Talk:Aëtius of Antioch

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POV and source tags[edit]

The POV tag recently added says "see the discussion on the talk page". But there is no such discussion. What exactly seems to be the POV problem? His surname "the Atheist" was tagged as POV; obviously that name was attached to him by his enemies -- the article is not claiming that he was an atheist. Similarly, the POV tag after "the first to introduce the doctrine that the Father and the Only Begotten Son do not share the same divine substance." is unclear. Is it questioning that he is the first? (not really a POV issue) That he held this doctrine? (that's what our sources say) That that doctrine is true? (not for us to decide). Please clarify. --Macrakis 14:48, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Sorry. Message must have gotten lost. Quick run down: Wikipedia articles should describe his life and views, not assess their orthodoxy.

  1. surnamed "The Athiest" it is a misleading nickname given undue weight.
  2. by his Orthodox enemies states that their views were orthodox (i.e. true). Nicaean enemies, Nicene enemies, or Trinitarian enemies would avoid this problem.
  3. extreme sect
  4. of Arians conflates Aetius' heteroousionist position with Arius' heteroousionist position. IMHO this is as misleading as describing the Mennonites or Calvinists as Lutherans. (because they happen to share certain positions).
  5. I think the paragraph about Epiphanus is somewhat POV but not as problematic
  6. dangerous heretical party
  7. first to introduce the doctrine this is one of the points where Aetius parallels Arius. The Athanasian party regarded both as innovators, but Arius was clearly the earlier one. The Aetian party, e.g. Eunomius and Philostorgius, regard Aetius as the defender of the original faith, Athanasius et al. as innovators, and seemingly Arius as an innovator on certain other matters (it's not always possible to tell when Philostorgius is criticizing Arius or when Photius is).

Hope this helps.Jacob Haller 15:26, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the clarification. I basically agree with all your points; but since there was no discussion in Talk, I didn't know it....

  1. The nickname "the Atheist" is certainly misleading, but it is also rather well-known. It is in the opening section of the article to make it easy for the reader to know who is being talked about. Does the phrase I added "by his enemies" help?
  2. Saying "orthodox" (not, by the way, "Orthodox") to describe the Trinitarians is of course history as written by the victors, and I agree that "Nicene" or "Trinitarian" or whatever would be better; please go ahead and change it.
  3. "extreme sect" -- I am not competent to judge this claim. The few things I've read seem to agree that his positions were the most divergent from what became the orthodox view; perhaps you can find some wording that says that explicitly?
  4. as for differences betweeen Aetius and Arius, I'm not sure that's POV or simply in need of correction and amplification
  5. "dangerous heretical party" is certainly over the top.

I was afraid you were hit-and-run tagging things as POV, but obviously that's not the case. Perhaps you could quickly run through the article and clean up the most flagrant problems? --Macrakis 16:01, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

In the EB11 text, it sounds as though it is Basil's position that the Anomoeans are "the most dangerous heretical party". Can we check that and if it is correct restore it, clarifying that it is not our editorial position, but Basil's? --Macrakis 17:15, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

I can't find any such reference in Against Eunomius. Also, IIRC, Basil and Philostorgius present different versions of Aetius' origins.Jacob Haller 18:00, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


Basil gives his version of Aetius' biography in Against Eunomius, book 1, chapter 6 and cites personal conversation with Athanasius. Athanasius cites a letter by George of Laodicea, though I have not checked Athanasius' written works for this.

  1. Aetius originally serf or slave in vinyard.
  2. escapes (?)
  3. Aetius works as tinker. (Basil scoffs at his poverty).
  4. Story of the fake jewelry. (i.e. allegation that Aetius was capable of fair-seeming fraud)
  5. Aetius works as doctor's assistant, doctor, studies medicine.
  6. Aetius encounters Arian controversy.
  7. Aetius with Theophilus, Gallus, George, and then Eunomius. Jacob Haller 18:17, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Philostorgius scatters his here and there through his narrative.

  1. Aetius from Coele-Syria (book 3, chapter 15).
  2. Aetius' father dies; Aetius and his mother inherit debt and poverty.
  3. Aetius works as tinker.
  4. Aetius studies philosophy (with Paulinus of Tyre in Antioch), continues work as tinker.
  5. Aetius' mother dies.
  6. Aetius studies logic. Paulinus dies and Eulalius banishes Aetius.
  7. Aetius works as tinker in Anagarbus in Cilicia. studies with a grammarian there. argument. leaves.
  8. Aetius lives with Athanasius (of Anagarbus, not the other one), studies the gospels.
  9. Aetius studies with Anthony of Tarsus.
  10. Anthony appointed bishop.
  11. Aetius moves to Antioch, studies with Leontius, studies the OT.
  12. Aetius returns to Cilicia. debate with one of the Borboriani. vision and gift.
  13. Aetius travels to Alexandria. debate with Apthonius.
  14. Aetius studies medicine with Sopolis. Continues work as jeweler.
  15. Leontius becomes bishop and ordains Aetius as deacon. (chapter 17).
  16. Aetius returns to Alexandria. Eunomius travels to Alexandria to find Aetius. (chapter 20).
  17. Gallus orders Aetius' execution (on false accusations). (chapter 27).
  18. Leontius defends Aetius. Gallus drops charges. Aetius meets Gallus, teaches Gallus.
  19. Constantius exiles Aetius to Pepuza in Phrygia. (book 4, chapter 8).
  20. Synod of Seleucia. Divided. (chapter 11). Aetius sides with Heteroousion-ists.
  21. Aetius debates Basil. (chapter 12). Aetius' comment about without any difference. Aetius wins, but is deposed and exiled.
  22. Aetius exiled to Mopsuesta in Cilicia. (book 5, chapter 1). lives with Auxentius of Mopsuesta.
  23. Aetius exiled to Ambdala, cures plague there. (book 5, chapter 2).
  24. Julian recalls Aetius from exile. (book 6, chapter 7).
  25. Aetius, Eunomius, Leontius, Theodulus, Serras, Theophilus, Heliodorus, and others meet in Constantinople and ordain Aetius as bishop. (book 7, chapter 6).
  26. Aetius and Eunomius appoint Candidus, Arrianus, Theodulus, Paemenius. organize separate church. (book 8, chapter 2). 363 CE.
  27. Aetius and Eunomius appoint Florentius. Aetius leaves for Lesbos. (book 9, chapter 4).
  28. Procopius vs. Valens. Aetius returns to Constantinople, dies there, c. 365. (book 9, chapter 6). Jacob Haller 19:17, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Socrates Scholasticus gives little bio info. He notes that Aetius was an Aristotelian, in an era when Platonism was far more respectable. Jacob Haller 15:52, 26 July 2007 (UTC)


The 1st Synod of Sirmium was, according to Council of Sirmium in 347, not after 350. Jacob Haller 15:52, 26 July 2007 (UTC)