Arianism as Chrestianity
|Arianism illustrated: based on New Testament accounts, yet with a river god approving the riverine baptism by John.|
Part IINow we are discussing the Arian Goths within the Roman Empire - Proto-Christian Gothic Bible (and earlier, The myth of Arianism) - we need to determine what, exactly, is Arianism. Let's start with the mythological account provided by the Christian textual tradition:
"Arianism is a Christian belief that asserts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, created by God the Father, distinct from the Father and therefore subordinate to the Father. Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius (c. AD 250–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt. The teachings are opposed to mainstream Christian teachings on the nature of the Trinity and on the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is that the Son of God did not always exist, but was created by God the Father. This belief is based on an interpretation of a verse in the Gospel of John (14:2): "You heard me say, 'I am going away, and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.""
And for this Arius:
"Arius (Berber: Aryus ; Ancient Greek: Ἄρειος, AD 250 or 256–336) was a Christian presbyter and ascetic of Libyan birth, possibly of Berber extraction, and priest in Alexandria, Egypt, of the church of the Baucalis. His teachings about the nature of the Godhead, which emphasized the Father's divinity over the Son, and his opposition to what would become the dominant Christology, Homoousian Christology, made him a primary topic of the First Council of Nicea, convened by Roman Emperor Constantine in AD 325."
In archaeological terms, neither are based on reliable evidence; in the cultural layers for that period (and after, for some centuries), there is nothing for either the man, nor the heresy. They all exist only in the much later textual tradition.
The major point of difference, in theological terms, between Arianism and orthodox Christianity is that the former did not have the concept of the Trinity:
"The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (from Latin trinitas "triad", from trinus "threefold") defines God as three consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit—as "one God in three Divine Persons"."In Islam and Judaism, there is God - Allah and Yahweh - not divided into anything.
“For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the Earth and made it; …I am the Lord; and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:18:)“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)
At some point after the New Testament appears, so does Trinitarianism. The textual tradition tries to account for this, with the usual type of array composed of mythological characters and councils, but as that is largely mythological, we'll let it be (for now).
The doctine of the Trinity comes with Christianity and thus, is post-Arianism; the change is the defining point, chronologically; it marks the end of Chrestianity; i.e. Arianism is Chrestianity and Christianity is largely Chrestianity, with the Trinity added.
|The mythological Trinity or Triad. Osiris. Horus. Isis.(1885).|
|Julius Terentius performing a sacrifice, from the Temple of the Palmyrene Gods, Dura-Europos, ca. 239 CE.|
In the same fresco, lower left: The Tyche of Dura (head in a nimbus), left, her left hand rests on head of naked male figure standing at her side; below is a bearded man swimming. The Tyche of Palmyra, right, (head in a nimbus) on throne, right foot on naked female as if rising from the river, personifying the Efqa source in Palmyra:
In 238, Gordian III ruled with Pupienus and Balbinus:
|Solidus with busts of emperors Arcadius, Honorius and Theodosius II. Tyche of Antioch seated on rocks, head facing, river-god Orontes beneath.|
|Baalshamin (center) forms a triad with the lunar god Aglibol and the sun god Malakbel (found near Palmyra, Syria)|
Manichaeism which spread across the Roman Empire, lasting into the 14th century, at least:
χρηστός - Chrestos"About 100 fragments from a Coptic papyrus codex containing a canonical Epistle(s) by Mani."
"The form 'Chrestos', that is, "Jesus the Good," is found throughout the text. Perhaps significantly, Alexander of Lycopolis* notes that the Manichaeans used this form, although there is little evidence for it in other texts." (Emerging from Darkness: Studies in the Recovery of Manichaean Sources; edited by Paul Allan Mirecki, Jason David BeDuhn, Brill, 1996)
|Fragments of a Manichaean codex leaf found at Kellis in the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt.|
"Manichaeism was quickly successful and spread far through the Aramaic-Syriac speaking regions.[Jason BeDuhn; Paul Allan Mirecki (2007). Frontiers of Faith: The Christian Encounter With Manichaeism in the Acts of Archelaus. BRILL. pp. 6–.]"We saw in the last post how the divine man of the Gothic New Testament gospels is the same as in the earliest, canonical gospels and New Testament, and earlier we saw that he is also the same deity in Manichaeism. This deity is IS XP, IS Chrest, in which the IC (Greek), IS (Latin) could be Isis Chrest, James Chrest, or even Julius Chrest/Caaesar - remembering, of course, he began as a parody, a fiction, and no real person need be intended.
"It thrived between the third and seventh centuries, and at its height was one of the most widespread religions in the world. Manichaean churches and scriptures existed as far east as China and as far west as the Roman Empire.[Andrew Welburn, Mani, the Angel and the Column of Glory: An Anthology of Manichaean Texts (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1998), p. 68]"
"Manichaeism survived longer in the east than in the west, and it appears to have finally faded away after the 14th century in southern China[Jason David BeDuhn The Manichaean Body: In Discipline and Ritual Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 2000 republished 2002 p.IX]"
This IS Chrest is a pagan concept, as pagan as the potamoi river god in the Arian baptism mosaic at Ravenna (supra); he is as pagan as the Tyche Fortuna shown here, as pagan as the divine Julius Caesar and emperors who followed. Changing his title from Chrest to Christ did not make him less pagan, but more so, for it came with the division of a single, unitary god into three.
Next, we must return to the Chrestianised Goths and their impact on the West.