Select Treatises of St. Athanasius, Volume 1
translated by John Henry Newman

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Revised July, 2003.

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I. Encyclical of Alexander Excommunicating Arius Page
Prefatory Note      1.
Doctrinal Teaching of Arius      3.

II. Epistle of Athanasius in Defence of the Nicene
 Definition of the Homoüsion 

Prefatory Notice      9.
  1.  Introductory    11.
  2.  Conduct of the Arians towards the Nicene definition of the Homoüsion    14.
  3.  The meaning of that word, as an appellation of our Lord    18.
  4.  Defence of its meaning    31.
  5.  Defence of its definition    35.
  6.  Authorities in support of it    42.
  7.  The Arian symbol "Ingenerate"    49.
Appendix. Eusebius's letter to his people    55.

III. Epistle of Athanasius concerning the Arian Bipartite
 Council held at Ariminum and Seleucia
Prefatory Notice [file 1]    61.
  1.  Occasion of the Two Councils    63.
  2.  Proceedings of the Arians in them    70.
  3.  Arian leaders    82.
  4.  Arian Creeds [file 2]    91.
  5.  On the Homoüsion, the Catholic Symbol [file 3]  123.
  6.  On the Homœüsion, the Semi-Arian Symbol  133.

IV. Three Discourses of Athanasius against the Arians
Prefatory Note  153.
Discourse I
  1.  Introductory  155.
  2.  Tenets of Arius  159.
  3.  The Son of God uncreate and from everlasting {xii}  162.
  4.  Answers to intellectual objections to the doctrine: first,
if the Son eternal, He existed before His birth
  5.  Second: if co-eternal, then brother of the Father  171.
  6.  Third: if a Son, He began a Theogonia  176.
  7.  Fourth: if He is a Son at all, then in subjection to
the laws of a human son
  8.  Fifth: if He is a Son at all, the titles Word and
Wisdom are irrelevant
  9.  Sixth: if born at the divine will, then later than
that will
[file 2]
10.  Seventh: if God be the One Ingenerate, the Son
is not God
11.  Eighth: if the Son has free will, He is liable
to change
12.  Answers to objections from Scripture: first,
from Phil. ii. 9, 10
13.  Second: Ps. xliv. 7  226.
14.  Third: Heb. i. 4  234.
Discourse II 
15.  Fourth: Heb. iii. 2 [file 1]  250.
16.  Fifth: Acts ii. 36  264.
17 . Sixth: Introductory to Prov. viii. 22  272.
18.  continued [file 2]  281.
19.  continued  289.
20.  continued, Prov. viii. 22  306.
21.  continued [file 3]  316.
22.  continued  323.
23.  continued: Prov. viii. 22-30  343.
Discourse III
24.  Seventh: John xiv. 10 [file 1]  357.
25.  Eighth: John xvii. 3, &c.  365.
26.  Ninth: John x. 30; xvii. 11, &c.  369.
27.  Tenth: introductory to Matth. xxviii. 18, &c., &c. [file 2]  389.
28.  continued: Matth. xxviii. 18; John iii. 35  401.
29.  Eleventh: Mark xiii. 32; Luke ii. 62  408.
30.  Twelfth: Matth. xxvi. 39; John xii. 27, &c.  422.

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Advertisement to the Third Edition

{v} I AM obliged to accompany this new edition of my translation of certain Treatises of St. Athanasius against the Arians with some words of explanation, or even of apology.

When Dr. Pusey, with that generosity which he has on all occasions shown towards me, made no difficulty in my including in the uniform edition of my own publications a work which I had written for his "Library of the Fathers," it was my most anxious wish and my first concern so to avail myself of his kindness as not to interfere with the interests of his "Library," and I thought that, without being unjust to any purpose of my own, there were several ways in which I could consult for him.

It is with this object in view that I have omitted in this edition the so-called Fourth Oration, which is contained in my Oxford volume, but which, as is shown in one of my Theological Tracts, is not specially written against the Arians. This Tract also, with four others, is in the Oxford edition, and all five are omitted in the present, though contained in my Theological Tracts. A third divergence from the Oxford edition requires more words to explain. {vi}

At the time of the translation, in 1841-1844, to be literal in the English used in the work was a foremost duty. Those who at that date took part in Dr. Pusey's great undertaking were regarded with much suspicion, both by Catholics and Protestants, as if they were introducing the Fathers to the English public with a covert view of recommending thereby certain religious theories of their own. It was alleged that in truth the only high-church doctrine to be found in the Fathers was Baptismal Regeneration; translators, it was said, who went beyond this were to be watched, and any departure from grammatical and literal accuracy in their renderings was sure to be scored against them as a controversial artifice. It may be added that in some quarters an over-estimation prevailed of the early Christian writers, as if they had an authority so special, and a position so like that of a court of final appeal, that those who had a title to handle their writings were but few. It was under these conditions and disadvantages of the times that Dr. Pusey's translators, certainly that I myself, began our work.

Things are much altered since 1836-1845. I yield to no one still in special devotion to those centuries of the Catholic Church which the Holy Fathers represent; but I see no difficulty at this day in a writer proposing to himself a free translation of their Treatises, if he makes an open profession of what he is doing, and has sufficient reasons for doing it; and in the instance of St. Athanasius as little as of any of them, inasmuch as that great theologian, writing, as he did, only when he {vii} had a call to write, and sometimes while he was driven about from place to place, is led to repeat himself, is wanting in methodical exactness, and, with all his lucidity and force, nay even by reason of the Greek idiom, admits or requires explanation. Not as if a translator had any leave to introduce ideas, sentiments, or arguments which are foreign to his original, or may dispense with a watchful caution lest he should be taking liberties with his author; but that it was possible, as I thought, to make a volume unexceptionable in itself, and sufficiently distinct from the one published in Dr. Pusey's series, and with a usefulness of its own, though I did not follow Athanasius's text sentence by sentence, allowing myself in abbreviation where he was diffuse, and in paraphrase where he was obscure.

This then is what I determined on, and thus I set off in this new Edition; and I so far acted upon this view that I am obliged in the title-page to call my work "a free translation;" yet I am obliged to add that the occupation of mind, consequent upon the high and unexpected honours and duties which came upon me soon after I had taken my new edition in hand, broke the continuity of idea necessary for carrying out what I had intended, and though the very want of uniformity in my treatment of my author's text answers the purpose of distinguishing this edition from the former, it is a great defect in the translation considered as a composition. One undesirable consequence is, that what are really free renderings may in some places be taken for grammatical mistakes. {viii}

Another alteration, far more noticeable, and unavoidable also, and involving more trouble than can easily be imagined, separates this edition from the first. In order to accommodate it to the reduced size of the page it has been necessary not only to leave out altogether the marginal references and notices, but, what is a much more serious matter, to change the relation of the Annotations to the text of Athanasius. In the first edition they ran along the foot of the page, but this the new page would scarcely allow. Yet annotations no longer answer to their name if separated widely from the text out of which they spring; nor are they commonly substantive and complete compositions, which bear to be let alone and can stand of themselves. They are written pro re natâ, capriciously, or at least arbitrarily, with matter which the writer happens to have at hand, or knows where to find, and are composed in what may be called an undress, conversational style; and the excuse for these defects is that they are mere appendages to the text, and ancillary to it. Hence to place them bodily at the end of the work which they comment on, besides its inconvenience to the reader, would be a half measure which deprived them of their intelligible office and drift, and of their claim on his attention.

If then the Annotations, originally illustrative of the text, were of necessity to form a separate volume, the only alleviation of a step in itself undesirable was to throw them together, according to their respective subjects, under various headings in alphabetical order, with such complemental quotations and such re-casting {ix} of matter as might be indispensable and not too laborious, and might serve to form some sort of a whole, satisfactory as far as it went, whatever criticism it might fairly provoke for its many shortcomings. This accordingly has been attempted.

But I feel constrained to express the feeling of disappointment with which I let this new edition pass out of my hands. I had hoped it would have been my least imperfect work; but, being what it is, its publication seems to carry with it some sort of irreverence towards the great Saint in whose name and history years ago I began to write, and with whom I end. But I have done my best, bearing in mind while I write that I have no right to reckon on the future.

Febr. 2, 1881. J. H. N.


To the Third Edition.—As to the references in the footnotes and in the Appendix to passages translated or quoted, such references as are made to the original Greek are marked with §, and those which belong to the translation with n.

However, for the sake of convenience, they will sometimes be found made, not by means of a § or n, but by the paging. {x}

It should moreover be added that the work "Against the Arians," which occupies the greater part of the 1st volume, is here sometimes called "Discourses" and sometimes "Orations" according as the passage is or is not English.

I may observe that the quotations from Holy Scripture remain, here as in the Oxford editions, in the Protestant version, except in cases in which the context of the passages of Athanasius, to which they severally belong, require an alteration in them:—except in such cases, a change did not seem imperative, and would have given great trouble.

To the Fourth Edition.—Also I regret that I have not been able in this new edition to prosecute in any sufficient way my intention of making the work answer the idea of a free translation. As far as I have been able to act upon it I have been aided not a little by the pains taken with its composition by Fr. William Neville of this Congregation; nor can I forget the trouble taken by Fr. Paul Eaglesim in the tiresome task of verifying my references.

May 2, 1887.

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 Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford,
and late Fellow of Oriel.





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