Athanasius of Alexandria (circa 296-298) – d. 2 May 373] is also given the titles St. Athanasius the Great, Pope St. Athanasius I of Alexandria, St Athanasius the Confessor and (in the Coptic Orthodox Church, mainly) St Athanasius the Apostolic. He was the 20th bishop of Alexandria. His long episcopate lasted 45 years (c. 8 June 328 - 2 May 373), of which over 17 years were spent in five exiles ordered by four different Roman emperors. He is considered to be a renowned Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Orthodoxy against Arianism, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century.
He is remembered for his role in the conflict with Arius and Arianism. In 325, at the age of 27, Athanasius had a leading role against the Arians in the First Council of Nicaea. At the time, he was a deacon and personal secretary of the 19th Bishop of Alexandria, Alexander. Nicaea was convoked by the Emperor Constantine in May–August 325 to address the Arian heresy that Christ is of a distinct substance from the Father.
In June 328, at the age of 30, three years after Nicæa and upon the repose of Bishop Alexander, he became archbishop of Alexandria. He continued to lead the conflict against the Arians for the rest of his life and was engaged in theological and political struggles against the Emperors Constantine and Constantius and powerful and influential Arian churchmen, led by Arian Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia and others. He was known as "Athanasius Contra Mundum". Within few years of his departure, St. Gregory of Nazianzus called him the "Pillar of the Church". His writings were well regarded by all Church fathers who followed, in both the West and the East. His writings show a rich devotion to the Word-become-man, great pastoral concern, and profound interest in monasticism.
Athanasius’ two-part work of apologetics, Against the Heathen and The Incarnation of the Word of God, completed about 335, was the first great classic of developed Greek Orthodox theology. In Athanasius’ system, the Son of God, the eternal Word through whom God made the world, entered the world in human form to lead men back to the harmony from which they had fallen away.
This edition of Against the Heathen is specially formatted with a Table of Contents.