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How Did Arius Learn from Asterius? On the Relationship between the Thalia and the Syntagmation

  • MARK DELCOGLIANO (a1)
Abstract

In the De decretis Athanasius claims that Arius ‘copied’ and ‘learned’ from Asterius. This study explores how this could have happened by arguing that in the writing of his Thalia Arius was influenced by Asterius’ Syntagmation. Besides complicating the literary and theological relationship between Arius and Asterius, this reconstruction provides the clearest evidence for the new perspective on Arius which has emerged in recent revisionist scholarship, and which argues that he is best understood as embedded within a theological tradition and as a catalysing participant in its efforts to articulate a theological vision. By dating the Syntagmation to about 322 and the Thalia to about 323 this study also gives qualified support to Rowan Williams's dating of some pre-Nicene events and discredits a recent attempt to position Asterius as having had a formative influence on Arius.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
E-mail: mark.delcogliano@stthomas.edu
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Earlier versions of this essay were presented at the Seventeenth International Conference on Patristic Studies at Oxford University in August 2015, and at a meeting of the Minnesota Association for Patristic Studies (MAPS) in February 2016. I am grateful for the comments that I received on these occasions, as well as for the feedback on later drafts offered by Lewis Ayres, Matthew Crawford, Rebecca Lyman, Adam Ployd and Andrew Radde-Gallwitz.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Lewis Ayres , Nicaea and its legacy: an approach to fourth-century Trinitarian theology, Oxford 2004, 1120, 56–7

G. C. Stead , ‘The Thalia of Arius and the testimony of Athanasius’, JTS n.s. xxix (1978), 2052

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The Journal of Ecclesiastical History
  • ISSN: 0022-0469
  • EISSN: 1469-7637
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-ecclesiastical-history
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