Chapter

The <i>Life of Antony</i>: Themes and Influence

William, S.J. Harmless

in Desert Christians

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780195162233
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835645 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195162234.003.0004
 The Life of Antony: Themes and Influence

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The Life of Antony’s folktale surface should not lead modern readers to underestimate its sophistication. Athanasius was not only a skilled literary artist, but also a gifted theologian and a prominent politician on the international scene. He brought his formidable theological talents and his partisan political biases to this work, using it as propaganda against Arian and Melitian opponents. This chapter examines three theological themes that wind their way through the text: Christ’s victory over the demons, Antony as an image of deification, and Antony as a model of orthodoxy. At the close, it explores the Life of Antony’s long-term literary influence on lives of the saints and its historical influence on the conversion of Augustine of Hippo.

Keywords: Athanasius; Antony; Christology; deification; orthodoxy; Arians; Melitians; Augustine of Hippo

Chapter.  13276 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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