Carl W. Conrad (
Sat, 4 Jan 1997 08:00:23 -0600

At 10:47 PM -0600 1/3/97, Mr. Timothy T. Dickens wrote:
>As a matter of fact, a rather astute student from another list noticed this
>when the individual said:
> Ignatius come[s] across as the most "doctrinal" of the so-called
>Apostolic Fathers--and the most normative in his approach to
>doctrine? When Athanasius had to find someone in ante-Nicene days t=
>justify applying the term ungenerated or ingenerate (agennetos) to
>the Son, he had a hard time finding any. Ignatius was his man.
> From Thomas A. Kopecek, Email: kopecekt@CENTRAL.=
>It is interesting that the term that Thomas uses here is 'a/gennetos' which
>I know is related to gennaw to 'beget.' I am interested to find out more
>specifically what MONOGHNHS or MONOGHNOS QEOS may have meant to the
>Christians of the first three centuries, prior to Nicene. Regardless of
>what this word may mean in light of contemporary etymological pursuits, the
>ante-Nicene fathers thought --until the fourth century at least-- that
>Christ had been begotten before the creation of the world, perhaps for the
>purpose of creating the world itself, cf. Jn 1:3, Prov.8:22-31.

I'm delighted to see that you've cited Tom Kopecek on this matter; he's
just the sort of "hair-splitting patristic scholar" I was thinking about in
my post yesterday and I have high regard for his opinions (someone once
wrote that to be resident at a place called Pella is itself a
recommendation: I like that statement, whether it's literally true or
not!). Let me add that by "hair-splitting" I meant no disrespect; in my
judgment patristics is an area requiring much finer discernment (of
doctrinal distinctions) than I can claim for myself. However, as I have
said in my response to Mitchell Andrews already, I don't think this is the
proper forum for discussion of patristic usage of the term MONOGENHS; it
seems to me that the Elenchus list, where I lurk quietly and where I have
observed Tom's learned lexicographical research and recent contributions to
the discussion of the meaning of the word "orthodox," would be a more
appropriate forum for this admittedly interesting, if rather arcane, realm
of discussion.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR