Talk:Arian controversy

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General Goals[edit]

The various events, parties, etc. in the Arian Controversy have been dispersed among several loosely-connected or unconnected articles. In some cases, e.g. the old "Auxentius" article, one article has confused two completely different people; in other cases, e.g. the parts of the old Auxentius and "Junior Auxentius" articles, two articles have covered the same person, similarly with Anomean and "Eunomianism," and so on.

The first problem, imho, is to identify the important people and events. This will help us see what other articles are available.

Merging Arius and Arianism makes perfect sense, particularly since its not clear "Arianism" is the proper title.Gvharrier 00:55, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Checking sources[edit]

  • Briefly checked Philostorgius' history, throughout (should return to this).
  • Checked Socrates Scholasticus' history, book I and book II up through chapter 43. Jacob Haller 17:22, 28 July 2007 (UTC)


The dates are iffy and both Wikipedia and the ancient sources seem to contradict themselves about these. Properly untangling these would go way beyond the scope of this article and might involve WP:OR. Jacob Haller 10:08, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

  • Sardica and Philippopolis - Socrates Scholasticus, book 2, chapter 26 dates these to 347.
  • 2nd Sirmium (trial of Photinus) - Socrates Scholasticus, book 2, chapter 29 dates this to 351.
  • I am now using Beavers' Chronology of the Arian Controversy to clear up the dates. Jacob Haller 19:16, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

I think it would help to move the lists of people in each school from this article to school-specific articles. However, a general list of participants may be helpful. Jacob Haller 00:53, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Lucian of Antioch[edit]

"It is believed that Arius' doctrines were influenced by the teachings of Lucian of Antioch, a celebrated Christian teacher and martyr for the faith."

Some ip left this ^^ here in the wrong place, Lucian of Antioch does mention Arian and it might be worth investigating.Endercase (talk) 23:08, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

This page vs. the Arianism page[edit]

Is there any particular reason this page and the Arianism page should be separate? Is not the controversy between Arianism and Nicene Trinitarianism the most important legacy of Arianism today? --Jfruh (talk) 04:26, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

I cannot see any reason at all for keeping this article as separate from the article Arianism; the latter deals in some detail with the Arian controversy. Can anyone suggest a reason for not merging them? JamesBWatson (talk) 11:29, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

POV tag[edit]

This concerns POV tag cleanup. Whenever an POV tag is placed, it is necessary to also post a message in the discussion section stating clearly why it is thought the article does not comply with POV guidelines, and suggestions for how to improve it. This permits discussion and consensus among editors. From WP tag policy: Drive-by tagging is strongly discouraged. The editor who adds the tag must address the issues on the talk page, pointing to specific issues that are actionable within the content policies, namely Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:Verifiability, Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons. Simply being of the opinion that a page is not neutral is not sufficient to justify the addition of the tag. Tags should be added as a last resort. Better yet, edit the topic yourself with the improvements. This statement is not a judgement of content, it is only a cleanup of frivolously and/or arbitrarily placed tags. No discussion, no tag.Jjdon (talk) 22:00, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

No. Statements that "X is a heresy" are non-NPOV in and of themselves and POV-tags for such statements should not require any additional explanation.
Or, to put it another way, the purpose of Wikipedia is to present facts and describe opinions, not to take sides. When sections, or even passages, take sides, they violate NPOV and it should not take any special explanation here of why each passage violates NPOV. (talk) 19:35, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
The statement that something was a heresy is not expressing a POV. It has nothing to do with anyone's belief or opinion. It is stating a historical fact. No academic text in either history or theology disputes the use of the word 'heresy' to describe a theological movement that was declared such by historical figures. No reasonable argument can support the tag: the movement was, in actual fact, declared a heresy by Church authorities, and accepted as such by the main community of worshippers. This is basically the definition of a heresy. -JM —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:19, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
That's easy enough to say in cases like this, where the Arian church no longer exists. But surely the Arian church considered the Nicene church to be a heresy -- would we then categorize Nicene theology as heretical as well? If not, why do we priviledge the Nicene POV over the Arian one -- just because there aren't any more Arians? What about more modern situations, where, for instance, Protestants consider Catholics to be heretics and vice-versa? "Heresy" is an intrinsically POV word -- it says, "your theology is incorrect." And theological correctness is something that Wikipedia editors can't and shouldn't try to determine.
To be sure, the article can and in fact should say that the contemporary Catholic church considered Arianism to be a heresy, and that most modern churches that consider themselves to be Christian do so as well. I just object to Wikipedia saying in its own voice that Arianism is heresy. Doing so implies that Wikipedia has theological opinions, which it doesn't. --Jfruh (talk) 17:59, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Just because Y church or group considered X to be heresy does not mean that X is heresy to all religious groups. As such absolutely calling anything heresy has no place in an objective place such as Wikipedia. Instead whenever heresy is used it refer directly to the group being disagreed with. Simply saying that X disagreed with Y group is more objective. Endercase (talk) 23:28, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

Poor Start[edit]

Why does it mention the Catholic Church? It was Orthodox wasn't it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:48, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

I agree that the statement referring to the Catholic Church needs attention -- it cries out "incompleteness." The final disposition would be either a general statement, or a high-level statement demarcating the positions among the 4 branches: Oriental Orthodox, [Eastern] Orthodox Catholic, Roman Catholic, Assyrian Church of the East.
77th Trombone (talk) 04:22, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

Other than a brief introdcution, a table of contents, and links to other articles, the above is the beginning of the article. Prior to this, there is no mention of who Arius was, or what his doctrines were. This is a poor way to start such an article! It may be that these are mentioned in one of the other linked articles, but there should be a least a brief summary of those to give the reader of this article some context. (talk) 16:28, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
This article is about the disagreements within Christianity that lead to armed conflicts[citation needed] then First Council of Nicea and not about Arius himself. In general, these disagreements were known as the "Arain Controversy" Endercase (talk)

POV informations added[edit]

Anonymous user under IP added biased text under "Was the Logos created in time?" section, written in the Watchtower Society point of view. Need to check -- (talk) 12:38, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

POV information added.

I tagged several POV/neutrality issues in this article. The entire second half of this article "Arian Controversy" needs to be rewritten or deleted. It is obviously written by a Jehoveh's Witness with a strong dislike of, well, Trinitarian Christianity. This isn't an article on Trinitarian Christianity. This isn't an article on Jehoveh's Witness Theology. This is an article on the "Arian Controversy", so statements like "The Bible confirms that Jesus is a Mighty God. Jehovah is the Almighty God. His son Jesus is Lord. They are different. This is easy. Unless you have an agenda." do not belong in this this article. This is persuasive speech (without any citations!)

Another example of the author's bias: "Actually, Trinitarian inspired sculptures of this God depict three connected individuals and four legs among the 3 persons of the Trinity. This is not the God I worship or the God of the Bible." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ilrandall (talkcontribs) 04:33, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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O InternetArchiveBot, live forever!
  • your changes are good, but I will update the archive URLs to something more current for each:
    • "Documents of the Early Arian Controversy" to timestamp=20160805200612
    • "A Chronology of the Arian Controversy" to timestamp=20160811130741
  • Your archive URL for the Pennington notes page was particularly useful, as the original URL has gone 404 on us. I have, however, determined that the current URL has changed domain/initial-path from to, so I will update this, too.

Arian controversy and related articles[edit]

User:Endercase has raised the question as to whether this article should be merged into Arius and / or Arianism. This article as it stands is very incomplete and therefore unsatisfactory. However, I think it should be improved rather than eliminated because the "Arian Controversy" at least in its theological aspects was resolved within the Roman Empire by the end of the fourth century and the conversion of the Franks one hundred years later led to its eventual disappearance among the germanic tribes.[note 1] However the noun "arianism" made a significant comeback in eighteenth century England and it and/or the adjective figures in academic histories of the period. Furthermore, MacCulloch (Reformation) uses the adjective to describe some radical christologies of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation. I therefore suggest that the division between the three articles should run on the following lines to ensure they serve different purposes.

  1. ARIUS: Basically a biography which takes his story down to his death in 336. It should be noted that once the initial clash between Arius and Alexander was over, Arius had very little direct influence (so far as we know) on developments even before his death.
  2. ARIAN CONTROVERSY: Its core should be an explanation of the full range of theological debates between 324 and 381 together with the political manouvering which accompanied them. Obviously a suitable short introduction to set the scene and a similar rounding off of the story of the germanic tribes to say 750 will be required in addition.
  3. ARIANISM: An overview article drawn from the previous two with some additional history and, in addition, outlining the story of similar schools of thought through to the 16th and 18th centuries (if not further) with links to Socinianism and Unitarianism.

NOTE (added later)

  1. ^ Arianism in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, final paragraph

I hope this helps. — Jpacobb (talk) 00:59, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

I agree with the divisions as laid out by Jpacobb with the addition of any military action taken also included in Arian Controversy.
I have read accounts of armed conflicts at the time due to the controversy [citation needed]. There is also very little information included in Arian Controversy about the minority (Heresy) Cristian ("followers" of Jesus) beliefs at the time of Jesus being a Rabbi (learned religious leader) or prophet, not a God or son of God. It was those beliefs specifically that lead to the recorded armed conflicts[citation needed]. Much of this information was lost due to censure[citation needed] that may continue to this day[citation needed]. Including military action should fill this article out some more.
  1. ARIANISM should also include a portion about the modern Arian believers. (The if not further Jpacobb was referring?)

Endercase (talk) 02:36, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

No problem: the phrase "if not further" was meant to leave the possibility wide open. — Jpacobb (talk) 18:02, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Marking a non-vandal edit as vandal[edit]

Indyguy If you wished to revert the change and open discussion topic in the talk page that would have been more appropriate. The concept of historical Jesus is as old as Jesus the difference being solely one is based on provable fact and the other based on hearsay. You failed to address my summary in your own and violated the NPOV by marking my change as a vandalism. It is very likely that you are a non-Arain Cristian and my change offended you. Vandalism is a serious violation of the basic ideology in Wikipedia and is not a term that should be thrown around lightly. This was also posted in User talk:Indyguy Endercase (talk) 03:04, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Endercase, you are mistaken in stating that I marked your change as being vandalism. True, I reverted your change, but that is not the same as saying that your change was vandalism. I do not consider your change to be an act of vandalism, but rather a good faith effort to improve the article. However, I reverted your change because by linking "Jesus" to "Historical Jesus" you are implying that a 19th century development in theology is the same perspective that Arius had on the Christ in the 4th century. That's a significant claim, so it would need to have a source. And even with a source it would need to be explained in the article rather than just linking to it with a wikilink. Indyguy (talk) 03:44, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
I was mistaken about marking it a vandal edit. The UI just had vandal edit in red and I freaked. I'm so sorry Shall I remove this? Endercase (talk) 03:54, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
No problem. It was an honest mistake. Indyguy (talk) 04:10, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

If you would like we can discuss that "claim" in the appropriate location. Endercase (talk) 03:54, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

If you can find a reliable source that makes that connection, then go for it. However, I'll be surprised if there is such a source. Indyguy (talk) 04:10, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Should it be historical Jesus or Jesus[edit]

I personally think we should link historical Jesus as the Arian Controversy was about what they believed the facts to be which later went on define Jesus due to political pressure, censure and military might. However, which article we link to is a matter of opinion as either is correct in this context.Endercase (talk) 03:04, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Upon reading the related articles (Arian and Arianism), I think it might be better to replace "Jesus" in the sentence "The most important of these controversies concerned the substantial relationship between God the Father and Jesus" with "God the Son". As I understand it, the dispute was not about Jesus's humanity, but rather about what his being begotten of the Father meant - that is, was his divinity of the same type as the Father's. Indyguy (talk) 04:18, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
What I mean to say is that their debate was not about the supernatural, in their opinion, in any way shape or form but rather about the actual historical facts on the matter. They literally killed people for differing opinions on the issue. To them the issue was as real as possible and linking to historical jesus helps convey the gravity of their debate. Whether or not they specifically debated historical jesus' humanity and not just his material origins has been a matter of debate for centuries. But, they were definitely debating actual facts, not just religious theory. Whether or not historical jesus was truly divine is a matter we (the scientific community) now consider to be currently unprovable. Therefore it is "religious" or a matter of faith/belief. But, to them this was not a question of belief but one of historical fact. Endercase (talk) 05:22, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Without further discussion, I will switch it back. Anyone who wants may, of course, switch it to jesus and continue the discussion here. Endercase (talk) 16:45, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

It seems that there is a misunderstanding of the word "historical". It can be taken as a historical fact that Arius claimed of the Son that "there was when He was not". The claim "there was when He was not" is in itself a philosophical (metaphysical) one and the whole tenor of the debate up to 381 (and beyond) was metaphysical rather than historical. Reference to Scripture served mainly to show that it was compatible with the philosophical claims. I must therefore question Endercase's claim that, for those involved, the matter was one of historical fact. Furthermore, I fail to see how linking to a series of debates which occured centuries later in a totally different cultural/philosophical context provides evidence of "the gravity of the matter". The debates over Arianism were about conflicting truth claims (ie facts) in the field of religious philosophy and to describe them as "historical fact" does no more than, at best, to class them as "fact" and at worse is misleading in that it confuses how the debates were understood. That they took place is a historic fact, but the debate itself was about what happened in eternity, "before time was". Therefore it is unhelpful to introduce the term "historic" in any sense of the word. Finally, Indyguy is probably right in saying that the debate the Son rather than Jesus. A check on Athanasius' writings indicate that he used "Son" constantly and almost all references to Jesus seem to be direct quotations of Scripture. — Jpacobb (talk) 21:48, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
To say "there was a when, when he was not" is to simply state that there was a time that Jesus did not exist. This is contrasted to the idea that Jesus was a "part of God" and therefore having an eternal continuous existence. The argument that Jesus was made out of the same stuff as God but not out of God, is just to say that Jesus' divinity was equal to that of God but that he was not directly God. None of which challenge the concept that Jesus existed as a real historical figure. I don't know what you mean when you claim that eternity is "before time was", it is my understanding that eternity is simply all of Time as we currently know it.
The use of a reference to the article of historic Jesus shows that this debate as to the existence and nature of Jesus is one that is still very much alive today and still not dominated by any one party or singular holder of "truth", much the same as it was prior to the council. To call their disagreements purely those of religious philosophy and to further say that it was not one grounded in the historic facts is to demean the faith of their beliefs and to question the efficacy of religion in general. Religious philosophy is simply the study of beliefs within the realm of currently unprovable hypotheses. This does not make these hypotheses any less grounded in historic facts. With the gathering of evidence, religious beliefs can become scientific facts. It is quite obvious given the lengths these men went that their faith was unshakable and therefore their beliefs true, at very least to themselves. The accounting of Jesus in the new testament is one that is meant taken as literal fact, except for the metaphors and fables included to teach certain lessons.
The use of the term heresy from the Greek hairesis (to choose or promote dissension) suggests that they knew that their beliefs were not the only logical option, but their punishment of death for continued heresy shows their faith in their beliefs was absolute. Meaning they thought they knew the only truth there was to know, also known as historic fact. Admittedly, at first glance, their voting on the exact nature of these facts does seem to detract from the theory that they viewed their beliefs as historic facts. However, once you realize that they were fighting literal wars over the issue it is logical to assume that voting was the only peaceful way to quickly end hostilities among peace-loving and logical peoples with minimal loss of life.
υἱός or son simply means child of most say that it wasn't a child in a traditional sense. Their meaning can not be said to be absolutely known by any means. It could be they have meant a direct genetic child, child in the sense that God caused him to happen, the light of God, a natural continuance of God, one that lived by God's guiding light, or another interpretation. All in all, these were very metaphysically deep men who discussed these topics and to take their words at face modern value completely discounts the diversity and fullness of their discussion. Put simply, their accepted histories were the books of faith. Quite literally as they viewed them as the story of their people.
Note: Although unsigned, the above entry is by User:Endercase (see revision history of this page) It was me Endercase (talk) 21:31, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
Three comments: (i) Almost all Christians theologians of the early centuries understood eternity in neoplatonic terms. Augustine of Hippo starts Book 11 of his Confessions, "O Lord, since you are outside of time in eternity ..." and the neoplatonic understanding of God's simplicity and immutability entailed the timelessness of God's being and of eternity. (DeWesse, Garrett J. God and the Nature of Time p.112). The Arian debates were concerned with eternity as understood at that time and had no connection with discovering the actual historical figure of Jesus which lay behind the four Gospels. (ii) The fact that the nature and existence of Jesus are still live issues for debate today are not sufficient grounds for linking this article with the one on the historical Jesus; both the presuppositions and focus of the two debates are entirely different. (iii) I support User:Indyguy's suggestion of "God the Son" (see start of this section) possibly piping it as [[God the Son|Son]] — Jpacobb (talk) 19:45, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
God the Son is more relevant than Jesus I agree to this modification. Sorry about not signing last time, thank you for the addendum. Additionally, God the Son is an under-linked but well-written article and this should increase traffic. Endercase (talk) 21:27, 3 February 2017 (UTC)