345 To dwell at length on the theology of Athanasius under this head is unnecessary here, not because there is little to say, but partly because what there is to say has been to some extent anticipated above, §§2, 3, and ch. ii. pp. xxxii., xxxvi., partly because the history of his life and work is the best exposition of what he believed and taught. That his theology on these central subjects was profoundly moulded by the Nicene formula is (to the present writer at least) the primary fact (see (ch. 2,§3 (1), and (2) b). This of course presupposes that the Nicene faith found in him a character and mind prepared to become its interpreter and embodiment; and that this was so his pre-Nicene writings sufficiently shew.
For instance, his progressive stress on the Unity of the Godhead in Father, Son, and Spirit is but the following up of the thought expressed de Incarn. 17. 1 en monw tw eautou Patri olo" wn kata panta. It may be noted that he argues also from the idea of the Trinity to the coessential Godhead of the Spirit, ad Serap. i. 28, sq., Tria" estin ouc ew" onomato" monon …alla alhqeia kai uparx ei tria" <`85Ÿeipatwsan palin <`85Ÿteia" estin h dua"; and that he meets the difficulty (see (infra, p. 438, ten lines from end, also Petav). Trin. VII. xiv). of differentiating the relation of the Spirit to the Father from the gennhsi" of the Son by a confession of ignorance and a censure upon those who assume that they can search out the deep things of God (ib. 17–19). The principle might be applied to this point which is laid down de Decr. 11, that ‘an act’ belonging to the essence of God, cannot, by virtue of the simplicity of the Divine Nature, be more than one: the ‘act’ therefore of divine gennhsi" (the nature of which we do not know) cannot apply to the Spirit but only to the Son. But I do not recollect any passage in which Athanasius draws this conclusion from his own premises. The language of Athanasius on the procession of the Spirit is unstudied. In Exp Fid. 4, he appears to adopt the ‘procession’ of the Spirit from the Father through the Son (after Dionysius, see Sent. Dion. 17). In Serap. 1,2, 20, 32, 3,1, he speaks of the Spirit as idion tou Logou, just as the Word is idio" tou Patro". His language on the subject, expressing the idea common to East and West (under the cloud of logomachies which envelop the subject) might possibly furnish the basis of an ‘eirenicon’ between the two separated portions of Christendom. In explaining the ‘theophanies’ of the Old Testament, Athanasius takes a position intermediate between that of the Apologists, &c. (supr., p. xxiii). who referred them to the Word, and that of Augustine who referred them to Angels only. According to Athanasius the ‘Angel’ was and was not the Word: regarded as visible he was an Angel simply, but the Voice was the Divine utterance through the Word (see (Orat. 3,12, 14; de Syn 27, Anath 15, note; also Serap. i. 14).
Lastly, it must again be insisted that in his polemic against Arianism Athanasius is centrally soteriological. It is unnecessary to collect passages in support of what will be fully appreciated only after a thorough study of the controversial treatises. The essence of his position is comprised in his paraphrase of St. Peter’s address to the Jews, Orat. 2,16, sq., or in the argument, ib. 67, sqq., 1,43, and 3,13. With regard to the Incarnation, it may be admitted that Athanasius uses language which might have been modified had he had later controversies in view. His common use of anqrwpo" for the Manhood of Christ (see (below, p. 83) might be alleged by the Nestorian, his comparison of it to the vesture of the High Priest (Orat. i. 47, 2,8, see note there) by the Apollinarian or Monophysite partisan. But at least his use of either class of expressions shews that he did not hold the doctrine associated in later times with the other. Moreover, while from first to last he is explicitly clear as to the seat of personality in Christ, which is uniformly assigned to the Divine Logos (p. 40, note 2 and reff)., the integrity of the manhood of Christ is no less distinctly asserted (cf). de Incarn. 18. 1, 21. 7). He uses sqmua and anqrwpo" indifferently during the earlier stages of the conflict, ignoring or failing to notice the peculiarity of the Luciano-Arian Christology. But from 362 onward the full integrity of the Saviour’s humanity, sarx and yuxh logikh or rneuma, is energetically asserted against the theory of Apollinarius and those akin to it97 (cf). Letters 59 and 60, and c. Apoll.). Some corollaries of this doctrine must now be mentioned.
The question of the sinlessness of Christ is not discussed by Athanasius ex professo until the controversy with Apollinarianism. In the earlier Arian controversy the question was in reality involved, partly by the Arian theory of the treptoth" of the Word, partly by the correlated theory of prokoph (cf). Oral. ii. 6, sqq.), and Athanasius instinctively falls back on the consideration that the Personality of the Son, if Divine, is necessarily sinless. In c. Apoll. 1,7, 17, 2,10 the question is more thoroughly analysed. The complete psychological identity of Christ’s human nature with our own is maintained along with the absolute moral identity of His will (qelhsi", the determination of will, not the qelhma ousiqde" or volitional faculty) with the Divine will.
With regard to the human knowledge of Christ, the texts Mc 13,32 Lc 2,52, lie at the foundation of his discussion Orat. iii. 42–53. The Arians appealed to these passages to support the contention that the Word, or Son of God in His Divine nature, was ignorant of ‘the Day,’ and advanced in knowledge. The whole argument of Athan. in reply is directed to shewing that these passages apply not to the Word or Son in Himself, but to the Son Incarnate. He knows as God, is ignorant as man. Omniscience is the attribute of Godhead, ignorance is proper to man. The Incarnation was not the sphere of advancement to the Word, but of humiliation and condescension; but the Manhood advanced in wisdom as it did in stature also, for advance belongs to man. That is the decisive and clear-cut position of Athanasius on this subject (which the notes there vainly seek to accommodate to the rash dogmatism of the schools). Athanasius appeals to the utterances of Christ which imply knowledge transcending human limitations in order to shew that such knowledge, or rather all knowledge, was possessed by the Word; in other words such utterances belong to the class of ‘divine’ not to that of ‘human’ phenomena in the life of Christ. So far as His human nature was concerned, He assumed its limitations of knowledge equally with all else that belongs to the physical and mental endowments of man. Why then was not Divine Omniscience exerted by Him at all times? This question is answered as all questions must be which arise out of any limitation of the Omnipotence of God in the Manhood of Christ. It was ‘for our profit, as I at least think’ (ib 48). The very idea of the Incarnation is that of a limiting of the Divine under human conditions, the Divine being manifested in Christ only so far as the Wisdom of God has judged it necessary in order to carry out the purpose of His coming. In other words, Athanasius regarded the ignorance of Christ as ‘economical’ only in so far as the Incarnation is itself an oikonomia, a measured revelation, at once a veiling and a manifestation, of all that is in God. That the divine Omniscience wielded in the man Christ Jesus an adequate instrument for its own manifestation Athanasius firmly holds: the exact extent to which such manifestation was carried, the reserve of miraculous power or knowledge with which that Instrument was used, must be explained not by reference to the human mind, will, or character of Christ, but to the Divine Will and Wisdom which alone has both effected our redemption and knows the secrets of its bringing about. With Athanasius, we may quote St. Paul, ti" egnw noun Kuriou.
It may be observed before leaving this point that Athanasius takes occasion (§43, fin., cf. 45) to distinguish two senses of the words ‘the Son,’ as referring on the one hand to the eternal, on the other to the human existence of Christ. To the latter he limits Mc 13,32: the point is of importance in view of his relation to Marcellus (supra, p. xxxvi)..
As a further corollary of the Incarnation we may notice his frequent use (Orat. 3,14, 29, 33, 4,32, c. Apoll. 1,4, 12, 21) of the word qeotoko" as an epithet or as a name for the Virgin Mary. The translation ‘Mother of God’ is of course erroneous. ‘God-bearer’ (Gottes-barerin), the literal equivalent, is scarcely idiomatic English. The perpetual virginity of Mary is maintained incidentally (c. Apoll. 1,4), but there is an entire absence in his writings not only of worship of the Virgin, but of ‘Mariology,’ i.e., of the tendency to assign to her a personal agency, or any peculiar place, in the work of Redemption (Gn 3,15, Vulg.). Further, the argument of Orat. i. 51 fin., that the sending of Christ in the flesh for the first time (loipon) liberated human nature from sin, and enabled the requirement of God’s law to be fulfilled in man (an argument strictly within the lines of Rm 8,3), would be absolutely wrecked by the doctrine of the freedom of Mary from original sin (‘immaculate conception’). If that doctrine be held, sin was ‘condemned in the flesh’ (i.e., first deposed from its place in human nature, see Gifford or Meyer-Weiss in loc.), not by the sending of Christ, but by the congenital sinlessness of Mary. If the Arians had only known of the latter doctrine, they would have had an easy reply to that powerful passage.
97 The doctrine of Athanasius is, not formally but none the less really, the doctrine of Chalcedon, which again stands or falls together with that of Nicaea. Like the latter, it transcends the power of human thought to do more than state it in terms which exclude the (Nestorian and Monophysite) alternatives. The Man Jesus Christ is held to have lacked nothing that constitutes personality in man; the human personality which therefore belongs to it ideally, being in fact merged in the Divine personality of the Son. The ‘impersonality,’ as it is sometimes called, of Christ qua man is therefore better spoken of as His Divine Personality. Personality and will are correlated but not identical ideas).
346 The idea of Grace is important to the theological system of Athanasius, in view of the central place occupied in that system by the idea of restoration and new creation as the specific work of Christ upon His fellow-men (supra, §2, cf). Orat. 2,56, Exp. in Pss. 33,2, cxviii.5, LXX).. But, in common with the Greek Fathers generally, he does not analyse its operation, nor endeavour to fix its relation to free will (cf). Orat. i. 37 fin., 3,25 sub fin.). The divine predestination relates (for anything that Ath. says) not to individuals so much as to the Purpose of God, before all ages, to repair the foreseen evil of man’s fall by the Incarnation (Orat. ii. 75, sq.). On the general subject of Sacraments and their efficacy, he says little or nothing. The initiatory rite of Baptism makes us sons of God (de Decr. 31, cf). Orat. 1,37 ut supra), and is the only complete renewal to be looked for in this life, Serap. 4,13). It is accompanied (de Trin. et Sp. S. 7) by confession of faith in the Trinity, and the baptism administered by Arians who do not really hold this faith is therefore in peril of losing its value (Oral. 2,42, fin).. The grace of the Spirit conferred at baptism will be finally withdrawn from the wicked at the last judgment (Exp. in Ps. lxxv. 13, LXX).. In the de Trin. et Sp. S. 21 baptism is coupled with the imposition of hands as one rite. On the Eucharist there is an important passage (ad Serap. 4,19), which must be given in full. He has been speaking of sin against the Holy Spirit, which latter name he applies [see above, ch. 3,§1 (22)] to the Saviour’s Divine Personality. He proceeds to illustrate this by .
‘For here also He has used both terms of Himself, flesh and spirit; and He distinguished the spirit from what is of the flesh in order that they might believe not only in what was visible in Him, but in what was invisible, and so understand that what He says is not fleshly, but spiritual. For for how many would the body suffice as food, for it to become meat even for the whole world? But this is why He mentioned the ascending of the Son of Man into heaven; namely, to draw them off from their corporeal idea, and that from thenceforth they might understand that the aforesaid flesh was heavenly from above, and spiritual meat, to be given at His hands. For ‘what I have said unto you,’ says He, ‘is spirit and life;’ as much as to say, ‘what is manifested, and to be given for the salvation of the world, is the flesh which I wear. But this, and the blood from it, shall be given to you spiritually at My hands as meat, so as to be imparted spiritually in each one, and to become for all a preservative to resurrection of life eternal.’
Beyond this he does not define the relation of the outward and visible in the Eucharist to the spiritual and inward. The reality of the Eucharistic gift is insisted on as strongly as its spirituality in such passages as ad Max. (Letter 61) 2 sub fin., and the comment on Mt 7,6 (Migne 27,1380), ‘See to it, therefore, Deacon, that thou do not administer to the unworthy the purple of the sinless body,’’ and the protest of the Egyptian bishops (Apol. c. Ar. 5) that their churches ‘are adorned only by the blood of Christ and by the pious worship of Him.’ The Holy Table is expressly stated to have been made of wood (Hist. Ar.56), and was situated (Apol. Fug). in a space called the ierareion. The Eucharist was celebrated in most places every Sunday, but not on week-days (Apol. c. Ar. 11). But in Alexandria we hear of it being celebrated on a Friday on one occasion, and this was apparently a normal one (Apol Fug. 24, Apol. Const. 25). To celebrate the Eucharist was the office of the bishop or presbyter (Apol. c. Ar. 11). Ischyras (supr. p. xxxviii). was held by Athanasius to be a layman only, and therefore incapable of offering the Eucharist. The sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist is not touched upon, except in the somewhat strange fragment (Migne 26,1259) from an Oratio de defunctis, which contains the words h de ge anaimakto" qusia exilaamo". He insists on the finality * of the sacrifice of the Cross, Orat. 2,9, ai men gar kata nomon …ouk eicon to piston, kaq hmeran parercomenai: h de tou Swthro" quaia apax genomenh teteleiwke to pan. On repentance and the confession of sins there is little to quote. He strongly asserts the efficacy of repentance, and explains He 6,4, of the unique cleansing and restoring power of baptism (Serap. 4,13, as cited above). A catena on Jeremiah preserves a fragment [supra, ch. 3,§1 (38)], which compares the ministry of the priest in baptism to that in confession: outw" kai o<pg lxxxŸexomologoumeno" en metanoia dia tou ierew" lambanei thn afesin cariti Xristou. Of compulsory confession, or even of this ordinance as an ordinary element of the Christian life, we read nothing.
On the Christian ministry again there is little direct teaching. The ordinations by the presbyter Colluthus (Apol. Ar. 11, 12) are treated as null. The letter (49) to Dracontius contains vigorous and beautiful passages on the responsibility of the Ministry. On the principles of Christian conduct there is much to be gathered from obiter dicta in the writings of Athanasius. His description (cf). supra, p. xlviii). of the revival of religious life at Alexandria in 346, and the exhortations in the Easter letters, are the most conspicuous passages for this purpose. In particular, he insists (e.g., p. 67) on the necessity of a holy life and pure mind for the apprehension of divine things, and especially for the study of the Scriptures. He strongly recommends the discipline of fasting, in which, as compared with other churches (Rome especially), the Alexandrian Christians were lax (Letter 12), but he warns them in his first Easter letter to fast not only with the body, but also with the soul. He also dwells (Letter 6) on the essential difference of spirit between Christian festivals and Jewish observance of days. Christ is the true Festival, embracing the whole of the Christian life (Letters 5, 14). He lays stress on love to our neighbour, and especially on kindness to the poor (Letter. 1,11, Hist. Ar. 61, Vit. Ant. 17, 30). On one important practical point he is very emphatic: ‘Persecution is a device of the devil’ (Hist. Ar. 33). This summary judgment was unfortunately less in accordance with the spirit of the times than with the Spirit of Christ.
The ascetic teaching of Athanasius must be reserved for the introduction to the Vita Antoni (cf). Letters 48, 49, also above, p. xlviii).. His eschatology calls for discussion in connection with the language of the de Incarnatione, and will be briefly noticed in the introduction to that tract. With regard to prayers for the departed, he distinguishes (on Lc 13,21, &c., Migne 27,1404) the careless, whose friends God will move to assist them with their prayers, from the utterly wicked who are beyond the help of prayer.
35351 (1) The Festal Letters of Athanasius with their Index and the Historia Acephala constitute our primary source for chronological details (see below, §2). (2) Along with these come the chronological notices scattered up and down the other writings of Athanasius. These are of course of the utmost importance, but too often lack definiteness. (3) The chronological data in the fifth-century historians, headed by Socrates, are a mass of confusion, and have been a source of confusion ever since, until the discovery of the primary sources, No. (1) mentioned above. They must, therefore, be used only in strict subordination to the latter. (4) More valuable but less abundant secondary notices are to be derived from the Life of Pachomius, from the letter of Ammon (infra, p. 487), and from other writers of the day. (5) For the movements of the Emperors the laws in the Codex Theodosianus (ed. Hanel in Corpus Juris Ante-Justiniani) give many dates, but the text is not in a satisfactory condition.
(6) Modern discussions. The conflicting attempts at an Athanasian chronology prior to the discovery of the Festal Letters are tabulated in the Appendix to Newman’s Arians, and discussed by him in his introduction to the Historical Tracts (Oxf. Lib. Fathers). The notes to Dr. Bright’s article Athanasius in D.C.B., and his introduction to the Hist. Writings of S. Ath., may be profitably consulted, as also may Larsow’s Fest-briefe (Leipz., 1852), with useful calendar information by Dr. J. G. Galle, the veteran professor of Astronomy at Breslau, and Sievers on the Hist. Aceph. (Supr. ch. i. §3).
But by far the most valuable chronological discussions are those of Prof. Gwatkin in his Studies of Arianism. He has been the first to make full use of the best data, and moreover gives very useful lists of the great officials of the Empire and of the movements of the Eastern Emperors. Mr. Gwatkin’s results were criticised in the Church Quarterly Review, vol. xvi. pp. 392—398, 1883, by an evidently highly-qualified hand98 . The criticisms of the Reviewer have been most carefully weighed by the present writer, although they quite fail to shake him in his general agreement with Mr. Gwatkin’s results).
For the general chronology of the period we may mention Weingarten’s Zeit-tafeln (ed. 3, 1888) as useful, though not especially so for our purpose, and above all Clinton’s Fasti Romani, which, however, were drawn up in the dark ages before the discovery of the Festal Letters, and are therefore antiquated so far as the life of Athanasius is concerned.
98 The candid, but friendly, and often just, criticisms on Mr. Gwatkin’s book do not concern us here. But the Reviewer’s chronological strictures are his weakest point: he uses his texts without criticism, and falls far short of Mr. Gwatkin’s standard of searching historical method).
352 The determination of the leading Athanasian dates depends mainly on the value to be assigned to the primary sources, §1 (1). Reserving the fuller discussion of these texts for the Introduction to the Letters (pp. 495 sq., 500 sq)., it will suffice to state here what seem to be the results of an investigation of their value. (1) The Historia Ace-phala and Festal Index are independent of each other (cf. Sievers, p. 95, misunderstood, I think, by Mr. Gwatkin, p. 221). (2) They both belong to the generation after the death of Athanasius, the H.A. being apparently the earlier. (3) The data as to which they agree must, therefore, come from a source prior to either, i.e., contemporary with Athanasius. (4) In several important particulars they are confirmed by our secondary Egyptian sources, such as the Letter of Ammon and Life of Pachomius. (5) They verify most of the best results arrived at independently of them (of this below), and (6) In no case do they agree in fixing a date which can be proved to be wrong, or which there are sound reasons for distrusting. On these grounds I have classed the Historia and Index as primary sources, and maintain that the dates as to which the two documents agree must be accepted as certain. This principle at once brings the doubtful points in the chronology within very moderate limits. The general chronological table, in which the dates fixed by the agreement of these sources are printed in black type, will make this plain enough. It remains to shew that the principle adopted works out well in detail, or in other words, that the old Alexandrian chronology, transmitted to us through the twofold channel of the Historia and the Index, harmonises the apparent discrepancies, and solves the difficulties, of the chronological statements of Athanasius, and tallies with the most trustworthy information derived from other sources. In some cases it has been found desirable to discuss points of chronology where they occur in the Life of Athanasius; what will be attempted here is to complete what is there passed over without thorough discussion, in justification of the scheme adopted in our general chronological table.
(a) Death of Alexander and Election of Athanasius. That the latter took place on June 8, 328, is established by the agreement of our sources, together with the numbering of the Festal Letters. Theodoret (H.E. 1,26) and others, misled by some words of Athanasius (Apol. c. Ar. 59), handed down to later ages the statement that Alexander died five months after the Council of Nicaea. It had long been seen that this must be a mistake (Tillemont, 6,736, Montfaucon, Monit. in Vit. S. Athan). and various suggestions99 were made as to the terminus a quo for the ‘five months’ mentioned by Athanasius; that of Montfaucon remains the most probable (see (ch. 2,§3 (1), p. xxi).. But the field was left absolutely clear for the precise and concordant statement of our chroniclers, which, therefore, takes undisputed possession. (Further details, supr. p. 20,sq.; Introd. to Letters, pp. 495, 303).
99 E.g. that he died five months after his return home from the council (Tillem)., or after the reconciliation of Meletius (Montf).. As neither event is dated, both hypotheses render the ‘five months’ useless for chronology).
(b) The first exile of Athanasius. The duration is fixed by the Hist. Aceph. (see (Introd. p. 495, sq). as two years, four months, and eleven days, and this exactly coincides with the dates given by the Index for his departure for Tyre, July 11, 335, and his return from exile Nov. 23, 337 (not 338; for the Diocletian year began at the end of August). Although, therefore, the Hist. Aceph. is not available for the date, the constructive agreement between it and the Index is complete. But it has been contended that the year of the return from this exile must still be placed in 338, in spite of the new evidence to the contrary. The reasons alleged are very weak. (1) The letter of Constantine II., dated Treveri, June 17, so far from making against the year 337, clinches the argument in its favour. Constantine is still only ‘Caesar’ when he writes it (pp. 146, 272); he was proclaimed Augustus on Sep. 9, 337 (Montf). in ann.338 tries in vain to parry this decisive objection to the later date. He appeals to Maximin in Eus). H.E. 9,10, but overlooks the word sebasto" there. Is it conceivable that a disappointed eldest son, as sensitive about his claims as Constantine was, would within so short a time of becoming ‘Augustus’ be content to call himself merely ‘Caesar’?) The objection as to the distance of Treveri from Nicomedia has no weight, as we show elsewhere (p. xli., note 4); Constantine might have heard of his father’s death a fortnight before the date of this letter. (2) The law (Cod. Th. X. 10,4) dated Viminacium, June 12, 338, if correctly ascribed to Constantius, would certainly lend plausibility to the view that it was at that time that Athanasius met Constantius at Viminacium (p. 240). But the names are so often confused in mss., and the text of the Theodosian Code requires such frequent correction, that there is no solid objection to set against the extremely cogent proofs (Gwatkin, p. 138) that the law belongs to Constantine, who in that case cannot have been at Trier on June 17, 338. As to Constantius, there is no reason against his having been in Pannonia at some time in the summer of 337. (3) The statement of Theodoret (H.E. 2,1) that Ath. ‘stayed at Treveri two years and four months’ seems to reproduce that of the Hist. Aceph. as to the length of the exile, and is only verbally inexact in applying it to the period actually spent in Trier. (4) The language of Letter 10, the Festal letter for 338, is not absolutely decisive, but §§3, 11 certainly imply that when it was written, whether at Alexandria or elsewhere, the durance of Athanasius was at an end. There can, we submit, be no reasonable doubt that the first exile of Athanasius began with his departure from Alexandria on July 11, 335, and ended with his return thither on Nov. 23, 337.
(c) Commencement of the second exile. Here again the agreement of our chronicles is constructive only, owing to the loss of the earlier part of the Hist. Aceph.; but it is none the less certain. The exile ended, as everyone now admits and as both chronicles tell us, on Paoph. 24 (Oct. 21), 346: it lasted, according to the H.A., seven years, six months, and three days. This carries us back to Phar. 21 (April 16), 339. Now we learn from the Index that he left the Church of Theonas on the night of Mar. 18–19, and from the Encyclical, 4, 5, that he took refuge first in another church, then in some secret place till over Easter Sunday (Apr. 15). This fits exactly with Apr. 16 as the date of his flight to Rome. To this there is only one serious objection, viz., that Ath. was summoned (p. 239) to Milan by Constantius after the end of three years from his leaving Alexandria. It has been assumed (without any proof) that this took place ‘just before’ the council of Sardica. As a matter of fact, Constans left Athan. in Milan, and (apparently after his summer campaign) ordered him to follow him to Trier, in order to travel thence to the Council. Athanasius does not state either how long he remained at Milan, or when he was ordered to Trier; for a chronological inference, in opposition to explicit evidence, he furnishes no basis whatever. I agree with Mr. Gwatkin (whom his Reviewer quite misunderstands) in placing the Milan interview about May, 342, and the journey from Trier to Sardica after Easter (probably later still) in 343 (Constans was in Britain in the spring of 343, and had returned to Trier before June 30, Cod. Th. XII. 1,36, see also supr. p. xlv).. A more reasonable objection to the statement of the Index is that of Dr. Bright (p. 15,note 5), who sets against its information that Athan. fled from ‘Theonas’ four days before Gregory’s arrival, the statement of the Encyclical that he left a certain church after Gregory’s outrages at Eastertide. But clearly Athan. first escaped from the church of Theonas, afterwards (between Good Friday and Easter) from some other church (allh ekklhsia), not named by him (‘Quirinus,’ cf. p. 95, note 1), and finally from the City itself. (Dr. Bright’s arguments in favour of 340 are vitiated in part by his placing Easter on April 9, i.e. on a Wednesday, instead of the proper day, Sunday, Mar. 30). The date, April 16, 339, is, therefore, well established as the beginning of the second exile, and there is no tangible evidence against it. It is, moreover, supported by the subscription to the letter to Serapion, which stands in the stead of the Easter letter for 340, and which states that the letter was written from Rome.
(d) Council of Sardica and death of Gregory. The confusion into which the whole chronology of the surrounding events was thrown by the supposition (which was naturally taken without question upon the authority of Socrates and Sozomen) that the Sardican council met in 347, is reflected in the careful digest of opinions made by Newman (Arians, Appendix, or better, Introduction to Hist. Treatises of S. Ath. p. xxvi.; cf. also Hefele, Eng. Tra., vol. 2P 188, sq., notes), and especially in the difficulties caused by the necessity of placing the Council of Milan in 345 before Sardica, and the mission of Euphrates of Cologne to Antioch as late as 348. Now the Hist. Aceph., by giving October, 346, as the date of the return of Athanasius from his second exile, at once challenged the received date for Sardica, and J. D. Mansi, the learned editor of the ‘Collectio Amplissima’ of the Councils, used this fact as the key to unlock the chronological tangle of the period. He argued that the Council of Sardica must be put back at least as early as 344; but the natural conservatism of learning resisted his conclusions until the year 1852, when the Festal Letters, discovered ten years earlier, were made available for the theological public of Europe. The date 347 was then finally condemned. Not only did Letter 18, written at Easter, 345, refer to the Council’s decision about Easter, and Letter 19 refer to his restoration as an accomplished fact; the Index most positively dated the synod in the year 343, which year has now taken its place as the accepted date, although the month and duration of the assembly are still open to doubt (Supr. p. xlv., note 6). In any case it is certain that the Easter at which the deputies from Constans and the Council reached Antioch was Easter, 344. This brings us to the question of the date of Gregory’s death. Mr. Gwatkin rightly connects the Council which deposed Stephen for his behaviour to the Western deputies, and elected Leontius, with the issue of the ‘Macrostich’ creed ‘three years’ (de Syn. 26) after the Council of the Dedication, i.e., in the summer of 344. This is our only notice of time for the Council in question, and it is not very precise; but the Council may fairly be placed in the early summer, which would allow time for the necessary preliminaries after Easter, and for the meeting of the fathers at reasonable notice. (Perhaps Stephen was promptly and informally deposed (Thdt). after Easter, but a regular council would be required to ratify this act and to elect his successor). After the Council (we are again not told how long after) Constantius writes a public letter to Alexandria forbidding further persecution of the orthodox (277, note 3). This may well have been in the later summer of 344. Then ‘about ten months later’ (ib.). Gregory dies. This would bring us ‘about’ to the early summer of 345; and this rough calculation100 is curiously confirmed by the precise statement of the Index xviii., that Gregory died on June 26 (345, although the Index, in accordance with its principle of arrangement, which will be explained in the proper place, puts the notice under the following year). Of course the date of the letter of Constantius, which Athanasius gives as the terminus a quo of the ‘ten months,’ cannot be fixed except by conjecture, and the date given by the Index is (1) the only precise statement we have, (2) is likely enough in itself, and (3) agrees perfectly with the datum of de Synod 26. That is to say, as far as our evidence goes it appears to be correct.
100 The above resumé of the details of the evidence makes it clear that Mr. Gwatkin’s alleged oversights are in reality those of his critic. The proposal of the latter to correct ‘Epiph.’ in Fest. Ind. to ‘Pharmuthi’ is especially gratuitous).
(e) Return of Athanasius in 346. Here the precise statements of the Index and Hist). Aceph. agree, and are confirmed by Letter 19, which was written after his return. The date therefore requires no discussion. But it is important as a signal example of the high value to be assigned to the united witness of our two chronicles. For this is the pivot date which, in the face of all previously accepted calculations, has taken its place as unassailably correct, and has been the centre from which the recovery of the true chronology of the period has proceeded, The difficulty in dating the interview with Constantius at Antioch is briefly discussed p. xlvii. note 10.
(f) Irruption of Syrianus and Intrusion of George. The former event is dated without any room for doubt on the night of Thursday, Feb. 8 (Mechir 13), 356 (see (p. 301, also Index and Hist. Aceph.). Here again the accuracy of our chronicles on points where they agree comes out strongly. It should be noted that an ill-informed writer could hardly have avoided a blunder here; for 356 was a leap-year: and in consequence of this (1) all the months from Thoth to Phamenoth, inclusive, began a day later, owing to the additional Epagomenon before the first day of Thoth: the 13th Mechir would, therefore, in these years correspond to Feb. 8, not as usual to Feb. 7. (2) Owing to the Roman calendar inserting its intercalary day at the end of February, Feb. 8 would fall on the Thursday, not on the Friday (reckoning back from Easter on Apr. 7: see Tables C, D., pp. 501 sq).. This date, then, may rank as one of the absolutely fixed points of our chronology. After the above examples of the value of the concordant testimony of the two chronicles, we must demand positive and circumstantial proof to the contrary before rejecting their united testimony that George made his entry into Alexandria in the Lent of 357, not 356. As a matter of fact all the positive evidence (supr., p. lii., note 11) is the other way, and when weighed against it, the feather-weight of an inference from a priori probability, and from the assumed silence of Athanasins (Ap. Fug. 6), kicks the beam.
(g) Athanasius in 362. The difficulty here is that Athanasius clearly returned after the murder of George, which, according to Amm. Marc. XXII. xi., took place upon the receipt at Alexandria of the news of the execution of Artemius at Antioch, which latter event must be placed in July. Therefore Athanasius would not have returned till August, 362. On the other hand the Hist. Aceph. makes George arrested four days after his return to Alexandria, and immediately upon the proclamation of the new Emperor, Nov. 30, 361. On Dec. 24 George is murdered, on Feb. 9 the edict for the return of the exiles is promulged, and on Feb. 21 Athanasius returns, to take flight again ‘eight months’ later, on Oct. 24. The difficulty is so admirably sifted by Mr. Gwatkin (pp. 220, 221) that I refer to his discussion instead of giving one here. His conclusion is clearly right, viz., that Ammianus here, as occasionally elsewhere, has missed the right order of events, and that George was really murdered at the time stated in Hist. Aceph.The only addition to be made to Mr. Gwatkin’s decisive argument is that Ammianus is inconsistent with himself, and in agreement with the Hist. Aceph., in dating the arrest of George shortly after his return from court. As George would not have been at Julian’s court, this notice implies that the arrest took place only shortly after the death of Constantius. Moreover, George, who even under Constantius was not over-ready to visit his see, and who knew well enough the state of heathen feeling against him, would not be likely to return to Alexandria after Julian had been six months on the throne. We have then not so much to balance Ammianus against the Hist. Aceph., as to balance one of his statements, not otherwise confirmed, against another which is supported by the Hist. Aceph., and by other authorities as well, especially Epiph). Haer. 76. 1. (The Festal Index gives no precise date here, except Oct. 24, for the flight of Athanasius, which so far as it goes confirms the Hist. Aceph). Moreover, “on the side of Ammianus there is at worst an oversight; whereas the Hist. Aceph. would need to be re-written.” The murder of George, Dec. 24, 361, return of Athanasius, Feb. and his flight, Oct. 24, 362, may therefore be taken as firmly-established dates.
(h) Supposed Council at Alexandria in 363. This Synod assumed by Baronius, Montfaucon (Vit. in Ann. 363. 3) and others, after Theodoret (H. E. 4,2) must be pronounced fictitious (so already Vales. in Thdt). l.c).. (1) The letter of Ammon (extract printed in this volume, p. 487) tells us on the authority of Athanasius that when Pammon and Theodore miraculously announced the death of Julian, they informed Athan. that the new Emperor was to be a Christian, but that his reign would be short; that Athanasius must go at once and secretly to the Emperor, whom he would meet on his journey before the army reached Antioch, that he would be favourably received by him, and that he would obtain an order for his restoration. Now (apart from the possibility of a grain of truth in the fhmh of the death of Julian) all these details bear the unmistakeable character of a vaticinium post eventum, in other words, we have the story as it was current when Ammon drew up the document in question at the request of Archbishop Theophilus (see (also p. 567, note 1). At that time, then, the received account was that Athan. hastened secretly to meet Jovian as soon as he knew of his accession, and that he met him between Antioch and Nisibis. Now this native Egyptian account is transmitted independently by two other channels. (2) The Hist. Aceph. 8,tells us that the bishop entered Alexandria secretly ‘adventu eius non pluribus cognito,’ went by ship to Jovian, and returned with letters from him. (3) The Festal Index tells us that eight months (i.e., Oct. 24md;June 26) after the flight of Ath. Julian died. On his death being published, Athan. returned secretly by night to Alexandria. Then on Sept. 6 he crossed the Euphrates (this seems to be the meaning of ‘embarked at the Eastern, Hierapolis,’ the celebrated city, perhaps the ancient Karkhemish, which commanded the passage of the river, though some miles from its W. bank) and met the Emperor Jovian, by whom he was eventually dismissed with honour, returning to Alexandria Feb. 20, 364. Jovian was at Edessa Sept. 27, at Antioch Oct. 23.
The agreement of the three documents is most striking, and the more so since the chronicles are clearly independent both of one another and especially of the letter of Ammon, as is clear from the fact that neither mentions the fhmh, while the Festal Index implicitly contradicts it. This appears to be a crucial case in many ways). Firstly, the three narratives are all consistent in excluding the possibility of any such council as is supposed to have been summoned (see (above, p. lx).. Against this there is nothing but the hasty inference of Thdt. (corrected by Valois, see above, ib ).; the valueless testimony of the Libellus Synodicus (9th cent).; the marvellous tale of Sozom. 5,7 (referred to this time by Tillem. 8,219, but by Soz. to the death of George: probably an amplification of Hist. Aceph. ‘visus est’) that Athanasius suddenly to the delight of his people was found enthroned in his Church; and the more vague statement of Socr. (iii. 24) that he regained his church ‘at once after Julian’s death.’ As the three fifth-century writers are implicitly contradicted by three writers of Alexandria at the end of the previous century, the latter must be believed against the former). Secondly, the Index, the later as it appears, of the two chronicles, would seem to represent a form of the story less marvellous and therefore earlier than that of the Narratio. Now the latter certainly belongs to the Episcopate of Theophilus. The Index therefore can scarcely be placed later, and the Hist. Aceph. would fall, as Sievers, Einl. 2, had independently placed it at the beginning of the Episcopate of Theophilus). Thirdly, we have here an excellent example not only of the value of the combined evidence of the two chronicles, but also of their character as representing in many important respects the Alexandrian tradition of the last third of the fourth century. Before leaving this question it will be well to consider the dates a little more closely. Hierapolis was counted eight days’ journey from Antioch. From Alexandria to Antioch by sea was about 500 miles, i.e. with a fair wind scarcely more than four days’ sail (it might be less, cf. Conybeare and Howson, St. Paul, vol 2P 376, sq. ed. 1877). This allows about twelve days for Athan. to reach the Euphrates from Alexandria, remembering that southerly winds prevail in the Eastern Mediterranean at this season (Sievers, Einl. 28). Now Athan. reached Hierapolis on Sept. 6 (Thoth 8, Egyptian leap-year). But according to the Index, he reached Alex. after Julian’s death was published, and this according to Hist. Aceph. was on Mesori 26, i.e. Aug. 19. From that day to Sept. 6 are eighteen days, leaving about a week’s margin for Ath. to hear the news, reach Alexandria, and perhaps for delay in finding a vessel, &c. But a far wider margin is really available, for the official announcement must have been preceded by many rumours, and was probably not despatched till more than a fortnight after Julian’s death (as is observed by Mr. Gwatkin, p. 221). If we remember that Athanasius, according to the Letter of Ammon, was making all possible haste (supra, §9) we shall again realise the subtle cohesion of these three sources, and the impossibility of the ‘large Synod’ imagined by some historians for the year 363.
(k) Exile under Valens. The date of this is discussed by Tillem. (note 96) and Montf). Vit. who, on the unstable basis of a computation of Theophanes (about 800 a.d.) and of the vague and loose sequences of events in Socr. and Sozom., tentatively refer the exile to the year 367. The only show of solid support for this date was that Tatianus (of later and unfortunate celebrity), whom the Photian Life and that by the Metaphrast connected with the expulsion, was known from Cod. Theod. to have been Prefect of Egypt in 367. But this airy fabric now gives place to the precise and accurate data of the Theophilan chronicles. Both Index and Hist. Aceph. place the occurrence not under Tatian but under Flavian, governor of Egypt 364nd;366. Both fix the year 365. The Hist. Aceph.(used by Soz.vi.12, who however makes no use of the dates) gives May 5, 365, for the Imperial order against bishops restored by Julian, June 8 for the reference to the Emperor (supra, ch. 2,§9), Oct. 5 for the retreat of Athan. and search for him by Flavian and Duke Victorinus, Feb. 1 for the return of Athanasius. This detailed chronology is corroborated in two ways; first by a letter of Libanius (Ep 569) to Flavian, thanking him for a present of [Egyptian] doves, and congratulating him on his ‘victory’ (a play on the name Victorinus ), but with a satirical hint that if only Victorinus had any prisoners to shew for his pains (a clear allusion to the escape of Ath). he (Libanius) would think him a finer fellow even than Cleon (Siev). Einl. 31). Secondly, the restoration of Ath. by Valens becomes historically intelligible, in view of the danger from Procopius, as pointed out supr. p. lxi., fin. We cannot then doubt that the chronicles are here once more the channels of the genuine chronological tradition.
(1) Death of Athanasius. It is superfluous to discuss this date at the present day, but it may be worth while to point out for the last time how admirably the combined testimony of our chronicles confirms the judgment of the best critics (Montfaucon, Tillemont, &c). antecedent to their discovery, and how clearly the secondary value to be assigned to the chronological statements of Socrates and Sozomen once more comes out (Socr. iv. 21 puts the date at 371, and was followed by Papebroke, Petavius and others (fuller details and discussion of the question on its ancient footing in Newman’s preface to Hist. Tracts of St. Athan., pp. xx.,) sqq).. But no one any longer questions the date of May 2–3, 373. The fact that the Hist. Aceph. gives May 3 and the Index May 2 (the date observed in the later calendars) vouches for the independence of the two documents and for the very early date of the former: probably, as Sievers and others suggest, the true date is the night between May 2 and May 3.