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On the Incarnation (Book)

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ATHANASIUS, Bishop of Alexandria and one of the most illustrious defenders of the Christian faith, was born at Alexandria about the year 297. Before the outbreak of the Arian controversy, which began in 319, Athanasius had made himself known as the author of two essays addressed to a convert from heathenism, one of them entitled Against the Gentiles, and the other On the Incarnation of the Word. Both are of the nature of apologetical treatises, arguing such questions as monotheism, and the necessity of divine interposition for the salvation of the world; and already in the second may be traced that tone of thought respecting the essential divinity of Christ as the “God-man” for which he afterward became conspicuous.

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As one of history’s most passionate defenders of Christian doctrine, Saint Athanasius is notable for his apologist essays and their substantial contribution to early Orthodox theology. As a bishop serving in fourth-century Alexandria, Athanasius composed this essay in his early life and devoted it to a number of issues still debated by theologians today, including monotheism, spiritual salvation, and the divine nature of Jesus Christ.