An Alternative Theory of
the History of Antiquity

Fragments of the Heresey of Marcellus of Ancyra

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Asterius the Sophist

Asterius the Sophist (died c. 341) is described and listed as an Arian Christian theologian by the christian ecclesiastical historians that preserve his memory. But was he a christian? Was Arius a christian? We do not think so. We see Arius as a pagan priest, opposing the new intiatives of Constantine. Few of his writings have been recovered in their entirety (latest edition by Markus Vinzent) .[1] He is said to have been a pupil of Lucian of Antioch, but it is unclear to what extent this was the case. Fragments of his Syntagmation are preserved by Athanasius of Alexandria and Marcellus of Ancyra. His extant works include a commentary on the Psalms, a letter to Eusebius, the Syntagmation, and a few fragments.[2]

At least two other clergymen were also named Asterius:

  • An Asterius who supported Acacius at the Council of Seleucia (359).[3]
  • Asterius, bishop of Amasia, later in the 4th century.
  • Asterius, presbyter in Antioch.[4]
    [1] R.P.C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God (1988), pp. 32-41. 
        has a long discussion and a translation of all his fragments 
    [2] His works are listed in Mauritius Geerard, Clavis Patrum Graecorum.
        Volumen II: Ab Athanasio ad Chrysostomum, (Turnhout: Brepolis 1974) pp. 137-39. 
    [3] Socrates Scholasticus, Church History, book 2, chapter 40. 
    [4] Philostorgius, in Photius, Epitome of the Ecclesiastical 
        History of Philostorgius, book 10, chapter 1. 
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