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On the Incarnation: De Incarnatione Verbi Dei (Popular Patristics Series) Paperback – June, 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Language Notes

Text: English, Latin (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

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 afterwards became conspicuous.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Pr; New revised edition (June 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0913836400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0913836408
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 4.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #610,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this day, when a Christian classic is often considered to be a book written 50 or 100 years ago, such as one of my favorites, "Mere Christianity," by C.S. Lewis, it may be a little intimidating for modern readers to consider a volume written during the 4th century by one of the acknowledged leaders of the ancient Christian Church. This is one such work that I've ashamedly ignored for over 30 years--until recently--despite the fact that I've been a huge fan of C.S. Lewis, who wrote the Introduction for this fine translation in about 1944.In both the introduction, and in the words of St. Athanasius, one can quickly see where Lewis developed many of his ideas for "Mere Christianity." Lewis writes here: "Measured against the ages "mere Christianity" turns out to be no insipid interdenominational transparency, but something positive, self-consistent, and inexhaustible."Another reviewer here refers to this book as Catholic, which, unfortunately, may possibly scare away some Protestant readers. However, one could also call it Orthodox (or orthodox), in the sense that St. Athanasius wrote at a time in history when there was only One Undivided Church, whether one calls it Catholic or Orthodox. He was responding to the heresies of his day (and I might add that many of those heresies are still around in one form or another). In doing so, St. Athanasius helped to codify what all Christians everywhere believed about the Incarnation of Christ in those days. As Lewis says in his introduction, some of the best devotional reading is in doctrinal books. This is one such book, but don't let it scare you away, like it did me for 30 years. It's well worth the read, and not as challenging as one would assume.An additional bonus to the St.Read more ›
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It is a shame that more people haven't read this book; after the New Testament, Athanasius' De Incarnatione Verbi Dei (On the Incarnation of the Word) is the most important synthesis of Christian thought up through the 4th century and has remained one of the most foundational of all Christian texts ever written. All later Christian thought on the sacraments and artwork (particularly icons) would eventually be an extension of the Christian teaching on the Incarnation; this work, then, not only shapes the basis of later Christian thought, but also determines its trajectory.
This is a simple work. Some of this is due to the work of the translator, breaking up the work into short sections and translating it into contemporary English without sacrificing its content; the majority of it has to do, however, with Athansius' own desire: to communicate simply the profound message of God-become-man. C. S. Lewis contributes a wonderful introduction, noting correctly that we would all do better to "read the old books", such as this one.
In short, Athanasius writes that "God became man so that man might become god". If taken out of its context, such a quote could easily be misinterpreted; it should be understood, however, in this way: by God's taking on a human body, the human body has been brought up into the very life of God. Rather than denigrating physical, created matter, the Incarnation vindicates its being created. The body then, is now understood as the site of the most profound of meanings: its being given life now and, at a future time, being given life again.
Understandings of the Incarnation as being purely juridical, with effects relegated to an ethereal world of purely legal justification, find no place here.
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By A Customer on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
The effects of this little book can be felt even today; over 15 centuries since it was written. It answers one of the most fundamental questions in Christianity, "Why did God have to come and take flesh in order to save mankind?" This book is inspiring in that it shows us the purpose of His Incarnation, His life, teachings, miracles, death and resurrection. In a time where the whole world was against him, St. Athanasius shines brigthly as one of the greatest leaders of the Christian Church. It is wise to hear his words. Other inspiring writings: AGAINST THE HEATHEN and THE LIFE OF ST. ANTHONY (a writing that converted even St. Augustine).
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This classic work from early Church Father, St. Athanasius, should be mandatory reading for every Christian (Protestant and Catholic alike). Were it not for God's working through this great Church Father, a heretical view called 'Arianism' would have dominated the Church. The Arians believed that Jesus was merely human and created like any other human. Jesus had a beginning, and was not of the same essence or substance as the Father.

This was a pivotal moment in early Church history. The Church was actually split in two regarding this issue, and were it not for Athanasius and this work "On the Incarnation," heresy would have won the day (albeit God certainly did not allow this to occur).

This work is a key theological treatise regarding the divinity of Christ, and His incarnation (fully God, and fully man). This translation is one of, if not the, best translations available for readers. C.S. Lewis writes a wonderful introduction and details the impact this work had on his own Christian life (among other interesting details about reading primary sources - Go Lewis!!).

The book is formatted in a way that is very easy to follow - from creation, to incarnation, to death, to resurrection, and then three refutations and a conclusion. However, the work is not altogether easy to read. At certain points I had to re-read the work several times to grasp what Athanasius was trying to say. But do not let this keep you from getting and reading the book. Anything worth reading is always going to have some difficulty that is what makes it worthwhile.

I would place this work in my top 20 favorite Christian works, and highly recommend it to everyone!
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