Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The Nicene controversy marks the beginning of the rise of councils as the final arbiters in matters of faith in the Church. Prior to its time, only small synods had been held but they served as models for minor matters. About A.D. 319, there arose in the East a question of belief which had long been put off. Actually it was a question of logic or faith. Prior to the time of Arius, no one seriously challenged the divinity of Christ or His equality with the Father but Arius, the logician, discovered in the word ''begot" a novel meaning which, if carried to its conclusion, would destroy the concept of the unity of the Trinity taught for centuries by the Apostles and their successors. Personal animosities, jealousies and perhaps a sheer love of contention, divided the Christian world into opposing camps both led by men of erudition and talent. The lines were not clearly drawn, however, until the controversy was vigorously aired. The first rumblings of discord came from the Arian faction.