Newton on Athanasius

“Paradoxical Questions Concerning the Morals and Actions of Athanasius and his Followers,” written by Isaac Newton in the early 1690s, addresses several questions about the controversies surrounding Arius and Athanasius. These issues are quite important, because they mark a major intellectual and religious turning point in the history of Civilization; the character, virtue, and motivation of the various contestants informs our understanding of the results of that contest.

The test as presented here has been updated for modern reading, primarily in matters of spelling (which was a much more fluid standard in Newton’s day) but also by means of notes to explain certain ideas and terms. [From Newton’s handwriting, editor’s corrections/clarifications in brackets]

Question 1
Whether the ignominious death of Arius in a bog-house [i.e., an outhouse] was not a story feigned & put about by Athanasius above twenty years after his death.

How Arius died I reckon a question of no moment, but because it leads to other things of moment I choose to begin with it. We are told in history that he was excommunicated by the council of Nice & banished by the Emperor Constantine the Great, & some time after released out of banishment by the same Emperor, & that he died at Constantinople in a bog-house miserably by the effusion of his bowels the day before he was to have been absolved from excommunication.

Now this story of his death was not spread abroad until about 24 years after his death, & then it was first vented by his greatest enemy Athanasius in a clandestine way. For Athanasius in the end of the reign of Constantius being forced to retire from his bishopric into the wilderness of Egypt, broached that story there by sending about a narrative of it in a timorous & cautious manner, charging them [the recipients] not to transcribe it but to return it back to him so soon as they had read it. And this appears by a letter which he sent about at the same time to those Monks in which he writes thus.

For the full condemnation & rejection of the heresy of the Arians ye are to believe that the judgment of God in the death of Arius is sufficient, which ye have even now learnt from others. For what God has constituted let no man annul, & whom he has condemned who shall pronounce just. For who from so great a sign knows not that this heresy is hated of God notwithstanding that it is defended by men. When therefore you have read it, pray for us & exhort one another to it & straight way send back those things to us & publish no copy thereof nor transcribe any for your selves, but be ye content as just usurers with the bare reading of it although ye may desire to read it often. For it is not safe that those our writings should come to posterity which we composed as babblers & unlearned. – Thus far Athanasius.

In this epistle he mentions his own flight & the placing of George in the chair of Alexandria which happened A.C. 356. He mentions also the subscription of Liberius A.C. 358 & both the lapse & death of Hosius the first of which happened at Sirmium A.C. 357, & the last in or after the Council of Ariminum as Baronius proves: & therefore this epistle was written between the Council of Ariminum & death of Constantius & by consequence A.C. 359 or soon after: that is 24 years after the ignominious death of Arius or above. For he died according to the relation of Athanasius before the Council of Tyre which met A.C. 355 [335] or according to the relation of the ecclesiastical historians soon after: & the Council of Ariminum sat A.C. 359.

Now at the same time that this libel or narrative of the death of Athanasius [Arius] went about in the wilderness among the Monks, one Serapion upon a dispute whether Arius died in communion with the Church wrote to Athanasius to know his opinion about it, to whom Athanasius returned this answer. [Extat Epistola in operibus Athanasij et apud Theodoritum Hist Eccl. L. 1. c. 14]

I have read the letters of your Reverence in which you desire that I would write to you those things which are at this time done against me, & concerning the wicked Heresy of the Arians by which we suffer these things, & how Arius ended his life. Two of these three requests I have willingly performed & sent to your piety what I have written to the Monks. For thence you may learn what relates both to our troubles & to the heresy.

But concerning the third head, namely the death of Arius, I much doubted with my self about it fearing least in doing it, I should seem to insult over the death of the man. But yet because a disputation amongst you concerning the heresy ended in this question, Whether Arius died in communion with the Church: for ending the dispute about his death I will tell you the truth, accounting it the same thing to tell this as to end the contention for I persuade my self that the miracle of his death being known, it will no longer be doubted whether the Arian heresy be odious to God or not.

Truly I was not at Constantinople when he died but Macarius the Presbyter was there & I learnt it by his relation. — Arius by the endeavour of the Eusebians being called to the Emperor Constantine & at his entrance being asked by the Emperor, if he kept the faith of the Catholic Church, affirmed upon oath, that he believed aright, suppressing what he had been excommunicated for by Alexander his bishop & colouring over his profession with scripture expressions. When therefore he had sworn that he had done none of those things for which he was by Alexander excommunicated, the Emperor dismissed him with these words. “If thy faith be right thou hast well sworn, but if impious & yet thou hast sworn God will condemn thee for thy oath.”

Him therefore thus departing from the Emperor, the Eusebians by their usual force would have introduced into the Church, but Alexander bishop of Constantinople contradicted it, saying that the inventor of a heresy ought not to be received into communion. Then the Eusebians threatned saying, “As we have procured against your will that he should be called by the Emperor so tomorrow notwithstanding it’s against your mind, we will bring Arius into communion with us in this Church.”

It was the Sabbath (that is Saturday) when they said this which Alexander hearing & being much troubled he went into the Church, & lifting up his hands to God lamented & falling upon his face on the ground prayed. Macarius was there present praying with him & hearing his words. Now he requested one of these things. “If Arius,” saith he, “must tomorrow be brought into the congregation, let thy servant now depart & destroy not the righteous with the wicked, but if thou wilt spare thy Church (for I know thou wilt spare it) look upon the words of the Eusebians & give not thy inheritance into destruction & disgrace & take away Arius least he being received into the Church his heresy may seem also to be received with him & so impiety be counted for piety.”

The Bishop having thus prayed went thence very thoughtful & there followed a thing wonderful & incredible. For the Eusebians threatening the Bishop prayed: but Arius confiding in the Eusebians & prating [i.e., talking purposelessly] much went into a bog-house as if to ease himself & suddenly (as it’s written) falling head long burst in sunder & died upon the ground being deprived both of communion & life. Such was the end of Arius.

And the Eusebians being greatly ashamed buried their fellow conspirator: but the Church rejoicing, Alexander celebrated the communion in piety & sound faith with all the brethren praying & greatly glorifying God: not as if he rejoiced at his death (far be it, for it is appointed all men once to die,) but because this thing appeared above all human judgment. For the Lord himself judging between the threatenings of the Eusebians, & the prayer of Alexander, condemned the Arian heresy, shewing it unworthy of the communion of the Church & manifesting to all men that although it be countenanced by the Emperor & by all mortalls yet it’s condemned by the Church. —

Certainly many of those who were deceived before were converted, namely because God himself had condemned the heresy & shown it to be incommunicable to the Church. Wherefore let the Question cease among you. To them who moved this question let this be read together with what I wrote in briefe to the Monks concerning this heresy, that they being thence instructed may more & more condemn it. But let no copy of these things be transcribed nor transcribe any for your self. For this I have also enjoined theMonks. But according to your candour if any thing be wanting in the writings add it & straight way return them to us, etc. – Thus far Athanasius.

So then the story of Arius’s death was first broached by Athanasius at that time when Arianism was countenanced by the Emperor & by all mortals, & by consequence after the compliance of the western Bishops in the Council of Ariminum; & Athanasius pretended no other author for it then Macarius, a dead man, & propounded it amongst his ignorant & credulous Monks with much timorousness, charging them to return the writings quickly to him, without letting any copies be taken least it should at length get into such hands as he could not trust. For, says he, it is not safe that it should come to posterity.

But a while after when the story was once spread abroad, so that he might tell it without danger of being reputed its author, he tells it again in his first Oration without any such caution. [Athan. Orat. 1. pag.]

Now the reasons which make me suspect the truth of this story are these.

1. Because the prayer of Macarius is contrary to the temper & spirit of true Christianity, & it is not likely that God would hear a wicked prayer.

2. Because the story came to us not from Constantinople as it ought to have done, but from Egypt & was not broached there until 24 years after the death of Arius or above. Athanasius & the Bishops of Egypt, when collected in a Council at Alexandria five years after the Council of Tyre, knew nothing of it, as you may perceive by the letter which that Council wrote in defence of Athanasius against Arius & the Council of Tyre. Nor did Iulius, Bishop of Rome, know any thing of it when he wrote in defence of Athanasius. Nor did the Council of Sardica (where Athanasius & his friends were assembled together out of all the Empire) know anything of it as you may perceive by their letters. Athanasius long after these times told it as a secret & out of his writings the Ecclesiastical historians have propagated it to posterity.

3. Because it was broached & spread abroad by the grand enemy of Arius without any pretence of proof or other evidence then the credit of the reporter. For detracting stories never look well when told by professed enemies. Such a person may be an accuser but not a witness, & accusations without proof are by the general rule of all courts of justice to be accounted calumnies.

4. Because Athanasius broached it, as he confesses, to blast the name & religion of his enemies, & that at a point of time when he was reduced to the greatest despair.

5. Because he broached it in a clandestine way in the wilderness amongst the Monks of his own party who were ignorant of affairs of the world & depended on his mouth as on an oracle: & also because he was fearful lest the writings by which he broached it should come into other hands which he could not trust, or remain upon record. For, says he, it’s not safe that they should come to posterity.

6. Because the story after he had broached it spread but slowly, being not generally known until the ecclesiastical historians about ninety years after the death of Arius set it down in their histories as [Theod. Eccl. Hist. 1. 1. c. 13.] Theodoret informs us. Sulpicius Severus, who wrote his history above thirty years after, knew nothing of it. It seems to have made little noise in the world before the Greek Historians met with it in the writings of Athanasius & put it about.

7. And though it came originally from Egypt & was not known in the world until about 24 years after the death of Arius, yet Athanasius to give credit to it amongst the Egyptian Monks, told it then & there as if it had been well known at Constantinople from the beginning saying that, at the ignominious death of Arius, the Eusebians were ashamed & many of them were converted & the Church rejoiced greatly. For how it could be so publicly known there at first, & not spread thence into Egypt & other regions before Athanasius told it, I understand not.

Lastly the main design of the story is to represent that Arius died miserably without the pale of the Church, & for that end Athanasius in his letter to Serapion represents as if he died at Constantinople immediately after he was recalled thither from banishment, before the Eusebians had time enough to receive him into communion.

And in his letter to the Monks when he had mentioned the ignominious death of Arius he subjoins that the Eusebians not very long after accomplished what they had been endeavouring at Constantinople: receiving the Arians into communion (meaning at Ierusalem) & pretending the Emperor’s command & not blushing after the deposition of Athanasius to write in their letters (that is, in a letter of the Council of Ierusalem to Alexandria) that envy was ceased & that they had received the Arians & boasted the Emperor’s command for it, not fearing to add that the faith of the Arians was right.

Thus does Athanasius in these his two letters, that he may make Arius die without the pale of the Church, place his death at Constantinople before the Arians were received at Ierusalem. And yet it’s certain that Arius went from Constantinople to Tyre & Ierusalem & Alexandria before he died & was one of those whom the Council of Ierusalem received into communion. For Constantine the Great recalled him & Euzoius together from banishment & after he had allowed their profession of faith, sent them to the Council of Tyre to be received into communion, & that Council (which Eusebius represents a greater Council then that of Nice) removing to Ierusalem received them there & sent them with a recommendatory letter to Alexandria to be readmitted to their places.

This story is told not only by the Ecclesiastical [Socr. l. 1. c 26, 27, 33, 37, 38. Sozom. l. 2, c. 27 28, 29. Ruffin. l 1. c. 11] Historians but also by the Council itself in that letter & by the Bishops of that Council met again in the Council of Antioch where they write that they, being judges of the faith of Arius, had received him rather than followed him.

It’s acknowledged also by Athanasius himself in his book De Synodis Arimini et Seleuciæ where he recites the letter of the Council of Ierusalem & then adds that that Council, after the banishment of Athanasius, wrote in this letter to Alexandria, that they should receive Arius & those that were with him. And the memory & tradition of his reception at Tyre remained in Egypt until Athanasius, by a contrary story, extinguished it as is manifest by the opposition that the story of the death of Arius met with at first, some disputing that he died in communion until Athanasius commanded them silence.

Historians therefore finding that Arius was certainly received at Tyre & went thence to Alexandria have endeavoured to mend the narrative of Athanasius by placing the death of Arius not immediately after his return from banishment to Constantinople as Athanasius does, but after his return from Alexandria thither. And yet to allow, as they do, that Arius was received into communion at Ierusalem & by consequence died within the pale of the Church is contrary to the design of the story. And to tell that the Eusebians, after they had received him at Ierusalem, would have received him at Constantinople as if they had not received him before is contrary not only to the narrative of Athanasius but also to common sense. From one excommunication there is but one absolution.

These are the reasons which incline me to suspect the story of the death of Arius. And while Athanasius wrote his book De Synodis Arimini et Seleuciæ long after the death of Macarius & therein relates the reception of Arius at Ierusalem: I suspect also that he knew nothing then of the story of Arius dying out of communion & therefore had it not from Macarius as he pretends, but invented it himself.

Question 2
Whether the Meletians deserved that ill character which Athanasius gave them.

In Dioclesian’s persecution there arose a controversy between Peter the Bishop of Alexandria & Meletius the first of the Bishops under him; which caused a schism in the churches of Egypt; both parties notwithstanding keeping communion with the Churches abroad.

When Athanasius succeeded in the Bishopric of Alexandria, he was accused of tyrannical behaviour towards the Meletians so as in the time of the sacrament to break the communion cup of one Ichyras, a Meletian Presbyter in Mareote & subvert the communion table & cause the church to be speedily demolished, & some time after to kill Arsenius, a Bishop, the successor of Meletius in Hypselita. Whereupon, the Meletians accusing Athanasius of these things, he was tried & condemned in the Council of Tyre & banished by the Emperor Constantine the Great.

And this caused great enmity between Athanasius & the Meletians. Athanasius therefore in his second Apology[Athan. Apol. 2] gives this character of Meletius, that he was by Peter the Bishop of Alexandria in a common synod of the Bishops convicted of many crimes, & particularly that he had sacrificed to idols & for these things deposed, & that he thereupon made a schism so that his followers instead of Christians were called Meletians.

But Epiphanius[Epiphan. Haeras. 68] relates the origin of the schism much otherwise. For he calls Meletius a Confessor, & says that when he & Peter & other martyrs & Confessors were in prison together there arose a dispute about the reception of lapsed persons, Peter out of mercy being for a speedy reception & Meletius & Peleus & many other martyrs & confessors, out of zeal for piety, being for a competent time of penitence before they were received so that the sincerity of their penitence might first appear, & thereupon they divided, the greater part following Meletius. Afterwards Peter suffered martyrdom, & Meletius for some time was condemned to the mines. Thus Epiphanius.

Now that which makes me suspect the relation of [i.e., the story related by] Athanasius is, first, because the character given by the greatest enemy is always the most to be suspected & then because the Council of Nice did not receive Meletius & his party into communion as they would have done had they been excommunicate before, but — without any absolution — continued them in their bishoprics, & only for putting an end to the schism confined Meletius to his city & deprived him of the power of ordaining, as you may see in the epistle of this Council to the Churches of Egypt.[Apud Theodoritum 1. 1. c. 6]

For if Meletius & his party continued in communion without ever being absolved from excommunication (as it’s plain by the epistle of the Council of Nice that they did) then they were never excommunicate: & if so, then the Story of Athanasius about their being excommunicate for various crimes is a fiction.

Question 3
Whether the Council of Tyre and Ierusalem was not an orthodox, authentic council bigger than that of Nice.

The friends of Athanasius endeavour all they can to diminish the credit of this Council, & make it a conventicle of a few Bishops selected by his enemies for oppressing him. So Socrates tells us it consisted of but sixty Bishops.

And yet, by considering earlier records, I suspect it was as big or bigger then the Council of Nice. For, the design of this Council being very great, it needed great credit & authority to support it. They were not only to examine the cause of Athanasius but also to receive into communion Arius & Euzoius with their followers in Egypt, as men who had been oppressed by a false representation of their faith: & it was [A Concilium Antiochenum in Epist. ad Iulium Papam] an ancient Canon of the Church, as well as a necessary one, that no man should be received by a less number of Bishops then those by which he had been ejected.

And therefore the Emperor sent his letters into all the Eastern Empire requiring the attendance of the Bishops that the Council might be full. For this the eighty eastern bishops in the letter which at their return from the Council of Sardica they wrote at Philippopolis, affirm in these words: “Concilium ….. post alterum annum in Tyro propter Athanasij facinora necessario iterum celebratur. Advenerunt Episcopi de Macedonia & de Pannonia Bithynia & omnibus partibus Orientis, Imperatoris jussione constricti.”

The eastern Bishops objected against Athanasius that, by returning to his bishopric without being restored by as many bishops as had deposed him, he had violated the ancient Canon: but the friends of Athanasius never retorted the accusation upon the eastern Bishops as if they had broken the same Canon in receiving the Arians at Tyre. In the times next after the Council, the Athanasians never excepted against it for not being big enough. They never desired that a fuller Council should be called in the east to examine the Acts of this: but, as if a fuller could not well be called there, or if called would not be for their advantage, they appealed to the West.

And thereupon arose a quarrel, not between the West & a few bishops of the east but between the eastern & western churches, as is plain by the schism which was thereby made soon after between them. But let us hear how Eusebius, who was in both Councils & so is a good witness, describes this & compares it with the other.[Euseb. in vita Constant. 1. 4, v. 43, 47, ex versione Valesij] For he tells us how the remoter regions of Macedonia, Pannonia, Mœsia, & Persia sent their Metropolitans thither, & then adds:

Bithyni quoque et Thraces præsentia sua conventum ornabant, nec deerant e Ciliciæ Episcopis clarissimi quique. Ex Cappadocia item qui doctrina et eloquentia præstabant in medio consessu enituerunt. Ad hæc Syria omnis, Mesopotamia, Phœnice, Arabia et Palæstina, ipsa Ægyptus quoque & Libya & qui Thebaidem incolunt, omnes in unum congregati magnum illum Dei Chorum implebant. Quos ex omnibus Provincijs innumerabilis hominum multitudo sequebatur.

And a little after:

Hanc secundam synodum omnium quas novimus maximam, Imperator Hierosolymis congregavit, post primam illam quam in urbe Bithyniæ nobilissima collegerat. Sed illa quidem triumphalis erat; in imperij vicennalibus preces ac vota pro victoria de hostibus parta in urbe victoriæ cognomine persolvens. Hæc verò tricennalium festivitatem ornavit cum Imperator Deo omnium bonorum authori, Martyrium velut quoddam pacis donarium in ipso servatoris nostri monumento dedicaret.

Thus far Eusebius, giving the preeminence to the latter Synod as being called upon the more holy & solemn occasion to celebrate the Emperor’s greatest year.

This Council has been reputed Arian & on that account of no authority, but the accusation was never proved & an accusation without proof is of no credit. The accusation indeed has gained credit among the followers of Athanasius for a long time: but this makes it no more than popular fame; & popular fame without original evidence, though of two thousand years standing, is but popular fame, nor can any man readily take up with it without making himself one of the giddy mobile.

Such fame indeed, when the origin of it is forgotten, may make a strong presumption, but when we know the origin & see that it was spread abroad without evidence, can be of no moment [i.e., no importance]. Wise men must look only to the evidence.

Now all the evidence that this Council was Arian is only this: that they received Arius into communion & banished Athanasius. This is all the ground upon which the fame of their being Arian was spread abroad by the mobile of Athanasius his party & this is no just ground at all. For they did not receive Arius without his disowning those things for which he had been condemned at Nice, nor condemned Athanasius for his owning the Nicene decrees: & it’s not the receiving or condemning men but the receiving or condemning opinions that can make any Council heretical.

So far was this Council from being Arian that the Bishops thereof in almost all their following Councils declared against Arianism & anathematized the opinions for which Arius had been condemned. If you say they dissembled & were Arians in their heart while they were orthodox in their language, I must ask you how you or any man else can know that. For an accusation without knowledge of the thing is that which the world calls clamour calumny & malice.

Had Athanasius & his Monks the guift of searching & knowing men’s hearts? & is this a ground for us to rely upon? We have no other means of knowing men’s faith but by their profession & outward communion & way of worship, & by all these characters the fathers of this Council were orthodox. They constantly professed against Arianism & were in communion with the Churches of all the world & worshipped as other Churches of that age did. For they were never reprehended by their enemies upon any of these heads.

Should any Church of our age charge heresy upon any body of men of her own communion, & should the men reply that they always were of the communion of that Church & always professed her faith & used her worship & that they still continue in that profession & practise; & should the accusers grant all this & only reply that notwithstanding their communion profession & practise they were heretics in their hearts; & should the Judges upon this accusation condemn them to death: I think such proceedings would by all sober men be accounted as malicious & barbarous as any we ever heard of.

And yet this seems to be the case of the Council of Tyre, who without any proof are accused of heresy by those of their own communion contrary to their constant profession & practise, & their authority murdered upon the accusation.

If you say that the fathers of the Council of Tyre did afterwards in the Councils of Ariminum & Seleucia declare for Arianism, I answer that you may with better reason say that they declared against Arianism in the Council of Nice, or if you please that the Nicene Council was Arian because the Tyrian was so. For the Councils of Nice & Tyre being great & general Councils of one & the same Greek Church collected within the space of ten years under one & the same Emperor have a far greater affinity with one another then the Councils of Tyre & Seleucia collected under different Emperors at the distance of 23 years.

If some of the Tyrian fathers were at Seleucia many more of the Nicene were at Tyre. This Council being collected so soon after that of Nice consisted partly of the Nicene fathers & partly of their immediate disciples & successors: nor had Constantine the Great done anything to make the fathers of the Greek churches alter their opinion between these two Councils: And therefore to accuse the Tyrian Council of Arianism is in effect to say that the generality of the Nicene fathers were Arians in their hearts & dissembled in their subscriptions. For they refused to subscribe against Arius until Constantine came in person into the Council to overawe them & then they subscribed with reserves.

But between the times of the Councils of Tyre & Seleucia there was time enough for Constantius to work a change in the bishops & Constantius was the more likely man to work it: so that if there was any change wrought in the Greek Bishops between the Councils of Nice & Seleucia its much more reasonable to believe that Constantius wrought it after the Council of Tyre than Constantine before.

But what if some of the Tyrian Bishops, what if many of them were Arians? Does this invalidate the authority of the Council of Tyre? Surely not. The Athanasians sometimes complain as if the Eusebians dissembled in the Council of Nice, but yet would never allow that the authority of that Council was invalidated thereby. The authority of a Judge depends not upon his religion or sincerity but upon his incorporation into the body politic, & upon his Commission to act. And so the authority of a Council depends not upon the secret religion & sincerity of the men but upon their being in external communion with the Church Catholic, & having a legal commission to meet & act in Council. For otherwise we could never be certain that any Council is authentic.

And upon this ground the Council of Tyre was as authentic as any Greek Council ever was or could be since the Apostles’ days, they being in communion with the Church Catholic & legally convened by the letters of Constantine the Great.

Now that this was an authentic Council is manifest also by the consent of all parties in that age. For Athanasius & his party in that age questioned not the authority of this Council, but only complained as if they had abused their authority by corrupt judgment. They endeavoured by fixing the imputation of “Arian” upon them, not to invalidate their authority, but to bring their sincerity into question.

And therefore Iulius, Bishop of Rome, cited the eastern Bishops to appear before him in a Council to justify not their authority but their integrity. And, when they would not appear, the Council absolved Athanasius from excommunication, & received him into communion, acknowledging thereby that Athanasius by the sentence of the Council of Tyre did really & truly & regularly stand excommunicate from the western churches as well as from the eastern, & by consequence from the Church Catholic until that absolution.

And agreable to this it is that Athanasius, to prove that Arius died out of the pale of the church, represents that he died the night before he was to have been received into communion by the Eusebians. For by this story he acknowledges that those who were received into communion by the Eusebians were in communion with the Church Catholic. So then by the consent of Athanasius, Pope Iulius & all their party, the Eusebian Councils before the rupture between the eastern & western churches were authentic & their Acts valid & binding.

It remains therefore that we inquire whether the Council of Tyre dealt sincerely or corruptly in the cause of Athanasius.

Question 4: Whether it was a dead man’s hand in a bag or the dead body of Arsenius which was laid before the Council of Tyre to prove that Arsenius was dead.

Question 5: Whether it was Arsenius alive or only his letter which Athanasius produced in the Council of Tyre to prove that he was not dead.

Question 6: Whether the story of producing the dead man’s hand and the living Arsenius in the Council of Tyre was not feigned by Athanasius about five & twenty years after the time of the Council of Tyre.

Question 7: Whether the Letter of Pinnes for proving Arsenius to be alive was not feigned by Athanasius at the same time with the story of the dead man’s hand.

Question 8: Whether the Letter of Arsenius was not feigned by Athanasius before the convening of the Council of Tyre.

Question 9: Whether the Letter of Ischyras was not feigned by Athanasius.

Question 10: Whether the Recantation of Valens & Vrsatius was not feigned by the friends of Athanasius.

Question 11: Whether Athanasius was falsely accused or did falsely accuse Eusebius of adultery before the Council of Tyre.

Question 12: Whether Athanasius did sincerely acquit himself of the crime of breaking the communion cup of Ischyras.

Question 13: Whether Athanasius was not made Bishop of Alexandria by sedition & violence against the Canons of that Church.

Question 14: Whether Athanasius was not justly deposed by the Council of Tyre.

Question 15: Whether Athanasius was not seditious.

Question 16: Whether Constantius persecuted the Athanasians for religion or only punished them for immorality.

One thought on “Newton on Athanasius

  1. Pingback: Isaac Newton On The Hero Of The Nicenes « American Unitarian Reform

Leave a Reply