Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Nicene-Arian Conflicts

Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Nicene-Arian Conflicts

Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Nicene-Arian Conflicts

Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Nicene-Arian Conflicts


This provocative new study reevaluates the history of the early Church. Focusing on the struggle between Ambrose of Milan, upholder of orthodoxy and the famous `Nicene' creed still used in the western Church today, and the heretical Arians who denied the divinity of Christ, Dr Williams challenges the traditional picture of the triumph of orthodoxy. His book is full of illuminating new insights on the social, political and theological entanglements of early Christianity.


This book is the revised product of a Ph.D. dissertation written at the University of Toronto The conflicts between Christian confessional groups in the fourth century present quite a number of historical, theological, and prosopographical challenges which the current renewal in fourth- century studies has only begun to address. In particular, rekindled interest in the doctrine of the Trinity and in the traditional credal formulations of God's identity mandate historically sensitive research if we are successfully to recover the mind of the early Church on these subjects. It is hoped that this volume will make a useful contribution in bringing further clarity to the forbidding complexities of the fourth-century Trinitarian debates.

I am much indebted to the Rt. Revd Dr Rowan Williams, who first suggested the idea of publishing my dissertation. Without his encouragement I doubt if this project would ever have taken its present form. I must also express my gratitude to Professors Timothy Barnes and Joanne McWilliam, who, from the start of this undertaking, offered helpful guidance through its many revisions. Dr Barnes freely shared the proofs of his Athanasius and Constantius (Cambridge, Mass., 1993), which helped me avoid some serious errors in my own analysis of events in the 360s. Professor Henry Chadwick graciously read the typescript and offered valuable criticisms for which I am very grateful. Whatever other lapses in judgement may be detected by the reader are entirely my own doing.

I also want to express my thankfulness to the pastors and people of Lorne Park Baptist Church in Mississauga, Ontario. During our six-year sojourn as foreigners in a foreign land, they provided us with countless gifts of emotional support and enrichment. Concerning matters of computer technology, special thanks must go to Mr Jeffrey Miles for his many hours spent converting my documents into a usable form.

No book is written in a vacuum. The members of my family contributed much to its production by their encouragement and by allowing me the space to devote the many hours necessary in meeting writing deadlines and goals. Thank you, Ryan and Chad, for being so patient and understanding while I finished my 'big project'. Most of all, I am grateful to my wife Cindy, who willingly journeyed with me every step over the miles . . .

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