Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)


Jerry Sutton


Arius, Athanasius, Church History, London Papyrus 1914, Philostorgius


History of Religion


Athanasius is the one of the most important figures in church history. He is known for firmly standing for the faith in a time when the Arian heresy threatened to forever impact the church. However, during the fourth century Athanasius was able to effectively combat this trend and he suffered greatly for it as he was exiled five times during his forty-five years as the bishop of Alexandria. His first exile came in AD 335 and this is the most important one to understand as many of the charges brought against him were reiterated later on. Most church historians and Christian writers through the centuries viewed Athanasius as a hero and believed the charges against him were fabricated. However, in the late nineteenth century a shift began towards a negative view of the character of Athanasius and this has continued to the present day. Many modern authors point to three items of evidence that have been discovered as the reason for the evolving perspective on Athanasius. This paper will investigate the validity of the original claims against Athanasius brought in 335 as well as the credibility of the items of this new line of evidence.