Intuiting Gods

Creed and Cognition in the Fourth Century

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
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Combining history, theology, and the cognitive study of religion, this article offers a new interpretation of the origins and purpose of the fourth-century Trinitarian theology known as Homoianism, suggesting that it aimed to create an “entry-level“ Christianity as a first step in gradually easing polytheists into Christianity. It highlights the polemical nature of Homoianism's characterization as “Arianism,“ and examines the beliefs of Homoianism's proponents, including those of Ulfila, the “apostle of the Goths.“ This article suggests that the Homoian view of the Trinity attempted to map non-Christian intuitions of divinity onto the Christian doctrine of God. It points to Homoianism's Western origins on the Roman Empire's strategically important Danubian frontier, arguing that a Homoian creed should be seen not only in the wider context of the “Arian Controversy,“ but also as part of attempts to ensure the peaceful Romanization of the Goths.

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