The Fall of Angelomorphic Pneumatology: A Theological History of Alexandria Open Access

Fleeson, Nathan (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL:


Before the rise of Arianism and the Pneumatomachians in Alexandria, a long theological history developed, opening gaps in Trinitarian theology that Arius and others built upon as they developed their own theologies. This history included well known theologians and groups, such as Origen, the Monarchians, and the Two-Stage Logos Theologians; however, another theology, largely unstudied, also played a key role in this development: Angelomorphic Pneumatologythe belief that the Holy Spirit, while divine, took the shape of an angel while interacting with humanity. This theology, along with all the others, however, disappeared as it became caught up in the Ecumenical debates of the third through fifth centuries. This paper examines the theological history of Alexandria including Angelomorphic Pneumatology in the story. I explore how Origen and Angelomorphic Pneumatology are both responses to Monarchianism, addressing the problem in similar ways. However, later theologiansnotably Arius and the Pneumatomachiansutilize the gaps in these theologies to claim that either the Son or the Holy Spirit are merely creatures, rather than divine beings. Thus, Angelomorphic Pneumatology falls out of favorlike Origenas the Church Councils associate it with the “heresies” associated with the Son and Spirit. Additionally, Angelomorphic Pneumatology becomes less common as the Ecumenical Councils define the role of the Spirit more so that it is no longer necessary to describe the Spirit solely by its activity as messenger.

Table of Contents


Chapter One: Angelomorphic Pneumatology-6

Chapter Two: Arianism and Its Theological Background-33

Chapter Three: The Decline of These Early Christian Theologies-56


About this Master's Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files