ATHENAGORAS. Between 176 and 180 he wrote a defense of the Christians, addressed to the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus and titled Presbeia embassy, address, supplication of ATHENAGORAS, Christian philosopher in Athens, Concerning the Christians. All we know of ATHENAGORAS is from the title: that he lived at Athens and was a professional philosopher. The Presbeia may have been written on the occasion of the visit of the two emperors to Athens in September 176; in any event it is almost contemporary with the persecution at Lyons in 177.

There has recently been a great effort B.

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Pouderon to reevaluate, despite its chronological errors, Philip of Sides's information that ATHENAGORAS had initially directed the didaskaleion of Alexandria. Scholars are skeptical, but it cannot be entirely ruled out that Philip received a tradition that spoke of a period of teaching by ATHENAGORAS at Alexandria, like those of Justin Martyr and Valentinus at Rome.

In the Presbeia, ATHENAGORAS refutes one after another the three classical accusations against the Christians: atheism, incest and the cannibalism of babies. The first charge is discussed much more fully and leads to an exposition of the Trinity ch. 10.

Toward the end ch. 37, ATHENAGORAS announces a treatise On the Resurrection. And in fact, Paris.

Gr. 451, the oldest manuscript of the Presbeia, is followed by a work on the resurrection, whose title says that it is by the same author. The condition of the text and the style of the two works have led R.M.

Grant, W.R. Schoedel, N.Zeegers, E.

Gallicet, H.E. Lona to the hypothesis of a late copyist being responsible for the attribution to ATHENAGORAS, and for their consequent combination in a single MS. Pouderon has argued incisively in favor of ATHENAGORAS as the author, and his counterarguments seem solid.

Less likely is his conjecture that ATHENAGORAS specifically addressed his work to a gnostic audience rather than a generally pagan one. On the Resurrection is divided into two parts: the first refutes the usual objections regarding the impossibility, injustice and unworthiness of the resurrection of bodies, using exclusively scientific and rational arguments the author does not consider scriptural arguments in support of the concluding, fideistic argument that nothing is impossible with God. The second part argues positively that, since the human being is composed of soul and body, both parts are responsible for human choices and must be rewarded or punished together.

E.Schwartz, TU 4, 2, Leipzig 1891; W.L. Schoedel, Oxford 1972; B.

Pouderon, SC 379, Paris 1992; R.M. Grant, Some Errors in the Legatio of ATHENAGORAS: VChr 12 1958 145-146; L.W. Barnard, ATHENAGORAS, Paris 1972 with bibl. ; T.D.

Barnes, The Embassy of ATHENAGORAS: JTS n.s. 26 1975 111-114 on the title and date; P.Nautin, Note critique sur Athnagore, Legatio, 16, 3: VChr 29 1975 271-275; M.

Marcovich, On the Text of ATHENAGORAS, De resurrectione: VChr 33 1979 375-382; B.Pouderon, L'authenticit du De resurrectione, in Id. D'Ath¨nes Alexandrie. Etudes sur Athnagore et les origines de la philosophie chr- tienne, Qubec 1997, 71-144 with prior bibliography; N.

Zeegers – V.Vorst, Adversaires et destinataires du De resurrectione attribu Athnagore d'Ath¨nes: Salesianum 57 1995 75- 122; 199-250; 415-442; 611-656; Athenagorae qui fertur De resurrectione mortuorum,  ed. M.

Marcovich, Leiden 2000. Recipients of the Patriarch ATHENAGORAS Medal | EFGOCM travelquaz


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