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Arianism A heresy which arose in the fourth century and denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ DOCTRINE First among the doctrinal disputes which troubled Christians after Constantine had recognized the Church in AD 313 and the parent of many more during some three centuries Arianism occupies a large place in ecclesiastical history It is not a modern form of unbelief and therefore will appear strange in modern eyes But we shall better grasp its meaning if we term it an Eastern attempt to rationalize the creed by stripping it of mystery so far as the relation of Christ to God was concerned In the New Testament and in Church teaching Jesus of Nazareth appears as the Son of God This name He took to Himself Matt xi 27 John x 36 while the Fourth Gospel declares Him to be the Word Logos Who in the beginning was with God and was God by Whom all things were made A similar doctrine is laid down by St Paul in his undoubtedly genuine Epistles to the Ephesians Colossians and Philippians It is reiterated in the Letters of Ignatius and accounts for Plinys observation that Christians in their assemblies chanted a hymn to Christ as God But the question how the Son was related to the Father Himself acknowledged on all hands to be the one Supreme Deity gave rise between the years A D 60 and 200 to number of Theosophic systems called generally Gnosticism and having for their authors Basilides Valentinus Tatian and other Greek speculators Though all of these visited Rome they had no following in the West which remained free from controversies of an abstract nature and was faithful to the creed of its baptism Intellectual centers were chiefly Alexandria and Antioch Egyptian or Syrian and speculation was carried on in Greek The Roman Church held steadfastly by tradition Under these circumstances when Gnostic schools had passed away with their conjugations
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