Defining God: Athanasius, Nicaea and the Trinitarian Controversy of the Fourth Century


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Format: Paperback (245 pages)

Publisher: Sacristy Press

Date of Publication:

ISBN: 978-1-78959-267-2

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The Church has sadly never been far from controversy and conflict, exhibiting its all-too-human nature. The greatest and most fundamental dissension was perhaps the fourth-century debate about the Doctrine of the Trinity – the status of Christ and the Spirit as being fully divine. The dispute lasted at least a hundred years, and much longer among the Goths. 

Defining God tells the story of that controversy: its main protagonists, the involvement of imperial power from Constantine and his successors, its history and theological twists and turns, and the many creeds and councils of this period, including the Nicene Creed which many Christians say week by week.

As the Church continues to face controversy over human identity and how it understands the God it worships, this book, vivid in description and comprehensive in coverage, surely teaches us lessons from the past for the present.

A bitter struggle took place in the fourth century to maintain that the Son and the Holy Spirit were of the same substance as the Father and equally co-eternal and con-substantial. What the Church might take for granted today involved a century of struggle involving councils, creeds, emperors and church leaders. If you wish to understand both the issues at stake and the cross currents of this controversy, you could not do better than start with this faithful and vivid account of its theology and history, deftly woven together.”

The Most Reverend Dr Mouneer H. Anis
Archbishop Emeritus of the Anglican Province of Alexandria

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