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Review: Athanasius by Simonetta Carr

Athanasius on the Nile, talking with soldiers who were searching for him but did not recognize him.   Illustration by Matt Abraxas.

Athanasius on the Nile, talking with soldiers who were searching for him but did not recognize him. Illustration by Matt Abraxas.

Athanasius devoted his life to explaining and defending who Jesus is: true God and true man.  In her book Athanasius, Simonetta Carr shows, however, that this hero of the faith was no otherworldly saint sitting safely in an ivory tower.  In fact he lived a life more exciting than most of us could imagine.

Born around 300 AD in the Roman Empire, Athanasius grew up in a time of intense persecution and was a teenager when Emperor Constantine became a Christian.  When, later on, controversy arose over the question of who Jesus actually is, Constantine called a meeting of bishops at Nicea to sort the matter out.

Athanasius was made a bishop at about this same time and from then on his life was full of controversy and danger.  As emperors came and went, Athanasius constantly defended the idea that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, and for this he was attacked, vilified and even exiled, not just once but several times.

While very important in church history, the story of Athanasius is not well known, partly because it is complicated.  Simonetta Carr’s Athanasius presents the essentials in a way that children aged 7-12 can follow and that will both inform and inspire them.  The photographs and Abraxas’s glowing illustrations will help young readers understand the story.  However, as a simple overview, Athanasius is as suitable for adults as it is for children.

This book includes a time line, extra information, and the Nicene Creed itself.

Carefully researched, beautifully bound, and appealingly illustrated, Athanasius by Simonetta Carr can be reread, shared, and treasured for a lifetime.  It is highly recommended for all Christians and is a good supplement for anyone learning about church history or the Roman world of the fourth century.

See the trailer here.

More information about  Athanasius is available on the Christian Biographies for Young Readers website.   In this series I have also reviewed Augustine of Hippo and Lady Jane Grey.

Note:  The Nicene Creed, developed at Constantine’s 325 AD meeting and revised in 381 AD, was defended vigorously by Anthanasius, and is still widely used today.  The Athanasian Creed, which was erroneously linked to Athanasius, mirrors his ideas but first appeared about 150 years after his death.

Disclosure: I received this book from Simonetta Carr for the purpose of this review.  As usual, I am not compensated for my review.

This review is linked to Trivium Tuesdays and Read Aloud Thursday.


  1. The more I read about these books by Simonetta Carr, the more I’m realizing that I just have to get some of them! Thanks for bringing this one to our attention.

  2. Amy says:

    I’m always interested in books like these. I’ve saw a number of them at a conference I was at a few months ago. Thanks for sharing more about this one!

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