he certainly had in mind when writing 
this section, he develops the idea to comprehend the whole Triad. 'We do 
not introduce three dgxal or three fathers . . . since we have not suggested 
the image of three suns, but sun and radiance. And one is the light from the 
sun in the radiance. . . . For there is but one eldo; of Godhead, which is also 
in the Word; and one God, the Father, existing by Himself, according as 
He is above all things, and appearing in the Son, according as He pervades 
all things, and in the Spirit, according as in Him He acts in all things through 
the Word. For thus we confess God to be one through the Triad.' So here he 
declares that the Spirit is to be seen in the Son. Whenever the titles and 
figures which express the reality and character of the divine Son are correlated 
with the particular operation of divine power which gives them, for human 



EPISTLE ONE 111 

also by whom we are enlightened. 'That he may give you', 
it says, 'the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge 
of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened'. 12 But 
when we are enlightened by the Spirit, it is Christ who in 
him enlightens us. For it says: 'There was the true light 
which lighteth every man coming into the world.' 13 Again, 
as the Father is fountain and the Son is called river, we are 

19 11 (continued) 

thought, meaning and pertinence, we find Scripture testifying that it is the 
Spirit who works. This is clearly stated, infra 20(116f.) : 'As the Son ... is one, 
so must the vital activity and gift whereby he sanctifies and enlightens be 

one ' See also 30(142) : 'Where the light is, there is the radiance, and where 

the radiance is, there is its ivegyeta xal avyoeidtjg zde*S. At first sight this 
might suggest that Athanasius regards the Spirit merely as an expression of the 
Son, a form of Sabellianism not unknown in our own day; and it is interesting 
to observe that, when he traces the same argument, de Sp.S.23, Didymus is 
concerned to safeguard himself against this misinterpretation. But for Atha- 
nasius the personal subsistence of the Spirit is a fact so necessary that it hardly 
needs affirmation; though he does affirm it, infra 28(135), when he gives a 
formal statement of the JtapdoWtc as contrasted with Judaism and paganism. 
For the importance of the argument from unity of evegyeia to unity of ovaia, 
see Prestige, G.P.T.257-60. From works which deal more specifically with 
the Spirit, we may add to the references he gives a large number of passages 
which show how widely Athanasius was followed on this point. Thus Basil, 
£p.clxxxix.6-7, argues that we can only investigate the nature of God by 
reference to His operations, and that identity of operation clearly proves 
to rijg <pvaecoQ apiaqaXkaxiov. cf. also de Sp.S.37 and Gregory of Nyssa, adv. 
.Ettn.II.564B. Epiphanius (Anc.68-70) cites many passages to prove that the 
Son and Spirit minister together (awdtaxoveiv), and that both work together 
with the Father. So likewise de Trin.et Sp.S.10-13. Didymus (de Trin.Il.560- 
600) has a similar list of texts, leading up to the conclusion that there is in 
the Triad one will, one authority, one activity, and hence one divine nature. 
From the same passage we learn that the Macedonians resisted this con- 
clusion, apparently by their favourite device of maintaining that the identity 
of operation was merely analogical. Of equal interest is the argument Didy- 
mus assembles in his de Sp.S. 16-25, especially the very clear statement that 
prefaces it, 16-17: 'Una igitur gratia, Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti operatione 
completa, Trinitas unius substantiae demonstratur. . . . In omnibus enim appro- 
batur eandem operationem esse Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti. Quorum autem 
una est operatio, una est et substantia; quia quae eidem substantiae 6/u>a6aia 
sunt, easdem habent operationes, et quae alterius substantiae et Avo^oovaia, 
dissona atque diversa sunt.' See also ps.Basi\,adv.Eun.V.72 1b and 728b, prob- 
ably also the work of Didymus, and the derivative passages in Ambrose, de 
Sp.S.ll.l42-lllA0. 
" Ephesians l n-18. ls John la. 



112 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

said to drink of the Spirit. For it is written: 'We are all 
made to drink of one Spirit.' 14 But when we are made to 
drink of the Spirit, we drink of Christ. For 'they drank of a 
spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ'. 15 
Again, as Christ is true Son, 16 so we, when we receive the 
Spirit, are made sons. 17 'For you have not received', it says, 
'the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received 
the Spirit of adoption.' 18 But if by the Spirit we are made 
sons, it is clear that it is in Christ we are called children of 
God. For: 'So many as received him, to them gave he the 
power to become children of God.' 19 Then, as the Father, in 
Paul's words, is the 'only wise', 20 the Son is his Wisdom: 
'Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.' 21 But as 
the Son is Wisdom, so we, receiving the Spirit of Wisdom, 22 
have the Son and are made wise in him. For thus it is written 
in the one hundred and forty-fifth psalm: 'The Lord looseth 
the prisoners, the Lord maketh wise the blind.' 23 When the 
Holy Spirit is given to us ('Receive the Holy Spirit,' 24 said 
the Saviour), God is in us; for so John wrote: 'If we love one 
another, God abideth in us ; hereby know we that we abide in 
him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.' 25 But 
when God is in us, the Son also is in us. 26 For the Son himself 

19" 1 Corinthians 12is. » 1 Corinthians 10*. 

18 true Son: From these similes Athanasius naturally turns to the titles of 
Son and Wisdom which likewise express Christ's unity with the Father, cf. 
de Dec.23, c.Ar.1.14, III.6, and the long list of divine names and symbols in 
Eusebius, Ecc.Theol.1.20.30. 

17 made sons: See c.^r.III.19, and Didymus, ie ?ZVmj.II.748c, where 
vionotrjois and OeonoirjaiQ are said to be the office of the Spirit. The two 
terms express one idea, and Athanasius generally prefers the latter. See infra 
on 24(125f.). 

18 Romans 8is. " John I12. *° Romans I627. al 1 Corinthians la«. 
" Spirit of Wisdom: cf. Didymus, de Sp.S.2l : 'Deus solus sapiens . . . et 

generans sapientiam et alios faciens sapientes'; also de Trin.et Sp.S.19. Earlier 
writers actually identified the Spirit with the Wisdom of God in Proverbs 
822, etc., e.g. Theophilus, ad Aut.l.l, and Irenaeus, H aer. IV. xx. 3-4. But 
Athanasius stresses the genitive. It is not merely that the Spirit bears the 
name, but that He belongs to the divine Word who is Wisdom. 

28 Psalm 1467-s. 84 John 2022. " 1 John 4i*-is. 

26 the Son also is in us: cf. c^r.III.24, also on 1 John 4ia. Didymus makes 
much of such passages as 1 Corinthians 3ie and 69, arguing that it is a proof 



EPISTLE ONE 113 

said: 'The Father and I will come and make our abode 
with him.' 27 Furthermore, as the Son is life — for he says 
'I am the life' 28 — we are said to be quickened by the Spirit. 29 
For it says: 'He that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead 
shall quicken also your mortal bodies, through his Spirit that 
dwelleth in you.' 30 But when we are quickened by the Spirit, 
Christ himself is said to live in us; for it says: 'I have been 
crucified with Christ. I live, and yet no longer I, but Christ 
liveth in me.' 31 Again, the Son declared that the Father 
worked the works that he did — for he says: 'The Father 
abiding in me doeth his works. Believe me, that I am in the 
Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for his 
works' sake.' 32 So Paul declared that the works he worked 
by the power of the Spirit were the works of Christ: 'For I 
will not dare to speak of any things save those which Christ 
wrought through me, for the obedience of the Gentiles, by 
word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the 
power of the Holy Spirit.' 

20. But if there is such co-ordination 1 and unity within the 
holy Triad, who can separate either the Son from the Father, 
or the Spirit from the Son or from the Father himself? 
Who would be so audacious as to say that the Triad is unlike 

19 a « (continued) 

of the Spirit's deity that He dwells in souls 'secundum substantiam' , and not 
merely 'secundum operationem' : de Sp.S.24-5 and 60-1, de 2Yiw.II.529a. 
Athanasius, however, is not concerned with the character of the indwelling 
as such, but with the fact that the presence of the Spirit necessarily implies 
that of the Father and the Son. cf. de Inc.et c.Ar.lA, the latter part of which 
seems to be abstracted from this passage. 

17 John J *23. « 8 John 14s. *» quickened by the Spirit: See infra 23(123). 

80 Romans 811. 81 Galatians 2ao. 

82 John 14io-i3. This passage and the following, Romans 15i&-i», are simi- 
larly associated by Didymus, de 2Vim.II.504b. 

20 1 co-ordination: ovoxoi%la. Its usual meaning is column or series in which 
co-ordinates are assembled. It is so used frequently by Aristotle, e.g. Met. 
1004.b.27, 1066. a. 15, etc. Athanasius has it in this sense, supra 10(86); cf. 
Didymus, de TrJn.II.549A and Basil, de Sp.S.43. Here, however, it is actually 
used of the relationship itself. Didymus has it in the same sense in a passage 
parallel to this, de Trt».II.640c : irp> ngog rov IlariQa ovcnoiyiav xai 6ftoq>go- 
ovv7]v dnayyeUxov. 



114 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



itself and diverse in nature, 2 or that the Son is in essence 
foreign from the Father, or the Spirit alien from the Son? 
But how are these things ? If one should make inquiry and 
ask again : How, when the Spirit is in us, the Son is said to 
be in us ? How, when the Son is in us, the Father is said to 
be in us ? Or how, when it is truly a Triad, the Triad is de- 
scribed as one ? 3 Or why, when the One is in us, the Triad is 
said to be in us ? — let him first divide 4 the radiance from the 
light, or wisdom from the wise, or let him tell how these 
things are. But if this is not to be done, much more is it the 
audacity of madmen to make such inquiries concerning 
God. For tradition, as we have said, does not declare the 
Godhead to us by demonstration in words, 5 but by faith 
and by a pious and reverent use of reason. 6 For if Paul pro- 



20* diverse in nature: eregoqwij. cf. de Dec.23, de SynAS, and Didymus, de 
7>t'».II.46lA. 

' the Triad is described as one: Here Tqicls clearly expresses the triplicity of 
the Godhead in distinction from its unity, as in c.Ar.\.\8, etc. cf. Prestige, 
G.P.T.90. For the expression h hi arj/ialverai, cf. c.Ar .111.9. 

* let him first divide: cf. c.Ar.ll.33, de Dec.12, and ad Episc\3fin. 

* not ... by demonstration in words: The form of this sentence is suggested 
by the quotation from 1 Corinthians 2 which follows. For the sense, cf. 
supra 17(104f.), to which no doubt he refers by Saneg EiQrfxai, and II.5(158f.). 
But whereas in those passages he is speaking of the apprehension of the faith 
by those to whom it is offered, here he speaks of the actual transmission. It 
i9 an interpreted faith that is delivered. 

* by a pious and reverent use of reason: 'ratione cum pietate coniuncta,' Mont- 
faucon; as though evoefiei and fiex' evXafielag were identical in meaning. As, 
indeed, they almost are, the former suggesting orthodoxy and the latter 
reticence. This acknowledgement of the part played by reason in determining 
and propagating the naQadoaa; is of great interest, and may serve as a welcome 
corrective to the rather aggressive insistence on intellectual submission in 
the preceding sections. It must, however, be read in the light of what follows 
concerning the naQadelyfiaxa, and especially of the words, 'to think legiti- 
mately'. To Athanasius the function of reason is not, as for Eunomius, the re- 
duction of revelation to the level of a natural, rationalistic, theology. (See the 
striking passage in ad Mon.1.2.) Nor is it the construction of a basis of natural 
theology upon which a science of revealed truth can be developed. See Har- 
nack's observations on Athanasius's doctrine of God, H.D. III. 141-4, and de 
lnc.l\-\6. It lies within the sphere of exposition, the co-ordination of the 
various testimonies of Scripture and the discovery of the ecclesiastical sense; 
which, in this context, means the delicate comparison and cross-interpreta- 
tion of the symbols and titles Scripture uses of the Son. 



EPISTLE ONE 115 

claimed the saving Gospel of the Cross, 'not in words of 
wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power' 7 ; 
and if in Paradise he heard 'unspeakable words which it is 
not lawful for a man to utter' 8 : who can declare the holy 
Triad itself? Nevertheless, we can meet this difficulty, 
primarily by faith and then by using the illustrations men- 
tioned above, I mean the image 9 and the radiance, fountain 
and river, essence and expression. As the Son is in the Spirit 
as in his own image, 10 so also the Father is in the Son. For 
divine Scripture, by way of relieving 11 the impossibility of 
explaining and apprehending these matters in words, has 
given us illustrations of this kind; that it may be lawful, 
because of the unbelief of presumptuous men, to speak more 
plainly, and to speak without danger, and to think legiti- 

20' 1 Corinthians 2t. 8 2 Corinthians 12*. 

• the image: Of the two additional similes introduced here, we have already 
met that of the elxwv, supra 16(102). The other, that of the vjioaraaa; and 
XaQaxifjQ, is, of course, derived, with that of the radiance, from Hebrews Is. 
Origen, de Prin.l.ii.8, endeavoured to give it a distinctive force by applying 
it to the Incarnation. But Athanasius uses it in the same way as the rest; 
though more rarely, doubtless because it is not readily distinguishable from 
the eixcov simile, cf. especially c.Ar.1.20, 11.33, and III.l. 

10 as in his own image: Athanasius has already applied this figure to the Son. 
Now he uses it of the Spirit, adding a series of parallel passages to show how 
faithfully the character of the Son is reproduced in Him. This use of the 
symbolism is older than Athanasius, for Gregory Thaumaturgus, in his Con- 
fession, speaks of the Spirit as the Son's image. It may, indeed, even go back 
to Irenaeus. cf. Haer.lV.viiA and Swete's note, H.S.A.C.88. We find it taken 
over by Didymus, de 7Yj».II.504b: xa0d d ZZaTjjg iv idta vnoardaei &>v, 
i^eixovl^erai iv ra> Movoyevei . . . rov laov rgdnov xai 6 Movoyevfjg iv t<J> 
ivl ayla> Ilvev/^ari. cf. also /(/.Basil, adv. Eun.Y. 724c, etc. Its persistence is 
attested by its appearance in John of Damascus, de Fid.Orth. 1.13. We may 
notice that what Athanasius says here complements and safeguards the state- 
ment already made in the preceding section that the Spirit can be seen in the 
Son. 

11 by way of relieving . . .: This passage is closely followed by Didymus, 
de Trin. II.465a, naQafivdov/isva Tt)v aSvvafiiav, etc. naga/ivdovfieva is ren- 
dered by Mingarelli, 'consolantur', which accords with the 'levaref of Mont- 
faucon here. cf. Plutarch, Alc.xni. The stronger sense of 'remove' or 'over- 
come' might be justified from Strabo, xiii.1.64, but the former agrees better 
with Athanasius's usual appraisal of the nagadefy/iara. cf. de Dec.\1 and in 
illud,Omn.3jin. See also Basil, adv.Eun.ll.17 and £^.xxxviii.5, and the criti- 
cisms of Gregory Nazianzen, Orai.xxxi.32. 



116 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

mately, and to believe that there is one sanctification, 12 which 
is derived from the Father, through the Son, in the Holy 
Spirit. 

As the Son is an only-begotten offspring, 13 so also the 
Spirit, being given and sent from the Son, is himself one and 
not many, nor one from among many, 14 but Only Spirit. As 
the Son, the living Word, is one, so must the vital activity 16 

20" one sanctification: As unity of ivigyeia involves unity of otioia, so division 
of ovola involves that the ivigyeiai ar,e also diverse. It is characteristic of 
Athanasius that he finds the justification of his theology here, in the assurance 
of the reality of divine grace in which it confirms him. 

18 an only-begotten offspring: Athanasius finds no difficulty in using yhvr\fia 
of Christ; though Aetius and Eunomius (see Epiphanius, Haer.lxxvi.8 and 
Eunomius, Lib.Apol.17) take it as equivalent to xriafia or nolrjfia. cf. c.Ar. 
III.4, etc. So likewise Gregory Nazianzen, Ora/.xxix.2 and Gregory of Nyssa, 
fl^f.£u».III.608c. Basil, however, adv.Eun.U.7, rejects the term on the 
grounds that Scripture chiefly uses it of inanimate things and never of Christ. 
(His subsequent use of it, ibid.32, is in a purely general sense, and Maran is 
wrong in pressing it, ^**.xliii.7.) So also Didymus, de 7w!.I.340a. 

14 one from among many: i.e. He does not owe His pre-eminence to the 
favour of God (cf. infra 29.138), or to any adventitious circumstance, such as 
priority in time (argued of the Son, c.Ar. 11.19). The grounds of this assertion 
are suggested here by the insertion of 'given and sent', and are fully set out 
in the next sentence. 

16 the vital activity: Analogous to the use of acxpla, dvva/iiQ, (lovMj, etc., of 
the Son. There were, however, special objections to describing the Spirit as 
ivigyeia, in view of the hesitation still felt by some as to the reality of His 
personal existence. See Gregory Nazianzen, Ora^.xxxi.6. Either, says Gregory, 
the Spirit is ovaia or He is ov/tfiepTixos. el fxev ovv avfifiifirjXEV, ivigyeia rovzo 
av elr] &eov . . . xai el ivigyeia, ivegyrptiaexai drjXovori, ovx evegyrjoei, xai 6/tov 
tu> ivegyrjdrjvai navoezai. cf. also Origen, in Joh.ir.37: oti yog, eu? xiveg oiovrai, 
evigyeid ioii 0eov, ovx eyov xai' avrovg tfodgfeco? ISiotrjra. What Athanasius 
means here is to be understood from such statements as that found infra 
31(143), that all things are actuated (evegyelrat) through the Word in the 
Spirit. But if the Son operates in the Spirit, to deny the Spirit's unity is to 
call in question that unity of operation upon which the Son's unity and 
uniqueness depends. In speaking thus, he is still thinking in terms of the 
similes he has been using, which lend themselves more readily to expressions 
of this kind. cf. ixTApmei in the next sentence. Moreover he safeguards him- 
self here (though not infra in 30(142), when he repeats the expression) with 
the important qualification £d><7av. cf. feocra povXrj (r.^r.III.63), and see 
Newman's note there for similar examples in other Fathers. Ccboa ivigyeia is 
actually used of the Son by some later writers. For its significance we may 
compare c.Ar.ll.35, 6 ftev twv dvdgwTccov Xdyos . . . oSre £fj oike t» ivegyei, 
in contrast with their hands, which are active because they have real exis- 



EPISTLE ONE 117 

and gift whereby he sanctifies and enlightens be one perfect 
and complete; which is said to proceed from the Father, 18 
because it is from the Word, who is confessed to be from 
the Father, that it shines forth 17 and is sent and is given. 
The Son is sent from the Father; for he says, 'God so 
loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.' 18 The 
Son sends the Spirit 19 ; 'If I go away,' he says, 'I will 
send the Paraclete.' 20 The Son glorifies the Father, saying: 
'Father, I have glorified thee.' 21 The Spirit glorifies the 
Son; for he says: 'He shall glorify me.' 22 The Son says: 

20 15 (continued) 

tence (ynaQx ovaiv ) ', whereas God's Word is fcoe xal eyegyfe. See also 

p/.Basil, adv.Eun.V. V28c. 

18 said to proceed from the Father: The uniqueness of the Spirit is no less to 
be established from the fact that He proceeds from the Father. Here, for the 
first time in this letter, His procession is set forth clearly as a fact within the 
divine life, as singular as the generation of the Son is shown to be in de Dec.ll. 
But the emphasis is still upon the Spirit's relation with the Son rather than 
with the Father. The very procession from the Father is itself apprehended 
by us from our knowledge of His mission from the Word. 

17 shines forth: Didymus uses ixMfmeiv of the Spirit's procession (de 
7Vih.II.452a): ix rfjg jrarptxr/c evvnoardrcaQ ixXd/iipav ntjyijc;. cf. also John 
of Damascus, de Fid.Orth.I.S33A. But it is unlikely that Athanasius intends 
it to add anything to the meaning of the verbs that follow, or to define more 
strictly what he has already said, supra 2(64f.), that the Spirit is proper to the 
Son and by Him is given to the disciples, cf. rfjv exXafiipiv zjjfc OeorjjToc 
(c.Ar.\ll.53), of the manifestation of the Godhead through the Manhood. A 
study of the Scripture passages which follow discovers no reference to the 
Spirit's procession, but only to His mission. On the other hand it is not made 
clear how the sending of the Spirit by the Son can be held to establish His 
procession from the Father. Perhaps Athanasius deliberately chose to be vague 
as to what the Spirit receives from the Son. Perhaps he regards the mission of 
the Spirit as actually involving procession from the Son. We may compare, 
infra III.l : 'He gave the Spirit to the disciples out of (ix) Himself.' See 
further Intro.IV(41). 

18 John 3i6. 

19 The Son sends the Spirit: With Athanasius's treatment of the texts that 
follow we should compare Didymus's exposition of the sacramental discourse 
in John, de Sp.S.25-38. See especially ibid.26, 30, and 38, which deal respec- 
tively with the mission of the Spirit from the Father and Son; His coming in 
the Son's name (whereas creatures come in the name of God) ; His glorifica- 
tion of the Son, which is not as creatures glorify Him. The fact that Athanasius 
starts by finding these qualities and activities in the Son absolves him from 
the necessity of qualifying them in this way. 

80 John I67. " John 17«. " John 16m. 



118 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



'The things I heard from the Father speak I unto the 
world.' 23 The Spirit takes of the Son 24 ; 'He shall take 
of mine,' he says, 'and shall declare it unto you.' 26 The 
Son came in the name of the Father. 'The Holy Spirit,' 
says the Son, 'whom the Father will send in my name.' 26 
21. But if, in regard to order and nature, 1 the Spirit bears 
the same relation to the Son as the Son to the Father, will 
not he who calls the Spirit a creature necessarily hold the 
same to be true also of the Son ? 2 For if the Spirit is a creature 

20 28 John 826. 

** The Spirit takes of the Son: These words became a formula to describe 
the relation of the Spirit to the Son, and so we find them in Epiphanius, 
Anc.%, etc., and Gregory of Nyssa, adv.Mac.10. The general doctrine of these 
writers makes plain that they thought of the Spirit as receiving from the Son, 
not only a prerogative or an office, but His divine existence. The same 
interpretation is suggested by the context of c.Ar.\.\5 and 111.44, in which 
he quotes the same words. Here, however, the parallel passage concerning 
the Son, John 8ae, indicates that he intends a more restricted reference and 
that it is to be interpreted in its most obvious sense, that the Spirit receives 
His message from the Son. 

" John 16i4. »« John Use. 

21 1 order and nature: rd^K here is not numerical order, as when Gregory of 
Nyssa (adv.Mac.6) says that the Spirit was 'traditioned' to the disciples xara 
xrjv tqIttjv Ta£iv, but more generally 'rank'. Athanasius does not mean that 
the Spirit comes after the Son, e.g. in the baptismal formula, in the same 
sense that the Son comes after the Father. He simply means that the Spirit 
is ranked with the Son as the Son is ranked with the Father, cf. Basil, de 
Sp.SA3 : 'The Spirit is spoken of together with the Lord in precisely the same 
way as the Son with the Father.' But in order to make plain that this identity 
of rd|tc is no mere matter of standing or prerogative, he adds xal ipvaiv, draw- 
ing it somewhat harshly into a sentence which derives its form from the 
notion of rdfjc with which he starts. Whether he knew it or not, Athanasius 
was turning Eunomius's own language, as Basil quotes it, adv.Eun.Ill.l : 
xqIxov avro dSubftari xal rd&i ftaddvzei;, rghov elvai xal tpioei TiEmoTEvxa/tev. 
This is a better interpretation of <p6oa; here than that which Prestige offers 
(G.P.T.251), 'function'. See also ibid.234. Athanasius certainly uses the word 
in this sense (e.g. c.G.31), but it is not prominent in the numerous instances 
of the word in these letters. 

% true also of the Son: Athanasius thus establishes the contention with which 
he started his argument, supra l(59f.) and 2(64f.). It is the most telling point 
he has to make, and we are not surprised that in the following sections, when 
he examines each separate facet of the Spirit's life and activity, he loses no 
opportunity of driving it home. cf. 22(121), 23 jn»'«.(123),24/n.(127), 27(132). 
At the same time his interest is not merely that of a debater. Behind the 
Tropici he always sees the Arians. As he says, the 'language' is the same, even 



EPISTLE ONE 119 

of the Son, it will be consistent for them to say that the Word 
is a creature of the Father. By holding such opinions the 
Arians have fallen into the Judaism of Caiaphas. 3 But if 
those who say such things about the Spirit claim that they 
do not hold the opinions of Arius, let them avoid his words 
and keep from impiety toward the Spirit. For as the Son, 
who is in the Father and the Father in him, is not a creature 
but pertains to the essence of the Father (for this you also 
profess to say); so also it is not lawful to rank with the 
creatures the Spirit who is in the Son, and the Son in him, 4 
nor to divide him from the Word and reduce the Triad to 
imperfection. 

As regards the sayings 8 both of the Prophet and the 
Apostle, by perverting whose meaning these men have 
deceived themselves, these considerations are sufficient to 

21 2 (continued) 

if it is applied to a different Person in the divine Triad. What is admitted 

of the Spirit must inevitably recoil upon the Son. 

8 the Judaism of Caiaphas: So the Arians are oi vOv 'lovdatoi, infra 28, c.Ar. 
1.8, 10, 38, II. 1. cf. also de Sent.DionA, ad Adelph.l, Ouic.dix.15. The com- 
parison is explained at some length in f.^r.III.27-8. For the reference to 
Caiaphas, see de Dec.2, where an additional point of resemblance is found in 
the Arian appeal to the coercive power of Constantius. 

4 who is in the Son, and the Son in him: Thus Athanasius formulates the 
thought of the preceding sections and sets it in juxtaposition with the corre- 
sponding definition of the Son's relation with the Father. Thus he has 
reached, for the Spirit, conclusions similar to those set forth of the Son, c.Ar. 
III.3-6. A comparison of the two passages shows how truly the idea of a 
double procession is implied in Athanasius's doctrine. See especially the 
balanced statement, ibid.3: 'For the Son is in the Father . . . because the 
whole being of the Son is proper to the Father's essence, as radiance from 
light and stream from fountain; so that whoso sees the Son sees what is proper 
to the Father, and knows that the Son's being, because from the Father, is 
therefore in the Father. For the Father is in the Son, since the Son is what 
is from the Father and proper to Him, as in the radiance the sun . . . for whoso 
thus contemplates the Son contemplates what is proper to the Father's 
essence, and knows that the Father is in the Son.' But if the substance of these 
statements is to be found in the fact that the Son is from the Father, the same 
must hold good, mutatis mutandis, of the Spirit's relation to the Son. 

5 the sayings: Athanasius has now completed his answer to the arguments 
presented by the Tropici. This allusion to Amos 4ia and 1 Timothy 5m is 
interesting in view of the fact that both these texts were dismissed at 14. 
See supra on 10(85). 



120 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

refute the evil speech to which the ignorance of the Tropici 
gives rise. But finally let us look, one by one, at the references 
to the Holy Spirit in the divine Scriptures, 6 and, like good 
bankers, 7 let us judge whether he has anything in common 
with the creatures, or whether he pertains to God; that we 
may call him either a creature or else other than the crea- 
tures, pertaining to and one with the Godhead which is in the 
unoriginated Triad. 8 Perhaps they may be put to shame when 
they realize how far the blasphemous words they have 
devised are out of harmony with the divine oracles. 

22. The creatures came from nothing, 1 having a begin- 

21* in the divine Scriptures: Athanasius arranges his Biblical material roughly 
around nine points. Among these the second to the fifth form a group by 
themselves, as they all deal with the Spirit's work in the life of believers. 
The various points within this group seem to be suggested by prominent 
texts rather than by analysis of the doctrine; and, in consequence, it is hard 
to differentiate them strictly. They all lead to the one conclusion, that, 
whereas the creatures receive grace by participation in the Spirit, He has by 
nature what He bestows upon them. The whole should be compared with 
the long section, de Tri».II.508-56, where Didymus covers the same subject 
in much greater detail, under twenty-nine heads. 

7 like good bankers: Resch, in his Agrapha, gives sixty-nine references to 
this famous saying. Athanasius quotes it three times, without indicating 
whether he takes it, with Origen, injoh. XIX.7, and Jerome, Ep.ciax.W., to 
be from our Lord, or, with Dionysius Romanus, apud Eusebius, H.E.W1.7, 
to be an anocnohxtj (pwvq. It is usually taken as an injunction to discern be- 
tween good and bad, or true and false. Thus Athanasius has it, de Sent.Dion.9, 
of discriminating between the Godhead and the Manhood in Christ, and 
here, between the divine and creaturely. A different interpretation is put 
upon it in ad Mon.1.3. He tells his correspondents to be content with reading 
his letters and then to return them, 'like good money changers,' i.e. being 
content with a fair bargain. 

8 the Godhead which is in the unoriginated Triad: The reading of B here, 
ISiov di xal ev rfj dyevfjtq) Tqiddi rrjg deorr/rog, furnishes a clue to the correct 
text, which is probably Xdiov di xal iv Tijg iv rfj dyevfficf) Tgiddi Qedxrfzog. 
On the omission of ayevrJTU) in RS see Intro. V.(46). A's variant, dyEwfftcp, is 
of great interest, but it is not possible to pronounce upon it in default of 
further evidence, and, indeed, until we are able to arrive at a precise estimate 
of the degree to which Athanasius distinguished between the two words. 
dyev\y]r]rog, as applied to the Trinity, is not inconsistent with what he says 
about the word in de Syn.46, but it is not to be paralleled in his writings. 
Compare, however, Didymus, de Trin.Ill.793B, j$ ev ivddi dyivrrcog TgiAg 
povr), and ibid.508c, iv Tfj dyevrfzq) /uq. deoxrjzi. 

22 1 from nothing: So Didymus, de 7Wff.II.508c, begins his comparison 



EPISTLE ONE 



121 



ning from which they came into being. For, 'In the begin- 
ning God created the heaven and the earth' 2 and all that is in 
them. The Holy Spirit is said to be from God. For no one, it 
says, 'knoweth the things of man save the spirit of the man 
which is in him. Even so, the things of God none knoweth 
save the Spirit of God. But we received not the spirit of the 
world, but the Spirit which is of God.' 3 What kinship could 
there be, judging by the above, between the Spirit and the 
creatures? For the creatures were not; but God has being, 4 
and the Spirit is from him. That which is from God could 
not be from that which is not, nor could it be a creature; 
lest, by their judgement, he also from whom the Spirit is 
should be considered a creature. Who will endure such 
fools? For they say also in their hearts that 'there is no 
God'. 5 For if, as no one knows the things of man save the 
spirit within him, so no one knows the things of God save the 
Spirit who is in him 8 : would it not be evil speech to call the 
Spirit who is in God a creature, him who searches even the 
deep things of God ? For from this the speaker will learn to 
say that the spirit of man is outside the man himself, 7 and 
that the Word of God, who is in the Father, is a creature. 

22 1 (continued) 

between the Spirit and the creatures from the fact that the existence of the 
creatures is contingent. But he goes on to contrast it with that of the Spirit 
which is avaQxov and beyond temporal succession. The reason for this change 
of ground is not hard to find. Athanasius presents his argument in such a way 
as to suggest that he is assuming what he sets out to prove, that the Spirit 
is from God essentially, and that ix has the same meaning in both the con- 
trasted statements. That this assumption is only apparent is clear from the 
last sentence of the section, where he argues that the human analogy of 
1 Corinthians implies that the very term 'spirit' is by itself sufficient to prove 
that His relation with God must be essential. Compare what he says of the 
Son (de Syn.3o) : 'If you have said that the Son is from God, it follows that 
you have said that he is from the essence of the Father.' 

' Genesis li. * 1 Corinthians 2n-u. 

4 has being: &v iartv. So also de Dec.W and f.^r.II.35, but o cuv or to ov is 
more usual. Athanasius here is characterizing God rather than defining Him. 
Hence we should translate 'has being' rather than 'is being'. 

6 Psalm Hi. 

' the Spirit who is in him: The emphasis has now shifted from the ex rot) 
Qeov of 1 Corinthians 2ia to the ev avzG> of the previous verse. 

7 outside the man himself: cf. de Inc.et c.Ar.\3: 'As the spirit of man is not 



122 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



Again, the Spirit is, and is called, 8 Spirit of holiness and 
renewal. 9 For Paul writes: 'Declared to be the Son of God 
with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resur- 
rection of the dead; even Jesus Christ our Lord.' 10 Again 
he says: 'But ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the 
name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our 
God.' 11 And when writing to Titus, he said: 'But when the 
kindness of God our Saviour and his love toward men 
appeared, not by works done in righteousness which we did 
ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through 
the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit 
which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our 
Saviour, that being justified by his grace, we might be made 
heirs, according to the hope of eternal life.' 12 But the crea- 
tures are sanctified and renewed. 'Thou shalt send forth thy 
Spirit, and they shall be created, and thou shalt renew the 
face of the earth.' 13 And Paul says: 'It is impossible for 
those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly 

22' (continued) 

divided from his humanity and essence, so the Spirit of God is not alien to 
His Godhead and essence.' See too Gregory of Nyssa, jJf.5ttn.II.564D, and 
Cyril of Alexandria, de Trin.VU. 1080c. 

8 is, and is called: For other instances of this tautology, cf . infra 23(123) and 
24(127), 111.2(171), and 3(171), c.Jr.1.29, ^Z)^.24;alsoDidymus, de Trin.ll. 
460a, 545c, Basil, de Sp.S.38. 

» Spirit of holiness and renewal: As holiness is the characteristic quality of 
the Spirit (cf. Basil, de Sp.S.48, rcb FFvevfian av/iTzXrjgcorimj rfjg <pvaewg iari 
fj dywTrjQ) so He is, within the divine life, peculiarly the principle of 
sanctification (cf. supra 9(82f.)). That Athanasius was in general conformity 
with this opinion may be seen from the interpretation of John 17i» in c.Ar.l. 
46: 'I, being the Father's Word, give to myself, when becoming man, the 
Spirit, and myself, become man, do I sanctify in Him. . . .' However, the 
fact that he adds xai araxatvwaewg, instead of xai dytao/iov, shows that he 
does not distinguish sanctification from that restoration of human nature to 
incorruptibility which is set forth, without reference to the Spirit, in de Inc. 
4-10. And this, as we see, ibid.54, is none other than the deification of our 
humanity consequent upon the Incarnation of the Word. All the terms used 
in this section refer to the same process which is variously ascribed, in different 
contexts, to the Word or the Spirit. See further, infra on 24(125) and Intro. 
IV(37). 

10 Romans 1*. " 1 Corinthians 611. 

12 Titus 3i-7. " Psalm 104ao. 



EPISTLE ONE 123 

gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit. . . .' 14 
23. He, therefore, who is not sanctified by another, nor a 
partaker of sanctification, but who is himself partaken, 1 and 
in whom all the creatures are sanctified, how can he be one 
from among all things or pertain to those who partake of 
him ? 2 For those who say this must say that the Son, through 
whom all things came to be, is one from among all things. 

He is called a quickening Spirit. 3 For it says: 'He that 
raised up Christ from the dead shall quicken also your mor- 
tal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.' 4 The 
Lord is the very life, 5 and 'author of life', 6 as Peter put it. 
And as the Lord said himself: 'The water that I shall give 
him shall become in him a well of water springing up into 
eternal life. . . . But this spake he concerning the Spirit which 
they that believed in him were to receive.' 7 But the creatures, 
as has been said, are quickened through him. He that does 
not partake of life, but who is himself partaken and quickens 
the creatures, what kinship can he have with things orig- 
inated ? How can he belong to the creatures which in him 
are quickened from the Word ? 

The Spirit is called unction and he is seal. 8 For John 

22" Hebrews 6*. 

23 1 himself partaken: So Didymus argues, de 7>t'n.II.529A, that it is a proof 
of the Spirit's deity that He is fiedexrov, for creation cannot be essentially 
participated by the rational soul. cf. also his de Sp.S.25, and pj.Basil, adv.Eun. 
V.713A. 

* pertain to those who partake of him: cf. Didymus, de Tnw.II.525A: 'If the 
Spirit is a creature, what need to sanctify the creatures ?' Also Basil, adv.Eun. 
III.2, and /u.Athanasius, Disp.c.Ar.38. 

3 a quickening Spirit: The restricted meaning, 'bestowing immortality,' was 
fixed upon Ccoojioiov by Romans 811. But in Didymus, de Trin. 11.568a, and in 
de Tr.et Sp.SA4, it is used in connexion with the claim that He is creator. 
Macedonian objections to the use of Ccoojiokjv of the Spirit were probably due 
to this association rather than to its appearance in the Niceno-Constantino- 
politan symbol, as Loofs suggests in his article, 'Macedonianism,' E.R.E. 

* Romans 811. 

5 the very life: fj avroCtor/. For the general use of such compounds, see c.G.46, 
and also Origen, c.Cels.lHAl. For this particular instance, see c.G.47, de Inc. 
21, Quic.dix.\3. It goes back to Aristotle. 

* Acts 3i5. 7 John 4i4 and 7s». 

* unction . . . seal: These two figures have already been used, in conjunction, 



124 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



writes : 'As for you, the unction which ye received of him 
abideth in you, and you need not that anyone teach you, but 
his unction' — his Spirit — 'teacheth you concerning all 
things.' 9 In the prophet Isaiah it is written : 'The Spirit of the 
Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me.' 10 
Paul says: 'In whom having also believed, ye were sealed 
unto the day of redemption.' 11 But the creatures are by him 
sealed and anointed and instructed in all things. But if the 
Spirit is the unction and seal with which the Word anoints 
and seals all things, what likeness or propriety could the 
unction and the seal have to the things that are anointed and 
sealed ? Thus by this consideration also he could not belong 
to the 'all things'. The seal could not be from among the 
things that are sealed, nor the unction from among the 
things that are anointed; it pertains to the Word who anoints 
and seals. For the unction has the fragrance and odour of 
him who anoints; and those who are anointed say, when they 
receive thereof: 'We are the fragrance of Christ.' 12 The seal 
has the form of Christ who seals, and those who are sealed 
partake of it, being conformed to it; as the Apostle says: 
'My little children, for whom I am again in travail until 
Christ be formed in you.' 13 Being thus sealed, we are duly 
made, as Peter put it, 'sharers in the divine nature' 14 ; and 
thus all creation 18 partakes of the Word in the Spirit. 

23 s (continued) 

of the Spirit, c.Ar.lAl. cf. de Trin.et Sp.S.17 and /u.Basil, adv. Eun.V. 725b. 
On the Spirit as unction, cf . Ambrose, de Sp.S.1.94. The metaphor of the seal 
was commonly used of baptism, and for that reason and because it lends 
itself more readily to a Trinitarian application, was the more popular. 
Didymus's exposition, de Sp.S. 22, follows the same line as that of Athanasius: 
'Cum autem Filius imago sit Dei invisibilis. . . . Similiter et Spiritus sanctus, 
cum sit signaculum Dei, hi qui formam et imaginem Dei capiunt, signati per 
eum, in eo ducuntur ad signaculum Christi sapientiae et scientiae.' cf. also de 
Trin.Il.525\. For the same figure applied to the Son, see Basil, de Sp.S.64, 
and Gregory of Nyssa, adv. Eun. II. 540c. 

9 1 John 227. 

10 Isaiah 61 i. For Athanasius's debt to the exposition of Irenaeus and 
Origen in this section, see Intro.IV(40). 

11 Ephesians lis. « 2 Corinthians 2is. ls Galatians 4is>. " 2 Peter I«. 
16 all creation: This would appear to be a natural extension, in conformity 



EPISTLE ONE 125 

24. Further it is through the Spirit that we are all said 
to be partakers of God. 1 For it says: 'Know ye not that ye 

23 15 {continued) 

with what is saidj»/m31(143f.)andIII.4(173),of the statement in c.G .41, that 
all creation, in the very fact of its existence, partakes of the Word. But the 
quotations from Galatians and 2 Peter suggest that Athanasius is thinking 
of redemption rather than creation. Nor may we overlook the fact that in 
all this section the supernatural benefits conferred by the Spirit are not con- 
fined to man but extend to the whole creation. It is not clear whether 
Athanasius intends this to be developed along the lines of Romans 819, etc., 
that all creation is glorified and exalted in the deification of man. The truth 
is that we do not find in Athanasius the rigid distinction between nature and 
grace which belongs to medieval theology. On the one hand his doctrine of 
creation emphasizes the perpetual presence of the Word in His works; a 
presence in measure analogous to His Incarnation, de Inc. 41. On the other, 
as Robertson rightly observes, Intro.lxxi, 'he makes no such vast difference 
between the condition of fallen and unfallen man as has commonly been sup- 
posed to exist', cf. also ibid, note 3. Thus, supra 22, he finds no difficulty in 
identifying the dvaxalvcoaig of Psalm 10430 with that of Titus 3*. In c.Ar.1.39 
it is argued, from Psalm 82i, that men were deified in the Word even before 
the Incarnation. Above all, there is the exposition of Colossians I15 in c.Ar. 
II.62-4, where the cosmological and soteriological interpretations of ngtoro- 
toxoc are most subtly combined. 

24 1 partakers of God: On decmolrjotg, see Harnack, //.Z). III. 164, note. It 
received great attention from Athanasius, and there are many references, 
especially in c.^r.I-III. The most important are: de Inc. 54, de Dec. 14, c.Ar. 
1.9 (from Psalm 82e), 39, 11.70, III. 19, 33, 53, de Syn.5l, ad AdelphA (from 
2 Peter I4), ad Max.1. For the relation of Athanasius's doctrine to that of 
Irenaeus and Origen, see Intro.IV(35f.). G. W. Butterworth, 'The Deification 
of Man in Clement of Alexandria', in 7-2"-S.XVII.157, etc., argues strongly 
that QsoTioieiv should always be translated 'make ... a god', not 'make divine'. 
The latter rendering is undoubtedly philologically inexact, and loses some- 
thing of the force of the original. But the alternative carries with it to modern 
ears a suggestion of polytheism which was certainly not appreciated by the 
Christian writers who use the expression. If it owes something of its currency 
in the Church to the practice of deifying the emperors, it probably owes still 
more to popular pantheistic philosophy which reduced the gods either to 
symbols of an impersonal divine life, or else to beings not essentially different 
from men. But it is to its prevalence in the Mystery Religions that we must 
finally look for an explanation of its occurrence in Christian terminology. 
(The evidence is set forth by S. Angus, The Mystery Religions and Christianity, 
pp. 106-12.) The Church dared not claim less for the grace of God in Christ 
than the initiates claimed to have received from Mithras or Cybele. But in 
making the claim she was careful to maintain the 'otherness' of God and the 
personal relation between Him and the souls that partake His nature. The 
Arian controversy is itself the most eloquent testimony to this fact. It could 
never have arisen in the atmosphere of Mithraism. Opitz is right in pointing 



126 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in 
you ? If any man destroyeth the temple of God, him shall 
God destroy ; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye 
are.' 2 If the Holy Spirit were a creature, we should have no 
participation of God in him. 3 If indeed we were joined to a 
creature, we should be strangers to the divine nature inas- 
much as we did not partake therein. But, as it is, the fact of 
our being called partakers of Christ and partakers of God 
shows that the unction and seal that is in us belongs, not to 
the nature of things originate, but to the nature of the Son 
who, through the Spirit who is in him, joins us to the 
Father. This John taught us, as is said above, when he 
wrote: 'Hereby know we that we abide in God and he in us, 
because he hath given us of his Spirit.' 4 But if, by participa- 
tion in the Spirit, we are made 'sharers in the divine nature', 6 
we should be mad to say that the Spirit has a created nature 
and not the nature of God. For it is on this account 
that those in whom he is are made divine. If he makes 

24 1 (continued) 

out, on de Dec. 14, that it is in that passage that Oeonoir)ai<; is first formally 
ascribed to the Spirit. But such attribution is implied in Irenaeus, Haer.V.ix.i, 
'Spiritus Patris qui emundat hominem et sublevat in vitam Dei,' and in Origen, 
de Prin.lV.i.l. Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat.IV.16, ro ndvTwn> ayiaarixov xai 
Oeonoidv (if the reading is acceptable), is almost contemporary with de Dec. 
We find deonolrjats through the Spirit also in c.Ar.1.9 and 111.33. From later 
works we may cite de Inc.et c.Ar.15, Basil, de Sp.S.23, adv.Eun.111.5, Ep.cv., 
Gregory Nazianzen, Oraf.xxxi.4, 29, xli.9, Didymus, de 7W».II.481c and 
748c (but the doctrine is not prominent), /u.Basil, adv. Eun.V. 724. 

1 1 Corinthians 3ie-i7. cf. Gregory Nazianzen, Orar.xxxi.29 (of the Spirit) : 
vatonotovv, Oeonoiovv, TeAfiiovi'. The evidential value of this passage and 
1 Corinthians 6i» was well understood by later writers, cf. de Inc.et c.Ar.\4, 
de Trin. et Sp.S.12 and 15, Didymus, de Sp.S.25 and de Trin.lI.636A, Apolli- 
narius, Kara Migoc, Menu;, iii and v, ps.BasH, adv. Eun.V. 7 44c, Epiphanius 
Anc.9, Cyril of Alexandria, de Trin.VU. 1089c. 

3 no participation of God in him: cf. infra 33 : 'Let them not divide the 
Triad, lest they divide themselves from life.' Also Basil, adv.Eun.\\\.5; 
Gregory of Nyssa, adv. Mac. 23: 'Why do they make war on their own life? 
Why exclude themselves from union with God?' And Gregory Nazianzen, 
Oa*.xxxi.4; and />.r.Basil, adv. Eun.V. 724a, '. . . they would not divide the 
Spirit from the Godhead, lest they cut themselves off from the Godhead, 
and remove God from His creation.' 

* 1 John 4is. 6 2 Peter U. 



EPISTLE ONE 127 

men divine, it is not to be doubted that his nature is of 
God. 

Yet more clearly, for the destruction of this heresy, the 
Psalmist sings, as we have said before, in the one hundred 
and third psalm: 'Thou shalt take away thy Spirit, and 
they shall die and return to their dust. Thou shalt put forth 
thy Spirit, and they shall be created, and thou shalt renew the 
face of the earth.' 6 And Paul wrote to Titus: 'Through the 
washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 

which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ ' 7 

But if the Father, through the Word, in the Holy Spirit, 
creates and renews 8 all things, what likeness or kinship 9 is 
there between the Creator and the creatures ? How could he 
possibly be a creature, in whom all things are created ? Such 
evil speech leads on to blasphemy against the Son ; so that 
those who say the Spirit is a creature say also that the Word 
is a creature, through whom all things are created. 

The Spirit is said to be, and is, the image of the Son. 10 
For 'Whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be con- 
formed to the image of his Son'. If then they admit that the 
Son is not a creature, neither may his image be a creature. 

24 e Psalm 104a»-jo. ' Titus 3«. 

8 creates and renews: From the casual way in which he introduces this re- 
ference to the Spirit's activity in creation, we infer that it had not been 
called in question by the Tropici. See supra on 9(82f .). The correlation of xrlatg 
with di'cocalvtoaig was often exploited by later writers, cf. the striking passage 
in ps. Basil, adv. Eun.V. 728b: do^dCerai 6i v7ilg Qeov (fj xtIoiq), elneg 
dddvara did xrlc/iarog xal chpOagra xaraaxEvdCerai id Oavdrcp xal tpOoQq. 
Xvddvra, &juq 6 6eo; eigydaaro. . . . And also de Trin.et Sp.S.8, Didymus, 
de 7ri'».II.569c, Dial, de 5Tnn.III.24, and Cyril of Alexandria, de Trin.Vll. 
1I08d. 

• what likeness or kinship: On the absurdity of a creature-Creator, see c.Ar. 
11.21. 

10 the image of the Son: Romans 8a». For a similar exegesis of this passage, 
see ps.BasW, adv. Eun.V. 724c and Cyril of Alexandria, de Tr»'n.VII.1089B. 
The identification of the 'image of his Son' with the Spirit seems very arbi- 
trary and entirely unsupported by anything in the context. For Athanasius, 
however, it follows a priori from the interpretation of symbols adopted, 
supra 20. But whereas there it is the unity of the divine Persons which he 
deduces from the metaphor, here it is held to prove the non-creaturely nature 
of the Spirit, from His resemblance to the Son. 



128 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

For as is the image, so also must he be whose image it is. 
Hence the Word is justly and fitly confessed not to be a 
creature, because he is the image of the Father. He therefore 
who numbers the Spirit with the creatures will surely num- 
ber the Son among them also, and thereby will speak evil of 
the Father as well, by speaking evil against his image. 

25. The Spirit, therefore, is distinct from the creatures, 
and is shown rather to be proper to the Son and not alien 
from God. As for that wise question of theirs, 'If the Spirit 
is from God, why is he not himself called son ?', already, in 
what precedes, we have shown it rash and presumptuous, 
and we show it not less so now. 1 Even though he is not 
called Son in the Scriptures, but Spirit of God, he is said to 
be in God himself and from God himself, as the Apostle 
wrote. And if the Son, because he is of the Father, is proper 
to his essence, it must be that the Spirit, who is said to be 
from God, 2 is in essence proper to the Son. 3 And so, as the 

25 1 not less so now: In the light of the passages quoted already, Athanasius 
returns to the question discussed supra in 15(96f.). But whereas there he deals 
primarily with the absurdity involved in calling the Spirit a son, he now 
attacks the assumption upon which the question rests, that procession from 
God is not compatible with any other relationship than that of Son. In effect, 
however, he adds little, apart from the proof texts, to what he has said, supra 
19(109f.), etc. 

* the Spirit, who is said to be from God: The term 'Spirit', no less than the 
term 'Son', imparts to the ex Oeov that follows the notion of essential pro- 
priety. See supra on 22(121) ; and cf . Didymus, de Trin. 11.460a, and ps.Basil, 
adv. Eun.V. 733c: a\X ixavov xal tovto to ovopta (i.e. 7ivev/na) zfjv iinaQ^i,v 
airiov drjAcboai rtjv ix &eoV. 

8 in essence proper to the Son: 'the Son' rather than 'God' here, since it is 
through His propriety to the - Son that His propriety to the Father is appre- 
hended. It is one of the characteristics distinguishing Athanasius from later 
writers, especially Didymus, that in establishing the divine unity from pas- 
sages such as those that follow here, he is content to relate what has been 
said of the Spirit to what is said of the Son, taking for granted that therein 
is established the Spirit's unity with the Father also. Whereas Didymus toils 
to discover parallel references to all three Persons. He has, as it were, to see 
the Trinity seriatim every time ! No doubt this difference is partly due to the 
fact that Athanasius can assume in his opponents a more definite conviction 
of the Godhead of the Son. But it is also due to a difference of approach. 
Athanasius comes to defend the Godhead of the Spirit from defending the 
Godhead of the Son. The one issue proceeds from the other. To Didymus 



7 



EPISTLE ONE 129 

Lord is Son, the Spirit is called Spirit of sonship. Again, as 
the Son is Wisdom and Truth, the Spirit is described as 
Spirit of Wisdom and Truth. Again the Son is the Power of 
God and Lord of Glory, and the Spirit is called Spirit of 
Power and of Glory. So Scripture refers to each of them. 
Paul wrote to the Corinthians: 'Had they known, they 
would not have crucified the Lord of glory.' 4 And, else- 
where: 'For ye received not the Spirit of bondage again to 
fear, but ye received the Spirit of adoption. ' s Again: 'God 
sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts crying, Abba 
Father.' 6 Peter wrote: 'If ye are reproached for the name of 
Christ, blessed are ye; because the Spirit of glory and of 
power resteth upon you.' 7 The Lord called the Spirit 'Spirit 
of truth' and 'Paraclete' 8 ; whence he shows that the Triad 
is in him complete. In him the Word makes glorious the 
creation, and, by bestowing upon it divine life and sonship, 
draws it to the Father. But that which joins creation to the 
Word cannot belong to the creatures; and that which 
bestows sonship upon the creation could not be alien from 
the Son. For we should have otherwise to seek another spirit,' 
so that by him this Spirit might be joined to the Word. But 
that would be absurd. The Spirit, therefore, does not belong 
to things originated; he pertains to the Godhead of the * 
Father, and in him the Word makes things originated divine. 
But he in whom creation is made divine cannot be outside 
the Godhead of the Father. 

26. That the Spirit is above the creation, distinct in 
nature from things originated, and proper to the Godhead, 
can be seen from the following consideration also. The Holy 
Spirit is incapable of change and alteration. 1 For it says, 

25* (continued) 

both are collateral points in a controversy whose crisis is past, and which 

he can, therefore, see as a whole. 

4 1 Corinthians 2s. 6 Romans 8i». • Galatians 4«. 

' 1 Peter 4u. 8 John 14io-i7. 

* to seek another spirit: An adaptation of the argument used of the Son, 
c.Ar.ll.22. cf. also ibidl.XS, III.2, de Dec.8 and ad EpiscM. 

26 1 incapable of change and alteration: &tqovtov xal dvaXMcorov, are not to 
be distinguished in meaning. Their association is in the nature of a formula, 



130 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

'The Holy Spirit of discipline will flee deceit and will start 
away from thoughts that are without understanding.' 2 And 
Peter says: 'In the incorruptibility of the meek and quiet 
Spirit.' 3 Again, in Wisdom: 'Thine incorruptible Spirit is in 
all things.' 4 And if 'none knoweth the things of God save the 
Spirit of God which is in him', 5 and, as James said, in God 
'there is no variation nor shadow that is cast by turning' 6 — 
the Holy Spirit, being in God, must be incapable of change, 
variation, 7 and corruption. But the nature of things origi- 
nated and of things created is capable of change, inasmuch 
as it is outside the essence of God, and came into existence 
from that which is not. For it says: 'Every man is a liar,' 8 
and, 'All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.' 9 
'And angels which kept not their own principality, but left 
their proper habitation, he hath kept in everlasting bonds 
under darkness unto the judgement of the great day.' 10 In 
Job : 'If he putteth no trust in his holy angels . . . and against 
his angels he imputeth evil . . . and the stars are not pure in 

26 1 (continued) 

and goes back in Christian literature as far as Theophilus, ad Aut.llA, where 
they give general expression to the immortality and immutability of God 
which is involved in His being ayiwrfcoi;. So similarly Origen, in Joh.Vl.38, 
and Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat.IV.4. They may bear this general sense in de 
Dec.23. Arius, however, said that the Word was Tgemdg xal dMoiwrog, 
meaning that He was capable of moral declension and progress, cf. the Epistle 
of Alexander, apud Socrates, H.E.1.6, and the anathema attached to the creed 
of Nicaea. It is in this sense that Athanasius uses these terms here and in 
c.Ar.1.35 and ad Afr.7. Didymus apparently uses them thus, de Sp.S.5; but 
in developing the same argument, de 7Wb.II.512b, he seeks a wider applica- 
tion, and distinguishes between them. Incorporeal rational creatures suffer 
(pdogd of the will, by changing and falling. Creatures which are rational and 
corporeal suffer dAAofaxrtc, in respect of condition (as when Judas lost 
sanctity), and in respect of essence (as when the mortal 'puts on immortality'). 
Irrational creatures suffer rgomj, as when darkness turns to light. So ps.Basil, 
adv.Eun.V. 7 12b, distinguishes between TQenronjg xat'oialav and xaxa 
yvibfirjv. cf. also John of Damascus, de Fide Orth. 1.796b. 

» Wisdom Is. • 1 Peter 3<. * Wisdom 12i. 

6 1 Corinthians 2n. * James In. 

' incapable of variation: For this celebrated word, anagaXXaxxot; in Atha- 
nasius, cf. de Dec.20, 24, c.Ar.II1.36, etc. Generally it conveys the notion of 
exact correspondence between an image and its exemplar. 

8 Psalm 116n. » Romans 3-23. 10 Jude a. 



EPISTLE ONE 131 

his sight.' 11 Paul writes: 'Know ye not that we shall judge 
angels ? How much more things that pertain to this life ?' 12 
We have heard too that the devil, who was 'between the 
cherubim', and was 'the seal of the likeness', fell 'as light- 
ning from heaven'. 13 But if, while creatures are by nature 
capable of change, and such things are written about angels, 
the Spirit is the same and unalterable; if he shares the 
immutability of the Son, with him abiding ever unchange- 
able — what likeness can there be between the unchangeable 
and the things that change ? It will be clear that he is not a 
creature, nor does he belong in essence to the angels, for 
they are changeable, but he is the image of the Word and 
pertains to the Father. 

Again, the Spirit of the Lord fills the universe. 14 Thus 
David sings: 'Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?' 15 Again, 
in Wisdom it is written : 'Thine incorruptible Spirit is in all 
things.' 16 But things originated are all in places apportioned 
to them : sun, moon, and stars in the firmament, clouds in the 
air. For men he has 'set the bounds of the peoples'. 17 The 
angels are 'sent forth' 18 for ministries. 'And the angels came 
to stand before the face of the Lord,' 19 as it is written in Job. 
And Jacob the patriarch dreamed : 'And behold ! a ladder 
set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven ; and 
the angels of God ascended and descended upon it.' 20 But if 
the Spirit fills all things, and in the Word is present in the 
midst of all things ; and if the angels, being his inferiors, are 
circumscribed, and where they are sent forth, there are they 

26 11 Job 15i6, 4is, 25e. 12 1 Corinthians 63. 

" Ezekiel 2812, 10? (28u?), Luke Ids. 

14 fills the universe: In de Dec.X 1 he speaks of God as containing the universe 
{jiEQitxoiv). Didymus, de JWb.II.509a, combines the two expressions. For the 
argument, cf. also Didymus, de Sp.S.6, Basil, de Sp.S.54, Ambrose, de Sp.S.l. 
74, pj.Athanasius, Disp.c.Ar.39. Athanasius differs from these writers in 
insisting on the immanence of the Spirit in creation by reason of His co- 
inherence in the Word, whereas they make their point from His indwelling 
in believers. Cyril of Alexandria reproduces the argument in the Athanasian 
form, de !7>»b.VII.1105b. 

16 Psalm 1397. " Wisdom 12i. " Deuteronomy 32s. 

18 Hebrews I14. 19 Job le. *° Genesis 2812. 



132 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



present : it is not to be doubted that the Spirit does not belong 
to things originated, nor is he an angel at all, as you say, but 
by nature is above the angels. 

27. From what follows, also, we may see how the Holy 
Spirit is partaken and does not partake. 1 (We must not mind 
repeating ourselves.) For, 'It is impossible', it says, 'for 
those who were once enlightened 2 and tasted of the heavenly 
gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted 
the good Word of God. . . .' The angels and the other 
creatures partake of the Spirit himself; hence they can fall 
away 3 from him whom they partake. But the Spirit is always 
the same; he does not belong to those who partake, but all 
things partake of him. But if he is always the same and 
always partaken ; and if the creatures partake of him — the 
Holy Spirit can neither be an angel nor a creature of any 
kind, but proper to the Word. And being given by the 
Word, he is partaken by the creatures. For they would have 
to say that the Son is a creature, of whom we are all made 
partakers in the Spirit. 

Again, the Holy Spirit is one, but the creatures are many. 
For the angels are 'thousand thousand' and 'ten thousand 
times ten thousand', 4 and there are many lights 5 and thrones 
and lordships and heavens and cherubim and seraphim and 



27 x partaken and does not partake: cf. supra 23(123). Athanasius makes the 
point again, not because he has anything to add to what he has said already, 
but because it is bound up with what immediately precedes. The Spirit can- 
not lose His sanctity, because He does not receive it by participation, but 
possesses it essentially, as a part of Himself. 

1 who were once enlightened: Hebrews 64-6. From the following sentence it 
might seem that Athanasius is restricting the application of this passage to 
angels and other dacbfiara, in order to avoid the conclusion which Origen and 
Theognostus drew from it, that post-baptismal sin is beyond forgiveness. 
See Quic.dix.2. But Athanasius's treatment of it, ibid.6, is on different lines. 
Moreover, it is quite natural for him to specify angels here, for throughout 
this section it is the contrast between the Spirit and angels which is upper- 
most in his mind. 

3 hence they can fall away: cf. Didymus, de Sp.S.5, de 7r*n.II.524A, 540b, 
etc. 

4 Daniel 7io. 

6 lights: 9>cocrcijQeg, suggested by Genesis In, as in c.Ar. 11.27. 



EPISTLE ONE 133 

many archangels. In a word, creatures are not one but, tak- 
ing all together, many and diverse. But if the Holy Spirit is 
one, 6 and the creatures many and angels many — what like- 
ness can there be between the Spirit and things originate? 
It is obvious that the Spirit does not belong to the many nor 
is he an angel. But because he is one, and, still more, because 
he is proper to the Word who is one, he is proper to God 
who is one, and one in essence 7 with him. 

These sayings concerning the Holy Spirit, by themselves 
alone, show that in nature and essence he has nothing in 
common with or proper to creatures, but is distinct from 
things originate, proper to, and not alien from, the Godhead 
and essence of the Son ; in virtue of which essence and nature 
he is of the Holy Triad, and puts their stupidity to shame. 

28. But, beyond these sayings, let us look at the very 
tradition, teaching, and faith 1 of the Catholic Church from 
the beginning, which the Lord gave, 2 the Apostles preached, 

27« if the Holy Spirit is one: cf. supra 1 1(89) zndinfra 29(137). Athanasius here 
applies to the Spirit an argument he has already used of the Son, c.ArW.Tl . 
Didymus repeats it, de 7W».II.553a. See also ibid.484. 

7 one in essence: The first appearance of 6/ioovotos in these letters. For its 
interpretation, see on II.3(154f .) and 5(159). Of the Spirit it occurs again only 
in 111.1(171). We may compare its omission in Tom.ad Ant. and in ad Jov. as 
well as the solitary instance of its use in c.Ar.l-lll, in 1.9. There it occurs 
at the beginning of the work, in a statement of the orthodox faith, as an 
authorized term. Here Athanasius introduces it toward the end of his argu- 
ment, inasmuch as its application to the Spirit is without precedent. 

28 1 tradition, teaching, and faith: cf. ad Adelph.6 init., 'But our faith is 
orthodox, and starts from the teaching of the Apostles and tradition of the 
Fathers, being confirmed. . . .' Athanasius does not distinguish TtagdSooiQ and 
SidaoxaAla, as we find them distinguished, for example, in Clement of 
Alexandria, Sirom.VII.xvii.108, 'The naQ&doau; of the Apostles, like their 
SiSaaxaXla, has been always one', where apparently SidaoxaXla is something 
fuller in content, cf. Prestige, Fathers and Heretics, p.12. See Apol.37: '. . . 
holding the teaching of the Catholic Church which had been "traditioned" to 
them from the Fathers.' 

2 which the Lord gave: cf. ad Afr.\ init.: '. . . concerning the sound faith 
which Christ bestowed upon us, the Apostles preached, and the Fathers who 
met at Nicaea . . . have handed down.' For itpvAagev cf. de Dec.5 init., Basil, 
de Sp.S.66, Ep.ccxxvi, Didymus, de Trin.Il.743B. It is important to under- 
stand what Athanasius is appealing to here. The passage from ad Adelph. 
which we have already quoted makes it clear that tradition to Athanasius is 
not an indefinite source of knowledge, independent of Scripture. Not only 






134 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

and the Fathers kept. Upon this the Church is founded, and 
he who should fall away from it would not be a Christian, 
and should no longer be so called. There is, then, a Triad, 3 
holy and complete, confessed to be God 4 in Father, Son, and 

28 2 (continued) 

does he insist upon the sufficiency of Scripture (de Syn.6 and elsewhere), he 
does not strictly distinguish tradition and Scripture. See Robertson, Intro, 
lxxiv. Nor is he appealing to the authority of earlier Fathers. We may com- 
pare the very real difference that exists for Basil between the nagddooiQ 
aygayog which, as Harnack rightly observes, is a matter of ritual, and the 
'testimonia veterum' in which the liturgical nagdSoait; is occasionally expressed. 
In passing, we may notice that Basil does not in fact refer 'the orthodox 
doctrine of the Holy Ghost to the unwritten tradition', as Harnack, H.D.IIl. 
213, note, would have him do. He appeals to the tradition, very properly, 
upon a point of liturgical usage. There is, therefore, no point in Harnack's 
comment on the present passage, H.D.lV.l 13, note 2, that Athanasius is able 
to construe the tradition 'ideally only', and that he does not quote any 
authorities. The real direction of Athanasius's appeal is to be understood from 
the citation of the baptismal formula later on. It is of the faith as delivered, 
expounded, and confessed in baptism that he is thinking. Thus the Tede/ieMcoTcu 
of the succeeding sentence is taken up again in the preamble to the citation 
of Matthew 28i» by tovtov de/iiXiov ridivai, making plain that the Oe/neXiov 
is nothing other than the threefold Name as invoked in baptism. See also 
infra 111.6(176). So Cyril of Jerusalem refers to the instruction he gives to 
catechumens as didaaxaMa and r\ xr^c, nioretos dtdaaxaAla, i.e. exposition of 
the baptismal formula, Cut.IV.l, 2. For similar appeals, cf. the Epistle of 
Eusebius, apud Socrates, H.E.1.8, and Basil, de Sp.S.67, etc. See also Epipha- 
nius, Anc.\\9fin. and de Trin.et Sp.S.7. 

3 There is, then, a Triad: The following sentences give the most complete 
statement of Trinitarian doctrine in Athanasius's writings. We may compare 
what he says in c.Ar.1.18 and III. 15. But the present passage emphasizes, as 
these do not, the distinction of hypostases within the Godhead. His language 
on this point is almost identical with that attributed in Tom.ad Ant.5 fin. 
to those who defended the expression rpeic vnoardaeig, and suggests that he 
was already alive to the possibility of reaching an understanding with the 
Asian conservatives. If this be so, it is less likely than ever that the Tropici 
are to be identified with Macedonius and his party. 

4 confessed to be God: OeoAoyovfihrj. cf. f.^r.1.10, OeoXoyel xai deixvvei Qeov 
elvat. See also ibid.Il.58, 71, and for other examples Newman's note there, as 
well as infra 29(137f.), 31(142). But the interpretation is not entirely clear. 
Athanasius may intend the emphasis to rest upon deoAoyov/iivT], meaning 
that in confessing Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we necessarily confess the 
Triad to be divine. So de Inc.et c.Ar.ld of the Word, BeoXoyov/xevoQ iv IIotqI, 
co; xal 6 77ar»)p iv Ylw QeotoyeiTai. Or the whole phrase may be an extension 
of rsXela. The Triad is perfect inasmuch as it is confessed in three Persons, 
cf. f.^f.1.18, iv TgidSi f/ BeoXoyta reteia iorl, i.e. not in a dyad or a tetrad 



EPISTLE ONE 135 

Holy Spirit, having nothing foreign or external mixed with 
it, not composed of one that creates and one that is origi- 
nated, but all creative 5 ; and it is consistent 6 and in nature 
indivisible, and its activity is one. The Father does all things 
through the Word in the Holy Spirit. Thus the unity of the 
holy Triad is preserved. Thus one God is preached in the 
Church, 'who is over all, 7 and through all, and in all' — 'over 
all', as Father, as beginning, as fountain; 'through all', 
through the Word; 'in all', in the Holy Spirit. It is a Triad 
not only in name 8 and form of speech, but in truth and 
actuality. 9 For as the Father is he that is, so also his Word is 
one that is 10 and God over all. And the Holy Spirit is not 
without actual existence, but exists and has true being. Less 

28 4 (continued) 

or anything else, but only in a Triad. Or again, there may be a reference to the 

baptismal formula, confessed, that is, in baptism, Father, Son, and Holy 

Spirit. 

5 all creative: cf. again c.Ar.lA8: xrl^ovad iari xal drj/iiovgyos rf Tgidg. 

6 consistent: dftola iavrfj. See infra on II.3(154f.). 

7 who is over all: Ephesians 4e. cf. supra 15(94) and infra 111.6(176). It is 
noteworthy that in all these places he ignores the xal Ilajrjg of the New Testa- 
ment text of this passage. He makes no use of it elsewhere, but argues from 
1 Corinthians 8t. In his exegesis here and in de Syn.35 and 49, he takes no 
account of the argument advanced by Aetius from the association of the pre- 
positions Sid and iv with the Son and the Spirit respectively, that the iv 
signifies that the Spirit is no more than an instrument, cf. Basil, de Sp.S.4-12. 
Indeed, his assertion, infra 29 i'»ii.(137), that to deny the deity of the Spirit 
is to deny that God is in all things, would destroy the whole case that Basil 
builds up against Aetius. 

8 not only in name: cf . Tom.ad Ant.5 : '. . . not a triad in name only, but 
existing and subsisting in truth, both a Father truly existing and subsisting, 
and a Son truly substantial and subsisting, and a Holy Spirit subsisting and 
really existing.' 

9 actuality: ■Snag^ig. cf . ad AfrA : r\ Si mocrtacw; ovala iari xal oiSiv d?M 
O7]fiaiv6[im>ov sjjet *) avro xo ov. oneg 'lege/ila? finaggiv ovo/idfei . . . f\ ydg 
■inoaxaavz xal rj ovala &raof £ taxi. "Eon ydg xal vndg%ei. On its use by later 
writers, see Prestige, G.P.T.245, etc. 

10 one that is: Reading with RSB, &v tori. The context makes it clear that 
Athanasius means to express, not the Son's participation in the being of the 
Father, which 6 Sn>, the reading of A, would suggest, but the reality of the 
distinction which exists, within the Triad, between them. He usually ex- 
presses this, as in the passage from Tom.ad Ant. just given, and as of the 
Spirit in' this passage here below, by indg%eiv or wpundvai or dXtjOmg elvai, 
rather than by elvai by itself, which would suggest that the Father and Son 



136 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



than these (Persons) 11 the Catholic Church does not hold, 
lest she sink to the level of the modern Jews, imitators of 
Caiaphas, and to the level of Sabellius. 12 Nor does she add to 
them by speculation, lest she be carried into the polytheism 
of the heathen. And that they may know this to be the 
faith of the Church, let them learn how the Lord, when 
sending forth the Apostles, ordered them to lay this founda- 
tion for the Church, saying: 'Go and make disciples of all 
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the 
Son and of the Holy Spirit.' 18 The Apostles went, and thus 
they taught; and this is the preaching that extends to the 
whole Church which is under heaven. 

29. Since then the Church has this foundation of faith, 
let these men tell us once again and let them make answer, 
Is God triad or dyad? 1 If he is dyad, then you are welcome 
to count the Spirit with the creatures. In that case, however, 



28 10 (continued) 

have one being, as in f.^r.II.35. Notice, however, the use of Ivovoio;. But 
Athanasius never refers to the Spirit as otioia, as does Basil, de Sp.SA6. 

11 Less than these . . .; To deny the Godhead or hypanris of the Spirit must 
1 ead to unitarianism or Patripassianism, for what is true of the Third Person 
must be true of the Second. 

11 Sabellius: For Athanasius's judgement upon Sabellianism, see infra IV. 
5(186), de Sent.Dion.5, 26, etc., c.Ar.lllA. 

11 Go and make disciples . . .: Matthew 28i». Although Athanasius quotes 
the formula from the text of Matthew, the drift of the passage makes it clear 
that he regards it as the fundamental of the naqaSoau; and didaoxaMa to 
which he is appealing. So Eusebius also quotes the words (c.Mar.lA): ££ 
ayqarpov naqaddaemi;- See Prestige, Fathers and Heretics, p.38, etc. cf. Basil's 
extraordinary question (de Sp.S.67) : 'Of the very confession of our faith in 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, what is the written source ?' The words of 
initiation are, for him, so knit into the cultus of the Church that for the 
moment he overlooks their Scriptural authority. 

29 1 triad or dyad: See supra on 2(63f .). To Arius, God is successively fiovdg, 
6vdg, and rguig, as is admitted in the extracts from the Thalia quoted by 
Athanasius in de Syn.\5. There are indications that Aetius and Eunomius, 
with greater wisdom, tacitly discarded the whole terminology. Athanasius's 
contention here, as in c.Ar.lA8, is that God must be either one or the other; 
that it is inconsistent with any conception of God worthy the name that He 
should be involved in 'becoming' and change. If He is a dyad, He is a dyad 
now no less than at the beginning. If He is a triad now, He was so at the 
beginning no less than now. 



EPISTLE ONE 



137 



the faith which you hold is not in one God, 'Who is over all, 
and through all, and in all'. 2 If you divide and alienate the 
Spirit from the Godhead, you have not that which is 'in all' ; 
and, if you think like this, the rite of initiation 3 which you 
reckon to perform is not entirely into the Godhead. For with 
the Godhead there is mixed a creature; and, like the Arians 
and the heathen, 4 you too confess creation to be divine 

29 ! Ephesians 4«. 

8 the rite of initiation: Athanasius here extends to the Tropici what he has 
already written concerning baptism by the Arians, c.Ar.ll.42-3. cf. especially : 
'And these too hazard the fullness of the mystery, I mean baptism. For if . . . 
they do not confess a true Father, because they deny what is from Him and 
like His essence, and deny also the true Son ... is not the rite administered 
by them altogether empty and unprofitable ? . . . For the Arians do not 
baptize into Father and Son but into Creator and creature, and into Maker 
and work.' In both passages, however, a certain hesitation is noticeable. He 
questions the reality of baptism received from these heretics, but does not 
deny it in so many words. The virtue of the sacrament is 'hazarded'; and, 
infra, it is ajiifiatog, 'without guarantee' (not 'invalid'). This is consistent with 
the silence of the Council of Alexandria upon the point, and with Epipha- 
nius's criticism of those who insist on the rebaptism of Arians (Exp.Fid.lZ). 
Basil is very clear as to the principle (for the Pneumatomachists, see de Sp.S.26 
and 28) and characteristically cautious in practice. There is no mention of 
Arians and Pneumatomachists in £p.clxxxviii.l . Didymus insists that baptism 
into the 'bare name' of the Spirit, i.e. without the true faith, is useless (de 
Trin.ll.673). But elsewhere he tries to make capital out of the fact that 
Eunomians and Phrygians are submitted to rebaptism while other heretics, 
presumably including Pneumatomachists, are only anointed (cf. ibid.720A). 
The text shows some signs of corruption, and possibly a reference to Sabel- 
lians was also intended. This would bring the statement into general con- 
formity with the (spurious) seventh canon of Constantinople, which requires 
rebaptism of all heretics in general and these three types in particular, but 
excepts from the rule Arians and Macedonians. See Gwatkin, S.A. 134-5. 

* the Arians and the heathen: cf. c.Ar. 11.14 fin. It is characteristic of 
Athanasius that whereas in the previous section he calls the Arians Jews, he 
now associates them with the pagans. For if the theory of Arianism was 
unitarian, its practical consequences were none the less pagan. So in ad Episc. 
13 it is admirably described as 'lovda'COftdg lytav tyyiK inaxoXovdovvra rov 
'EXkT]via/t6v. It was a fatal defect that, while it claimed to secure the unity of 
God by excluding the divine Son from the Godhead, it still associated Him 
with God in grace and glory. Athanasius is never tired of pressing this point. 
See c^r.III.16 and Newman's references there. Its application to the Spirit 
is not perhaps quite so telling, for He is never called 0e6g, and later Pneuma- 
tomachists, at least, refused to associate Him in worship with the Father. (See 
Basil, de Sp.S.48, and ^.Athanasius, c.Mac.lA, etc.) But Athanasius is here 
arguing from His invocation at baptism. 



138 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



together with God who made it through his own Word. If 
this is your attitude, what hope have you? Who will unite 
you to God, 5 if you have not the Spirit of God, but the spirit 
which belongs to creation ? How rash and careless on your 
part to reduce the Father and his Word to the level of crea- 
tures, and yet to set the creatures on a level with God ! For 
that is what you are doing when you imagine the Spirit as a 
creature and rank him with the Triad. What madness too on 
your part to impute injustice to God, 6 in that not all angels 
nor all creatures, but one from among them, is numbered 
with God and his Word ! For if, as you say, the Spirit were 
at once an angel and a creature and ranked with the Triad, 
then it would be necessary not for one, but for all the angels 
that have been created to be ranked with the Godhead, and 
for there to be no longer a Triad but an unnumbered multi- 
tude 7 therein. So that the initiation therein, 8 which, to repeat, 
appears to be yours, is divided this way and that; and, by 
reason of its variegation, 9 is without guarantee. Such are 



29' Who will unite you: For Athanasius the objection to Arian and Tropicist 
baptism received added force from the fact that baptism depends for its 
efficacy upon the very things these heresies denied, cf. ir.^r.II.69, 'If the Son 
were a creature, man had remained mortal as before, not being joined to 
God', and also ibid.1.34 and de Syn.36. 

* to impute injustice to God: cf. supra 11(89). So (c.Ar.ll.29) he charges the 
Arians with imputing q>d6vo$ to God: 'in that he has not taught many how to 
create, so that there may be around him, as archangels and angels many, so 
creators many.' 

7 an unnumbered multitude: cf. f.^r.III.16. 

8 the initiation therein . . .: -/j iv tovtu> ndXiv doxovoa rekelcaatg. Tidhv here 
makes it plain that doxovaa is to be taken with refetcooig rather than et> roirrcp, 
for it can only refer back to rjv vofit^ere nocelv. The doubt attaches, not to the 
fact that they are baptized into a nhfiiiq deorrjxog, as Montfaucon's render- 
ing suggests, but to the reality of their claim to be baptized at all. 

* variegation: noixMa. There may be a suggestion of contempt in this 
word, for Aristotle uses it of the variegated colouring of animals {Hist.Anim. 
518.b.l6, etc.). That noixlXog in this sense was in common use is shown by 
the examples in V.G.T. On the other hand, in some New Testament instances 
of the word, plurality, as much as difference, seems to be indicated (e.g. 
James la and 1 Peter 2a). That this is also the case here is suggested by the 
previous sentence. Each of this unnumbered multitude of divine personages 
will contribute its own splash of colour to this patchwork deity, cf. Cyril of 
Alexandria {de Trin. VII. 1080b): 'We have been baptized into the one God- 



EPISTLE ONE 139 

your rites and those of the Arians, who dispute about the 
Godhead and serve creatures before the God who created 
all things. 

30. Such absurdities meet you if you say God is dyad. 
But if he is triad, as indeed he is; and if the Triad has been 
shown to be indivisible and consistent — then its holiness 
must be one, and its eternity one, and its immutable nature. 
For as the faith in the Triad, 1 which has been delivered to us, 
joins us to God ; and as he who takes anything away 2 from 

29" (continued) 

head and Lordship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, not as into a multi- 
tudinous number of gods, nor as giving worship to the creature.' 

30 1 the faith in the Triad: Emphatic. It is the faith that unites us to God; 
and baptism follows upon faith, pera rrjv nUmv, as in Cyril of Jerusalem {Cat. 
V.6). So Basil, de S-p.S.28, speaks of baptism and faith as 'two inseparable ways 
of salvation ; faith is perfected through baptism,baptism is established through 
faith, and both are completed by the same names . . . first comes the confession, 
introducing us to salvation, and baptism follows, setting the seal upon our 
assent'. It should be noted that, as far as our scanty references enable us to 
judge, Athanasius lays emphasis, in his doctrine of baptism, on the incor- 
poration into the divine life which it bestows, rather than on the forgiveness 
of sins. So de Dec.30, c.Ar.lM, 11.41. But see Quic.dix.6. This is, indeed, 
generally true of the Eastern Church. SeeHarnack, ff.£>.11.140, note 4. Also 
that here and elsewhere he disregards the post-baptismal chrism for the 
imparting of the Spirit. The Spirit is truly and fully given in baptism, cf. 
Cyril of Jerusalem (Cat.XX.6) and see the comments of Gifford (Intro, 
xxxii). On both points this position is clearly distinguishable from that of the 
Western Fathers, notably Cyprian; though there is some confusion in 
Cyprian as to the second (cf. Ep.hddii.7). It is consistent with this that 
whereas Cyprian's chief objection to heretical baptism is that it is given by 
those who, being outside the Church which alone has authority to forgive 
sins, cannot administer 'true and ecclesiastical baptism' ; that of Athanasius 
and of the Eastern Fathers generally rests on the fact that the faith in which 
it is given is defective (cf. Cyprian, Ep.hax.2). This is seen by the way they 
apply Ephesians 4s. To Cyprian, the recognition of heretical baptism implies 
that there are two baptisms, one inside and the other outside the church (see 
Ep.kxm.5). To Athanasius, the character of Arian theology implies an incon- 
sistency within the sacrament itself. 

2 who takes anything away: Apart from an obscure reference in Cyprian 
(.JJp.lxxiv.18), the indications are that the Trinitarian formula was universally 
used. Socrates (ff.JJ.V.24) tells us that the Eunomians baptized 'not into the 
Triad, but into the death of Christ'. (See also Sozomen, ff.JJ.VI.26, and 
Theodoret, Haer.Fab.IV.3.) But this may mean no more than that they used 
but one immersion. Epiphanius (Haer.]xrri.Jin.) preserves a Trinitarian in- 
vocation as used by Aetius. Passages in the New Testament, such as Acts 8i«, 



140 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

the Triad, and is baptized in the name of the Father alone, or 
in the name of the Son alone, or in the Father and the Son 
without the Holy Spirit, receives nothing, but remains 
ineffective and uninitiated, both himself and he who is 
supposed to initiate him 3 (for the rite of initiation is in the 
Triad) ; so he who divides the Son from the Father, or who 
reduces the Spirit to the level of the creatures, has neither 
the Son nor the Father, but is without God, 4 worse than an 
unbeliever, and anything rather than a Christian. And justly 
so. For as baptism, which is given in Father, Son, and Holy 
Spirit, is one; and as there is one faith in the Triad (as the 
Apostle said) ; so the holy Triad, being identical with itself 5 
and united within itself, has in it nothing which belongs to 
things originate. This is the indivisible unity of the Triad; 
and faith therein is one. But if, from the new discovery you 

30* (continued) 

which seem to speak of baptism into one Person only, were at once a problem, 
since they seemed to disregard the Spirit, and an opportunity, as they might 
be taken to mean that the Spirit is invoked in the Son. Compare the references 
given supra on 14(93f.), especially to Ambrose (de Sp.S. 1. 35), who defends bap- 
tism in one Person, provided there be no denial of the other two, just as 
he condemns baptism into three Persons if 'the power of any one of them 
is diminished'. 

* who is supposed to initiate him: This must be interpreted in a general sense, 
as Basil (de Sp.S.28): 'perilous to the baptizer and of no advantage to the 
baptized.' It does not mean that ministers of heretical baptism forfeited the 
Christian character bestowed upon them by their own baptism. Rebaptism 
of the lapsed was forbidden by Dionysius of Alexandria (apud Eusebius, H.E. 
VII.7). Moreover, Athanasius himself taught that baptismal grace was finally 
withdrawn from the wicked only at the last judgement (Exp.in PW.bcxvi.12). 

4 without God: adsog. Athanasius applies the term impartially to Jew and 
pagan and Arian, so that it must not be taken as 'atheist'. See Newman's 
notes on de Dec.l and c.Ar.lA. 

6 identical with itself : r) afar) ovaa iavcfj, carries a stage farther the applica- 
tion to the whole Triad of terms already used to define the relation of Father 
and Son. Together with the use of 6/toovaiog (supra 27(183)), it prepares the 
way for the phrase o^toovaiog Tgidg found in later writers. For references, see 
Prestige, G.P.T.225. xaiixov and javx6xr\<; are used by Athanasius to express 
the numerical unity of Father and Son involved in the confession of the 
6/ioovaiov (de Dec.23, c.Ar.\l\.3, etc.). Here, however, r) avrq means no more 
than that each constituent of the Triad is of the same kind as the whole, cf. 
Tavrorrjs infra in II.3(154f.) and in de Syn.53; and also Didymus, de Trin.Il. 
629b : t<5 Tat5rd»> Tjjc iv fiia 6e6rr)Ti avfupwvov TQtddog. 



EPISTLE ONE 141 

Tropici have made, it is not so; if you have dreamed dreams 8 
of calling the Holy Spirit a creature — then you no longer 
have one faith and one baptism, 7 but two, one in the Father 
and the Son, another in an angel who is a creature. There is 
no security or truth left you. For what communion can there 
be between that which is originate and that which creates ? 
What unity between the lower creatures and the Word who 
created them? Knowing this, the blessed Paul 8 does not 
divide the Triad as you do ; but, teaching its unity, when he 
wrote to the Corinthians concerning things spiritual, he finds 
the source 9 of all things in one God, the Father, saying: 
'There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And 
there are diversities of ministrations, but the same Lord. 
And there are diversities of workings, but the same God 
who worketh all things in all.' 10 The gifts which the Spirit 
divides to each are bestowed from the Father through the 
Word. For all things that are of the Father are of the Son 
also ; therefore those things which are given from the Son in 

30* dreamed dreams: hvTtvidadijre, suggested, no doubt, by iwnviatdfievot in 
Jude s, 'yielding to their own wayward fancies' (Chase). 

7 one faith and one baptism: cf. c.Ar.lll.l6. There is for Athanasius a clear 
and intimate connexion between the one faith and the one baptism and the 
one God. If the integrity of baptism depends upon the integrity of the faith 
in which it is given, this, in turn, depends on the inner consistency of the 
divine life it sets forth. Unity of faith is not merely uniformity of confession, 
as it is in de Syn.54fin. It also involves the unity of that which is confessed, 
cf. Cyril of Jerusalem (Cat.XVlA): 'With the Holy Spirit, through the Son, 
we preach one God. The faith is indivisible ; the worship inseparable.' 

8 the blessed Paul: Athanasius now restates from 1 Corinthians 124, etc., 
and 2 Corinthians 13is the argument of supra 19-20(108ff.). Only what saw 
there argued of the Son and the Spirit is now shown to be true of the whole 
Triad, and the unity of the Godhead is demonstrated from the one activity 
whose source is in the Father Himself. 

* finds the source: 'omnia ad unum Deum tanquam ad caput reducit' (Mont- 
faucon). Athanasius means that the various spiritual gifts and ministries can 
be grouped together as having their source in the activity of the Father. 
riaziqa here is emphatic. The divine activity, no less than the divine life, 
proceeds from Him. Although avaxeyaXaiovv is formed from xe<pdXcuov, 
Ephesians lio suggested to Patristic exegetes the force of xerpaXt). cf. Chrysos- 
tom, Comm. in loc: fttav xeyaMfv anaoiv eniQrjxs rd xazd oagxu Xqiaxov xal 
dyyiXoig xal dvOgdmoig, xovriaxiv . . . /.uav dgxrjv HScoxe. 

10 1 Corinthians 124-«. 



142 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

the Spirit are gifts of the Father. And when the Spirit is in 
us, the Word also, who gives the Spirit, is in us, and in the 
Word is the Father. So it is as it is said: 'We will come, I and 
the Father, and make our abode with him.' u For where the 
light is, there is also the radiance; and where the radiance is, 
there also is its activity and lambent grace. 12 This again the 
Apostle teaches, when he wrote to the Corinthians, in the 
second letter as well, saying: 'The grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy 
Spirit be with you all.' 18 For this grace and gift that is given 
is given in the Triad, from the Father, through the Son, in 
the Holy Spirit. As the grace given is from the Father 
through the Son, so we can have no communion in the gift 
except in the Floly Spirit. For it is when we partake of him 
that we have the love of the Father and the grace of the Son 
and the communion of the Spirit himself. 

3 1 . This consideration also shows that the activity of 
the Triad is one. The Apostle does not mean that the 
things which are given are given differently and separately 1 
by each Person, but that what is given is given in the 
Triad, and that all are from the one God. Him therefore 
who is no creature but is one with the Son as the Son is 
one with the Father, who is glorified with the Father and 
the Son, who is confessed as God 2 with the Word, who is 

30 u John 14aa. 

11 its activity and lambent grace: cf. on 20 (p. 1 16 supra), ivigyeia and xdptc 
here are to be interpreted from ivegyeia and dcogsd there. For 'lambent', 
adyoeidrjg, cf. Philo, Op.Mund.8, Quis Rer.DivA5, Hippolytus, Ref.1.19, 
Origen, c.Cels.ll.60. 

" 2 Corinthians 13i3. 

31 1 differently and separately: The charisms of the Apostolic benediction 
are not to be regarded as separate gifts severally appropriated to the three 
Persons, cf. Didymus, de Sp.S.16: 'Ostenditur quippe ex sermone praesenti 
(i.e. 2 Corinthians 13is) una Trinitatis assumptio: cum is qui gratiam Christi 
accepit, habet earn tarn per administrationem Patris quam per largitionem 
Spiritus sancti. . . . Una igitur gratia, Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti operations 
completa, Trinitas unius substantiae demonstratur. 

2 confessed as God: deoXoyovfievov. The most explicit declaration of the 
Spirit's Godhead in these letters. Athanasius never applies to Him the title 
0e6g, as Basil does in an almost contemporary letter, viii.ll. See too Ep. 
clxxxix.5. (His 'reserve' on this point (see Gregory Nazianzen, Ora*.xliii.69) 



1 



EPISTLE ONE 143 

active in the works which the Father works through the 
Son — is not the man who calls him a creature guilty of a 
direct impiety against the Son himself? For there is nothing 
that is not originated and actuated through the Word in 
the Spirit. Thus it is sung in the Psalms: 'By the Word 
of the Lord the heavens were established, and all their 
might by the Spirit of his mouth.' 3 And in the one hundred 
and forty-seventh Psalm: 'He shall send out his Word and 
shall melt them; he shall breathe his Spirit and the waters 
shall flow.' 4 We were justified, as the Apostle says : 'in the 
name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.' 5 
For the Spirit is indivisible from the Word. So when Christ 
says, 'We will come, the Father and I', 6 the Spirit comes 
with them and shall dwell in us not otherwise than as the 
Son; as Paul writes to the Ephesians: 'That he would grant 
you according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be 
strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward 

31 2 (continued) 

was limited to official utterances during his episcopate.) Athanasius shows no 
trace of the embarrassment felt by later Catholic writers at the lack of explicit 
Scriptural authority for calling the Spirit &eoq. cf . especially Gregory Nazian- 
zen, Orat.xxxi.25-8 (where the silence of Scripture is explained), and Didy- 
mus, de 7Vin.II.633A (where it is denied! — but see ibid.729B, where the argu- 
ment of Gregory is summarized). The appeal to the silence of Scripture 
belongs rather to the Macedonians than to the Tropici and their Anomoean 
teachers. These last, indeed, could hardly make the absence of the divine 
title significant for the Spirit without admitting its presence to be significant 
for the Son. 

s By the Word of the Lord: Psalm 33e. The following catena of proof texts 
is intended to establish the operation of the Spirit in all the works of God : 
in creation and nature, in grace, in prophecy, and in the Incarnation. The 
first two points are very slightly illustrated, so far as the second is concerned 
because of the many references in 22 supra. The great attention paid to the 
Spirit's activity in revelation is in line with the traditional Christian emphasis 
upon His ministry in prophecy. On the Spirit as creator, see supra 9(82f .) and 
24(127). Owing to the dearth of suitable texts, Psalm 33s came to be widely 
used to prove this point, cf. Didymus, de Tfin.II.573B, /u.Basil, adv.Eun.V. 
713b, ^/-Athanasius, de Trin.et Sp.S.9, Dial.de 7>in.III.23 (with reply to 
Macedonian evasions), Cyril of Alexandria, de 2Vin.VII.1112. Also, more 
generally, of the Spirit's activity, Basil, de Sp.S.40, and /(/.Athanasius, C.Mac. 
1.12. 

4 Psalm 147i8. * 1 Corinthians 6n. ' John 14aa. 



144 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

man, that Christ may dwell . . .' 7 But if the Son is in us, the 
Father also is in us; as the Son says: 'I am in the Father, and 
the Father in me.' 8 Therefore, when the Word is in the pro- 
phets, they prophesy in the Holy Spirit. 9 When Scripture 
says 'The Word of the Lord came' 10 to this particular pro- 
phet, it shows that he prophesied in the Holy Spirit. In 
Zechariah it is written: 'But receive my words and my com- 
mandments which I charge by my Spirit to my servants the 
prophets' 11 ; and, when the prophet rebuked the people a 
little farther on, he said: 'They made their hearts disobedi- 
ent, lest they should hear my law and the words which the 
Lord of hosts has sent by his Spirit by the hands of the 
prophets of old.' 12 Peter in Acts said: 'Brethren, it was need- 
ful that the Scripture should be fulfilled which the Holy 
Spirit spake before.' 13 And the Apostles cried aloud together, 
'O Lord, thou that didst make the heaven and the earth and 
the sea and all that in them is, who by the Holy Spirit, by the 
mouth of our father David 14 thy servant, didst say ..." 
And Paul, when he was in Rome, spoke boldly to the Jews 
who came to him: 'Well spake the Holy Spirit by Isaiah 
the prophet unto your fathers.' 15 And in writing to Timothy: 
'The Spirit saith expressly that in later times some shall fall 

31' Ephesians 3i»-i7. 8 John 14io. 

• they prophesy in the Holy Spirit: Athanasius's argument here is taken up 
by later writers. See Didymus, de Sp.S.29 (with copious references), de Trin. 
11.500, Basil, de Sp.S.37, Ambrose, de Sp.S. II.130-2, ^.Basil, adv. EunN. 121, 
p/.Athanasius, de Inc.et c.Ar.M, de Trin.et Sp.S.ll, Cyril of Alexandria, de 
Trin.Vll. 1096. 

10 e.g. Micah li, Jeremiah li. u Zechariah 1». 

12 Zechariah 7ia. ls Acts lie. 

14 by the mouth of our father David: Acts 424-6. The text of Athanasius here 
is very close to that of Codex Vaticanus, 6 rov Ticrrgdc rj/iibv did nvE^ftarog 
ayiov aro/iarog Aafild ncuddg aov Elndrv, which is generally agreed to be un- 
translatable as it stands. It is, however, difficult to believe that Athanasius 
would have quoted these words unless he had been able to find meaning in 
them. Accordingly, while the Revised Version rendering is given in the trans- 
lation, it is probable that Athanasius found here a reference to the Trinity, 
taking rov Jtargdc fnx&v of the Father Himself, 'O Master, . . . Son of our 
Father, who hast spoken. . . .' This interpretation would facilitate the perver- 
sion of &yidv . . . aov to avrov. . . avrov, which all the chief MSS. attest here. 

18 Acts 28m. 



EPISTLE ONE 145 

away from the sound faith, giving heed to spirits of seduc- 
tion.' 16 Thus when the Spirit is said to be in anyone, it means 
that the Word is in him, 17 bestowing the Spirit. When the 
prophecy was being fulfilled, 'I will pour out my Spirit upon 
all flesh', 18 Paul said: 'According to the supply of the Spirit 
of Jesus Christ unto me.' 19 And to the Corinthians he wrote, 
'If ye seek a proof of Christ that speaketh in me'. . . . M 
But if he who spoke in him was Christ, then clearly the 
Spirit that spoke in him was Christ's. For when Christ was 
speaking in him, he said once again in Acts: 'Now, behold, I 
go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the 
things that shall befall me there, save that the Holy Spirit 
testifieth to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflic- 
tions abide me.' 21 Hence, if the saints say, 'Thus saith the 
Lord', 82 they speak not otherwise than in the Holy Spirit. 
And if they speak in the Holy Spirit, they speak the things 
of the Spirit 23 in Christ. When Agabus says in Acts, 'Thus 
saith the Holy Spirit', 24 it is not otherwise than by the Word 
coming to him that the Spirit too bestows upon him the 
power to speak and to testify to the things that were waiting 
for Paul at Jerusalem. So when the Spirit once again testified 2S 
to Paul, Christ, as aforesaid, was speaking in him, so that 
the testimony which came from the Spirit belonged to the 
Word. So too when the Word visited the holy Virgin Mary, 26 
the Spirit came to her with him, and the Word in the Spirit 
moulded the body and conformed it to himself; desiring to 

31" 1 Timothy 4i. 

17 it means that the Word is in him: A further illustration of the unity of 
ivigyeux in the Godhead. But, even more significantly, it harmonizes the doc- 
trine of Athanasius with the 'Paedagogus' Logosophy of the earlier Alexan- 
drians, notably Clement. See his Paed.l.ll and the note on 111.5(174) and 
Intro.IV(36, note 8). 

18 Joel 228. " Philippians li». m 2 Corinthians 13s. 
21 Acts 2O22-8. 21 e.g. Amos Is. 

28 they speak the things of the Spirit: Reading ret avxov with RS, for the 
tclvto of BA which is followed by Montfaucon. 

M Acts 21n. 

26 once again testified: Apparently the reference is to Acts 2(h« once more. 

28 when the Word visited . . .: cf. 11(88) supra and III.6(175f.) infra. It is clear 
in both these passages that Athanasius understands 'Holy Spirit' and 'Power 



146 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

join and present 27 all creation to the Father through himself, 
and in it 28 'to reconcile all things . . . having made peace . . . 
whether things in the heavens or things upon the earth'. 29 

32. The divine Scriptures, then, consistently show that 
the Holy Spirit is not a creature, but is proper to the Word 
and to the Godhead of the Father. Thus the teaching of the 
saints 1 joins in establishing 2 the holy and indivisible Triad; 

31 26 (continued) 

of the Highest' in Luke I35 to refer respectively to the Spirit and the Son. 
For the earlier interpretations, which took both to apply to the Word, see 
Hennas, Siw.v.6, Justin Martyr, Apol.Prima 1.33, Aristides, Apol.\5, Theo- 
philus, ad AutM.lO, and perhaps Irenaeus, Haer.V.i.2. (The distinction is 
clear, ibid.3. It is noteworthy too that Valentinus certainly distinguishes the 
Spirit from the Power, identifying them respectively with Sophia and the 
Demiurge. See Hippolytus, Ref. VI.30.) For the persistence of this interpreta- 
tion, especially in the West, see Tertullian, adv.Jud.lZ, adv.Prax.26, Cyprian, 
de ldol.Van.W, Hilary, de Trin. 11.26, Marius Victorinus, adv.Ar.1.56. For 
the practice of referring to the Word as nvev/jta, which chiefly derives from 
this, see the references given by Newman in his note on cAr.l.W. It is very 
clearly reflected in Athanasius's own treatment of Matthew 1226 in Quic.dix. 
10, etc., where the sin against the Spirit is interpreted as against Christ's 
divine nature. See especially 12: 'that ... by "Spirit" he might signify his 
spiritual, intelligible, and real Godhead.' Swete justly remarks, H.S.A.C. 387: 
'The prolonged struggle with Arianism cleared the thought of the Church 
on this question.' Athanasius's exegesis here does justice to the part taken 
by both Word and Spirit. It is faithfully followed by the author of de Trin.et 
Sp.S.12, and by Didymus, de Sp.S.3l. But other writers, anxious to establish 
the creative activity of the Spirit, found Matthew lis more to their purpose; 
though Proverbs 9i is cited to prove the fila ivigyeia of Son and Spirit. See 
pj.BasiL, adv. Eun.Y. 1 45c, Ambrose, de Sp.S.II.37, etc., and ^.Athanasius, 
c.Mac.I.\2, Dial.de 7Wn.III.25. The last two passages are of particular 
interest, for they make it plain that the Macedonians clung to the old inter- 
pretation of nvEtSfia dytov in Matthew lis. 

17 to join and present: See infra 11.9(167). 

M in it: i.e. in the body. It may be taken instrumentally here, as Atha- 
nasius calls the sacred humanity the ogyavov of the divine revelation (c.Ar. 
111.31 and elsewhere). But more probably he conceives the body to be the 
sphere in which the reconciliation is accomplished, as in de IncA3. 

M Colossians lao. 

32 1 the teaching of the saints: i.e. of the Scriptures, aytoi in Athanasius 
usually refers to Biblical characters or writers, whether of New Testament or 
Old Testament. So de Inc.51, de Fug.lS. 

' joins in establishing: axrvdyerai, 'ad Trinitatem adstruendam conspiraf, 
Montfaucon. cf. de SynAl: did tC fifj xai roig narigag . . . elg evoifieiav 
awdyo/iev. 



EPISTLE ONE 147 

and the Catholic Church has one faith, even this. But the 
irrational 3 and fabulous invention * of the Tropici conflicts 
with the Scriptures and concurs with the unreason of the 
Arian madmen. It is natural for them to pretend in this way, 
to deceive the simple. 5 But, thanks be to God !, as you write, 
they have not succeeded in covering themselves by their 
pretended controversy with the Arians. They have indeed 
incurred their hatred, because they only call the Spirit a 
creature and not the Son as well ; and by all men they have 
been condemned, because they are in truth fighting against 
the Spirit, 6 and are not far from dead, being destitute and 
void of the Spirit. In the words of the blessed Apostle, being 
'natural men', 7 they could not receive the things of the Spirit 
of God, because these things were spiritually judged. But 
those who mind the things that belong to truth judge all 
things, but are themselves judged of no man. For they have 
within them the Lord who in the Spirit reveals to them 
himself, and through himself the Father. 

33. Dwelling as I do in a desert place, yet, because of 
their effrontery who have turned away from the truth, I 
have not heeded those who will be glad to laugh at the feeble- 
ness and inadequacy of my exposition. But, having written 
briefly, I send it to your Piety, with many entreaties, that, 
when you read it, in part you will amend it, and, where it is 
feebly written, you will excuse it. In accordance with the 
Apostolic faith delivered to us by tradition from the Fathers, 
I have delivered the tradition, without inventing anything 

32 s irrational: dAoytcrro?. The interesting variant read by BA, etc., here, 
dAAcSjiioroc, is not quoted by Sophocles, 'Lexicon', from any writer earlier than 
Anastasius Sinaiticus in the seventh century. Moreover, dkoyurrog corresponds 
with dXoyla at the end of the sentence. 

* fabulous invention: nvBonlaozla. cf. c.Ar.W.X, 44, III. 10, 67. 

5 to deceive the simple: cf. c.Ar.\.\3fin.: tiqoq anaxmp r&rv dxeQalwv. 

fi&hting against the Spirit: nvevfiaionayovvzes makes its first appearance 
here. It was coined, apparently by Athanasius himself, on the analogy of 
Aoyofiaxeiv, which in its turn was probably inspired by the Oeofidxoi of Acts 
5s» and the Qeo/xaxob/tev in the Textus Receptus of Acts 23a. cf. infra IV. 1(180), 
Aoyofiaxelv . . . nvevfiaTOftaxoihrceg. Athanasius never uses the substantive 
form, nvev/wxo/idxoi. 

7 1 Corinthians 2i«. 



148 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

extraneous to it. What I learned, 1 that have I inscribed 2 
conformably with the holy Scriptures; for it also conforms 3 
with those passages from the holy Scriptures which we have 
cited above by way of proof. It is no extraneous invention, 
but the Lord Jesus Christ himself, in his own Person, 
taught the woman of Samaria and us through her the perfec- 
tion of the holy Triad, which is one Godhead indivisible. 
It is the Truth himself who bears witness, when he says to 
her: 'Believe me, woman . . . the hour cometh and now is, 
when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in 
Spirit and in truth 4 ; for such doth the Father seek to be his 
worshippers. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him 
must worship in Spirit and in truth.' From this passage it is 
clear that the Truth is the Lord himself; as he says, 'I am 
the truth', 6 concerning whom the prophet David prayed, 
saying: 'Send out thy light and thy truth.' 6 True worship- 
pers, therefore, worship the Father, but in Spirit and Truth, 

33 l What I learned: cf. Quic.dix. 16: xaiha . . . If 8» e/xadov eygayta. It is 
clear, however, that the exegesis to which he refers there is not traditional, 
but his own. A similar latitude must be allowed here. What he means is that 
the doctrine is not novel — ftrjdiv IgcoOev imvorjoas. cf. supra on 7(76) — but 
xard rfjv nlartv, a faithful interpretation of the tradition. The constant 
claim, in these final sections, to consistency with Scripture and tradition 
shows that Athanasius realized that he was breaking new ground, and that he 
fully felt the silence of the Nicene formula upon the Spirit. 

* inscribed: &vex&Qa£a, adds a touch of solemnity, suggesting the cutting of 
a formal inscription. 

' it also conforms: i.e. as well as being in accordance with the faith delivered 
by tradition. The distinction is similarly drawn, supra 28(133). On the other 
hand, Scripture itself is called r\ anoaroXtxr) Jiagd<5oenc (ad Adelph.Q). 

4 in Spirit and in truth: John 4ai, as-24. The interpretation of these words 
given by Athanasius was later seized on by the Pneumatomachi to prove that 
the Spirit is the instrument by which praise is offered to the Father. Catholic 
exegetes, therefore, hesitated to identify nvevfia here with the Holy Spirit, and 
fell back on the older exegesis offered by Origen (in Joh.Xlll.24). So Didy- 
mus, de Sp.S.64 : 'in Spiritu, quia corporalia et humilia transcenderunt; in veri- 
tate, quia typos et umbras et exemplaria relinquentes ad ipsius veritatis venere 
substantiam.' But Athanasius's interpretation proved too convincing and per- 
tinent to be entirely disregarded, and other writers give it as an alternative 
to some variation of the older one. So Ambrose (de Sp.S.IH.81) and, appar- 
ently, the text being defective, the author of de Trin.et Sp.S.15, and Didymus 
in his de Trtn.II.74U. Basil (de Sp.S. 62-4) takes his own line. 

' John 14e. • Psalm 43s. 



EPISTLE ONE 



149 



confessing the Son and in him the Spirit. For the Spirit is 
inseparable from the Son, as the Son is inseparable from the 
Father. The Truth himself bears witness when he says, 'I 
will send you the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth which pro- 
ceedeth from the Father, whom the world cannot receive', 7 
that is, those who deny that he is from the Father in the Son. 
Therefore we ought, after the pattern of true worshippers, 
to confess and side with the Truth. And if after these things 
they still have neither the will to learn nor the power to under- 
stand, let them at least cease 8 from evil speaking. Let them 
not divide the Triad, lest they be divided 9 from life. Let 
them not number the Holy Spirit with the creatures, lest, 
like the Pharisees of old, who ascribed to Beelzeboul the 
works of the Spirit, they for like presumption incur with 
these men the punishment which is without hope of pardon 
both here and hereafter. 



33' John 152(i, Un. 

8 at least cease . . .: See supra on 17(105f.). 

9 lest they be divided: For similar references, see supra on 24(126). 



EPISTLE TWO— THREE 1 

1 . I was of the opinion that, even as it was, I had written 
briefly 2 ; indeed, I taxed myself with great weakness, that I 
could not put into writing all that it is humanly possible to 
say against those who are guilty of impiety toward the Holy 
Spirit. But since, as you write, some of the brethren have 
actually asked that it should be abridged, so that they may 
have the means readily and briefly both to answer those who 
inquire concerning the faith that is in us, and to refute those 
who are impious, I am composing this as well, being confi- 
dent that if here too there is anything lacking, you will not 
scruple 3 to supply it. The Arians,* being engrossed in them- 

l l The original title is lost. That found in RS, 'These things were written 
out of the preceding, by way of summary, further against those who say the 
Holy Spirit is a creature,' appears in B as a marginal gloss, and is thus older 
than the RS recension. The fact that it makes reference to the Holy 
Spirit furnishes additional proof that Ep.ll and III were originally one 
work. See Intro., p. 12, etc. 

2 / bad written briefly: cf. supra 1.1(61) for Athanasius's intention to write a 
short work; as indeed, judged by the standard of c.Ar.I-IIl, he has done. 
But cf. also 6i'6?.fycov yeygatpa, at the end of de Syn.54. The comment of 
Leontius, de Sectis viii, is not inapposite: drjXov di Tidiest art ndvra id avyyQdfi- 
fiara xov dylov 'Adavaalov ndvu fi&yaXd elatv. 

3 you will not scruple: oweLfrqoiv sx<ov dyaBrrv, cf. ad Mon.\.3, Quicdix.l 
and ad Epict.XI. The phrase is something of a cliche with Athanasius. Here 
it means that Serapion is to have no hesitation about adding to his work. Or, 
less probably, that he has been given the trust because he is a person of 'good 
conscience'. 

1 The Arians: The whole of II is devoted to a restatement of the case 
against Arianism. Athanasius explains this, infra III.l, on the grounds that 
a true doctrine of the Spirit can only be developed from a true doctrine of 
the Son. But, no doubt, he also realized the usefulness of a brief handbook 
which would cover both aspects of the great controversy. The following sec- 
tions have points of affinity with Athanasius's other antiarian writings, nota- 
bly de Dec. and de Syn., as well as with c.Ar.l-lll ; but it is not an abstract 
of any one of them. The argument, moreover, is influenced by that of the 
previous epistle. Thus in 3-4 he shows the propriety of the Son to the Father 
under much the same categories as he used in 1.22-7 to show the propriety 
of the Spirit to the Son. The prominence of the term dfioovoios is also 

150 



EPISTLE TWO— THREE 151 

selves, 5 and thinking with the Sadducees 6 that there is noth- 
ing greater or beyond themselves, have met the inspired 
Scripture with human arguments. When they hear that the 
Son is the Wisdom, Radiance, and Word » of the Father, 
they are accustomed to rejoin, 'How can this be ?' 8 , as though 
nothing can be unless they understand it. At that rate, they 
should occupy their minds with similar questions about the 
universe as well. How can creation, which once was not, 
come into being ? How can dust of the earth be fashioned 
into a rational man ? How can the corruptible become incor- 
ruptible? How has the earth been founded 'upon the seas', 
and how did God 'prepare it upon the floods' ? 9 Then, last of 

1' (continued) 

interesting, as well as the interpretation put upon it, which has points both 
of affinity and contrast with that in de Syn.41-53. Finally, the work is influ- 
enced by the constituency to which it is addressed, the parochial clergy of 
Alexandria, and by the character of contemporary Arianism. The unity of 
God in Father and Son is indeed stated, but the emphasis is chiefly laid upon 
'the duplicity of equal hypostases'. In this, it anticipates and helps to inter- 
pret the doctrine of the Cappadocians. 

5 being engrossed in themselves: elg iavradg aiQCupbneg, cf. c.Ar.1.23: elg 
iavroig dawpiinovreg. 'He (Arius) proclaims a God of mystery beyond the 
knowledge of the Son Himself, yet argues throughout as if human relations 
could exhaust the significance of the divine' (GwatHn, S.A.2%). So f.^r.1.15: 
to yiwrjfta rov ITajgog ef Savrajv ftergovaiv 6i cttpgoveg. Indeed, the whole of 
c.Ar.\.\ 1-36 is generally directed against misapplying to God the analogy of 
human generation. 

• with the Sadducees: cf. de Dec.lQ, de Syn.35, etc. See also supra on 21(119). 
It should be taken with what follows, dvOgcomvoig XoyiOfioTg, which means not 
merely Truman arguments', but 'arguments derived from human experience 
and relationships'. So avBgumiva (supra 15 fin.99). The general point of the 
comparison is the obdurate scepticism of the Sadducees and Arians, but 
Athanasius probably has in mind the argument of the former in Mark 12is-27. 

7 Wisdom, Radiance, and Word: These being the principal analogies in the 
light of which we learn what the terms Father and Son, as applied to God, 
really mean. See supra on 15(108ff.), and cf. de DecXl, c.Arl.ll, 28, 11.22. 
Whereas the Arians, in order to equate yhvr\(m with xxla^a, were obliged to 
deny that the Son was in any real sense Word or Wisdom, maintaining in God 
a purely attributive wisdom and word which had no real connexion with the 
Son at all. cf. c.Ar.1.5 and de Syn. 15. 

8 How can this be?: i.e. How can the Son be Wisdom, etc. ? The very idea of 
Sonship appearing to them contradictory to the sense of these terms, cf . c.Ar, 
11.36. 

8 Psalm 24a. 



152 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

all, they ought to add to themselves, 'Let us eat and drink, 
for to-morrow we die' 10 : that it may be clear that, when they 
perish, u their insane heresy will perish with them ! 

2. This opinion of the Arians is indeed mortal and cor- 
ruptible. But the argument of truth, 1 which even they ought 
to ponder, runs like this: If God is Fountain and Light and 
Father, it is not lawful to say that the fountain is dry, 2 or 
that the light has no ray, or that God has no Word; lest God 
be without wisdom, reason, and brightness. As, therefore, 
the Father is eternal, the Son also must be eternal; for 

l 10 1 Corinthians 15n. 

u when they -perish: Inasmuch as the Arian doctrine is based upon man's 
knowledge of his own nature, it will partake of the mortality of its originators 
and perish with them. 

2 1 the argument of truth: cf. c.Ar.11.35, and see note infra on 7(162). 

1 the fountain is dry . . .: cf. de Dec.\2, 15, c.Ar.l.M, 19, 24, 11.32; and see 
supra on 20(120) and the references to other Fathers given by Newman in his 
note on c .Ar .1.19. By &ao(poq and aloyoz, Athanasius undoubtedly intends the 
double meaning, not only 'without Word and Wisdom', but 'irrational and 
unwise'. So (c.Ar.I.Hfin.) he charges the Arians with imputing irrationality, 
aXoyia, to God. Hence too the epithet aloyoi, on which see supra on 15(95). 
This play upon the double significance of aoyla and Xoyoq, first as titles of the 
hypostatic Son, and secondly as attributes of the divine essence, goes back, 
apparently, to Hippolytus, c.Noet.10. See also the excerpt from Origen given 
in de Dec.11, and also that from Dionysius of Rome in the previous section 
of the same work : 'If the Son came into being, once these attributes were not ; 
consequently God was without them.' Stated thus, the argument seems to 
reduce the Son to the level of an impersonal faculty in the divine life, as well 
as to deny the possibility of personality in a uni-personal God. But, in the 
thought of Athanasius, it must be studied in relation to his conception of the 
divine unity. He stands by Revelation. To deny the coessentiality of the Son 
with the Father is, in effect, to deny the fullness of personality in God. New- 
man, on c.Ar.1.19, puts it well: 'Our Lord was that essential Reason and Wis- 
dom, not by which the Father is wise, but without which the Father was not 
wise — not, that is to say, in the way of formal cause, but in fact.' Grant that 
the Son is in the Father and the Father in the Son, and then to deny that 
the Son is Word and Wisdom is to deny that the Father is wise and rational. 
You may construct a conception of deity apart from Revelation. But if you 
deny the eternity of the Son you have, in fact, destroyed the Christian idea 
of personality in God. The point is not merely academic. It was for the sake 
of a philosophical absolute that Arius and Eunomius sacrificed the Godhead 
of Christ. And philosophy has never failed to furnish evidence how tenuous 
and unreal becomes the concept of personality in God once Revelation is 
renouncedi God is apprehended as a living, loving, speaking Person in Jesus 
Christ, 



EPISTLE TWO-THREE 153 

whatsoever we see in the Father 3 must without question also 
be in the Son. For the Lord himself says, 'All things whatso- 
ever 4 the Father hath are mine', and all 'mine' 5 belong to the 
Father. The Father is eternal, 6 the Son also is eternal; for 
through him the ages came into being. The Father is One 
that is; of necessity, the Son also is 'He that is over all, God 
blessed for ever, Amen', 7 as the Apostle said. It is not lawful 
to say of the Father: 'There was once when he was not' 8 ; it 
is unlawful to say of the Son : 'There was once when he was 
not.' The Father is Almighty; the Son also is Almighty, as 
John says: 'These things saith he which is and which was 
and which is to come, the Almighty.' 9 The Father is light; 
the Son is radiance and true light. The Father is true God ; 
the Son is true God. For thus John wrote: 'We are in him 
that is true, in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God 
and eternal life.' 10 To sum up, of that which the Father has, 
there is nothing which does not belong to the Son. Therefore 
the Son is in the Father, 11 and the Father is in the Son ; for 
the things that belong to the Father, these are in the Son, 

2 s whatsoever we see in the Father: The eternity of the Son is a necessary in- 
ference from the point already made, but it leads Athanasius briefly to state 
his doctrine of the divine unity, which is fully developed in c.Ar.WI.l-25. 
The Scripture passages which follow should be compared with the briefer 
list, ibidA, and the longer one, de SynA9. Athanasius does not cite them 
merely to show that the Father and the Son are equal and alike. Their 
equality has to be expressed in terms which involve unity, ivoeiSiai <pcovalg 
(de SynA9). The same qualities are predicated of the Father and Son 'because 
they are one and the Godhead itself is one' (c.Ar.loc.cit,). 

4 All things whatsoever . . . : John I615. cf. c.Ar.\W.<i5. 

5 John 17io. 

* The Father is eternal: takes up the atdiog of the preceding sentence in 
terms of Hebrews la, as in c.Ar.\.\2. 

7 Romans 9s. 

8 'There was once . . .': cf. c.Ar. .1.11-13. 

• Revelation Is. 

10 1 John 5so. 

11 the Son is in the Father . . .: Adapted from John 14io which, together with 
the other passages here, John IO30 and 149, form a trilogy of proof texts of 
great importance in the Arian controversy. Eusebius testifies to their use by 
Marcellus and others, Ecc. TheolJll.9, and gives an interpretation of them which 
does not differ materially from that ascribed to the Arians (r.^r.III.10, etc., 
and 17, etc.). Athanasius cites them repeatedly, e.g. infra 9(168f.), c.Ar.1.34, 



154 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



and again they are seen in the Father. Thus is understood 
the saying: 'I and the Father are one.' 12 For there are not some 
things in the Father and others in the Son; but the things 
that are in the Father are in the Son also. And if you see in 
the Son those things which you see in the Father, you have a 
right understanding of the saying: 'He that hath seen me 
hath seen the Father.' 13 3. When these points are thus 
proved, he is impious who says that the Son is a creature. 
For he will be compelled also to give the name of creature to 
the Fountain which sends forth as its creature 1 Wisdom, the 
Word, in whom are all the things of the Father. 

Above all, from what follows can one observe how rotten 
is the heresy of the Arian madmen. 2 Those to whom we are 
alike and whose identical nature we share, with these we are 
one in essence. 3 For example, we men, because we are alike 

2 11 (continued) 

111.5, 16. See also the important passage, ibid.lll.3, quoted supra on 21(119), 
where the inherence of the Son in the Father and the Father in the Son is 
expressed in terms of them. For Athanasius, they safeguard and confirm each 
other in the same way as the several nagadefyfiara, with which they are 
closely associated. 

12 John 10so. » John 149. 

3 1 sends forth as its creature: The fountain must resemble its issue. It is 
better to take xxia/xa thus closely with fJgvovaav than merely as qualifying 
rfjv ao<plav, as Montfaucon: 'fontem unde emanat creata sapiential 

2 Arian madmen: AgsiofiavtTai. See Newman's note on de SynA3. That the 
term is not peculiarly Athanasian can be seen from its use in the letter of the 
Egyptian bishops (Apol.&j and in that of the Sardican Council (ibidA4). 

3 with these we are one in essence: The punctuation here is that of R, etc., 
and it is greatly to be preferred to that of S which Montfaucon follows, 
whereby the comma is placed after rovrcov, and xal xr\v ravrorr/ra 8%0/iev 
taken as part of the main sentence. Athanasius always refused to allow o/ioioc 
to be equivalent to 6/ioovoioc, even when strengthened by the addition of 
anoQd)J.axxog or xaz' odalav. (On the use of 8/iotog by Athanasius, see Harnack, 
H.D.IV.33, note 2. For the opposite view see Hoss, Studien, p. 52, etc. But 
he largely rests his case upon Montfaucon's interpretation of the present 
passage.) Thus (de Dec. 2d) : /jj) fiovov S/ioiov rdv Ylov, dXX& ravrov xfj Sfiouhaei 
ixrov naxgog elvcaarjfialvcocn. ci.alsodeSyn.53: IniyaQT&vovotcovodx 6ftoi6rric 
akka ravrcarrjc, &v Xex^strj. It must be noticed, however, that whereas in de Dec. 
ravrov clearly means that the Father and the Son are inseparably one, here 
and in de Syn.53 ravrorrjg means no more than specific identity — i.e. that one 
man is the same as another inasmuch as both are men. Thus in de Dec. the 
relation of a human father to his son is rejected as an inadequate illustration. 



EPISTLE TWO— THREE 155 

and share the same identical nature, are one in essence with 

each other. For it belongs to us all to be mortal, corruptible, 

capable of change, originated from nothing. So too are the 

angels among themselves, and all the rest in so far as they 

are one in nature with each other. Let these busybodies then 

examine whether the creatures have any likeness to the Son,* 

or whether they can find in things originate the things that 

are in the Son, that they dare to call God's Word a creature. 

But they will not find them there, these men who^rush 

impetuously at everything and who go astray from true 

religion. Among the creatures none is almighty, and none is 

in subjection to another 5 ; for each belongs to God himself. 

3 8 (continued) 

of the opoovotov, 'because bodies which are like each other may be separated 
and be at a distance from each other'. But a similar objection attaches to the 
illustration of racial solidarity admitted here and in de Syn.53. The truth is 
that Athanasius is no longer concerned with the unity and inseparability of 
the Father and the Son, but simply with their essential equality and likeness. 
He knew that such equality involved the essential unity which he has already 
defended in the previous section, and which, in de Dec.20, he uses the 
6/ioovoiov to express: that, to be from the Father, the Son must be in the 
Father. But he is now choosing ground from which to attack the Anomoeans 
who asserted not merely the separation but the unlikeness of Father and Son. 
It is interesting that he should so prominently introduce the 6/xoovawv in this 
reduced sense. He could hardly have disregarded it, as he does in c.Ar.I-Ill. 
It took too large a place in the kind of debate for which this handbook was 
designed to furnish arguments. Furthermore, his interpretation is in line with 
that to be found in the contemporary work, de SynAl, etc.; though there he 
does advance from it to insist (45, etc.) upon the inseparability of the divine 
Persons. It asserts that truth which the Semiarians were endeavouring to con- 
vey by the ofiowvaiov, that the Son belongs essentially to God and is not a 
creature. This it does without prejudice to the other, more distinctively 
Athanasian, interpretation. It should also be remembered that Athanasius 
elsewhere propounds partial and inadequate illustrations, trusting to the 
general scope of his argument to correct their deficiencies, e.g. the image 
illustration (c.At.WI.S). The point is important, for the Cappadocians have 
been accused of tritheism, largely because they used the same analogy as 
Athanasius here. See Prestige, G.P.7\213-18. 

4 any likeness to the Son: What follows should be compared with ad dfr.7-8, 
where the same points are made upon the same interpretation of the 6/ioovaiov. 

5 in subjection to another: The article is added to iregov, as though humanity 
should be considered as divided into two parts, that which rules and that 
which is ruled. That is, in fact, the opinion of Aristotle (Po/.I.1254.a.l5, etc.). 
What Athanasius says here is in line with the teaching of Basil (de Sp.S.Sl): 



156 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

'The heavens declare the glory of God' 6 ; and, 'The earth is 
the Lord's and the fullness thereof' 7 ; 'The sea saw and fled'. 8 
All things are the servants of him who is their Maker, doing 
his word and obeying his decree. But the Son, like the Father, 
is Almighty 9 ; as we have shown from Scripture. Again, 
among the creatures there is none that is not by nature cap- 
able of change. 10 Some of the angels 'kept not their own 
rank' 11 ; and, 'The stars are not pure in his sight'. 12 The devil 
fell from heaven; Adam transgressed; and all things suffer 
alteration. So Paul reminds us from the hundred and first 
Psalm: 'Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the founda- 
tion of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands. 
They shall perish, but thou continuest; and they shall all 
wax old as doth a garment; and as a mantle shalt thou roll 
them up . . . and they shall be changed. But thou art the 
same, and thy years shall not fail.' 18 And again he says: 
'Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, yea and for 
ever !' 14 

4. Again, all things originate were not and have come 
into being. For, 'He made the earth as nothing' 1 ; and, 'Who 
calleth the things that are not as though they were' 2 ; and 
they are also 'works' and 'creatures'. Therefore they have a 
beginning 3 from which they come to be. For 'In the begin- 
ning God created the heaven and the earth', 4 and all that in 

3 5 (continued) 

'among men no one is a slave by nature. ... As chattels of the Creator we are 
all fellow-slaves.' 
6 Psalml9i. ' Psalm 24i. • Psalm 114s. 

9 the Son . . . is Almighty: cf. c.Ar.IHA and de SynA9. shown: i.e. by the 
quotation from Revelation 1« supra, in 2. 

10 capable of change: cf . supra 26(129f .) and adAfr., loc.cit. And, for the argu- 
ment, de Dec.23, c.Ar.1.35, etc., 47. 

11 Jude a. 1S Job 25s. ls Hebrews lio-u. 14 Hebrews 13s. 
4 1 Isaiah 40*3 (LXX). 2 Romans 4i7. 

3 Therefore they have a beginning: i.e. it is of the essence of a creature — as 
opposed to a Son — to be from nothing. So c.Ar.ll.i : 'It is proper for creatures 
and works to have said of them, e| ovx ovxmv and ovx fjv ngiv yEvvrjOfj.' See 
also ibid.1.29, where he argues from this premise that the fact that God is 
eternally creator does not imply that creation is an eternal process. 

* Genesis li. 



EPISTLE TWO-THREE 157 

them is; and again : 'All these things hath mine hand made.' 6 
But the Son, like the Father, is 'One that is' and 'God over 
all things', 6 as we have shown. 7 He is not made, he makes; 
he is not created, but creates and makes the works of the 
Father. Through him 'the ages' 8 came to be; and, 'All things 
have come to be through him, and without him has not 
anything come to be'. 9 And, as the Apostle has expounded 
the contents of the Psalm, he himself at the beginning laid 
the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works 
of his hands. Again, none of the creatures is by nature God. 
Each thing that comes into being has been called whatever 
it has come to be: one heaven, another earth; some planets, 
others stars; yet others seas, depths, fourfooted things; and 
finally, man. And previous to these, angels and archangels, 10 
cherubim, virtues, principalities, powers, dominions, para- 
dise. And so each remains. But if some have been called 
gods, u they are not so by nature, but by participation in the 
Son. Thus he himself said, 'If he called them gods, unto 
whom the Word of God came . . .' 12 Hence, because they are 
not gods by nature, there comes a time when some of them 

4 e Isaiah 662. * Romans 9s. ' as we have shown: i.e. supra 2(153). 

8 Hebrews la. * John Is. 

10 angels and archangels . . .: The absence of seraphim from this list — Mont- 
faucon appears to have no MS. authority for inserting it — is probably acci- 
dental. Apart from this and the omission of thrones, this enumeration of the 
heavenly orders tallies with that in />.j.Dionysius, de cael.Hier.vi.2. It had 
already been incorporated in the liturgy of the Eucharist (cf . Cyril of Jeru- 
salem, C at. .XXIII. 6). It is likewise found in Didymus (de Trin. II. 553a) and 
in Gregory of Nyssa (in Cant.XV. 1100a, etc.); though in the latter it is not 
complete. Comparison with that given supra (in 27.132), shows that Athanasius 
did not regard the list as exhaustive, for 'lights' and 'heavens' are there in- 
cluded as orders of angelic being. We may compare the inclusion of mEVfiata 
by Cyril of Jerusalem (Cai.XVI.23) and the substitution of dvafSdoeig and 
tofiJie&rrjTes for cherubim and seraphim in Gregory Nazianzen (Orat.xxviii. 
31). It is not clear whether we are to take 'paradise' as another heavenly order 
here, but the analogy of 'heavens' in 1.27 suggests that we should. The 
Valentinians regarded it as a 'fourth angel possessed of power' (Irenaeus, 
Haer.l.v.2. cf. Tertullian, adv.Val.2d). Other Gnostics held it to be the title 
of an order. See Hippolytus, Ref.V. 21. 

11 if some have been called gods: See supra on 1.24(125), and cf. ad Afr.l and 
c.Ar.1.39. 

18 John lOss. 



158 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

suffer a change 13 and hear him say: 'I said, Ye are gods and 
sons of the Most High. Nevertheless, ye die like men.' 14 
Such was he who heard God say: 'Thou art a man and not 
god.' 15 But the Son, like the Father, is true God. For he is in 
him, and the Father in the Son. John wrote it, as we have 
shown; and David sings: 'Thy throne, O God, is for ever 
and ever ; a sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom.' 16 
And the prophet Isaiah cries: 'Egypt 17 was overwhelmed 
and the commerce of the Ethiopians; and the Sabaeans, men 
of stature, shall come over to thee, and they shall follow 
behind thee bound with fetters, and they shall worship 
thee, because God is in thee. For thou art the God of Israel, 
and we knew thee not.' Who is this God in whom God is, 
except the Son who said: 'I am in the Father and the 
Father in me' 18 ? 

5. Since these things are true and are written in Scrip- 
ture, who does not recognize that, inasmuch as the Son has 
no likeness 1 to the creatures but has all that belongs to the 
Father, he must be one in essence with the father? He 
would be one in essence with the creatures, had he any like- 
ness to them 2 or any kinship 3 with them. So likewise, being 

A w suffer a change: i.e. not being essentially divine, their divinity is defectible. 
This passage is of interest as showing that Athanasius did not regard Qeonohjoic, 
as exclusively a future blessing. This is really implied in its identification with 
vU>7iolt)au; in f.^r.III.19, for this is clearly regarded as a present possession in 
ad Episc.l. For the opposite view, see Harnack, //..D.III.166. G. W. Butter- 
worth has pointed out, in Journal of Theological Studies, XVTI.360, that 
Clement of Alexandria in the same way sometimes speaks of OsotioIijoiq as 
consummated in this life, sometimes as reserved until after death. 

» Psalm 82*-7. » Ezekiel 28». " Psalm 45«. 

17 Egypt . . ..• Isaiah 45u-ii. Likewise, c.Ar.W.23, de Inc.et c.Ar.XS, and 
Dial de Trin.lI1.7. 

18 John 14io. 

5 1 inasmuch as the Son: Montfaucon's reading here, hiei xa>v [lev . . ., is a 
correction of that found in R, which, in its turn, tries to correct the 8ti htl 
/iiv r&v ... of SBA by omitting the 8zi. But the double use of Sri with 
different significance, though harsh, is not impossible, cf. Ephesians 2n and 
1 John 3so. 

* had he any likeness to them: i.e. likeness upon the points of comparison 
he has adduced, all of which, as he says below, pertain to the definition of God. 

8 kinship: Though not so striking a qualification of 6ftoi6rt]g as ravrortjs 



EPISTLE TWO— THREE 159 

by essence foreign 4 to things originate and being the Word 
who is proper to the Father, inasmuch as the Word is 
different from things originate 5 and has as his own proper- 
ties all that belongs to the Father, it follows that he will be 
one in essence with the Father. Thus the Fathers 6 under- 
stood it, when at the Council of Nicaea they confessed that 
the Son is 'one in essence with the Father', and 'from the 
essence of the Father'. Well they realized that created essence 
could never say : 'All things whatsoever the Father hath are 
mine.' 7 Because it has a beginning from which it came to be, 
we do not predicate of it that it 'has being' and that it 'was 
eternally'. Inasmuch, therefore, as the Son does receive these 
predicates, and as all the things mentioned above that 
belong to the Father belong to him, it must be that the 
essence of the Son is not created, but that he is one in essence 

S 3 (continued) 

above, avyyheia here makes it plain that the likeness with which he is con- 
cerned is that of things which are the same. cf. c.Ar.1.55 (on Hebrews 1«) : 'As 
there is no kinship, the word "better" is used, not to compare, but to contrast, 
because of the difference of His nature from them.' 

4 by essence foreign . . .: Also helps to interpret 6/uotdr^c. It is worth noting 
that when seeking to express what the Son is rather than what He is not, 
Athanasius drops the use of 6/ioiog, and takes up Idiog. But too much must 
not be made of this, as elsewhere he does speak of the Son as like the Father, 
without safeguard. But the expression does not thus occur, either of the Son 
or the Spirit, in these letters. 

8 inasmuch as the Word is different from things originate: Accepting the 
reading of BA, xai aXXog &>v oinog exeivtav. The insertion of oix after xai, 
which is made in S, is an attempt to remedy the confusion which follows the 
corruption, in RS, of ixeivoiv to ixeCvov. ixeivmv clearly refers to rd yevrjrd, 
but SXXog adds nothing to aXXdrgtog in the preceding clause, and the text of 
BA itself is probably corrupt. 

' Thus the Fathers: cf. ad Afr.9 init. For Athanasius's account of the pro- 
ceedings at Nicaea, cf. de Dec.18-24, and especially 20, where he clearly attri- 
butes his own interpretation of 6/ioovaiog to the bishops. Here and in adAfr. 
he simply claims that they used the formula to safeguard the unlikeness of 
the Son to the creatures and His propriety to the Father. Indeed, allowing 
for differences of language, he makes little more of it than Eusebius in his 
letter, afud Socrates, H.E.I.8. There is no necessity to assume that he is cor- 
recting the earlier account, for the stricter sense includes the less definite. 
But there can be little doubt that the account he gives here more nearly 
represents the mind of the majority at the Council. 

7 John 16i6. 



160 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 1 



with the Father. Created essence his cannot be, for this 
reason above all, that it can comprehend the properties of 
God. 8 By his properties, 9 I mean the things whereby he is 
recognized to be God: for example, that he is omnipotent, 
that he has being, that he is incapable of alteration, and the 
others aforementioned ; lest, by having what the creatures 
also can have, God himself should appear in the sight of 
fools to be one in essence with the creatures. 

6. In this way too we can refute the impiety of those who 
say that the Word of God is a creature. Our faith is in 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as the Son himself said to the 
apostles: 'Go ye, and make disciples of all the nations, 
baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son 
and of the Holy Spirit.' 1 He spoke thus that by means of 
things we know we may understand the matters of which we 
have been speaking. 8 Just as we would not call our fathers 
makers, but begetters, and as no one would call us their 
creatures, but sons by nature and one in essence 3 with them: 
so, if God be Father, he must be Father of one who is by 

5 8 it can comprehend the -properties of God: dexuxij rd>v Idimv tov Qeov. 
dexTixdg was first brought into general use by Aristotle, who has it as meaning 
both 'capable of receiving' and actually 'receiving'. The former sense is the 
more familiar in theological writing, as when Athanasius describes Christ's 
humanity as capable of human affections (c.Ar.lll.31, etc.), or man as 'cap- 
able of God' (ibid.1.60, 11.59, etc.). Here and in the parallel passage (de 
Syn.50) it is used in the second, realized, sense, implying that the Son is 
actually in possession of the divine attributes. 

* By his properties . . .: referring avxorl to God, and going on to read, with 
BA, Oedg, instead of d ©edc with RS. We may cite Didymus (de Sp.S.38): 
'Verum quae habet Pater iuxta substantiam, id est eternitatem, immutabilem 
bonitatem, de se et in se subsistentem, haec eadem habet et Filius.' But Athana- 
sius would not thus distinguish between essence and accident in God, for 
He has no neqi^oX^, but all that He has He is. cf. de Dec.22, de Syn.34, and 
ad Jfr.8. 

6 1 Matthew 28i». 

2 matters of which we have been speaking: i.e. the matters discussed in the 
previous section, the Son's unlikeness to the creatures and His propriety to 
God. The terms 'father' and 'son' exclude the notion of creation and involve 
that of propriety. He is repeating, with the same illustrations, the argument 
of de Dec.lZ. 

* by nature and one in essence: as opposed to a sonship which is adoptive, cf. 
de Dec.S, c.Ar.1.5, ad Episc.YL. 



EPISTLE TWO— THREE 161 

nature a Son and one in essence with him. Abraham did not 
create Isaac, he begat 4 him. Bezalel and Eliab did not beget 
but made all the works in the Tabernacle. The shipwright 
and the housebuilder do not beget the things they make; 
they work, the one on the ship, the other on the house. 
Isaac does not make Jacob ; he begets him by nature, a son. 
And likewise Jacob, Judah and his brethren. Just as one 
would be mad to say that the house is one in essence with the 
builder, and the ship with the shipwright, so it is correct to 
say that every son is one in essence with his own father. 
If then there is Father and Son, the Son must be Son by 
nature and in truth. But this is to be one in essence with the 
Father, as we have shown from many instances. 5 Thus of the 
things that are made it is written : 'He spoke, and they came 
to be; he commanded and they were created.' 6 But of the 
Son: 'My heart hath uttered a good Word.' 7 Daniel knew 
the Son of God and he knew the works of God. The Son he 
saw quench the furnace 8 ; of the works he said, 'O all ye 
works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord', 9 and then he enumer- 
ated each of the creatures. But he did not number the Son 
with them, for he knew that he is not a work. It is through 
him that the works came into being; while he in the Father 
is praised and exalted. As then through him God is revealed 
to them that know him, so through him, 'blessing and praise 
and glory and power' 10 are ascribed to the Father — through 
him and in him, that this ascription may, in the words of 
Scripture, be 'acceptable'. 11 From these sayings, therefore, 

6* create . . . begat: But see c.Jr.II.4 where Isaiah 38is and other texts are 
used to show that xxl^eiv, etc., can be used for yevvaadai. But not (ibid.57) 
yewaoOcu for xrlfeiv, nor xrlafia for vloq. 

5 from many instances: The reference of ex nokk&v is not altogether clear. 
It can scarcely be to Scripture, for o/ioovaioq is not a Scriptural term. Appar- 
ently, it refers back to the illustrations of the ofiooiioiov, supra in 3(154f.). 

• Psalm 148s. 

' My heart hath uttered . . .: Psalm 45i. cf. de Dec.2\, de Sent.Dion.2, c.Ar 
11.57, 111.59, 67. 

8 quench the furnace: See Daniel 3as (LXX, 92). 

9 O all ye works . . .: Song of the Three Children 35. So c.Ar.11.71. The 
same point is made of the Spirit in de Trin.et Sp.S.,2. 

10 Revelation 5i3. u 1 Peter 2s. 



162 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

among many, we have shown, and we now show, that he is 

impious who says that the Word of God is a creature. 

7. But as they plead the passage in Proverbs, 'The Lord 

created me, 1 a beginning of his ways, for his works', adding, 

'See, "He created" 1 He is a creature !' : we must show from 

this passage too how greatly they err, not realizing the scope 

of divine Scripture. 2 If he is a Son, 3 let him not be called 

7 1 The Lord created me . . .: For the importance of Proverbs 8m to the 
Arians, see Theodoret, H.E.1.5, Epiphanius, Haer.h.ix.12, etc., Hilary, de 
Trin.lV.l 1, and the testimony of Eunomius in his Lib.Apol., ad Jin., and apud 
Gregory of Nyssa, adv.Eun.lll.573. cf. also c.Ar.1.53, II. 1, 44, where it is 
made plain that their exegesis of other Scriptures is built upon it. Their 
interpretation was anticipated to a certain extent by Origen (de Prin.lV.l). 
In taking ixiwe to refer to the sacred humanity, Athanasius follows the line 
adopted by the Nicenes from the beginning of the controversy, cf. Exp.Fid.l, 
Eustathius of Antioch apud Theodoret, Dial.1.90, and Marcellus apud 
Eusebius, c.Mar.ll.3. And, among later writers, by Epiphanius, Haer.hix.21, 
Gregory Nazianzen, Orat.xxx.2, Didymus, de Trin.lll.816, etc., pj.Basil, 
adv.Eun.IV. 704, and Gregory of Nyssa, r.£un.III.584B. Another line of 
interpretation appears to start from Dionysius of Rome, apud de Dec.26, who 
takes ixiuse as equivalent to iniaxr\ae. This is followed by Eusebius (Eccl. 
Theol.111.2), with references to the Hebrew and versions other than LXX. 
Basil (adv .Eun.ll.2Q) also interprets from the Hebrew. But in de Prin.Prov.3 
he regards the ootpla of Proverbs as a personification of God's wisdom in 
nature. An independent interpretation is offered by Hilary (de Trin.XlI.35 
and de Syn.lG), who takes haiae. of the generation of the eternal Son, as a 
corrective to the analogy of human generation. For yet another explanation, 
see de Inc.et c.Ar.G. Rejecting the authenticity of this last work, we find that 
Athanasius consistently adhered to the explanation given here. The present 
passage has very close affinity with de DecA3-14, but the long discussion in 
c.Ar.ll. 18-72, and the brief reference in ad Episc.Yl should be considered as 
well. 

* the scope of divine Scripture: 'the general drift of Scripture doctrine' — 
Newman, cf. c.^r.III.28 and 58. In like manner, supra 2(152), he speaks of the 
'word of truth' as opposed to the private perversions of heretics. It is to be 
noticed that here, as in c.Ar.ll.18, etc., and de Dec.\3, he prefaces his actual 
exposition with a general appeal to Scripture teaching. This was, indeed, his 
usual practice : 'to start with some general exposition of the Christian doctrine 
which the Arian sense of the text in question opposes, and thus to create a 
prejudice or proof against the latter' (Newman, on r.^r.II.l). Here, however, 
it is imposed on him by the nature of the task he has undertaken. The prima 
facie sense of Proverbs 8aa (LXX) is undoubtedly in favour of the Arians. 
Athanasius virtually admits this (de Dec.\3 and c.^r.II.44). 

* // he is a Son . . .: This point is reproduced from de Dec.l3fin.: 'If Son, 
therefore not creature; if creature, not son; for great is the difference between 
them, and son and creature cannot be the same unless His essence be con- 






EPISTLE TWO-THREE 163 

creature; if a creature, let him not be called Son. For in what 
precedes we have shown how great is the difference between 
a creature and a son. And inasmuch as the baptismal initia- 
tion 4 is not validly performed into Creator and creature but 
into Father and Son, the Lord must not be called creature 
but Son. 'But,' says the Arian, 'is it not written ?' Yes, it is 
written ! And it is necessary that it should be said. But what 
is well written is ill understood by heretics. If they had 
understood 5 and grasped the terms in which Christianity is 
expressed, they would not have called the Lord of glory a 
creature nor stumbled over what is well written. They, there- 
fore, 'knew not, neither did they understand'. 6 Therefore, as 
it is written : 'They walk in darkness.' 7 But as for us, speak 
we must, that in this matter also they may be shown up as 
fools, that we may not neglect to answer their impiety, and 
that they may perhaps even repent. These then are the terms 
in which we express 8 our faith in Christ : the Son of God, 

7 3 (continued) 

sidered to be at once from God and external to God.' The Arians argued that 
there is no difference between generation and creation, as the Scriptures 
apply these terms to God, and that the title 'Son' is therefore entirely con- 
sistent with their interpretation of Proverbs 8m which makes him a creature. 
Athanasius argued that such an identification was impossible, and that they 
must choose between the Sonship and the creaturehood they extracted from 
Proverbs, cf. c.Ar.\\.2Q. But whereas here and in de Dec. Athanasius argues 
from the general, i.e. from the term 'son', in c.Jr.11. he argues from the par- 
ticular, i.e. from the character and office of this divine Son. 

4 baptismal initiation: See supra on 1.6(73). Athanasius does not refer to it 
merely as an instance of what the Arians must reject to retain their view of 
Proverbs 8m, but as the supreme instance. For to reject this or to misinterpret 
it, is to stake salvation itself. Thus he makes the point the climax of his intro- 
ductory observations, c.Jr.ll.4\-3. 

* // they had understood: cf. de Dec.XZ: 'If they had understood, they would 
not have blasphemed the Lord of glory.' The whole,passage is reminiscent of 
c.Ar.ll.l. 

• Psalm 82s. ' ibid. 

8 in which we express . . .: For # otgaxTjjg — 'characteristic idea,' Newman — cf. 
c.Ar.lll.29, where this little confession of faith is paralleled. It is framed in 
language reminiscent of the credal pronouncements of the period. Thus, 'for 
our salvation,' Nicene; 'at the end of the ages,' Ninth of Seleucia, etc. {d* 
Syn.29); for olxovo/j.rjaas, cf. the Confession of Nike (ibid.30): ndorjf Trjt 
oixovofjtas nXrjQwQeiarji;. 



164 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

being the Word of God ('in the beginning was the Word 
. . . and the Word was God' 8 ), being the Wisdom and Power 
of the Father ('Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of 
God' 10 ), at the 'end of the ages'" became man for our salva- 
tion. For John, after he had said, 'In the beginning was the 
Word', after a little added, 'And the Word became flesh', 12 
that is to say, became man. And our Lord said concerning 
himself: 'Why seek ye to kill me ... a man that hath told 
you the truth ?' 13 And Paul, having learned from him, said : 
'One God, one mediator also between God and men, himself 
man, Christ Jesus.' 14 Being made man, and having fulfilled 
his human economy, 15 having overthrown and abolished 
death, 16 the penalty we had incurred, he now sits at the right 
hand of the Father, being in the Father and the Father in 
him, as always was and for ever is. 

8. In these terms, derived from the Apostles through the 
Fathers, our faith is expressed. It remains that he who reads 
Scripture should examine and judge 1 when it speaks of the 
Godhead of the Word, and when it speaks of his human 
life; lest, by understanding the one when the other is in- 
tended, we become victims of the same derangement as has 
befallen the Arians. 2 Knowing him to be Word, we know 
that 'through him all things were made, and without him 
was not anything made', 3 and, 'by the Word of the Lord 

T John li. 10 1 Corinthians In. 

11 end of the ages: generally used by Athanasius of the final consummation, 
but here and in c~Ar. loc.cit. and de Dee.14, it is used in connexion with the 
Incarnation. 

" John li4. » John 7i» and 8«. 14 1 Timothy 2s. 

15 having fulfilled his human economy: olxovSftrjaag, cf. c.Ar.1.59. 

11 abolished death: from 2 Timothy Ho. cf. de Dec.lA, rov fjfiaiv Bdvazov 
xaraQyijaai. Qifaov. It certainly suggests that Athanasius is thinking of death 
as a judicial sentence given against us rather than as (pdogd. But the forensic 
notion is not lacking in his works. See Robertson, Intro.lxx. 

8 1 examine and judge: and so de Dec.\4: 'Any one may find this sense . . . 
who investigates the time and characters (nooamnd), and the object, and thus 
judges and ponders what he reads.' 

2 as has befallen the Arians: Athanasius exemplifies this charge, c.Ar.lll. 
26-7. For his insistence on the reality of the two natures in Christ, cf. de Inc.8, 
Quic.dix.7, c.Ar.Ul.30-5, and Tom.ad Ant.7. 

* John Is. 



EPISTLE TWO— THREE 165 

the heavens were established', 4 and, 'he sendeth his Word 
and healeth all things'. 5 Knowing him to be Wisdom, we 
know that 'God by Wisdom founded the earth', 6 and the 
Father 'hath made all things in Wisdom'. 7 Knowing him to 
be God, we have believed that he is the Christ 8 ; for, 'Thy 
throne, O God,' sings David, 'is for ever and ever; a sceptre 
of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved 
righteousness and hated unrighteousness: therefore God, 
thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above 
thy fellows'. 9 In Isaiah he says concerning himself: 'The 
Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed 
me.' 10 Peter confessed: 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of 
the living God.' 11 So likewise, knowing him to be made man, 
we do not repudiate those things which are spoken of him 
in his human nature, as, for example, that he hungered, 12 
thirsted, was smitten, wept, slept, and finally endured death 
in our behalf upon the Cross. For all these things are written 
concerning him. So Scripture has not suppressed, but em- 
ploys the words, 'He created', though they are applicable 
to men. For we men have been created and made. But as, 
when we hear that he hungered, slept, was beaten, we do 
not deny his Godhead: so, when we hear the words, 'He 
created', we should be consistent and remember that, being 
God, he was created man. For it belongs to man to be 
created, as do the experiences mentioned above, hunger and 
the like. 

9. Then too there is that other saying, which is indeed 

8* Psalm 33«. 5 Psalm 107ao. • Proverbs 3ik. ' Psalm 104a<. 

8 that he is the Christ: This certainly suggests that our Lord's Messiahship 
is the property of His divine nature and not of His consecrated and Spirit- 
anointed humanity. The interpretation of Psalm 456-7 and of Isaiah 61i is 
conformed to this view. But in c.Ar.l.44-7, where they are again associated, 
they are understood of the anointing of the humanity at the Baptism, which 
is the more usual interpretation in Alexandrian theology. The point gained 
importance in the later Christological controversies, cf. pj.Athanasius, e. 
Apoll.ll.2, and see Sellers, Two Ancient Christologies, pp. 177-8. 

9 Psalm 45«-7. ,0 Isaiah 61i. a Matthew 16m. 

12 that he hungered . . .: For similar lists of naBrjiiara, cf. de Dee. 14, 
<-.^r.III.31, etc., Quic.dix.ll, 



166 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

well said, but by them ill understood x — I mean : 'Of that day 
or that hour knoweth no one, not even the angels, neither 
the Son.' 2 It also has a true meaning. From the words 
'neither the Son' they suppose that by his ignorance he makes 
it clear he is a creature. It is not so. God forbid ! For as, 
when he said, 'he created me', he spoke as a man; so too he 
spoke as a man when he said, 'neither the Son'. And there is 
good reason why he spoke thus. For he was made man, as it 
is written, and it belongs to men to be ignorant, as it belongs 
to them to hunger and the rest. For they do not know unless 

9 1 well said . . . ill understood: cf. c.Ar.lll.50. 

1 Of that day . . .: Mark 1333 is discussed at length by Athanasius (c.Ar.lll. 
42-50). There can be no question of ignorance in the Word. He knows the 
Father, and therefore must know the times the Father has appointed. Times 
and seasons have been created through Him and He cannot be ignorant of 
His own works. His motive in adding 'neither the Son' was the welfare of 
the disciples, whose importunity was checked by this avowal of ignorance. 
Yet it is not falsehood, for He speaks 'in regard to His human ministry' (44), 
'according to the flesh, because of the body ; that He might show that, as man, 
He knows not' (45), 'after the flesh, for the sake of the flesh which is ignorant' 
(48). For Patristic exegesis of this passage the reader should consult the 
lengthy note in Lebreton's Origines du dogme de la 1 finite (Volume 1, note C. 
It is not in the English Edition). The way for the Arians in their use of this 
passage had been prepared by Irenaeus {Haer.II.xxviii.6~8), and to a certain 
extent by Origen (in Matt.UV). Athanasius's treatment is anticipated by 
Eustathius of Antioch, apud Facundus (Pro Def.Tr.Cap.Xl.l), and followed 
by Basil (Ep.viii.6) and Gregory Nazianzen (Orai.xxx.15). The former, how- 
ever, has an alternative explanation (ibid.l and .E/i.ccxxxvi.2) which has in- 
fluenced subsequent exegesis; notably that of Didymus (de Trin.III.917, etc.), 
who clearly regards the ignorance as unreal. These Fathers, inasmuch as they 
write against the Arians, emphasize the reality of our Lord's knowledge as 
Word of God. On the other hand, Gregory of Nyssa, writing against Apol- 
linarius (c.Apoll.24), insists on the realityof the ignorance as proving the reality 
of the Manhood. But none of them attempts to show how ignorance and 
knowledge can subsist side by side in the one Christ. Cyril of Alexandria, how- 
ever, writing against Nestorius, cannot evade this difficulty, and is led to 
regard the ignorance of Christ as something external and imputed, not actual 
in His human mind. TanelvaxHe, oixovofiia, o/toiwou;, and (above all) axw-t 
are some of the terms he uses. cf. Thesaurus XXII, passim. Lebreton thinks 
that Athanasius's attitude is not inconsistent with that of Cyril, inasmuch as, 
without committing himself to any opposed opinion, he shrinks from plainly 
and directly attributing ignorance to the incarnate Lord. But the imprecision 
of Athanasius's language is surely due to his inadequate psychology. More- 
over, such expressions as 'having the ignorance of men in His body' and 'that 
He might show that, as man, He knows not', vague and unstudied though 



EPISTLE TWO— THREE 167 

they hear and learn. Therefore, inasmuch as he was made 
man, he displays the ignorance which belongs to men: 
firstly, to show 8 that he really has a human body 4 ; secondly, 
that, having in his body the ignorance of men, he might 
redeem his humanity 8 from all its imperfections * and cleanse 
it and offer it perfect and holy to the Father. 

What further excuse will the Arians discover ? What else 
9 2 (continued) 

they may be, are sufficiently definite to be decisive against this view. Simi- 
larly, however unsatisfactory it may be to include our Lord's ignorance 
with His physical naOrmaxa, it does at least imply that the one is as real as the 
others. See further, Robertson, Intro.lxxviii. 

8 to show: It should be noted that Mark 13sa is here clearly and immediately 
connected with the fact of the Incarnation, as it is not in f.^r.III.48. This 
nullifies whatever force there may be in Newman's comment upon that pas- 
sage, that our Lord avows His ignorance 'with a purpose, not as a mere plain 
fact or doctrine'. 

4 a human body: Athanasius regularly uses odgg and aw/ia to designate our 
Lord's human nature. But even in his earliest works these terms are used side 
by side with, and in the same sense as, SvOgconog. cf. de Inc. .17 : 6 A6yo; iv rq> 
dvdgcbnm. Moreover, the Incarnation in that work is regularly spoken of as 
ivavOgcomjaig. There is thus no warrant for the statement that the use of 
avdgamos, AvOQcondtr/i; of our Lord's humanity is due to the insertion of the 
words xal hiavOQanrjoavra in the creed at Nicaea ; though it is to be admitted 
that they occur much more frequently in his post-Nicene works. Later still, 
after the measure of Arian Christology had been taken, Athanasius explicitly 
asserts that our Lord 'did not take a body without soul, nor without sense and 
intelligence' (Tflflt. di^B/.7).cf. also adEpict.7. This development does not re- 
present any change in thought. The terms ffdgf and acH/ia continue in general 
use in his later works, e.g. ad Epict. and ad Max., as being equivalent to 'man'. 
See f.^r.III.30 and ad Epict.8. On the other hand, in the relatively early 
work, Quic.dix.(7), we find him grappling with the question of the union of 
the divine and human in Christ, which confronted the Church after Apollin- 
arianism had been repudiated. This question would not have occurred to him, 
had he conceived of the humanity as a mere veil of flesh. Moreover, the terms 
adgf and o&pa have not the same limited connotation as 'flesh' and 'body'. 
'By flesh the Bible repeatedly designates human nature in its fullness', 
Prestige, Fathers and Heretics, p.218. This point was not missed by the early 
expositors, cf. John of Damascus, de Fid.Orth.lll.i073A. The same thing is, 
less markedly, true of ocbfia. cf. Genesis 36e and Revelation I813; and, above 
all, 1 Corinthians 613-20, on which J. Weiss (Urchristentum, p.453) remarks 
that ocofia here 'almost means personality'. See also le Bachelet, D.T.CA.2171. 

6 his humanity: literally, 'his man,' reading tov SvOgconov with BA rather 
than ri\v dvdQconorrfra with RS. dvOgamorris is, however, occasionally found in 
Athanasius, e.g. c.dr.1.41. Earlier students of Athanasius based their estimate 
of his Christology on the two books against Apollinarius, now admitted to be 



168 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHAKASIUS 



will they devise to chatter about ? They have been convicted 
of ignorance as to 'The Lord created me for his works'. 
They have been shown to have no understanding of: 'Of 
that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels, 
neither the Son.' By saying, 'He created' he signifies his 
human nature, that he became man and was created. But by 
saying, 'I and the Father are one', 7 and, 'He that hath seen 

9 s (continued) 

spurious. See, for example, }?e\l,Lehre des hi .Athanasius, p. 125. Harnack,//.Z). 
IV.147ff., led the way in questioning whether Athanasius had any real appre- 
hension of Christ's humanity, and he has been followed by Stuelcken, 
Athanasiana, pp.90ff., and Hoss, Studien, pp.77ff., who suggest that for 
Athanasius the manhood is nothing more than a series of qualities and attri- 
butes, an abstract nature born by a person who is never really human. The 
criticism has been pressed even farther by Raven, Apollinarianism, pp.79ff. 
and U2ff. But, on the other hand, see Robertson, Intro.lxxvii, Prestige, 
Fathers and Heretics, p.218, and R. V. Sellers, Two Ancient Cbristologies, 
pp.33ff. Athanasius was certainly no docetist, if docetism be interpreted to 
be what both its adherents and critics in the Early Church understood it to 
be. If we find it hard to discover the human Jesus in his presentation of Christ, 
it is because he is preoccupied with the doctrine of the Trinity and never 
comes to grips with the problem of human consciousness in Christ; partly, 
too, because his psychology is unreal to us, inasmuch as it was possible for him 
to talk of knowledge and ignorance and mind and will as though they were 
material or physical things. 

* from all its imperfections: By rov avdgamov, Athanasius undoubtedly refers 
to our Lord's humanity as one with and representative of human nature as a 
whole. While he seems to assert the sinlessness of the actual humanity the 
Word took of the Virgin (de Inc.S), such an assertion is only incidental, for 
he has no real doctrine of original sin. The consequence of the Fall is to be 
found in the reassertion of the corruption and mortality of man's nature 
which is its natural state, not in the perversion of the will, cf . supra on 23(125) . 
Thus, de Dec.lA and c.Ar.ll.6, in a discussion of the indefectibility of the 
incarnate Christ, the question of the sinlessness of His humanity does not 
arise. It is that the immutable Word remains immutable in His economy. 
Likewise in c.Ar.1.42, he can speak of mankind as 'of one body with Him', 
and, ibid.43, of the Word 'putting on the flesh which is enslaved to sin', 
cf. Cyril of Alexandria (ad Skc<\I.233c) : 'that human flesh subject to corrup- 
tion and sick with the lust of pleasure He might make His own.' It is this fact, 
that Athanasius is under no necessity to distinguish the individual humanity 
of Christ from that of mankind as a whole, which lends colour to the state- 
ment of Hoss, Studien, p.77, that Athanasius understands by the Incarnation, 
not that the Word became a man, but merely that He assumed 'die allgemeine 
Menschennatur'. 

1 I and the Father . . .: John lOao, 149, 14io. On the conjunction of these 
three texts, see supra on 2(153f.). 



EPISTLE TWO-THREE 169 

me hath seen the Father', and, 'I am in the Father and the 
Father in me', he signifies his eternity and that he is one in 
essence with the Father. So likewise when he says, '. . . know- 
eth no one . . . neither the Son', 8 once more he speaks as a 
man, for it belongs to men to be ignorant. But when he 
says, 9 'No man knoweth the Father save the Son', nor the 
Son save the Father, by how much more does he know 
things originate ! In the Gospel according to John the dis- 
ciples said to the Lord: 'Now know we that thou knowest all 
things.' 10 So it is clear that there is nothing of which he is 
ignorant, for he is the Word through whom all things came 
to be. But as 'all things' includes 'that day', it will come to 
be through him — though in their ignorance the Arians 
explode 11 ten thousand times over! 

III. 1. Perhaps you will wonder why, when I was 
charged to abridge 1 and briefly to explain the letter I had 
written concerning the Holy Spirit, you find me, as though 
I had laid aside my work on that subject, writing against 
those who are guilty of impiety toward the Son of God and 
who call him a creature. But you will not blame me, I know 
well, when you understand the cause. Indeed, when you see 
how reasonable it is, your Piety will welcome it. Our Lord 
himself said that the Paraclete 'shall not speak from himself, 
but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak 
... for he shall take of mine and shall declare it unto you' 2 ; 
and, 'having breathed on them', 3 he gave the Spirit to the 

9 8 Mark 13s2. 

9 when he says: Matthew 1 I27. cf. de Inc.et c.Ar.7 : 'If He knows the Father, 
how is He ignorant of the last day ? . . . And if ages and times were originated 
through Him, then clearly the last day is included among ages and times, 
and He cannot be ignorant of it.' 

10 John 16so. 

11 explode: cf. Marcellus, apudEmebms, Ecc.Theol.ll.10 ; deDec.Yl, c.Ar.W. 
23, 64, de Syn.34, 54, ad AdelphS. The expression survived, and is to be found 
in John of Damascus, de Fid.Orth.Ill.\02lc. 

I 1 to abridge: The following sections are indeed an abridgement, rather 
than a summary, of Ep.l. No attempt is made to reproduce the argument of 
1-21 . Six only of the points in 22-7 are repeated. The final paragraphs restate, 
with some alteration in order, the substance of 28-31. 

» John 1 613-14. » John 20m. 



170 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

disciples out of himself, 4 and in this way the Father poured 
him out 'upon all flesh', 5 as it is written. It is natural, there- 
fore, that I should have spoken and written first concerning 
the Son, that from our knowledge of the Son 8 we may be 
able to have true knowledge of the Spirit. For we shall find 
that the Spirit has to the Son the same proper relationship 
as we have known the Son to have to the Father. And as the 
Son says, 'AH things whatsoever the Father hath are mine', 7 
so we shall find that through the Son all these things are in 
the Spirit also. And as the Father attested the Son, saying, 
'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased', 8 so 
the Spirit belongs to the Son; for the Apostle says: 'God 
sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts crying, Abba, 
Father.' 9 And, what is remarkable, 10 as the Son said, 'What 
is mine belongs to the Father'," so the Holy Spirit, which is 
said to belong to the Son, belongs to the Father. For the Son 
himself says : 'When the Paraclete is come, whom I will send 
unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth which pro- 
ceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me.' 12 And 
Paul writes : 'No man knoweth the things of man save the 
spirit of man which is in him. Even so the things of God 
none knoweth save the Spirit of God which is in him. But 
we received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit which 
is of God, that we might see the things that are freely given 
to us by God.' 13 And throughout divine Scripture you will 
find that the Holy Spirit, who is said to belong to the Son, is 

1* out of himself: as though the mission of the Spirit were itself a sort of pro- 
cession, cf. supra on 20(117) and Intro.IV(41). 

5 Joel 2ai>. 

• from our knowledge of the Son: The proposition, reiterated, in Ep.l, that 
what is held of the Spirit must be held of the Son, is here inverted to form a 
positive basis for the doctrine of the Spirit; and the argument of 1.22-7 is 
slightly recast in conformity with this. 

' John 16ie. 8 Matthew 3n. » Galatians 4e. 

10 what is remarkable: cf. to 7taQa8o^6iaxov (de Inc.17). Eunomius, no less 
than Athanasius, emphasizes the close relation of the Spirit with the Son. 
But whereas in his theology this only serves to separate the Spirit from the 
Father, Athanasius is careful to insist upon the fact that He is not less the 
Father's for being the Son's. 

11 cf. John 17io. " John 15ae. 13 1 Corinthians 2n-u. 



EPISTLE TWO— THREE 171 

also said to belong to God. This I wrote in my previous 
letter. 14 If therefore the Son, because of his proper relation- 
ship with the Father and because he is the proper offspring 
of his essence, is not a creature, but is one in essence with 
the Father : the Holy Spirit likewise, because of his proper 
relationship with the Son, through whom he is given to all 
men and whose is all that he has, cannot be a creature, and it 
is impious to call him so. 2. These considerations are 
sufficient to dissuade anyone, be he never so contentious, 
from continuing to call the Spirit of God a creature, who is 
in God and searches the deep things of God and who is 
given from the Father through the Son ; lest from this he 
shall be forced to call the Son also a creature, who is Word, 
Wisdom, Image, and Radiance, seeing whom we see the 
Father; and lest finally he should hear the words: 'Whoso- 
ever denieth the Son hath not the Father.' 1 For such a man 
will soon be saying with the fool : 'There is no God.' 2 

None the less, so that our reply to the impious may be 
more fully established, it will be well to make use of those 
considerations which show that the Son is not a creature, to 
show that the Spirit is not a creature. The creatures come 
from nothing 8 and their existence has a beginning; for, 'In 
the beginning God made the heaven and the earth', 4 and 
what is in them. The Holy Spirit is, and is said to be, from 
God (so said the Apostle). But if the Son cannot be a crea- 
ture because he does not come from nothing, but from God, 
then of necessity the Spirit is not a creature, for we have 
confessed that he comes from God. It is creatures that come 
from nothing. 

3. Again, the Holy Spirit is called, and is, unction and 
seal. 1 For John writes : 'And as for you, the unction which 
ye received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any- 
one should teach you, but as his unction, his Spirit teacheth 

l 14 in my previous letter: i.e. Ep.1.20, 30, etc. But it is never brought out so 
fully as here. Indeed, it is possible that Athanasius intends to correct a false 
impression which the earlier work may have caused. 

2 1 1 John 2as. * Psalm 141. • cf. supra 1.22. 

* Genesis li. 3 1 from 1.23. 



/ 
172 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

you concerning all things.' 2 In the prophet Isaiah it is 
written : 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he hath 
anointed me.' 3 Paul writes: 'In whom having also believed, 
ye were sealed,' 4 and again, 'Grieve not the Holy Spirit . . . 
in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption'. 6 The 
creatures are anointed and sealed in him. But if the creatures 
are anointed and sealed in him, the Spirit cannot be a crea- 
ture. For that which anoints is not like to those which are 
anointed. Moreover, this unction is a breath of the Son, so 
that he who has the Spirit says : 'We are a sweet savour of 
Christ.' 6 The seal gives the impress of the Son, so that he 
who is sealed has the form of Christ; as the Apostle says : 'My 
little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be 
formed in you.' 7 But if the Spirit is the sweet savour and 
form of the Son, it is clear that the Spirit cannot be a crea- 
ture; for the Son also, 'being in the form' 8 of the Father, is 
not a creature. 

Moreover, as he who has seen the Son 9 sees the Father, so 
he who has the Holy Spirit has the Son, and, having him, is a 
temple of God. For Paul writes, 'Know ye not that ye are a 
temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ?' 10 
John says: 'Hereby know we that we abide in God and he in 
us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.' 11 But if we have 
confessed that the Son is not a creature, because he is in the 
Father and the Father in him, then the Spirit likewise cannot 
possibly be a creature ; for the Son is in him and he is in the 
Son. Wherefore, he who receives the Spirit is called a 
temple of God. 

Furthermore, it will be well to look at it in the light of the 
following consideration. If the Son is the Word of God, he is 
one 12 as the Father is one; for, 'There is one God, of whom 
are all things . . . and one Lord Jesus Christ'. 13 Hence both 
in our speech and in the Scriptures he is called 'only begot- 
ten Son'. But creatures are many and diverse: angels, 

3 s 1 John 2s7. * Isaiah 61i. * Ephesians lis. 

* Ephesians 43o. * 2 Corinthians 2is. ' Galatians 4is>. 

8 Philippians 2 9 . " from 1.24. 10 1 Corinthians 3ie. 

11 If John 4u. " from 1.27. ls 1 Corinthians 8«. 



EPISTLE TWO-THREE 173 

archangels, cherubim, principalities, powers, and the rest, 
as we have said. 14 But if the Son is not a creature because he 
does not belong to the many, but is one as the Father is one: 
then the Spirit likewise — for we must take our knowledge 
of the Spirit from the Son — cannot be a creature. For he 
does not belong to the many but is himself one. 4 . This the 
Apostle knows when he says : 'All these worketh the one and 
the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally, even as he 
will' 1 ; and a little farther on: 'In one Spirit were we all 
baptized into one body . . . and were all made to drink of one 
Spirit.' 8 

Once more, if we must take our knowledge of the Spirit 
from the Son, then with propriety we may put forward 
proofs which derive from him. The Son is everywhere 3 ; 
for he is in the Father and the Father in him. He controls 
and contains all things; and it is written: 'In him all things 
consist, whether seen or unseen, and he is before all things.' 4 
But the creatures are in the places which have been assigned 
to them: sun, moon, and the other lights in the firmament, 
angels in heaven and men upon the earth. But if the Son is 
not a creature, because he is not in places assigned to him, 
but is in the Father, and because he is everywhere even 
while he is outside all things; it follows that the Spirit 
cannot be a creature, for he is not in places assigned to him, 
but fills all things 5 and yet is outside all things. Thus it is 
written : 'The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the world.' 8 And 
David sings, 'Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?', 7 inas- 
much as he is not in any place, but outside all things and in 
the Son, as the Son is in the Father. Therefore, as we have 
proved, he is not a creature. 

Over and above these things, the following considera- 
tions will confirm the condemnation of the Arian heresy, 
and once more make plain from the Son what we know 

3" as we have said: i.e. supra 11.4(157). 

4 1 1 Corinthians 12n. t 1 Corinthians 12is. 

3 cf. supra 1.26. * Colossians I1&-17. 

6 but fills all things: cf. de Dec.U . « Wisdom I7. ' Psalm 139 7 . 



174 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

concerning the Spirit. The Son, like the Father, is creator 8 ; 
for he says: 'What things I see the Father doing, these 
things I also do.' 9 'All things', indeed, 'were made through 
him, and without him was not anything made.' 10 But if the 
Son, being, like the Father, creator, is not a creature ; and if, 
because all things were created through him, he does not 
belong to things created: then, clearly, neither is the Spirit a 
creature. For it is written concerning him in the one hundred 
and third Psalm : 'Thou shalt take away their spirit, and they 
shall die and return to their dust. Thou shalt put forth thy 
Spirit, and they shall be created, and thou shalt renew the 
face of the earth.' u 5. As it is thus written, it is clear that the 
Spirit is not a creature, but takes part in the act of creation. 
The Father creates all things through the Word in the Spirit; 
for where the Word is, there is the Spirit also, 1 and the 
things which are created through the Word have their vital 
strength out of the Spirit from the Word. Thus it is written 
in the thirty-second Psalm : 'By the Word of the Lord the 
heavens were established, and by the Spirit of his mouth is 
all their power.' 2 

So clearly is the Spirit indivisible from the Son that what 
is now to be said leaves no room for doubt. When the Word 
came 3 upon the prophet, it was in the Spirit that the prophet 
used to speak the things he received from the Word. Thus 
it is written in the Acts, when Peter says: 'Brethren, it was 
needful that the Scripture should be fulfilled which the 
Holy Spirit spake before.' 4 In Zechariah it is written, when 

4* The Son . . . creator: See supra 1.24(127). But the point is made more forci- 
bly and prominently here. 

* John 5i9. 10 John Is. n Psalm 10429, so. 

5 1 where the Word is, there is the Spirit also: See supra on 1.31(145) and Intro. 
IV.36. The doctrine of 'Spiritus Creator' is thus acknowledged to be an exten- 
sion of the more primitive notion of creation by the Logos-Sophia. 

* Psalm 33e. 

a When the Word came ... : This section, on the operation of the Spirit in pro- 
phecy, is detached from its context on 1.31 (142ff.) and joined to the summary 
of 22-7(121fL), so that it is made to introduce, rather than to illustrate, the 
exposition of 2 Corinthians 13i3. 

* Acts li«. 



' 



EPISTLE TWO-THREE 175 

the Word comes upon him: 'But receive my words and my 
statutes, which I charge in my Spirit to the prophets.' 6 And 
when, a little farther on, he rebuked the people, he said: 
'They made their hearts to be disobedient, lest they should 
hear my law and the words which the Lord of hosts has sent 
by his Spirit in the hands of the prophets of old.' 6 And when 
Christ spoke in Paul — as Paul himself said, 'Seeing that ye 
seek a proof of Christ that speaketh in me' 7 — it was, none 
the less, the Spirit that he had bestowing upon him the 
power of speech. For he writes : 'according to the supply of 
the Spirit of Jesus Christ upon me.' 8 Again, when Christ 
spoke in him, he said: 'Save that the Holy Spirit testifieth 
unto me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide 
me.' 9 The Spirit is not outside the Word, but, being in the 
Word, through him is in God. And so the spiritual gifts are 
given in the Triad. For, as he writes to the Corinthians, in 
their distribution there is the same Spirit and the same Lord 
and the same God, 'Who worketh all things in all'. 10 For the 
Father himself through the Word in the Spirit works and 
gives all things. 

6. Assuredly, when he prayed for the Corinthians, he 
prayed in the Triad, 1 saying : 'The grace of the Lord Jesus 
Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy 
Spirit be with you all.' 2 For inasmuch as we partake of the 
Spirit, we have the grace of the Word and, in the Word, the 
love of the Father. And as the grace of the Triad is one, so 
also the Triad is indivisible. We can see this in regard to 
Saint Mary herself. The archangel Gabriel, 3 when sent to 

5 6 Zechariah la. " Zechariah 7u. ' 2 Corinthians 13s. 

8 Philippians lis. "Acts 20m. 10 1 Corinthians 12«. 

6 1 in the Triad: cf . 'praying in the Holy Spirit', Jude ao. But the meaning 
here is to be understood from the statement made infra and in 1.28(134), 
that the Church is rooted and grounded in the Triad. It is his confession of 
the Trinity that gives his prayer its character and significance and validity. 
cf. supra 1.30(141). * 2 Corinthians 13is. 

* archangel Gabriel: cf. supra 1.31(145). But there the Word is said to be in 
the Spirit for the creation of the sacred humanity. Here the Spirit is in the 
Word for the descent of the Word to Mary. The alteration is natural in the 
light of the different angle from which the Incarnation is viewed. 



176 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

announce the coming of the Word upon her, said, 'The 
Holy Spirit shall come upon thee', knowing that the Spirit 
was in the Word. Wherefore he straightway added: 'and 
the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.' 4 For 
Christ is 'the Power of God and the Wisdom of God'. 5 But 
if the Spirit was in the Word, then it must >e clear that the 
Spirit through the Word was also in God. Likewise, when 
the Spirit comes to us, the Son will come and the Father, and 
they will make their abode in us. For the Triad is indivis- 
ible, and its Godhead is one; and there is one God, 'over all 
and through all and in all'. 6 This is the faith of the Catholic 
Church. For the Lord grounded and rooted it in the Triad, 
when he said to his disciples: 'Go ye and make disciples of 
all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father 
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.' 7 Were the Spirit a 
creature, he would not have ranked him with the Father; 
lest, by reason of something strange and foreign being 
ranked therewith, the Triad should not be consistent. For 
what was lacking to God, that he should take to himself 
something foreign in essence and share his glory with it? 
God forbid! It is not so! He himself said: 'I am full.' 8 
Therefore the Lord ranked the Spirit with the name of the 
Father, to show that the Triad is not composed of diverse 
elements, I mean of creator and creature, but its Godhead is 
one. It was because he had learned this that Paul taught the 
oneness of the grace given in the Triad, saying: 'One Lord, 
one faith, one baptism'. 9 As there is one baptism, so there is 
one faith. For he who believes in the Father, in the Father 
knows the Son; and it is not apart from the Son that he 
knows the Spirit. Therefore he believes also in the Son and in 
the Holy Spirit. For the Godhead of the Triad is one, as it is 
made known from one, 10 even from the Father. 

6' Luke I35. s 1 Corinthians I24. 

■ Ephesians 4e. ' Matthew 28i». 

6 I am full: Isaiah In. cf. c.Ar.ll.29 and Ep.Heort.xix.2. The exposition is 
from Irenaeus, Haer. IV. xvii.l, and Origen, in Joh.fr.9. 
• Ephesians 4s. 
10 made known from one: The significance of ex here is not altogether clear. 



EPISTLE TWO-THREE 177 

7. In these terms the Catholic faith is expressed. But as 
for those who speak evil of the Spirit and call him a creature, 
if what we have said does not make them repent, then may 
what we are about to say overwhelm them with shame. If 
there is a Triad, and if the faith is faith in a Triad, let them 
tell us whether it was always a Triad, or whether there was 
once when it was not a Triad. If the Triad is eternal, the 
Spirit is not a creature, for he coexists eternally with the 
Word and is in him. As for the creatures, there was a time 
when they were not. If he is a creature, and the creatures are 
from nothing, it is clear that there was once when the Triad 
was not a Triad but a dyad. 1 What greater impiety can man 
utter ? They are saying that the Triad owes its existence to 
alteration and progress 2 ; that it was a dyad, and waited for 
the birth of a creature which should be ranked with the 
Father and the Son, and with them become the Triad. God 
forbid that such a notion should so much as enter the minds 
of Christian people ! As the Son, because he always exists, is 
not a creature; so, because the Triad always exists, there is 
no creature in it. Therefore the Spirit is not a creature. As it 
always was, so it now is; as it now is, so it always was. It is 
the Triad, and therein Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And 
God is one, the Father, who is 'over all and through all and 
in all', 3 who is 'blessed for ever. Amen'. 4 

I have written this in brief, as you directed, and am send- 
ing it. If anything is lacking therein, as a man of under- 
standing, be kind enough to supply it. Read it 'to them that 

6 10 [continued) 

It is possible that Athanasius means that the initiative in divine revelation 
is the Father's, cf. John 3u. Or else, that our knowledge of the Son and 
Spirit is a corollary of our knowledge of the Father, the idea of Fatherhood 
implying the rest. It is very unlikely that he is anticipating the suggestion of 
Gregory Nazianzen, Or-at.xxxi.26, that revelation is progressive, starting from 
the Father and proceeding to the Son and thence to the Spirit. But inas- 
much as the emphasis here rests upon the unity of God, it is best to connect 
this statement with those already noted, supra on 1.16(100), which associate 
the unity with the uniqueness of the divine Fatherhood. 

7 1 cf. I.29(186f.), etc. 

! to alteration and progress: cf. supra on I.2(63f.), etc. 

a Ephesians 4«. * Romans 9s. 

S.A. 12 



178 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

are of the household of faith', 6 and refute those who love 
contention and evil speech. Perhaps, even by a late repen- 
tance, they may wash away 6 from their souls the perversity 
which formerly was in them. It were well for them, as it is 
written, 'to turn aside and not to tarry' 7 ; lest, by delaying, 
they should hear that which was spoken by the Lord: 
'Whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not 
be forgiven him, neither in this age, nor in the age to come.' 8 

7 6 Galatians 610. 

• wash away: so also de Dec.2 and c.Ar.III.28. 

7 'to turn aside and not to tarry': These words are taken from an addendum 
to Proverbs 9is-i8 (LXX) found in Codex Alexandrinus. The point of the 
quotation is fully appreciated when the context, a warning to those who con- 
sort with Folly, is taken into account. The Tropici had better not hang about 
the harlot's house any longer ! 

8 Matthew 12sa. cf. supra 1.3(65) and 33(149). 



f 

I 



EPISTLE FOUR 

A LETTER FROM THE SAME TO THE 

SAME SERAPION LIKEWISE CONCERNING 

THE HOLY SPIRIT 1 

1 . I have read the letter which your Piety has now written ; 
and the shamelessness of the heretics filled me with such 
amazement that I came to the conclusion nothing can so 
appropriately be said of them as what the Apostle enjoined 2 : 
'A man that is heretical after a first and second admonition 
refuse; knowing that such a one is perverted and sins self- 
condemned.' For, having a warped mind, he does not 
inquire that he may hear and be persuaded, or that he may 
learn and repent, but just because of those whom he has 
deceived; lest, keeping silent, he should be condemned by 
them also. What we have already said would have sufficed. 
It would have sufficed 3 had they, after receiving such proofs, 
desisted from their evil speech against the Holy Spirit. But 

l 1 The preceding letter had taken no account of the argument of the 
Tropici stated in I.15(95fF.), and the answer of Athanasius in the following 
sections. Accordingly Serapion, while reporting the persistence of the heresy, 
asks Athanasius to supply the defect and thus leads him to write yet a third 
time. This present letter, though it owes much to I.15-21(95ff.), is not a 
summary, but an independent work. Indeed, the treatment of the subject is 
fundamentally different. Whereas previously he has argued a ■priori, from the 
character of the divine Sonship, that the analogy of human relationships can- 
not be indefinitely extended to the Triad, here he retorts the dilemma upon 
its authors, and shows that, if it is real, the sense of Scripture will reduce the 
Tropici to the same absurdity with which they tax him (2-3). The co-eiis- 
tence and co-operation of Son and Spirit is real, but it does not mean that 
their relationship to the Father is identical. The being of God is mystery, 
and revelation is not to be questioned but received (4-5). The analogy of 
human relationship is not to be pressed, or else we are inevitably led back 
to paganism (6). 

1 the Apostle enjoined: Titus 3io. See supra on 1.15(98). 

3 It would have sufficed: Athanasius does not ask the Tropici, as a condition 
of their continuance in communion with him, to accept a formal statement 
of belief or even to retract their views about the Spirit. He is satisfied to let 

179 



180 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

they were not satisfied. Once more they indulge their shame- 
lessness, to show that, having trained themselves to fight 
with the Word, they are now fighting with the Spirit, 4 and 
will soon be dead in unreason. For if we should answer their 
present questions, none the less will they be 'inventors of evil 
things' 5 ; only that seeking they may not find, and hearing 
they may not understand. Their wise questions run like this. 
If the Holy Spirit is not a creature, then, say they, he is a 
son, and the Word and he are two brothers. Then, as you 
write, they add, If the Spirit 'shall take of' 6 the Son and is 
given from him, (for so it is written) — they go on directly, 
Then the Father is a grandfather and the Spirit is His 
grandson. 

2 . Who, when he hears these things, will still regard them 
as Christians, and not rather as pagans ? For such things the 
pagans say against us in conversation among themselves. 
Who will be willing to answer this folly of theirs ? For my 
part, in my search for an appropriate answer to them, after 
much thought I find none except that which of old was given 
to the Pharisees. 1 For as the Saviour, when the Pharisees 
maliciously questioned him, questioned them in return, that 
they might perceive their evilmindedness ; so likewise, when 
they ask such questions, let them tell us, nay rather, let them 
answer us, being questioned as they question. If, when they 
speak, they do not understand their inventions, 2 perhaps, 
when they listen, they may realize their folly. If the Holy 
Spirit is not a creature, as has been shown in our previous 
writings, but is in God and is given from God : then he is a 

I s (continued) 

the matter drop, provided they will keep quiet. See supra on I.17(105f.), 
and Intro.III(28). 

♦ with the- Word . . . with the Spirit: cf. pj.Basil, adv.Eun.V. V53a. For 
Xoyopaxeiv cf. de Syn.54, ad Epict.l, and tguc hoyofiayiau;, Basil, de Sp.S.16. 

1 Romans l»o. • John 16u. 

2 1 to the Pharisees: It is dear from what follows that Athanasius is here 
referring to Mark 11»7-sj. But the question there did not come from the 
Pharisees. 

* understand their inventions: i.e. that they are inventions, etpevgloxeiv, etc., 
are commonly used of the fabrication of heresy, e.g. c.jir.1.3, 4, 8, 21, etc. 



EPISTLE FOUR 181 

son, and there are two brothers, he and the Word. And if the 
Spirit is of the Son, and the Spirit receives all things from the 
Son, as the Son himself said and inasmuch as it was he who 
gave him to the disciples by breathing upon them (for you 
too acknowledge these things): then the Father is a grand- 
father and the Spirit is his grandson. It isjustthatyou should 
be questioned from the same Scriptures with the same ques- 
tions to which you in your questioning ask answer from us. 
If you deny those things which are written, then you can no 
longer be called Christians, 3 and it is just for us who are 
Christians to be questioned by you. But if you read the same 
Scriptures as we read, then must you likewise be questioned 
about the same by us. Tell us, therefore, and do not hesitate, 
whether the Spirit is a son and the Father a grandfather. But 
if, as did the Pharisees of old, you too reason and say among 
yourselves, If we say that he is a son, we shall hear the 
question, Where is it written ? If we say, he is not a son, we 
fear lest they say to us, How then is it written 4 : 'We re- 
ceived not the spirit of the world but the Spirit which is of 
God' 5 ? But if, when you debate these things among your- 
selves, you too say, We do not know : then must he of whom 
you ask these questions be silent also, in obedience to him 
who says : 'Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou 
also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, 
lest he be wise in his own conceit.' 6 Silence is the answer 
most appropriate to you, that you may realize your own 
ignorance. 

3. Once again, in the following way also, it is just for you 
to be questioned from the questions you ask. If the pro- 

2 s no longer be called Christians: cf. de Dec.\5: 'If then they deny Scripture, 
they are at once aliens to their name, and may fitly be called of all men 
atheists.' 

* How then is it written: If the Tropici really believe that for the Spirit to 
be proper to God He must be God's Son, they will find themselves at once 
without Scriptural authority for so calling Him, and yet committed to it by 
the other expressions Scripture uses of Him. The argument is developed 
further in the following sections. 

* 1 Corinthians 2n. 

* Proverbs 26*-«. cf. Gregory of Nyssa, e.Mac.X. 



182 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

phets speak in the Spirit of God, and the Holy Spirit 
prophesies in Isaiah, 1 as has been shown in our previous 
writings, then the Spirit is a word of God, and there are two 
Words, the Spirit and the Son. For it was when the Word 
came upon them that the prophets used to prophesy. 
Furthermore, in addition to these things, if all things were 
made through the Word and 'without him was not anything 
made', 2 and if 'the Lord by Wisdom founded the earth' 3 and 
'in Wisdom' 4 made all things; and if it is written, as has 
been shown in our previous writings, 'Thou shalt send forth 
thy Spirit and they shall be created' 5 — then either the Spirit 
is the Word, or God has made all things in two Persons, 6 
both in Wisdom and in the Spirit. How then does Paul say: 
'One God . . . of whom are all things, and one Lord through 
whom are all things' 7 ? Again, if the Son is an 'image of the 

3 1 in Isaiah: Apparently he is thinking of Isaiah 61i, though he does not 
refer to it in this connexion in 1.31(142). 

2 John Is. 8 Proverbs 3m. 4 Psalm 10424. 

5 Psalm 104»o. cf. supra 1.24(124) and 111.4(174). 

* two Persons: iv 8vol. Athanasius has, of course, no word for Person. In his 
early works (Exp.Fid., 2 and In Mud, Omnia, 6) we find the expression rgeig 
vjtoardaeig. But it is abandoned in the later writings, possibly in deference to 
the anathema of Nicaea, which takes iWotoot? as equivalent to ovoCa, perhaps 
under the influence of Western usage, cf. ad AfrA. vtpurrdvai, however, still 
continues to be a characteristic Athanasian term for expressing the true sub- 
sistence of the Persons in Godhead. See supra 1.28(135). The use of rgeig 
vjioaraoeu; is acknowledged as permissible {Tom. adJnt.S). It is also to be found 
in the received text of de Incet c.Ar.10; but, apart from the question of 
authenticity, there may be reason to doubt the reading. (Felckmann rejected 
it.) See Robertson, Intro.xxxii. It is surely a mistake to conclude, from the in- 
adequacy of his terminology, that the maintenance of the distinct Personality 
of the Son and Spirit was for Athanasius the great problem of theology. That 
distinction was datum for him no less than for the Origenists. If the inter- 
pretation of the dftoovaiov suggested above, on II. 3, be accepted, the Nicene 
Council raised not that question, but, in a very pressing way, that of the 
unity of the three co-equal Persons. Nothing in these letters or in c.Ar.\-\W 
suggests that Athanasius felt that his orthodoxy could be impugned as to 
the true hypostasis of the Son or the Spirit. His very indiscretions (cf. supra 
on 1.20.116) testify to the lightness of his conscience. If he here touches for 
a moment on the possibility of the identification of Son and Spirit, it is not 
because he believes his own doctrine to need defence against such an imputa- 
tion, but simply as yet another absurdity to which his opponents may be 
reduced. ' 1 Corinthians 86. 



EPISTLE FOUR 183 

invisible Father', 8 and the Spirit is an image of the Son 9 — for 
it is written, 'Whom he foreknew he also foreordained to be 
conformed to the image of his Son' 10 — then, according to 
this, the Father is a grandfather. And if the Son came in the 
name of the Father, and the Son says, 'The Holy Spirit whom 
the Father shall send in my name' u — then thus also is the 
Father a grandfather. What have you to say to this, you who 
have a glib answer to everything ? 12 What are you reasoning 
among yourselves ? Do you find fault with such questions, 
now that you see yourselves at a loss? First blame your- 
selves, for you were used to ask them, and harken to the 
Scriptures, and, if you are at a loss for words, become 
learners at last. In the Scriptures the Spirit is not called son 
but Holy Spirit and Spirit of God. As the Spirit is not called 
son, so neither is it written of the Son that he is the Holy 
Spirit. If then the Spirit is not called son, nor is it written 
that the Son is the Spirit, 13 is the faith in contradiction to the 
truth ? God forbid ! It is rather that each of the above- 
mentioned terms 14 has its proper meaning. The Son is an 
offspring proper to the essence and nature of the Father; 
that is the sense the term bears. The Spirit, who is said to be 
of God and is in God, is not alien to the nature of the Son 15 
nor to the Godhead of the Father. Therefore there is in the 

3 8 Colossians lu. 

• image of the Son: cf. supra on 1.20(115) and 24(127). 

10 Romans 839. u John 14s«. 

11 a glib answer: cf. supra on 1.18(106). 

18 that the Son is the Spirit: Translating with Montfaucon, as though 
Athanasius had written ovd' on 6 Ylog iaxi to Ilvevfia. All MSS. read Yi6g 
without the article, which makes the clause simply repeat what precedes. The 
whole sentence is obviously determined by the previous and requires a 
reference to the Son here. 

14 the above-mentioned terms: for this use of arjftaivdfievoQ, see the examples 
in V.G.1 . yvcoacg here, in the sense of 'meaning', is unusual. But see Plato 
(Theaetetus 206b); and cf. Didymus (de 7ViVi.II.460c): larjv exetv inlyvcoaiv. 

11 not alien to the nature of the Son: Nothing in these letters shows more 
clearly than this how unstudied are the references in Athanasius to the pro- 
cession of the Spirit. Here he is in urgent need of a term which shall distin- 
guish the relation of the Spirit to the Father, as yiwr\fia in the previous 
sentence distinguishes that of the Son. Yet neither here nor elsewhere in this 
letter does he employ itatoQBveoOai. 



184 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

Triad — in Father and in Son and in the Holy Spirit himself 
— one Godhead, and in the same Triad there is one baptism 
and one faith. Thus when the Father sends the Spirit, it is the 
Son who, by breathing upon them, gives him to the disciples. 
For 'all things whatsoever the Father hath' 16 belong to the 
Son. When the Word came to the prophets, they used to 
prophesy by the Spirit, as it is written and we have shown. 
And : 'By the Word 17 of the Lord the heavens were estab- 
lished, and by the Spirit of his mouth is all their power.' 

4. Thus the Spirit is not a creature but proper to the 
essence of the Word and proper to God in whom he is said 
to be. Once more, we must not shrink from repeating our- 
selves. Though the Holy Spirit is not called son, yet he is not 
outside the Son. For he is called 'Spirit of sonship' 1 ; and as 
Christ is 'the Power of Cod and the Wisdom of God', 2 it is 
fitly said of the Spirit that he is 'Spirit of Wisdom' 3 and 
'Spirit of Power'. 4 When we partake of the Spirit we have 
the Son ; and when we have the Son, we have the Spirit, as 
Paul said, crying in our hearts: 'Abba Father !' 5 But seeing 
that the Spirit is of God and is said by Scripture to be in him 
('The things of God none knoweth save the Spirit of God 
which is in him' 6 ) and that the Son has said, 'I am in the 
Father and the Father in me' 7 — why have not these two the 
same name, but the one is Son and the other Spirit ? If any- 
one asks such a question, 8 he must be mad. For he is search- 

3 1 ' John 16i». 

" And: 'By the Word . . .': The true reading, found in all MSS., is rendered 
here. By omitting teat, Montfaucon suggests that Psalm 33s exemplifies what 
precedes. Actually, Athanasius gives three proofs of the unity of Godhead : 
the Spirit is sent both by Father and Son; the Son and Spirit work as one in 
the inspiration of prophecy and, again, in creation. It should be noticed once 
more that it is the Spirit's work in creation rather than in sanctification that 
is urged here. 

4 1 Romans 8is. * 1 Corinthians In. 8 Isaiah 11a. 

4 Wisdom 52s and 1 ho. 5 Galatians 4e. * 1 Corinthians 2n. 

* John 14io. 

8 such a question: Athanasius here argues for the terms 'Son' and 'Spirit' 
what later writers, notably Didymus (de Trin.ll.447, etc.), argue for yewriaiq 
and ixndQEvoiQ. The difference of term attests a real difference, even though 
it is impossible to define it. 

( 



EPISTLE FOUR 185 

ing the unsearchable and disobeying the Apostle when he 
says: 'For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who 
hath been his counsellor?' 9 Moreover, who shall dare to 
rename what God has named? Otherwise, let him bestow 
names on the things of creation ! Let them tell us, since 
creation came into being by one and the same fiat, why one 
thing is sun, another heaven, earth, sea, air. But if the fools 
find this impossible — for each thing remains as it was orig- 
inated — much more have the things above the creation an 
eternal stability. 10 And it is not otherwise than that the 
Father is Father and not grandfather, and the Son is Son of 
God and not father of the Spirit, and the Holy Spirit Holy 
Spirit and not grandson of the Father or brother of the Son. 
5. These things being thus proved, he must be mad who 
asks, Is the Spirit also a son ? But neither let any man, be- 
cause this is not written, separate him from the nature of 
God and from that which is proper to God. 1 As it is written, 
let him believe and not say, Why thus and not thus? Lest 
from reasoning about these things he take counsel and say, 
Where then is God? And lest finally he hear the words: 
'The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.' 2 The 
traditions of the faith are not to be known by impertinent 
scrutiny. 8 When the disciples heard the words, 'Baptizing 
them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the 
Holy Spirit', 4 they did not ask impertinently, why the Son 
comes second and the Spirit third, or why the whole is a 

4* Romans II34. 

10 an eternal stability: To Athanasius the notion of a Father-Grandfather, 
etc., involves the loss of immutability, as well as of simplicity, in God. Such 
a combination of relationships cannot be conceived out of the realm of tem- 
porality and contingency. The Father cannot be both father and grandfather, 
but only now father and now grandfather. 

5 1 that which is proper to God: For idiorrjs here cf. c:Ar.l.6, III. 5, 6, etc., 
Basil, £/>.xxrviii.5 and lii.3. 

1 Psalm 14i. 

3 by impertinent scrutiny: So dneQiigyaarov here, not 'inscrutable' but 
'apart from idle curiosity', retaining the usual, unfavourable, sense of 
negiegydCeadai, as in Basil (Hexaem.Il.5): rov axotovg rr/v Svvoiav dnXwg xal 
aJTEQiegydarcoQ . ■ ■ ixdE^wfiEBa. 

4 Matthew 28i». 



186 THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 

Triad. But as they heard, so they believed. They did not ask, 
as do you, Is the Spirit then a son? Nor, when the Lord 
spoke of the Spirit after the Son, did they ask, Is the Father 
then a grandfather? For they did not hear 8 'into the name of 
the grandfather', but 'into the name of the Father'. They 
came to sound conclusions and preached this faith every- 
where. For it was not to be put otherwise than as the 
Saviour put it, that he himself is the Son, and that the other 
is the Holy Spirit. Nor was it right to change the order in 
which they have been ranked together. This holds good of 
the Father also. As it is not lawful to speak of him in any 
other way than as Father, so it is impious to ask whether the 
Son is the Spirit or the Spirit a son. For this cause Sabellius 6 
was judged a stranger to the Church, because he dared to 
apply to the Father the title, Son, and to the Son the name 
of the Father. After this, will anyone still dare to say, when 
he hears the words son and spirit, Is the Father then a 
grandfather? Or, Is the Spirit then a son? Yes, they will 
dare, the Eunomii and the Eudoxii and the Eusebii ! 7 When 
once they affect the Arian heresy, they will not keep their 
tongues from impiety. Who delivered these things to them ? 
Who was their teacher? Certainly no one taught them out of 
the divine Scriptures. It was out of the abundance of their 
hearts this folly came. 

5 6 they did not bear . . .: cf. supra on 1.15(99). 

• Sabellius: Athanasius is quick to make capital out of the resemblance 
between the Son who becomes the Spirit's father and the Father who be- 
comes a son in His self-manifestation, the vlondrcog of Sabellius. It is a bold 
debating point, for the two heresies were justly considered to be at opposite 
poles, cf. Basil, de Sp.S.59. 

7 the Eunomii and the Eudoxii and the Eusebii: No doubt, these three names 
are chosen for the sake of the alliteration. But Eudoxius, whom Athanasius 
regarded as the leader of the 'political' Arians, together with Acacius and 
Patrophilus (see de Syn.l, 38, etc.), was at this time the patron of Eunomius, 
the principal representative of the new 'ideological' Arianism. The reference 
to the Eusebii is suggested by Acacius, the disciple and successor of Eusebius 
of Caesarea. But it also expresses Athanasius's conviction that the new 
Arianism and the old are continuous. In Homoeans and Anomoeans he sees 
his old foes the Eusebii of Nicomedia and Caesarea still alive. For his animosity 
toward the latter, cf. de Syn.13. 



EPISTLE FOUR 187 

6. For if you ask, Is the Spirit then a son ?, since, by our 
showing, he is not a creature — so must you ask, Is the Son 
then a father ?, for you have learned that he is not a creature 
inasmuch as through him things originate were created. 1 
Or it may run thus : Is the Spirit then the Son and the Son 
himself the Holy Spirit? But if this be their opinion, they 
will be cut off from the holy Triad 2 and will be judged to be 
godless, 3 inasmuch as they change the names of Father, Son 
and Holy Spirit, transposing them at will on the analogy of 
human generation, calling them grandchildren and grand- 
fathers, and remaking for themselves the genealogies of the 
gods of the pagans. This is not the faith of the Church ; but, 
as the Saviour said, it is into Father, Son and Holy Spirit — 
Father who cannot be called grandfather, Son who cannot be 
called father, and Holy Spirit who is named by no other 
name 4 than this. Of this faith it is not permissible to inter- 
change the terms. 6 The Father is always Father, and the 
Son always Son, and the Holy Spirit is and is called always 
Holy Spirit. In human relations 6 it is not so, despite the 
Arians' delusions. 7 As it is written, 'God is not as man', 8 so 
we might say, Men are not as God. For in the case of men 
the father is not always a father nor the son always a son. 
The same man becomes father of a son, who was himself 
another's son ; and the son, being his father's son, becomes 
another's father. Abraham, for example, being son of Nahor, 
became father of Isaac; and Isaac, being son of Abraham, 

6 1 inasmuch as through Him . . .: cf. supra 1.24(127) and 111.4(174), and 
see Newman's note on c.Ar.ll.21. 

2 cut off from the Holy Triad: cf . de Dec.2 init., x&v re voficov xai rijg . , . 
enayyeMaq efio yeyovaai. 

8 godless: See supra on 1.30(140). Here again it obviously means no more 
than pagan. 

4 by no other name: cf . Basil (de Sp.S.22) : nvev/xa ayiov tf xvgla avzov xai 
idid^ovaa xXfjaiQ. 

6 to interchange the terms: cf. Basil (Ep.ccMA): Idlav toic ovo/iaai zd£iv 
Imvoeiv (and also lii.4). 

6 In human relations: See supra I.16(101f.) and the notes there. 

' the Arians'' delusions: i.e. that human and divine relationships are strictly 
analogous; and not the converse, as the form of the sentence seems to suggest. 

8 Numbers 23io. 



188 



THE LETTERS OF ST. ATHANASIUS 



became father of Jacob. Each, being a part of his sire, is be- 
gotten a son, and becomes himself another's father. But with 
the Godhead it is not so; for, 'God is not as man*. Thus the 
Father is not from a father; wherefore he begets not one who 
should become another's father. Nor is the Son a part of the 
Father; wherefore he is not a thing begotten to beget a son. 9 
Hence in the Godhead alone the Father is and was and al- 
ways is, because he is Father in the strict sense, and Only 
Father. The Son is Son in the strict sense, and Only Son. 
And of them it holds good that the Father is and is called 
always Father, and the Son, Son ; and the Holy Spirit is al- 
ways Holy Spirit, whom we have believed to be of God and 
to be given from the Father through the Son. Thus the holy 
Triad remains incapable of alteration, and is known in one 
Godhead. Wherefore he who asks, Is the Spirit then a son ?, 
as though the name could be altered, is deluded and infects 
himself with madness. And he who asks, Is the Father then a 
grandfather ?, by inventing a new name for the Father, errs 
in his heart. It is not safe to make any further answer to the 
effrontery of the heretics, for that is to oppose the Apostle's 
injunction. 10 It is good rather to give the counsel he 
commanded. 

7. These things are sufficient to refute your foolish 
speech. Mock no more at the Godhead. For it is the part of 
those who mock to ask the questions which are not written 
and to say, So the Spirit is a son and the Father a grand- 
father ? So scoffs he of Caesarea and he of Scythopolis. 1 It is 

6* a thing begotten to beget a son: The phrase must be taken together as a 
whole. Athanasius has no objection to yewrjfta in itself, cf. supra on 1.20(116). 

10 injunction: i.e. Titus 3io, as above in 1. This constitutes a definite 
instruction to Serapion to break off relations with all who continued to speak 
of ndjinog and exyovoz. The only alternatives for such people are silence or 
excommunication. 

7 1 he of Caesarea and he of Scythopolis: Acacius and Patrophilus. The latter 
was prevented by ill health from taking an active part in the proceedings at 
Seleucia in the autumn of 359. But a formal record of the Dated Creed, as 
amended and promulgated at Constantinople in the following year, was sent 
to him. See Socrates (//.£. II. 39 and 43). This creed follows the line of that 
which Acacius presented at Seleucia in emphasizing the mission of the Spirit 
in antithesis to the generation of the Son. The implications of this may well 



EPISTLE FOUR 189 

sufficient 2 for you to believe that the Spirit is not a creature, 
but is Spirit of God; and that in God there is a Triad, Father, 
Son and Holy Spirit. There is no need to use the name 
Father of the Son ; nor is it lawful to say that the Spirit is the 
Son, nor that the Son is the Holy Spirit. But as we have said, 
so it is. The Godhead which is in this Triad is one; and there 
is one faith and one baptism given therein. And one is the 
initiation in Jesus Christ our Lord: through whom and with 
whom to the Father with the Holy Spirit 3 be glory and power 
to all ages of ages. Amen. 

7* (continued) 

have been defended by the ndnnos argument at the time when this letter was 
written. It is unlikely that Patrophilus survived these events by any long time. 
His remains were violated by a pagan mob during the reign of Julian. Theo- 
phanes in his Chronographia (Migne, Pat.Gr. 108. 156) and the Chronicon 
AUxandrinum (j£»<i.92.740) suggest that the outrage took place shortly after 
that emperor's accession in November 361. Epiphanius, indeed, seems to 
suggest (//a«\lxxiii.24) that his successor, Philip, was actually appointed at 
Seleucia ! 

* It is sufficient . . .: Takes up again, at the end of the letter, the statement 
in 1.1. There is no question of imposing a theology upon the Tropici. They 
are only asked to desist from repeating their offensive opinions. 

' with the Holy Spirit: aim dylq) Ilved/ian. This accords with Athanasius's 
assertion (ad JovAjin.): '. . . rather glorified Him together with the Father 
and the Son.' But elsewhere there is only one certain instance of Athanasius 
using aim ayUa Ilvev/xam in a doxology (ad Amun.Jin). In de Dec.32 we find 
&fia, and one preposition or the other must have been used in Ep.Heort.xix 
(for 347, the last complete letter we possess). In Quic.dix.16 the text is cor- 
rupt — RSP read aim and h&fta, but the original reading of BA is irrecoverable, 
and may well have been h. On the other hand, we find iv dy(q> tlvevfian in 
de Inc.Sl, ad Episc.23, de Fug.27, and in Ep.Heort.i, ii, iii, vii. The alternative 
forms of the doxology were, of course, the immediate cause of the writing of 
the de Sp.S. of Basil, cf. ibid. 3 and 58-68. 



INDEX OF WORDS AND SUBJECTS 

xvglcog, 101 

light, analogy of, 37, 102, 109-10 

manuscripts of Athanasius, 43-9 



aytwtjxog : 

applied to the Spirit, 96-7 
applied to the Trinity, 120 
dva)M<DTos, 129-30 
angels, 86 et seq., 131-2, 157 
dvdfioio;. used of the Spirit, 28, 80 
&TQ&tTOS, 129-30 



baptism, 137-41 

correspondence of Athanasius and 
Serapion : 

authenticity of, 13-14 

date, 16-18 
creatures : 

from nothing, 120-1 

sanctified by Spirit, 122-3 

sealed by Spirit, 124-5 

partakers of Spirit, 125-6 

capable of change, 129-30 

located in space, 131-2 
creed, Nicene, 18, 159, 163 
creeds, 18-19, 163 

SiddeoiQ, 58 

'economy', 163 
evigyeia, 94, 110-11, 116 

faith, 139, 141 

fountain, analogy of, 108-9, 152 

q/vaiq, 118 

generation in God and man distin- 
guished, 101 

■yiwrjfta, 116 

God, the Father, His Fatherhood 
denied by Arians, 60 

'God', peculiarly the title of the Father, 
100 

God, properties of, 160 et seq. 

God, unity of, 42, 62-3, 94, 134, 
153 

image, analogy of, 40, 102-3, 115 
tooc, 97 



dfiouwatog, 22-4, 155 
Sfioiog, 104, 154-5, 159 
6/ioovau>Q, 133, 150-1, 154-5, 159 

nagadefyfiara, 108-9, 115-16 
nvev/ia : 

anarthrous use of, 68 et seq. 

Scriptural use of, 77-9 

reason, 114 

relationships, analogy of human, 97, 
101-2 

Scripture : 

as used by Tropici and Macedonians, 
29-31 

argument from silence of, 91 

principles of interpretation of, 77, 80 

scope of, 162 
seal, analogy of, 40, 123-4, 126, 171-2 
Son of God, the : 

creator, 82-3 

generation of, 101 

in the Father, 119, 153 

from the Father, 99 et seq. 

in the Spirit, 119 

likeness to the Father, 155 

only begotten, 42, 97 

not a creature, 162 

Wisdom of God, 112, 152 

Word of God, 99, 152-4 

unity with Father, 154-5 

incarnation of, 65-6, 81, 145-6, 167-8 

ignorance of, 166-7 

sinlessness of, 168 

Messiahship of, 165 
Spirit, the Holy : 

activity in creation, 37, 82-3, 127, 
171 

in sanctification, 37-40, 82-3, 123 



191 



192 



INDEX OF WORDS AND SUBJECTS 



Spirit, the Holy— contj. 
Spirit of the Son, 35, 65, 97-8, 128-9 
in the Son, 42, 110-11, 119 
coactive with the Son, 110-19 
yet not a son, 97 et seq., 128-9, 185-7 
not a creature, 104 
from God, 121 
incapable of change, 129-30 
Godhead of, 35, 142-3 
procession of, 19, 35, 40-3, 64-5, 
.97-8, 117-18, 119, 183 ' 

mission of, 41, 117 
Spirit of prophecy, 143-6 
and the incarnation, 145-6, 175 



*dfa, 118 

TavroTjjf, 140, 154-5 

BeonotTjacg, 38-9, 125-6, 158 

tradition, 104, 133-4 

tQidg, 114 

Trinity, 63, 82-3, 93-J, in, 134 

et seq. 
tropes, 31, 76-7, 85 

Un i91 > -2 anal ° gy ° f ' 4 °' ,23 ~ 4 ' 
wiae%t7o-, c , 29, 33-4, 97 
vndo^tq, 135 
vndaxaau;, 115, 182 



INDEX OF NAMES 



Acacius, 18, 22, 23, 61, 186, 188 

Aetius, 17, 32, 33, 34, 135, 136, 139 

Ammianus Marcellinus, 58 

Anastasius Sinaiticus, 147 

Angus, S. A., 128 

Anomoeans, 19, 22, 25, 32, 34, 42, 63, 

67, 137, 139, 155 
Antony, 58 

Apollinarius, 16, 100, 166 
Apollonius Dyscolus, 88 
Arians, 16, 17, 19, 31, 32, 59, 61, 62, 

63, 65, 87-8, 102-3, 105, 137, 150, 

154, 162-9 
Aristotle, 101, 108, 112, 123, 138, 155 
Arius, 18, 20, 31, 60, 66, 130, 136 
Arrian, 85 
Artemius, 17 
Asterius, 42, 64, 97 
Athanasius : 

allegory, use of, 77, 85 

correspondence with Serapion, 11-13 

distaste for controversy, 60-1 

greatness as theologian, 34-5, 43, 1 10 

movements and activity during third 
exile (356-61), 16-17, 59 

repeats himself, 110 

self-depreciation, 61 

Tropici, his attitude to, 33, 104-6, 
179-80, 188 

writings on the Spirit subsequent to 
these letters, 14-16 
Athenagoras, 87 

Basil of Ancyra, 18, 22, 23 

Basil the Great, 14, 21, 26, 27, 32, 36, 

58, 60. 97, 134, 137, 142 
Blass, Fr., 69 
Boissonade, J. Fr., 76 
Bright, W., 15, 59 
Burton, E. de Witt, 69 
Butterworth, G. W., 125, 158 

Chase, F. H., 141 
Cicero, 76 

Clement of Alexandria, 36, 38, 64, 145, 
158 

s.a. — 13 



Constantius, 119 

Cyprian, 139 

Cyril of Alexandria, 166 

Cyril of Jerusalem, 19, 37-8, 82 

Didymus, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 60, 67, 
68-9, 70, 77, 90, 97, 1 11, 126, 137, 1 84 
Dio Cassius 61 
Diogenes Laertius, 85 
Dionysius of Alexandria, 77, 140 
Dionysius of Halicarnassus, 85 
Dionysius of Rome, 120, 152, 162 
Doxopater, 43, 44, 46, 48 
Draseke, J., 43 
Duncan, G. S., 69 

Eleusius, 22, 25, 26 
Erasmus, 11, 13, 14 
Eudoxius, 18, 22, 23, 25, 186 
Eunomius, 17, 29, 32, 33, 34, 66, 82, 

96-7, 114, 136, 152, 170, 186 
Eusebius of Caesarea, 19, 20, 21, 31, 41, 

61, 64, 67, 108, 109, 186 
Eusebius of Nicomedia, 186 
Eustathius of Antioch, 66, 162, 166 
Eustathius of Sebaste, 22, 23, 25, 26, 

60,104 

Felckmann, Peter, 11, 12, 14, 17,43, 182 

George of Alexandria, 16, 17, 32 

Gifford, E. H„ 77 

Gregory of Nazianzus, 97, 177 

Gregory of Nyssa, 36, 67 

Grenfell, B. P., 58 

Gwatkin, H. M., 66, 137, 151 

Harnack, A., 18, 19, 20, 21, 36, 38, 39, 
82, 87, 1 14, 125, 134, 1 39, 154, 158, 168. 
Hermas, 87 
Hiercas, 102 
Hilary, 22 
HoU, K., 27 
Homoeans, 19, 22 
Homoiousians, 25, 26, 33 
Hoss, C, 15, 154, 168 
Hunt, A. S., 58 



193 



194 



INDEX OF NAMES 



Idatius, 15 

Ignatius of Antioch, 39 

Irenaeus, 36, 38, 39, 40, 124-5 

Jebb, R. C, 98 
John of Damascus, 41 
Johnston, C. F. H., 71 
Justin Martyr, 36, 87 
Justinian, 88 

Langen, 41 

Lauchert, F., 42 

Le Bachelet, F. X., 16, 167 

Le Quien, P. M., 102 

Lebreton, J., 35, 166 

Liberius, 25 

Liet2mann, H., 16 

Loofs, F., 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 

31, 32, 123 
Ludwig, C. M. G., 44 

Macdonald, A. J., 69 

Macedonians, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 

30, 31, 32, 34, 60, 67, 74, 80, 82, 96, 

97, 100, 111, 123, 137, 143, 146 
Macedonius, 22, 23, 24, 27, 60 
Manichees, 34, 102 
Maran, D., 116 
Marathonius, 24 
Marcellus, 19, 21, 41, 64, 109, 153, 162, 

169 
Merenda, A. M., 23 
Middleton, 69 
Mingarelli, J. A., 115 
Montfaucon, Bernard, 11, 13, 14, 15, 

16, 41, 43, 45, 59, 61, 66, 73, 85, 88, 

95, 98, 106, 107, 108, 115, 138, 141, 
145, 154, 157, 158, 183, 184 

Nannius, Peter, 11 

Newman, J. H., 59, 76, 80, 93-4, 95, 

96, 97, 102, 110, 116, 137, 152, 154, 
162, 163, 167, 187 

Omnibonus, 11 

Opitz, H. G., 12, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, 125 
Origen, 12, 20, 29, 35, 36, 38, 40, 42, 
69, 77, 108, 124-5, 132, 152 

Patrophilus, 16, 18, 186, 188-9 
Pell, 168 

Philip of Scythopolis, 189 
Philo Judaeus, 142 



Photius, 21 

Phrygians, 137 

Pierius, 21 

Plato, 108, 183 

Plotinus, 99 

Plutarch, 115 

Pneumatomachi, 15, 25, 26, 28, 29, 34, 

91, 97, 137, 148 
Prestige, G. L., 35, 63, 96, 100, 108, 1 1 1, 

114, 118, 133, 135, 136, 140, 155, 167 
Ptolemaeus, 16 

Raven, C. E., 16, 36, 82, 168 
Resch, D. A., 120 

Robertson, A., 16, 20, 38, 58, 66, 81, 
109, 125, 134, 164, 167, 168, 182 

Sabellius, 34, 64, 136, 186 

Sabinus, 24 

Scholz, A., 72 

Scott, E. F., 39 

Sebastian, 17 

Sellers, R. V., 39, 66, 165, 168 

Semiarians, 22, 26, 135 

Serapion, 12, 13, 16, 17, 27, 28, 34, 58, 

59, 150, 179 
Sophocles, 98 
Sophocles, E. A., 147 
Stegmann, A., 48 
Stone, D., 77 
Strabo, 115 

Stuelcken, A., 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 168 
Swete, H. B., 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 

26, 37, 41, 64, 69, 86, 87, 146 

Tatian, 108 

Theognostus, 12, 21, 132 

Theophilus, 36, 130 

Tillemont, L. S. de, 12 

Tollinton, R. B., 38 

Tropici, 13, 27-34, 35, 59-63, 66-7, 

77, 80, 85-6, 88, 95-7, 100, 103-6, 

119, 134, 140, 143, 147 

Ursacius, 22 

Valens, bishop, 22 
Valens, emperor, 25 
Valentinus, 85-6, 146, 157 
Vigilius Tapsensis, 15 
von der Golz, E., 48 

Weigl, E., 15 
Weiss, J., 167 



INDEX OF PATRISTIC REFERENCES 

The numbers in heavy type refer to pages of this book. 



Ambrose, bishop of Milan, c. 339-97 : 
de Spiritu Sancto {de Sp. S.), I. 23 
15; 32 91, 93; 35 140; 47 15; 74 
131; 94 124; 95 15; 140 15; 149- 
50 15; 152 109. II. 14 15; 34 
15; 37 146; 48 66, 81; 50 15, 79; 
130-2 144; 142-III. 40 111; 7 
71; 40-3 78; 81 148 

Apollinarius, bishop of Laodicea, 
c. 310-90 : 
Kara. Megog Illarti (traditionally 
ascribed to Gregory Thauma- 
turgus), iii 100, 126; v 126 

Aristides, apologist, c. 140 : 
apologia {Apol.), 15 146 

Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, 
c. 296-373 : 
ad Adelphium {ad Adelph.), 1 66, 107, 
119; 2 59, 98; 4 39,125; 6 133, 148; 
8169 
ad Afros {ad Afr.), 1 133; 4 135, 182; 
6 66; 7 130, 157; 7-8 155-6; 8 
160; 9 159; 11 14 
ad Amunem {ad Amun.), 189 
Tomus ad Antiochenos {ad Ant.), 3 14, 
19; 5 104, 134, 135; 6 182; 7 164, 
167 
Apologia contra Arianos {Apol.), 6 103, 
154; 17 60; 37 106, 133; 44 154; 
46 60; 49 103; 50 58; 71 60; 73 58; 
75 58 
Apologia ad Constantium {Apol. ad 

Const.), 27 59 
contra Arianos 1— III {c . Ar.) * 
I. 3 66; 5 60, 151; 6 18, 180; 8 66; 
9 125,126,133; 10 19; 11 146; 
11-13 153-4; 14 60, 105, 112, 
152; 14-16 101; 15 99, 100, 118, 
151; 16 39; 17 63, 80; 18 114, 
134-6; 19 152; 20 109; 20-1 
103; 21 101; 22 98, 102; 23 102; 



Athanasius, contra Arianos — contd. 
27108; 28 99, 101; 29 156; 34 
93-4, 138, 139, 153-4; 35 95; 
37 77; 39 125; 41 97, 167; 42 
168; 43 168; 44-7 165; 46 122; 
46-7 39-40; 47-8 35; 50 35, 97; 
53 162; 54 16; 55 159; 57 97; 
58 100 

II. 1 162; 4 161; 6 168; 8 66; 13 
80-1; 14 137; 18 35, 162; 19-21 
82; 20 163; 22 129, 151; 27 133; 
29 139; 32 152; 33 109, 115; 35 
102, 116, 121; 36 109, 151; 38 
63; 41 93-4, 139; 41-3 163; 
42-3 137; 44 162; 46 83; 57 
161; 62 67; 70 125 

III. 1 115; 3 109, 140; 3-6 110, 119; 
4 101, 136, 153; 5 154, 155; 6 
112; 7-8 94; 9 100; 10 109; 11 
101; 14 93; 15 19, 35, 110, 134; 
16 137, 141, 154; 19 112, 125; 
24 35, 112; 26-7 164; 28 19, 
162; 30-5 164; 32-5 66; 33 125, 
126; 42-50 166-7; 44 118; 53 
117, 125; 58 162; 63 116 

de Decretis Nicaenis {de Dec), 1 95, 
140; 2 58, 61, 119, 178, 187; 3 59; 
5 133; 6 160; 8 42, 129; 9 66; 10 
88, 151; 10-12 101; 11 102, 117, 
121, 131, 173; 12 108, 109, 114, 
115, 151; 13 66, 160; 13-14 162-5; 
14 16, 39, 125-6, 168; 15 109, 154, 
181; 17 92, 151, 169; 18-24 159; 
19-20 31; 20 63, 130, 154-5; 21 
161; 22 63; 23 109, 112, 130, 140; 
24 68, 122, 130; 25 108; 26 63; 27 
108, 152; 30 139; 32 189 

ad Dracontium {ad Drac.), 5 91; 7 
68 

ad Epictetum {ad Epict.), 1 180; 6 39; 
7 167; 8 167; 12 61, 150 

ad Episcopos {ad Episc), 1 158; 3 77; 
12 160; 13 114, 137; 14 129; 23 
189 



* Only the more important references to this work are noticed, 
s.a. — 13* 195 



196 



INDEX OF PATRISTIC REFERENCES 



Athanasius — contd. 

Epistola Encyclica {Ep.Enc.),'e 60; 759 
Expositio Fidei {Exp. Fid.), 2 182; 4 64 
de Fuga {de Fug.), 7 59; 13 61; 15 

146; 27 189 
Festal Letters {Ep. Heart), i, ii, iii, vii 

189; xix 176, 189; xxxix 70-1 
contra Gentes (c. G.), 2, 3 77; 41 37, 

125; 47 123 
Historia Arianorum {Hist. Ar.), 71 58; 

72 59 
de Incarnatione {de Inc.), 4 37; 4-10 

122; 4-18 81; 7 81; 8 164, 168; 

10 81; 11 109; 11-16 114; 13 81, 

146; 17 102, 167, 170; 18 84; 20 

110; 21 123; 35 77; 40 84; 41 125; 

54 125; 57 122, 146, 189 
ad Jovianum {adjorv.), 1 104; 4 14, 

104,189 
ad Luciferum {ad Lucif.), II. 59 
ad Maximum {ad Max), 1 59, 61, 

98; 2 125; 5 61 
ad Monachos {ad Mon.), I. 1 61; 2 61, 

114; 3 120, 150 
de MorteArii{de MorteAr.), 1 58; 5 61 
in Mud, 'Omnia mihi tradita ..." {in 

Mud, Omnia), 3 115; 6 182 
Expositio in Fsalmos {Exp. in Psal.), 

lxxvi 2 140 
in Mud, 'Quicunque dixerit . . .' {Quic. 

dix.), 1 12, 61, 150; 2 132; 6~132, 

139; 7 98, 164, 167; 8 65, 66; 10 

97, 146; 11 110, 165; 13 123; 15 

119; 16 12, 148, 189 
ad Rufinianum {ad Ruf.), 1 59 
de Sententia Dionysii {de Sent. Dion.), 

1 58, 59; 2 161; 4 119; 5 136; 9 

120; 17 64; 24 59; 25 103, 108; 

26 103, 136 
de Synodis {de Syn.), 1 186; 6 134; 

13 154, 186; 15 18, 136, 151; 18 

42; 21-30 19; 27 96-7; 29-30 163; 

34 63, 160; 35 121, 135, 151, 169; 

36 138; 38 186; 39 106; 41 22, 

101, 155; 43 27; 45 155; 46 120; 

47 146; 49 97, 135, 153, 156; 51 

101, 125; 53 140, 154-5; 54 141, 

150, 169, 180 

contra Apollinarium {c. Apoll.), spur- 
ious, I. 22 66; II- 2 165 

contra ArianosW {c . Ar. IV), doubtful, 
13 64 



Athanasius — contd. 

de Communi Essentia {de Com. Ess.), 

spurious, 6 69 
Disputatio contra Arium {Disp. c. Ar.), 

spurious, 38 123; 39 131; 40 66 
ad Jovianum {ad Jav.), spurious, 73 
de Incarnatione et contra Arianos {de 

Inc. etc. Ar.), doubtful, 2 16; 6 15, 

162; 7 169; 9-18 14; 9-10 109; 

10 182; 13 121-2; 14 113, 126, 

144; 17 91; 19 134, 158 
dialogus I contra Macedonianum {c. 

Mac. I), spurious, 1 24, 28, 97, 100; 

4 137; 6 29; 8 28; 11 29; 12 143, 

146; 15 29; 17 28, 60; 18 28, 80 
contra Omnes Haereses {c. Omn. 

Haer.), spurious, 5 85 
Dialogus III de Trinitate {Dial. Hide 

Trin.), spurious, 7 158; 9 88, 91; 

14-15 91; 16-19 82; 19 28, 60; 

20 74, 78; 23 143; 24 82, 127; 25 

146; 26 66, 67, 79, 81 
de Trinitate et Spiritu Sane to {de Trin. 

etSp. S.), doubtful, 1 15, 62, 66; 2 

78, 161; 3-5 91; 4 15, 97; 5 14; 

7 134; 8 15, 82, 127; 9 14, 91, 143; 

10 14,15; 10-13 111; 11 14, 16, 

144; 12 14, 15, 126, 146; 15 126, 

148; 16 14; 17 14, 15, 93, 124; 18 

15, 109; 19 14, 15, 109, 112; 20 15, 

66; 21 15 
Vita Antonii {Vit. Ant.), doubtful, 82, 

91 58 
Festal Index {Fest. Ind.), xxv 58 
Historia Acephala {Hist. Aceph.), 3 58 

Athenagoras, apologist, 2nd cent. : 
Legatio {Leg.), 10 110; 24 95 

Augustine, bishop of Hippo, 354-430 : 
de Haeresibus {Haer.), Iii 24 
de Trinitate {de Trin.),XV. xxvi,4796 

Basil, bishop of Cappadocian Caesarea, 
c. 330-79 : 
Epistles {Ep.), viii 26; viii, 6 81 
viii, 6-7 166; viii, 10 21; xxv 104 
xxv, 2 25; xxxviii, 5 115; li 106 
Ixxxi 58; xc 58; xcv 26; xcix 28 
c 58; cv 60, 123; cxiii 104; cxiv 
104; exxv, 3 60, 104; exxx 26; cxl 
25, 60; clxxxviii 137; clxxxix, 5 
142; clxxxix, 6-7 111; clxxxix, 8 



INDEX OF PATRISTIC REFERENCES 



197 



Basil, Epistles — contd. 

94; cciv 21; ccxxvi 133; ccxxvi, 3 
26; ccxxxiv, 2 107; ccxxxvi 166; 
ccxxxviii 98; ccxliv, 9 26; ccli, 4 
187; cclxiii 19; cclxiii, 3 26 

ad'versusEunomium(ad<v.Eun.),I-lIl, 
I. 14 107. II. 7 116; 17 115; 20 
162; 23 101; 24 101; 32 116; 
33 99. III. 1 97, 118; 2 123; 3 75; 
4 83; 5 82, 126; 6 96, 106; 7 33, 
66,81 

Hexaemeron (Hexaem.), II. 5 185 

in Principium Prcmerbiorum (in Prin. 
Prov.), 3 162 

de Spiritu Sancto (de Sp. S.), 3 189 
4-12 135; 7 36; 16 180; 22 187 
23 126; 24 28; 25 60, 63; 26 137 
27 65; 28 93, 137, 139, 140; 29 80, 
86, 94; 29-30 30; 37 HI, 144 
37-40 36; 38 81-3. 122; 40 143 
41 29; 41-7 97; 43 118, 118; 44 
105; 46 136; 48 122, 137; 49 71, 
83; 51 28, 60, 155-6; 52 75; 54 
124, 131; 56 78; 58 189; 58-64 29; 
59 186; 62-4 148; 66 133; 67 134, 
136; 74 21; 79 61 

ad'versus Eunomium (adv. Eun.), IV- 
V, spurious, IV. 704 162. V. 712b 
130; 713a 123; 713b 143; 721 144; 
721b 111; 724 126; 724a 126; 724c 
115, 127; 725b 124; 728a 127; 
728b 111; 728c 117; 733c 128; 
744 91; 744c 126; 745c 146; 752c 
107; 753a 180; 761b 92 

Chronicon Alexandrinum or Pas- 
chale, 7th cent. : 
P.G. 92, 740 189 

John Chrysostom, patriarch of Con- 
stantinople, 354-407 : 
on Ephesians lio 141 
on 1 Timothy Jm 94 

Clement, of Alexandria, c. 145-212 : 
Paedagogus (Paed.), I. 1 145 
Stromateis (Strom.), VII. xvii, 108 133 

Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, c. 200- 
58: 
de Idolorum Sanitate (de idol. <uan.), 
11146 



Cyprian — contd. 

Epistles (Ep.), bdx, 2 139; lxxiii, 5 
139; lxxiii, 7 139; lxxiv, 18 139 

Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, d. 444 : 
in Johannem (in Joh.), III. iv 76 
Ep. I ad Successum (ad Succ), P.G. 

77, 233c 168 
Thesaurus, XXII. passim 166 
de Trinitate (de Trin.), VII. 1080b 
138; 1080c 122; 1089b 127; 1089c 
126; 1096 144; 1104d 91; 1105b 
131; 1108 66; 1108a 31; 1108d 
127; 1112 143 

Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, c. 315-86: 
Catecheses (Cat.), iv, 1 134; 2 134; 

4 130; 16 19, 82, 126. v, 6 139. 
xi, 19 108. xvi, 2 19; 3 82; 4 141; 

5 19; 13-15 77; 23 167; 24 19; 31 
72. xx, 6 139. xxiii, 6 157 

Damasus, bishop of Rome, c. 304-84 : 
ad Paulinum, 22 

Didymus, of Alexandria, c. 313-98 : 
Enarratio in "Johannis Epistulam 

Primam (Enarr. in Joh.), 4, 1-2 69 
de Spiritu Sancto (de Sp. S.), 1 61; 2 

72; 3 69; 5 130, 132; 6 33, 131; 7 

S3; 13 33; 14-15 30, 66; 14-16 34; 

15 68, 69, 80; 16 142; 16-17 36; 

16-25 111; 21 112; 22 124; 24-5 

112-13; 25 123, 126; 25-38 117; 

26 71; 29 93, 144; 30 91; 31 146; 

32 33; 38 34, 160; 39 74; 43-53 

91; 45 34; 54-9 77; 58 31; 59 34; 

60-1 112-13; 62 33, 99; 64 148 

de Trinitate (de Trin.), I. 280a 96; 
340a 116; 341a 24; 356 93; 400b 
99; 437a 23, 24; 440b 93. II. 447 
184; 447c 97; 448c 96; 452a 117; 
453b 70; 456a 81; 457c 69; 460a 
122, 183; 461a 114; 465a 115; 
476a 31; 477c 99; 481c 126; 484 
133; 492c 97, 100; 500 144; 504b 
113, 115; 508b 120; 508c 120-1; 
512b 130; 513b 96; 516c 81; 524a 
132; 525a 112-13, 123, 124; 529a 
123; 540b 132; 545c 122; 547c 86; 
548a 28; 548b 29, 86; 548c 30, 93, 
96; 549a 113; 552a 101; 553a 133, 
157; 553b 109; 559c 74; 560b 78, 



198 



INDEX OF PATRISTIC REFERENCES 



DlDYMUS, de Trinitate — contd. 

79; 560-600 111; 564b 28; 564c 
28; 565c 83; 568a 123; 569b 83; 
569c 127; 572c 81; 573b 143; 576b 
28, 60; 600c 28; 604d 24, 28; 
605a 31; 613c 24; 619c 60; 620a 
28; 620c 24; 628b 31, 88; 629 90; 
629b 91, 140; 632a 24; 632b 29; 
633a 24, 143; 636a 126; 640c 113; 
641b 96; 648a 101; 652c 72; 673 
137; 673b 96; 720a 137; 729b 91, 
143; 741a 148; 743b 133; 748a 96; 
748c 112, 126. III. 793b 120; 816 
162; 917 166; 949b 30; 951 66-7; 
953a 68 

ps. Dionysius 'the Areopagite', 4th- 
5th cent.? : 
de caelesti Hierarchia (de cael. hier.), 
vi, 2 157 

Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis, c. 315- 
403: 
Ancoratus (Arte), 6 118; 9 126; 68-70 

111; 71 88, 110; 72 77; 119 134 
Expositio Fidei (Exp. Fid.), 13 137 
contra Haereses or Panarion (Haer.), 

box, 7 109-10; 12 162; 21 162; 

50 31, 85. lxxiii, 1 22; 23 23; 24 

189; 26 16; 27 23. Ixxiv, 8 66. 

Ixxvi, 8116; fin. 139 

Eunomius, Anomoean bishop of Cy- 
zicus, died c. 355 : 
Liber Apologeticus (Lib. Apol.), 17 
116; 24 19, 33; 27 82; 28 162 

Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, c. 263- 
339: 
Demonstratio E'vangelica (Dem. 

E'vang.), IV. 3, 1 109 
Historia Ecclesiastics. (H.E.), I. 6 

130. VII. 7 130, 140 
contra Marcellum (c. Marc), I. 1 

136. II. 2 109; 3 162 
Ecclesiastica Theologia (Eccl. Theol.), 

I. 20-30 112. II. 10 169. III. 61; 

2 83, 162; 4 64; 4-5 19; 9 153 

Facundus, bishop of Ermiana, 6th 
cent. : 
Pro Defensione trium Capitulorum 
(Pro Def. Tr. Cap.), P.L. 67, 793 
166 



Gregory, of Nazianzus, c. 330-90 : 
Orations (Oral.), xxviii, 31 157, 
xxix, 2 116. xxx, 2 162; 15 166 
20 102-3. xxxi, 1 60; 4 126; 5 21 
6 116; 7 96, 99; 8 96, 106, 108 
12 65; 17-20 29, 97; 20 29; 25 85 
143; 25-8 29, 91; 26 177; 29 126 
32 115. xl, 18 etc. 73. xU, 8 26 
9 126. xlii, 27 95. xliii, 69 142 

Gregory, of Nyssa, c. 335-94 : 

contra Apollinarium (c. Apoll.), 24 166 
in Cantica (in Cant.), XV. 1100a 157 
ad'versus Eunomium (ad'v. Eun.), 

II. 540c 124; 557 97; 564b 111; 

564d 122. III. 573 162; 584b 162; 

608c 116. X. 828a 106; 828c 107 
de Fide (de Fid.), fin. 66, 81 
ad'versus Macedonianos (ad'v. Mac), 

I 181; 2 28; 6 29, 65, 118; 10 118; 

I I 28, 82; 13 36, 83; 15 28; 17 28; 
23 126 

Gregory Thaumaturgus, of Neo- 
caesarea in Pontus, c. 213-70 : 
Confession (Conf.), 115 

Hermas, of Rome, 2nd cent. : 
Pastor Mandata (Mand.), vi, 2 95 
Similitudines (Sim.), v, 6 146 

Hilary, bishop of Poictiers, c. 315- 
67: 
de Synodis (de Syn.), 16 162; 72 22 
de Trinitate (de Trin.), II. 26 146. 
IV. 11 162. VII. 31 94. XII. 35 162 

Hippolytus, of Rome, 3rd cent. : 
ad'versus Noetum (adv. Noet.), 10 

152; 11 108 
Refutatio (Ref.), I. 19 142. V. 21 157. 
VI. 30 146 

Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, c. 130- 
200: 
contra Haereses (Haer.), I. Praef. 61; 
iv, 5 86-7; v, 2 157. II. xiii, 5 110; 
xvii, 4 110; xxviii, 2 106; xxviii, 
6-8 166. III. xvii 39; xvii, 1 40; 
xvii, 3 40; xviii 39; xviii, 3 40. IV. 
Praef. 86; vii, 4 88, 115; xvii, 1 
176; xx, 3-1 112. V. i 39; i, 1 40; 
i, 2-3 146; vi, 1 39-40; vi, 2 40; 
vii, 1 89; viii, 1 40; ix, 1 126 



' 



< 






INDEX OF PATRISTrC REFERENCES 



199 



Jerome, born in Pannonia, c. 345 : 
Chronkon {Chron.), P.L. 27, 499 23 
Epistles (Ep.), cxix, 11 {P.L. 22, 979) 

120 
de Viris Illustribut {de Vir. III.), 99 
59 

Justin Martyr, born at Nablus in 
Samaria, c. 165 : 
Apologia Prima {Apol. Prima), 6 87; 

33 148 
Apologia Secunda {Apol. Sec), 5 95; 

6 101 
Dialogus cum Tryphone (Trypn.), 56 
88; 61 110; 128 110 

John, bishop of Antioch, died 448 : 
Epistles {Ep.), I. 2 58 

John, of Damascus, 8th cent. : 

de Fide Orthodoxa {de Fid. Orth.), 
P.G. 94 (I) 796b 130; 820a 102; 
833a 117; 856b 115. (Ill) 1021c 
169; 1073a 167 

Lactantius, of North Africa, c. 250- 
325: 
Institutes {Inst.), iv, 29 108 

Leontius, of Constantinople, c. 485- 
543: 
de Sectis, P.G. 86a, 1256d 150 

adnjersus Fraudes Apollinariitarum, 
spurious, P.G. 86a, 1948b 16 

Lucifer, of Cagliari, died 371 : 

de Regibus Apoitaticii, P.L. 13, 807d 
19 

Marius Victorinus, Roman rhetor- 
ician, 4th cent. : 
ad<versus Arium {ad<v. Ar.), I. 56 146 

Methodius, bishop of Olympus, 
martyred c. 312 : 
Convhrium decern Virginum {Con<u.), 
iii, 8 18 



Origen, of Alexandria, c. 185-255 : 
contra Celsum {c. Cell.), II. 60 142. 

III. 28 38; 41 123; 43 85. V. 4 95. 

VIII. 34 95 
in Geneiin {in Gen.), XI. 2 77 
in Numeroi {in Num.), XL 8 20 
in Matthaeum {in Matt.), XIII. 18 71; 

LX. 166 
in Johannem {in Joh.), II. 10 20, 21, 

96. VI. 33 38; 38 130. XIII. 24 

148; 25 20. XIX. 7 120. fr. 9 176; 

Jr. 37 116 
in epiitolam ad Romanos {in Rom.), 

VI. 11 78 
de Principiii {de Prin.), I. Praef. 4 20, 

96; ii, 4-12 108; ii, 7 34; ii, 8 115; 

ii, 13 64; iii, 1 35; iii, 2 20; iii, 3 

20; iii. 4 69; iii, 5-7 20; iv, 4 20; 

vi, 2 38; viii, 1 95. II. vi, 6 38, 40; 

x, 7 95. IV. i 77, 162; i, 1 126; 

iv, 8 20. fr. 7 88;/r. 9 20 

Philostorgius, Arian historian, born 
c. 370 : 
Epitome, IV. 9 23. VIII. 17 23 

Rufinus, of Aquileia, c. 345-410 : 
Ilistoria Ecclesiastica {H.E.), I. 25 
23 

Sermones Arianorum, P.L. 13, 610c 
{fr. 6) 24; 613b {fr. 9) 24 

SEVERUS, patriarch of Antioch, died 
c. 540 : 
contra impium Grammaticum {c. Imp. 
Gramm.),fr. 168b 12, 58 

Socrates, of Constantinople, c. 380- 
445: 
Ilistoria Ecclesiastica {H.E.), I. 6 66; 
8 136, 157. II. 15 24; 39 188; 40 
23; 43 188; 45 22-4. III. 7 58, 76; 
25 25. IV. 4 25; 6 25; 7 25; 12 25; 
23 58. V. 4 26; 8 22; 24 139. VI. 4 
58; 11 58 

Sozomen, of Constantinople, born end 
of 4th cent, at Gaza : 
Ilistoria Ecclesiastica {H.E.), IV. 9 
58; 13 23; 22 23; 26 24; 27 23, 24, 
60. V. 14 23. VI. 12 25; 26 139 



200 



INDEX OF PATRISTIC REFERENCES 



Synesius, appointed bishop of Cyrene, 
c. 410: 
Epistles (Ep.), xcviii 58 

Tatian, apologist, 2nd cent. : 

adversus Graecos (adv. Graec), 5 
110; 13 88; 15 88 

Tertullian, of North Africa, born 
c. 160 : 
Apologia (Apol.), 21 110 
adversus Judaeos (adv. Jud.), 1 3 146 
adversus Praxean (adv. Prax.), 8 

110; 26 146 
adversus Valentinianos (adv. VaL), 
20157 



Theodoret, bishop of Cyrus, c. 393- 
460: 
Eranistes (Dial.), P.G. 83, 90 162; 

ibid. 180 15 
Haereticarum Fabularum Compendium 
(Fab. Haer.), II. 18 19. IV. 3 139 
Historia Ecclesiastica (H. E.), I. 5 162. 
II. 6 23. V. 1122 

Theophanes, Byzantine chronicler, 
900-40 : 
Chronographia, P.G. 108, 156 189 

Theophilus, of Antioch, 2nd cent. : 
ad Autolycum (ad Aut.), I. 7 112. 
II. 4 130; 10 146; 27 39 



INDEX OF SCRIPTURE REFERENCES 



Genesis li, 121, 156, 171 
la, 71 
lio, 107 
114, 132 
29,107 
2n, 107 
6s, 71 
7i, 78 
28i2, 131 
36s, 167 
48i» sq., 93 
Exodus 14si, 93 

33i sq., 90 
33is, 90 
33n sq., 90 
Leviticus 1936, 91 
Numbers 11 29, 71 
14m, 79 
23i9, 187 
Deuteronomy lso, 91 
498, 94 
2860, 77 
32s, 131 
Judges 3io, 71 
68,91 

1199,71 

12»4 sq., 71 
1514, 71 

1 Kings I845, 79 

2 Kings 29, 68 
Job U, 131 

4ie, 131 
15i5, 131 
256, 131, 156 
334,83 
41u, 77 
Psalms 2i, 59 

141, 121, 171, 185 

19i, 156 

19a, 95 

24i, 156 

242, 151 

336, 143, 165, 174, 184 

369, 109 

43s, 148 

44s, 40 



Psalms — eantd. 

45i, 161 

45e, 158 

45s sq., 165 

50*, 94 

51io,83 

51n, 71 

659, 109 

776,77 

77m, 91 

78js, 91 

82i, 125 

82s, 163 

82e sq., 158 

932,85 

10424, 165, 182 
10429 sq., 82, 127, 174 
104so, 122, 182 
10720, 165 
10726, 78 
114s, 156 
11 611, 130 
136i6, 91 
1397, 131, 173 
143io, 71 
1467 sq., 112 
14718, 143 
I486, 161 

148? sq., 78 
Proverbs 3i9, 165, 182 

892, 15, 32, 67, 77, 83, 162, 165 
9i, 146 

9ia sq. (LXX), 178 
Ecclesiastes 3n, 107 
7i6, 104 
Isaiah 72, 79 
7i4,81 

1 12, 184 

30i,71 

4023 (LXX), 156 

425,69 

45i4 sq., 158 

48i6, 71, 92 

5921, 71 

6I1, 40, 71, 124, 165, 172 

63s sq., 72 



201 



202 



INDEX OF SCRIPTURE REFERENCES 



Isaiah — contd. 
63u sq., 90 
63i4, 90 
662,157 
Jeremiah li, 144 
2e, 91 
2i3, 109 
Ezekiel 10:, 131 
11m, 72 
18si, 79 
I831 sq., 84 
27m, 78 
28s, 158 
28ia sq., 131 
36m, 81 
Daniel 3m, 161 

7xo, 89, 132 
Hosea 134, 91 
Joel 2m, 72, 145, 170 
Amos Is, 145 

4is, 13, 30, 31, 33-4, 66-8, 76, 
79-85, 119 
lonah 1«, 78, 79 
Micah li, 144 
2;, 72 
Haggai 2« sq., 92 
2e, 84-5 
Zechariah 1«, 72, 144, 175 
1», 30, 88-9 
4s sq., 88-9 
7i», 72, 144, 175 
12i, 34, 83 

Wisdom 1», 130 

17, 173 

5m, 184 

lino, 184 

12i, 130, 131 

Baruch 3i, 77 

3io sq., 109 
Song of the Three Children ss, 161 
64,77 
Susannah «s, 72 

Matthew lis, 146 
3n, 170 
4i, 70 
4n, 89 
lOao, 73 

1137, 169 

12m, 146 
12m, 15, 73 
12sa, 68, 178 



Matthew — contd. 
13ss, 95 
13«, 89 
1349,89 
1626, 165 
18io, 95 

28i9, 30, 73, 89, 136, 160, 176, 
185 
Mark 3m, 65 
lOis, 31 
Wmsq., 180 
\2\MSq., 151 
13s3, 81, 166-9 
Luke In, 68 

lss, 88, 145-6, 176 
3ai sq., 70 
4i, 70 
lOis, 131 
11m, 15 
189,93 
John li, 84, 164 

Is, 20, 33, 34, 41, 157, 164, 174, 
182 

19, 111 

In, 112 

In, 164 

3io, 117 

8a, 66 

4u, 123 

4ai sq., 168 

5i», 174 

7u, 164 

7s», 123 

8m, 118 

8«o, 164 

10so, 153-4, 168 
lOss, 157 
146,68, 113, 148 
149, 153-4, 168 
14io, 144, 153-4, 158, 168, 184 

Ultsq., 113 

14is sq., 129 

14i7, 149 

143S, 113, 142, 143 

14m, 73, 84, 118, 183 

1526, 19, 64, 65, 73, 89, 149, 170 

167, 117 

16is sq., 169 

1614,41,64,65, 117, 118, 180 

16is, 153, 159, 170, 184 

16so, 169 

173,30 

174, 117 



INDEX OF SCRIPTURE REFERENCES 



203 



John — contd. 

I7io, 153, 170 
17i9, 122 

20m, 41, 64, 73, 89, 112, 169 
Acts U, 73 

lit, 144, 174 
2i sq., 74 
3i6, 123 
4m sq., 144 
5» sq., 15 
5«», 147 
7si sq., 65 
8i6, 144, 174 
830,79 
839, 74 
13i sq., 15 
2022 sq., 145 
2028, 175 
2028, 74 
21 n, 74 
239, 147 
2829, 144 
Romans 14, 122 
lso, 180 
3is, 123 
323, 130 
4s, 105 
4n, 156 
7e,77 
• 7i4, 78 

725 sq., 79 
89 sq., 74 
811, 113 

816, 112, 129, 184 
816 sq., 77 
829, 127, 183 
95, 153, 157, 177 
11 33 sq., 105 
1134, 185 
I627, 112 
1 Corinthians I24, 112, 164, 176, 184 
24,115 
2s, 129 

2io sq., 75, 98, 121, 170 
2n, 78, 130, 184 
212, 65, 121, 181 
2i4, 147 
3io, 75, 172 
3ie sq., 126 
6s, 131 

611, 75, 122, 143 
612 sq., 167 
8«, 36, 172, 182 



1 Corinthians — contd. 

104, 112 

123, 36 
124 sq., 141 
12s, 175 
12n, 75, 173 
12i3, 112, 173 
1522, 152 

2 Corinthians 13, 59 

2u, 124, 172 
3i7, 70, 75 

124, 115 
13s, 175 

13is, 36, 142, 145, 175 
Galatians 220, 113 

32, 70, 104 
3i4, 75 
4e, 129, 184 
4e sq., 75 
4i9, 124, 172 
610, 178 
Ephesians lis, 124, 172 
In sq., Ill 
2i9, 83, 84 
3i9 sq., 144 
4s,75 

4s, 139, 176 

4e, 37, 94, 135, 176, 177 
4a4,84 
430, 75, 172 
Philippians lis sq., 75 

lis, 145, 175 
26, 172 
3», 76 
Colossians lis, 67, 125, 183 
lie sq., 173 
I20, 146 

1 Thessalonians 4s, 76 

519,70 
523,78 

2 Thessalonians 2s, 76 

3u, 98 

1 Timothy 2», 164 

4i, 145 

4i3,88 

521, 13,30,85-95, 119 

6i3,93 

2 Timothy 2n, 84 
Titus 3s, 70, 127 

3io, 98, 179, 188 
47, 122 






204 



INDEX OF SCRIPTURE REFERENCES 



Hebrcwt la, 153, 157 
Is, 110 
lio sq., 156 
114, 87, 131 
3«, 105 
64,123 
64 sq., 132 
9», 76 
9is sq., 76 
lOi, 84 
10a«,76 
lie, 107 
1236 sq., 84 
13«, 156 
James Iir, 130 



1 Peter U sq., 74 

2s, 161 
34, 130 
4i4, 129 

2 Peter I4, 124, 125, 126 
1 John Is, 109 

2as, 65, 171 
2a7, 124, 172 
4a sq., 112 
4is, 74, 126, 172 
5ao, 153 
Jude e, 130, 156 

s, 141 
Revelation le, 153 
5i3, 161 
18u, 167 



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1 



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