The humanity of Christ in the theology of Athanasius of Alexandria
This study is concerned with the understanding of Christ's humanity in the thought of Athanasius of Alexandria. In its attempt to describe the place of that humanity in the understanding of the person of Christ, and of its role in his work of salvation, reference will be made primarily to the following works of the bishop: the Contra Gentes - De Incarnatione, the Contra Arianos 1-3, the Tomus ad Antlochenos, the Epistola ad Epictetum and the Epistolae ad Serapionem 1-4. Where relevant, and where not merely repeating what is already to be found in the above works, the remaining writings of Athanasius are discussed. The Investigation falls into three sections. The first of these Involves a critical Investigation of previous studies of the subject, the main result of which is that the anthropological model used therein for interpreting the thought of Athanasius is too precise and too philosophical; for the soul and the body, in Athanasius' mind, are not the two very specifically defined, independent, antithetical elements of Greek philosophy. The second section entails an analysis of Athanasius' anthropological model, and its application to the thought of the five main works being studied. The last section attempts to draw conclusions, and to focus anew upon the particular questions raised over the years by Athanasian scholars in their study of this subject. For Athanasius humanity is contingent being, held in existence only by the providential care of the divine Logos. This humanity is described by two main terms, anthropos and soma. Anthropos seems to signify man's individuality, which lies in God's gracious bestowal upon him of rationality and spirituality through his participation in the Logos. Soma, meanwhile, suggests man's creaturely and originate mortality, in which man is one with the whole of creation. In short, anthropos is man in his responsible relation to God, and soma is man in his creaturely distinction from the Creator.