Talk:First Council of Nicaea

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Subsection title "Position of Council/Alexander and Athanasius"?[edit]

I sympathise with Gabby Merger's concerns expressed in recent edits since the position of the Council comes in the next subsection, but consider her counterproposal is unsatisfactory as well in that Athanasius was not a member of the Council and any influence he exercised was that of a behind-the-scenes "staff officer" to his bishop and since we do not have the Acta of the Council we don't know what Alexander actually said there. There are in fact a number of serious problems relating to the whole article which I shall deal with in a separate section. For the moment I suggest the subsection be entitled Response to Arius. Jpacobb (talk) 00:56, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

I would second both Jpacobb's comments and proposal. Arius' clerical disobedience in Alexandria (and resulting civil strife) was the largest factor that propelled the holding of a council of such unprecedented magnitude in the first place, a critical mass that drew together the need to deal with all the issues it discussed. It was, then, the council's first order of business to formulate a "response" of some kind: acceptance, rejection, whatever it might be, and that also was what Constantine had in mind (if we can know from the sources that have been left to us). Arius' arguments were not one side of a battle between individuals, and certainly not a disagreement between persons of equal rank or responsibility, and that is the indication I was trying to avoid in the title. Jpacobb's section title seems to me to fit the target quite perfectly. Evensteven (talk) 07:10, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
It was more than just the one individual Arius though. It was also his followers or sympathizers in the Council, or the "Arians". Not many, but a few. Regardless, though, the name of the sub-section should arguably include at least the name of Alexander. I disagree with Jpacobb's minimalist view of Athanasius's role in the council. It was way more prominent than he's giving credit for. And the section itself mentions Alexander and Athanasius, more pointedly. So, again, I propose (and will put) "Response to Arius by Alexander and Athanasius" since it's more descriptive and fitting, per the actual paragraph below it, itself. Regards. Gabby Merger (talk) 05:21, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Gabby, your proposing here is fine and as it should be. Your change at this stage is not, as the material you inserted is precisely what is currently under discussion, not decided. What you replaced is closer to what was originally and should have remained until a new consensus is achieved.
I don't think Jpacobb was taking a minimalist view of Athanasius' role, but a quite real one, and as I interpret him/her I entirely agree. Alexander knew well just how brilliant Athanasius was, and that is why he put him forward for this task of presentation. But he was nevertheless, only about 27 years old, and a deacon, and not yet widely known throughout the church. It was in fact through this role that he gained wide recognition; he did not start with it. I don't think anyone disagrees with you just how well he handled it, or how influential he proved to be in it, but as a deacon he was not a member of the council and he was indeed a kind of staff officer to Alexander. He gained a status of person through his work, but he also held only the status of his rank at the council, and if he had tried to overstep that official position at any time he would not have been received so favorably. In fact, from before the council started, it was entirely clear to all that there were precisely those kinds of personal questions about Arius in his role as a priest under Alexander, and about how he had broken promises made to his direct superior. We know no specifics about how any of that played out during the council, but we do know their eventual judgments.
You are entirely right that it was not just Arius, but the supporters he had won before the council. Likewise, it was not just Alexander, nor Athanasius, nor the pair of them; they had supporters too. But it was Arius' views that were on point at the council, and Alexander who was on point to address not only the theology but as necessary anything that might have arisen about the authority of his church governance in Alexandria, the events there that had preceded the council, and dealings with Arius and his supporters. Remember the earlier letter of Constantine on these points. It was being watched, and judged, not only in terms of the church, but also of the empire. As bishop, though, Alexander had full authority to delegate, which he did in part. And no one questioned that he was a full voting member of the council itself, not just a spokesman. If Athanasius had stumbled, Alexander would have been fully capable of asserting otherwise in the name of the Alexandrian church, with the same authority as any bishop would have to correct a subordinate, especially a clerical one. (And look again at Arius in that light.)
I suspect that our views have a lot in common so far. What I was arguing above is that there is a common, ill-informed, and often anti-Christian (or anti-Trinitarian) point of view that wants to make out that this debate was about two people fighting about their own views in front of the council. I don't think that's your view, but the view is commonplace. By naming names so prominently in these section titles (and I might even make the point about Arius too), the article encourages the reader to think in those terms. The view may already be known to some, but it also arises easily these days whenever people hear of disagreements. And that view is damaging to the ability to see the issues themselves, and their impact on the church, and the concern of the bishops not just for governing the church, but for expressing the faith truly. For that is the principal role of the bishop, every bishop, and many of the attendees had suffered severe injury in torture for that very faith not so very many years before the council. One would only have had to look around the room to have received a first-hand impression of prior church history, yet fresh in mind.
And so I ask, what do we need to do to give a proper impression of the history as we know it, and how important is that impression to an accurate conveyance of that history to people who are unfamiliar with it, but may be familiar with distortions? I argue that we should be careful in how we express things, avoiding the misleading, and suppressing emotional reactions by being especially neutral. In my view, it is not "more descriptive and fitting" to place these names in the section titles, however prominent they were (even though they were prominent), because all the issues of the council were bigger than individuals. Evensteven (talk) 08:03, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
We may have some things in agreement, but not everything. I don't necessarily agree with everything Athanasius said, though I put forth his influential role in the council. Nor do I agree with everything Arius put forth. I don't necessarily believe that "anti-coequal trinitarianism is anti-Christian". There's a case to be made for all sides, Scripturally. Even the Sabellian view (which I don't agree with) has a case. My point though is, regardless of all that, that the name of the sub-section should arguably include the names, since that's what the very paragraph mentions and goes into. That's what makes it "more descriptive and fitting" to have the sub-section name that way. Also, I understand your view on it, but Wikipedia has to remain neutral. Regardless of what position an editor may hold to (Athanasian, Arian, Semi-Arian, Sabellian, Homoousian, Homoiousianism, Homoeanism, or even Heteroousianism) the simple fact remains that the paragraph in the sub-section and the facts of what happened are that Athanasius and Alexander were prominent ones to put forth arguments against Arius and his views. (That can be seen also in the Arius article itself too, in its own subsection.) There's nothing wrong or so hugely objectionable in letting the average reader know right away in the sub-section name who were the ones arguing mainly against Arius, in the council, especially when that's what the very paragraph discusses. Regards. Gabby Merger (talk) 17:16, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
You mistake some of what I said: "anti-Christian"/"anti-Trinitarian". They're not the same thing, in my view. And my point there was simply that some of the common ill-informed views of readers spring from those wells. Necessarily, of course, your views and mine on all the Nicene issues are not the point, and I think we are agreed on that. We're also agreed that "Wikipedia has to remain neutral", as I indicated in my last paragraph. You misunderstand me if you take my position to be founded on what I believe about the Nicene issues, and as I made clear, I agree that these persons were all prominent in discussion at the council. You're also right that the sections describe their presentations. But you're off point when you say that the section topics are "about" who's doing the talking. The section topics are about the Nicene issues, about what was being discussed. This is the nature of the common distortion: that it's all about the "who" and not about the "what". This is why the common perception turns into the idea that the council was "about" opponents doing verbal battle. It was not. And I took some pains to point out how wide and deep the various interests were there, including Constantine's, and how clearly everyone understood the magnitude of the importance of the business they were there to discuss. And in addition, the roles of supposed "combatants" do not fit into what we do know of this history or this setting, because formal role and rank were a prominent social element at that time, and certainly at that place. We should not be placing the focus where it does not belong. Evensteven (talk) 19:07, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

For the record, I object to Gabby Merger's refusal to allow this article to exist at the state of last consensus while a discussion is in progress, and view that as a violation of WP editing protocols. Furthermore, to do so while refusing to engage in the discussion itself is a disregard for the editing community. I refuse to engage in an edit war, and I will no longer be reverting this edit of hers, although I do object both to her methods and to her false characterizations of my arguments. If the rest of this editing community wants to step up and say she has the stronger point, I am fully willing to accept the edit, even though I disagree with the position. This is something that Gabby appears unwilling to do. So I ask the community, what do you want to see happen here? And, if you've a mind to say, what do you think about this discussion? Evensteven (talk) 03:20, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Gabby has been a problematic editor since she came on the scene. She simply hacks and slashes, often without sources and often without much care. In this case, arguing that it was Athanasius who argued ANYTHING at the council is flat out wrong. As only bishops were allowed in the Council Chambers, not even Arius would have been present during argumentation (which is why Eusebius of Nicomadea was the one arguing in Arius' defense). Athanasius also would not have been in the council chamber and his role as a defender of Nicene orthodoxy really took place after the council. Gabby, if you do not participate in discussion, then you cannot change something without concensus. To do so is the very definition of tendentious editing, and you will be reported and topic blocked if you continue. ReformedArsenal (talk) 12:24, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I have changed the titles to Argument for Arianism and Argument against Arianism. I have also removed specific reference to "The Nicene Fathers" or to "Athanasius" in the section regarding arguments Against Arianism since "The Nicene Fathers" is a description that has no content prior to the council (since it describes those who supported the Nicene Concensus." Also, the only written work that we have that is possibly prior to the council is On the Incarnation, but since it makes no reference to Arius or Arianism we cannot say it is written in response to Arius or Arianism (and most scholars date it to the 350s anyway). ReformedArsenal (talk) 12:29, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree with ReformedArsenal's edits and will simply put on record here that none of the family of articles about Arius, Arianism ... and the Council of Nicea reflect adequately the debate which has been running since the 1980s about the various aspects of the Arian Controversies. To my mind this article may have been a good article but more recent editing has made that status questionable (see next section for some reasons) Jpacobb (talk) 15:14, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the input, both of you. I too like ReformedArsenal's edits, better than anything we have had here in the last 12 months (since I've been around). I was about to call in Leo Davis' chapter on Nicea I ("The First Seven Ecumenical Councils") wrt balance of view to back up what I was trying to say. So for the record, it's my opinion that ReformedArsenal has found the balance I was seeking, and what I find present in Davis. Unless there are other views yet to be expressed here, this looks like consensus to me, and I will again feel free to step in to defend it. In addition, I agree with Jpacobb that various aspects of Arianism in articles I have looked at could be improved. It's important to get the details right and backed up, but it's also important to get the balance, tone, and overall focus right, and that's a more difficult thing to attribute directly in individual sources. Evensteven (talk) 15:45, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Even Steven. Just to mention, it's actually rare when I do "null" or "dummy edits". It's not often at all. And you're wrong, and assume, when you think and say I "avoid" discussing. LOL...if you only knew me, I discuss on talk pages (editors' and articles') big time. A lot. And no harm. My only point is 1) big real consensus has not been reached, and of course 2) there's no big problem or error in putting the names of those who dealt with Arius per the paragraphs own words. I don't see a big problem with that, because in reality there isn't. But I always abide by (real) consensus, whether I agree with it or not. Per WP policy. The problem though with Reformed Arsenal's position is that it was not just "others", but specific people. And it obviously wasn't just Alexander. Minimizing Athanasius' role and words in the council is not conveying things accurately. There's no WP policy against modification and telling what actually happened. Regards. Gabby Merger (talk) 17:43, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Gabby, the only person we have a record of interacting with Arius prior to the Council itself is Alexander. We don't have Athanasius addressing Arius or Arianism directly until nearly 25 years after the council. There is also no proof that Athanasius was actually in the council chamber, and most likely he wasn't. If you have some references that say otherwise then feel free to make the appropriate sourced corrections. ReformedArsenal (talk) 18:26, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Athanasius was not allowed to sit in on the Council since he was only a deacon. Yet clearly it was Athanasius who did the legwork and concluded (as Bishop Alexander conveyed in the Trinitarian defense) that the Son was of the same essence (homoousios) than the Father and was eternally generated from that essence of the Father. Gabby Merger (talk) 22:21, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
It is clear that Athanasius was a deacon who served at the pleasure of his bishop, Alexander. What he did specifically is not known. We can reasonably suppose he did it well, whatever it was. And what he would have been permitted to do, by Alexander, and Constantine, and the council in general, was circumscribed by his status as a deacon. Active, we can suppose; dominant, no way. And supposing is not knowing, even when it's reasonable. And your supposing is beyond reasonable. Evensteven (talk) 23:24, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
And who said anything against your dummy edit? Evensteven (talk) 23:26, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough...which is why you don't see me putting the name "Athanasius" anymore in the sub-heading, since it's no longer in the paragraph itself anymore either. As I said, I do abide by reasonable consensus. And despite what Reformed Arsenal said above, I'm not trying to be a "problematic editor", and he's wrong and going against WP policy in assuming BAD faith. And lack of civility. But no biggie. The fact though is that Athanasius' influence in the council was definitely there, even if he was not allowed to speak directly at the presbyter Arius in the council. That was only half my argument anyway. I was also putting the name "Alexander" in the sub-heading, if you recall, since he clearly was in the paragraph, and by the way, at one time, the name "Alexander" was already in the sub-heading...in the past. Having nothing to do with me. Regards. Gabby Merger (talk) 23:56, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Lack of civility and assumption of bad faith are always problematic. I'm sorry you see them as "no biggie". I'm also sorry you accuse ReformedArsenal of the same, for I see no evidence of it whatever here. And I'm sorry to see you continue to state your opinions as fact. That is also problematic. It seems you can be successful at that even without trying. Evensteven (talk) 00:55, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm not gonna argue with you about that, while you lose focus of the actual substance of the point that I let the "Athanasius" thing go, and I'm not (if you notice) pursuing that anymore as far as the sub-heading, because it's no longer in the paragraph itself. But yeah, Reformed Arsenel CLEARLY assumed bad faith, and the fact that you "see no evidence" for it shows you have extreme personal bias against me, and have no credibility to even speak to it. Because words like "She simply hacks and slashes, often without sources and often without much care" is extremely uncivil and assuming bad faith, by any reasonable or honest person's standards. Which you clearly (on this matter) are not. As I said, Steven, I don't want to argue with you about nonsense. (By the way, when I said "no biggie", I was saying that, regarding ReformedArsenal's clear invectives and insults and assumption of bad faith, as something that I did not want to make too much of, and that I was trying to let it go. Because I didn't want to necessarily harp on that, because sometimes things happen, and no one is perfect every second or syllable, as I know I'm not either. But of course you had to show that you wouldn't let it go. For some reason, and ignore the actual main substance of my above comment...which was not even that.) The matter is dropped, as I said I respect (real) consensus, which there seems to be at this point. Good night. Gabby Merger (talk) 01:46, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm not assuming bad faith, I'm actually assuming the best possible intentions, which is why you haven't been reported to ANI several times. What I am looking at is a demonstrated history of poor editing (often times by making drastic clear POV changes with no sources, but also just poor editing in terms of grammar and style... the last edit you made where you put Athanasius back in didn't even form a proper sentence), and a pattern of taking things personally when people point out the bad editing. Regardless, statements like "Yet clearly it was Athanasius who did the legwork and concluded" show a lack of awareness of how wikipedia functions (based on sources, not on our assessment and conclusions). Furthermore, it shows a pretty stark lack of understanding of what we actually know regarding the council. I'll say it again, the ONLY document we have from Athanasius that MAY be prior to the council is De Incarnatione and most scholars put that AFTER the council. We DO have letters from Alexander to Arius, as well as letters from Alexander to other bishops regarding Arius, which put forward what became Nicene Orthodoxy. Even if we WERE drawing conclusions and those conclusions made it into the article... why would we assume it was Athanasius who did the legwork, when we have that legwork in writing by Alexander (who was Athanasius' TEACHER, not his student. Athanasius got his doctrine from Alexander, not the other way around). ReformedArsenal (talk) 12:15, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Gabby, I echo ReformedArsenal here (with minor reservations about the dating of De Incarnatione and the like). As I have said elsewhere, I am not your enemy, nor am I assuming bad faith. But as I have also said, I am looking, and I see, and what I see is very much as ReformedArsenal has described it here. I'm sorry if it offends you to hear it said, but it is important that it be said. I've already thought about ANI myself, but have withheld, because I think it would be best of all if we continued to be able to have your contributions. But you must understand how important it is to provide them in a cooperative manner, and for as short a time as I have looked, I'm not yet seeing it. Understand that you are being given an opportunity here to amend your ways so that you can continue. But opportunities do not last forever if they are not embraced. Evensteven (talk) 20:25, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
To ReformedArsenal. Hence why I let the "Athanasius" matter go (a while ago now), because you make a reasonable and solid point. There's a measure of ambiguity as to that, true enough. My only concern was minimizing too much Athanasius' role, words, and influence. But yes, he did not actually speak directly in the Council. But as I also said, that was only "half" my argument and editing...because I was trying to also keep the name "Alexander" in the sub-heading, as that name is clearly in the paragraph. We all agree on his role and position in the council. And also, as I said, the name "Alexander" was already in the sub-heading, a long time ago. Having nothing to do with me. I just felt it was apropos, per paragraph, and style, etc...to at least leave Alexander's name in the sub-heading. For those reasons. But I agree (basically) about the Athanasius matter. Gabby Merger (talk) 21:18, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Problems with this article[edit]

Here is a quick listing:

  1. The lead section fails WP:Lead section in that it bears little relationship to the contents of the article as it stands. (In some ways the following section Overview supplies this need.)
  2. In some sections there is a good deal of overlinking, that is linking terms which are easily understandable and geographical locations.
  3. The quality of the supporting references is patchy.
  4. The sources sections seem to be overloaded and includes a number of very old works which are hardly reliable sources today.
  5. Some sections (eg "Role of Constantine", "Overview") contain material which is not relevant or redundant.
  6. The material needs restructuring in a more logical way. For example, include what is relevant of the role of Constantine under Agenda and Procedure; integrate the "Role of the Bp of Rome" into "Promulgation of Canons" (better than Promulgation of Canon Law). I also suggest moving "Attendees" well down the page - few readers will have much interest in this or be able to identify most of the names.Jpacobb (talk) 02:02, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't have time to embark on such an extensive project, but I support everything you're saying and will be willing to help as I can. I also wanted to say thanks for bringing these up in the talk section before just having at it. I'm all about BRD but it seems like people use BRD as an excuse to burn an article to the ground and then rebuild it in their own image. ReformedArsenal (talk) 18:31, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to second the "willing to help as I can", and the thanks, Jpacobb. Good points. I hope, though, that by "old works" not WP:RS, you're not referring to Schaff. That's old, yes, but still WP:RS. I even have source mentions of that same, dating from about 2000-2003. Evensteven (talk) 22:47, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Right, Schaff is still considered a definitive source. There are certainly better translations available, and it might be nice to update the citations, however I'm not convinced that the gain from better citations outweighs the loss of having them in a single anthology (or having easy online access). ReformedArsenal (talk) 12:17, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. Alternate translations can be referenced (even provided by quotation) in the article if truly necessary, but having online access to use as a direct pointer for the reader will often alleviate the article from that burden. Evensteven (talk) 20:12, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

God's fatherhood: property or characteristic[edit]

Ok, @ReformedArsenal:, thanks for clarifying in your edit comment that you're using "property" as a technical term in theology. Since I never hear that term used in Orthodox theology, I'm afraid we may need to explore what is meant so that we may know if there are theological issues that need to be handled carefully in this wording. The word I see the Orthodox use (I have at least two sources, same author, right at hand, others I should be able to find if necessary) is "characteristic". I would need to explore to find out if that word is considered an Orthodox technical term or not. But the context of its use is clear: within descriptions of the doctrine of the Trinity, which are replete with references to the personhood of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Now, American Heritage Dictionary (5th ed) describes characteristic in the first and most important meaning as a feature of a person or thing, with examples of person and animal (a living "thing"). (The other two are mathematical, irrelevant here.) Whereas it describes property first and most importantly in terms of ownership, legal title, possession, and the like, second, a thing, and only lastly as a synonym for characteristic. Such are the conventional uses of the words, according to one source I happen to have, and which happens to coincide with the flavor of the words as I understood them when I edited.

So, the crux of my technical question is about personhood or connection to it. If we are talking about God's Fatherhood, it seems to me (and, I would say, Orthodox generally) that we must be talking about a personal "feature"/"facet"/"whatever word we can find to describe it", because the way we talk about it ought not to imply diminishment of God's personhood in any way. And the primary conventional meaning of "property" does not match that well, whereas the primary conventional meaning of "characteristic" matches it better. If we need to discuss technical meanings, I would like to know especially how that term "property" relates to the personhood of the first person of the Trinity. And I would also like to get confirmation about how widespread the use of that technical term is in Christianity, because I doubt that it is universal, but maybe you could say something to that point.

But before we delve there, is this really the right place to use a technical term, especially if it may be construed in its conventional meaning? And to avoid the latter, we would need to explain the technical meaning. Is that desirable? So finally, is there something about the conventional uses of the words that does not fit with theology as you understand it? And if not, why not just use "characteristic" as befitting more widespread sensibilities, theological or not?

It's a lot of questions. Just start where you think it is most pertinent to you. Let's leave the article as is until there's a clearer outcome here. Evensteven (talk) 21:35, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

For what this is worth, a letter of St Basil of Caesarea to Amphilochius, section 6, also refers to God's fatherhood as a characteristic. This might indicate that Catholics also approve that usage, since it is on a Catholic website. I have looked at usages in the Catholic Encyclopedia and found many references their to God's attributes, but not only is fatherhood not listed as an attribute there, but the attributes are clearly not in the same category. Attributes are abstract dogmatic concepts only, a way of thinking about theology. Catholics speak of "fatherhood" (divine or human), as distinct from "God the Father" (the person, not the characteristic), in a quite different manner and in a different context. I also do not see in Orthodox theology the use of "attribute" as relating to God's fatherhood either. Instead, I see John of Damascus' An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (Book I), chapter 6, speaking of God the Son as "possessing all the attributes of the Begetter" (God the Father). Fatherhood could hardly be one of those attributes. So it seems that diverse Christian theologies are all agreed that that word is improper for fatherhood. (Actually, I didn't expect that, but there it is.) Evensteven (talk) 01:47, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
If something anything akin to current edits stands in the article, this discussion will become moot. Evensteven (talk) 04:32, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
In trinitarian discourse, attributes properly speaking are those descriptors that come from the divine nature (Omniscience, Omnipresence, etc). Properties are those descriptors that come from the person (Fatherhood, Sonship, Begottenness, Spiratedness, Procession). This is how Basil is using the two terms in question in the text you cited. Basil uses the term χαρακτῆρας which transliterates to character, and is defined in Middle Lidell as "the mark impressed on a person or thing, a distinctive mark, characteristic, character." Basically, it is what allows us to tell the difference between two individuals of the same type. As far as your question regarding definitions, there are many times that the definition that we find in a standard English dictionary is not sufficient to describe a technical term. I'm not particularly set against the use of the word "characteristic" but the word "attribute" cannot stand. I don't have an extensive theological dictionary on hand, but I would suspect that you would find this use of property to bear out if you were to look it up in such a dictionary. Furthermore, the use of the term "property" is certainly not absent from the Orthodox tradition, as John of Damascus uses it frequently in chapter 8 of the reference you linked above. I prefer property as it has less colloquial use (characteristic has too many common associations and vacilates between what we mean by attribute and what I mean by property). In addition, the use in regard to "possession" is actually pretty accurate. Attributes are what the persons ARE... properties are what they HAVE (usually in terms of intra-trinitarian relations)ReformedArsenal (talk) 17:34, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Many thanks! I agree that in that sense it works fine in Orthodoxy, and your last sentence really homed in to settle a lot of the discomfort I was having with the word "property". "Attributes are what the persons ARE": nice summary. I hadn't come to such a succinct way of articulating it, but that's basically what I found too as I was looking into it, and so we're entirely agreed as to why that wasn't correct in the (former) article sentence. As to the John of Damascus quote, right you are. I had run through chapter 8 (too quickly), but was looking for "fatherhood" and "attribute", and so missed "property". It seems the Orthodox also use "characteristic" sometimes, so I'm pretty sure that means that they don't employ either that or "property" exactly as a technical term. (Or maybe the Orthodox term is χαρακτῆρας, and it's just a matter of translation. There's a lot of that to contend with in reading Orthodox materials.) But a great deal of care always goes into the choosing of English words for such translation, so I tend to pay close attention to it. So, in the same way you're "not particularly set against the use of ... 'characteristic'", neither am I any longer particularly set against "property". Either would have served here. Evensteven (talk) 21:19, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Philip Schaff is not a primary source[edit]

In the "Primary Sources" section, the first bullet is for Philip Schaff, a secondary commentator who was born 1500 years after the event. He may be good; he's just not primary. So if no one has any objections, I'd like to remove him from that list. --Mrcolj (talk) 14:32, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Schaff is the editor of the primary source compilation. --Coemgenus (talk) 14:39, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
The other editors don't get a bullet. Nor do the translators. We should just leave Schaff off altogether then. --Mrcolj (talk) 14:45, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
The reference is derived from the corresponding citation template and I can't find a way of "tricking" the template into reordering the data so I have converted it into a note and adjusted the indents so as to leave each primary source title closer to the left margin. Jpacobb (talk) 20:07, 29 July 2014 (UTC)