Now Pete at least notes that nothing in language and grammar (or even the context) of this text supports this claim. But he still maintains it nevertheless because, as he notes, "the entire occasion of Nicaea was to introduce the imperial support to the NT Bible (physically at that time the Constantine Bible) as the holy writ at the focus of a centralised monotheistic state religion."
According to Pete
AccordinglyAll the citizens in the (pagan) Roman Empire at that time would have been aware of the proclamation of the new kingdom of the new god and were essentially being FORCED into it. I see this as the novel political reality in the Roman Empire c.325 CE.
So from this Pete concludes thatThe pagans were taken by surprise with this new god in the form of a dead Jew on a stick. Any reasonable analyst of such a situation IMO must expect a reaction from the pagans. WHERE IS THIS REACTION to the bible?
Leaving aside the question begging nature of his premises, letâs note that if Arius denied the crucifixion story or in any way underplayed the Gospel accounts of the sufferings of Jesus and was known to have done so, it would be reasonable to expect that he would have been excoriated for this by his enemies who at Nicea proclaimed that Jesus "suffered" for "us".Arius's statement [w]as a reaction to the new God STORY where the GOOD GOD was subject to suffering of outrages.
But to my knowledge, he is not. So far as I know, there is not a single text in the whole of our extant Anti Arian writings that either says that Arius does this or that excoriates him for doing so.
In fact, when we look at the anti Arian literature what we find his enemies doing is claiming just the opposite --- that he concentrates too much on the passion of Jesus.
Take, for instance, the statement that Bishop Alexander of Alexandria sent to Alexander of Constantinople that one of the galling things about Arius and his followers was that they retain
Consider, too, the rather impressive list of scriptural quotations that in Book 3 of his Orations against the Arians, Athanasius tells us that Arius and his followers frequently used in support of their claim that the Logos/son had to be a creature. Prominent among them were those texts that emphasized bodily humiliation even to the point of death on a cross.in their memory all that they can collect concerning the suffering, humiliation, emptying of Himself , and so-called poverty, and everything of which the Saviour for our sake accepted the acquired name, they bring forward those passages to disprove His eternal existence and divinity, while they forget all those which declare His glory and nobility and abiding with the Father. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/27021.htm
The Arians, reports Athanasius, ask
So in the light of this (and other texts that I have not adduced -- but are cited and discussed in the work by Gregg and Groh that I mention below -- it appears that quite contrary to what Pete claims, Arius and Arians were not offended by the image of a "jew on a stick". Nor did they seek to downplay or deny or expunge or eliminate the story of Jesus' crucifixion, let alone any of the stories in the Gospels in which he was said to be subjected to "outrages". Rather, these things were central to their theology and beliefs.How dare you say that the one having a body is the proper word of the Fatherâs essence, su that he endured such a thing as this [that is, the cross] (3.27)
In the light of this, what do we make of Peterâs claim that in Decretis 40, Constantineâs âAway! I do not wish God to appear to be subject to suffering of outrages ..." is to be taken not only as an indirect reference to the Canonical Story of the crucifixion of Jesus but something that shows that âArius does not like this storyâ and apparently denied its validity if not its historicity?
At the very least, it is woefully uninformed. And, as evidence that Pete does not seem to be aware of shows, it is dead wrong.
I would suggest that anyone who wants to see what Ariusâ views on the passion were, and what his enemies said regarding his use of the passion story to buttress his theological views, that you read the Chapter entitled âThe Arian Christâ on pp. 1-42 in Gregg and Groh Early Arianism: a View of Salvation.
This will show in no uncertain what by now probably does not need to be shown â that when it comes to his claims regarding what Arius believed about the Logos/son and Jesus, not to mention what Arius thought of scripture, Pete does not know what he is talking about, that he misreads and misrepresents the âevidenceâ that he adduces to support his thesis, and that he continually rapes that "evidence" to make it say what it does not say.