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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 168

On the Incarnation of the Word of God is an apologetic theological treatise by Bishop (later, Saint) Athanasius; in other words, it is a systematic breakdown and defense of his particular conception of Christianity. As such, it has no characters in the ordinary sense, but instead implicates its audience as the subject of its argument, exhorting them to belong in a kind of ideological category which he defines in dramatic contrast to the secular people of the contemporary 4th century.

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St. Athanasius appeals to imagery of God's immanence in earthly life in order to convince his audience of believers and non-believers that they have a connection to the divine world and must endorse a specific set of beliefs. He asserts that because Christ, the incarnation of God, arrived and influenced human life directly, God demonstrated that he places the utmost symbolic significance on the beliefs and actions of humans in the whole mortal sphere—not just the divine sphere, or on individuals' adherence to special occasions like mass.

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