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date: 20 March 2023



  • David M. Gwynn


Arianism, the polemical term used to describe a wide spectrum of 4th-cent. Christian theological beliefs that subordinated God the Son to God the Father. The name derives from the presbyter *Arius, whose teachings were condemned at the council of *Nicaea (1) (325), where the Son was affirmed as homoousios (‘of the same substance’) as the Father. Arius himself exerted little influence on subsequent debates, and no contemporary Christians referred to themselves as ‘Arian’. However, the Nicene formula was regarded with suspicion by many eastern bishops for failing to distinguish the individual identities of Father and Son within the Trinity (a heresy known as Monarchianism or Sabellianism). This distrust was expressed strongly at the council of *Antioch (1) (341), and during the mid-4th cent. a number of alternative doctrines emerged, including those who taught that the Son was anomoios (‘unlike’), homoios (‘like’), or homoiousios (‘of like substance’) to the Father.


  • Christianity

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