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Athanasius: The Coherence of his Thought (Routledge Early Church Monographs) download epub

by Khaled Anatolios


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Khaled Anatolios presents a comprehensive study of St. Athanasius, one of the most influential figures in the development .

Khaled Anatolios presents a comprehensive study of St. Athanasius, one of the most influential figures in the development of Christian doctrine, through a comprehensive interpretation of his theological vision. He analyzes the coherence of Athanasius' theology by relating the various aspects of his doctrine-God, creation, theological anthropology, Christology and redemption and the life of grace-to a pervasive emphasis on the radical distinction, and simultaneous relation, between God and world. Categories: Art\Graphic Arts.

He analyzes the coherence of Athanasius' theology by relating the various aspects of his doctrine - God, creation . In this volume, Khaled Anatolios presents a comprehensive study of Saint Athanasius, one of the most influential figures in the development of Christian doctrine.

He analyzes the coherence of Athanasius' theology by relating the various aspects of his doctrine - God, creation, theological anthropology, Christology and redemption, and the life of grace - to a pervasive emphasis on the radical distinction, and simultaneous relation, between God and world.

Athanasius (The Early Church Fathers) and millions of other books are . What will shock modern readers is Athanasius' treatment of his opponents.

I do not think Anatolios’s reading of Athanasius, for whatever merits it may have, is really all that different from Hanson’s and Grillmeier’s. True, he does correct some of the cruder readings, but the fundamental point remains the same: Athanasius saw the Logos as instrumentalizing the human nature. they have fallen into such a pit of impiety that they are no longer in possession of their senses" (p 236).

In this volume, Khaled Anatolios presents a comprehensive study of Saint Athanasius, one of the most influential figures .

In this volume, Khaled Anatolios presents a comprehensive study of Saint Athanasius, one of the most influential figures in the development of Christian doctrine. He analyzes the coherence of Athanasius' theology by relating the various aspects of his doctrine - God, creation, theological anthropology, Christology and redemption, and the life of grace - to a pervasive emphasis on the radical distinction, and simultaneous relation, between God and world.

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The Coherence of His Thought. Pp. 890. DoggettFrank, Stevens' Poetry of Thought (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press; London: Oxford University Press, 1967, 60. 223. - Volume 1 Issue 2 - Colin J. Partridge. London and New York: Routledge, 1998. viii + 258. £4. 0 Athanasius. The Coherence of His Thought. 0. Volume 54 Issue 2 - Andrew Louth.

In this volume, Khaled Anatolios presents a comprehensive study of Saint Athanasius, one of the most influential figures in the development of Christian doctrine. He analyzes the coherence of Athanasius' theology by relating the various aspects of his doctrine - God, creation, theological anthropology, Christology and redemption, and the life of grace - to a pervasive emphasis on the radical distinction, and simultaneous relation, between God and world. Athanasius: The Coherence of his Thought provides a systematic account of the overall inner logic of the Athanasian vision. It shows how the various aspects of his doctrine are mutually related and in so doing elucidates the complexities both of Athanasian thought and Christian doctrine in general.

Comments: (6)

Awene
Very good read. Very interesting part of history.
Very Old Chap
Broader thesis: “My position is that Athanasius’s theological vision is Irenaean” (Anatolios 4; loc. 126). The distance and (convergence) between God and man: “The theme of the immediate presence of God to creation implies an anthropology that conceives human being in terms of receptivity to this presence of God (23; loc. 477). Further, “to say that creatures are “external” to God means in fact that they participate in God” (107; loc. 2230).

On various Platonisms: He notes on a Scriptural view “there arises no need to set up a kind of buffer zone of mediation to protect divine transcendence” (15; loc. 314). This is a great statement that will eventually run counter to later Ps. Dionysian tendencies to see a hierarchy of mediation. “Athanasius wants to reiterate that the original purpose of creation included the overcoming, from the divine side, of the ontological chasm that separates God and creatures” (42; loc. 880). See Michael Horton’s essays on overcoming estrangement; foreign to a covenant ontology. Anatolios is careful to say that Athanasius doesn’t hold to the neo-Platonic chain of being ontology, otherwise he couldn’t maintain the thesis of continuity between Irenaeus and Athanasius. But on the other hand, Ath. certainly comes close: “For immediately after establishing that the Son’s participation of the Father constitutes an identity of essence, he goes on to establish a kind of chain of participation in which our participation of the Son amounts to a participation of the Father” (111; loc. 2318)

Indeed, while Athanasius rightly rejects the “chain of being” ontology explicitly, he seems to default back to some form of it at times. Anatolios notes, “Thus while it is intrinsic to the definition of created nature to relapse into the nothingness whence it came….” (167; loc. 3463). This is fully in line with the Eastern view’s seeing the problem as ontological, not ethical. Our problem on this gloss is finitude and the perpetual slide into non-being.

The Logos and the Body

Anatolios will take his thesis and apply it to the inter-relation of the Logos and the body. Broadly speaking, and Anatolios does not ultimately challenges this, the Alexandrian tradition saw the Logos as instrumentalizing the human nature. This is beyond dispute. (See Bruce McCormack’s various essays for a lucid discussion). Anatolios, however, cautions interpreters against interpreting this thesis in too literal and crude a fashion, pace Grillmeier. Rather, Anatolios argues that we should see such instrumentalization in an “active-passive” paradigm. Perhaps he is correct but I don’t see how this is really any different materially than the other theses.

Later on in the monograph, though, Anatolios does admit that “the interaction of passibility and impassibility in Christ is conceived not so much in terms of feeling and non-feeling, but of activity and passivity” (157; loc. 3292). If that’s true, and I think it is, then it is hard to see the material difference between his view and other interpreters’ (Grillmeier, Hanson).

Logos as Subject
I don’t think that Anatolios fully solves all the problems, and his quite lucid discussion merely highlights a tension in Christologies that operate off of classical metaphysics. On one hand he wants to show that the Word really did take on human suffering as “his own,” even as “His body’s own,” but does this really advance the discussion? There is still a “0” acting as a metaphysical placeholder between the two natures. I am not faulting either Anatolios of Athanasius for that. Impassibility must be maintained, but Anatolios’s reading isn’t as novel as he makes it to be. If he says suffering is “predicated” to the Word (147; loc 3074, and I agree), then one must ask if since there is a unity between the two natures, how does this “perturbation” not flow to the divine nature? To be fair, this wasn’t Athanasius’ main point so one can’t fault him too hard for not really answering it. However, it would be one of the main points in later Alexandrian and Cyrillene debates and it fully impacts the analogy of a fire and iron (in fact, it shows the analogy to be quite flawed).

Anatolios expands on this meaning by saying that the human attributes are “transformed” by the Word (151; loc. 3162). That’s fully in line with later Eastern theology but it does seem to jeopardize the humanity of Christ.

Analysis and Conclusion

As a monograph of Athanasius, this is superb. It is well-written and interacts with the best scholarship. I do not think Anatolios’s reading of Athanasius, for whatever merits it may have, is really all that different from Hanson’s and Grillmeier’s. True, he does correct some of the cruder readings, but the fundamental point remains the same: Athanasius saw the Logos as instrumentalizing the human nature. He had to if he wanted to maintain deification soteriology. Further, this places a strain on just how much “activity” Athanasius could logically place on the human side (and eventually this paradigm would “snap” at the 6th Ecumenical Council). For he had earlier written, "The power of free choice (he proairesis) thus conditions the active-passive paradigm model, insofar as it is meant to lead humanity into an active clinging to the prior beneficent activity of the Word” (61; loc. 1287). This may very well be so, but one wonders how it could have been with regard to Christ's human nature. (less)
Brol
Anatolios' new book on Athanasius is part biography (about 85 pages) and part fine translation of Athanasius' most important works.

Athanasius lived at a pivotal moment in Christian history. When he was a child, the last, great persecution against Christians swept across the Roman empire. But within a decade Constantine would alter the status of Christians in the ancient world forever.

Athanasius also lived in one of the great intellectual and religious centers of the ancient world, Alexandria. He was apparently born to great wealth and to pagan parents. This, at least, is the story that has come down to us. Certainly the evidence of his writings argues that he must have had a fine education.

What is known for certain is that by the time he was 30 or so Athanasius was a deacon and "the principal secretary of Bishop Alexander at the Council of Nicaea of 325" (p 5).

Nicaea was the first great council of the Catholic church, and it deliberated on such questions as the date of Easter, but mostly, of course, it dealt with the problem of Arianism.

What will shock modern readers is Athanasius' treatment of his opponents. He says he is "amazed at the perversity of the heretics...they have fallen into such a pit of impiety that they are no longer in possession of their senses" (p 236). There is nothing mealy mouthed or politically correct about Athanasius.

Indeed, Athansaius was "quite convinced that the denial of the full divinity of the Son simply deconstructs the whole edifice of Christian faith" (p 36). And he was glad to be banished rather than alter the smallest bit of the faith he believed in.

This was at a time when thousands of Christians had been martyred for their faith. Some of the bishops who attended Nicaea were missing limbs due to the persecution.

Athanasius wrote, "For the faith which the council confessed in writing is that of the Catholic Church, and this is what was vindicated...when they...condemned the Arian heresy" (p 206).

Reading Athanasius' passionate logic about the status of the Son to the Father is enlightening and convincing.
Athanasius: The Coherence of his Thought (Routledge Early Church Monographs) download epub
Humanities
Author: Khaled Anatolios
ISBN: 0415186374
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Language: English
Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 17, 1998)
Pages: 272 pages