By Peter J. Leithart

We all know that Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 313 outlawed paganism and made Christianity the reliable faith of the Roman Empire manipulated the Council of Nicea in 325 exercised absolute authority over the church, co-opting it for the goals of empire And if Constantine the emperor weren't challenge adequate, we know that Constantinianism has been very undesirable for the church. Or can we understand this stuff?

Peter Leithart weighs those claims and reveals them short of. And what's extra, in targeting those historic mirages we've didn't detect the genuine importance of Constantine and Rome baptized. For underneath the outside of this contested tale there emerges a deeper narrative of the tip of Roman sacrifice--a tectonic shift within the political theology of an empire--and with far-reaching implications. during this probing and informative ebook Peter Leithart examines the true Constantine, weighs the fees opposed to Constantinianism, and units the phrases for a brand new dialog approximately this pivotal emperor and the Christendom that emerged.

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Extra info for Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom

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Augustus was Potter, Roman Empire, pp. 277-78. , p. 107; on Augustus’s iconography and religious claims, see S. R. F. Price, Rituals and Power: The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1984); Paul Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus, trans. Alan Shapiro (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1990); Ethelbert Stauffer, Christ and the Caesars: Historical Sketches, trans. K. and R. Gregor Smith (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1955). 8; cf.

Indb 42 8/27/10 1:35:06 PM 43 Jupiter on the Throne Julius Caesar and the hope that Augustus will also ascend to receive prayers. Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue, on which Constantine later mused, foretold a child whose birth would bring in a new age of prosperity, and Virgil no doubt intended to refer to Lord Augustus, not (as Christians later supposed) the Lord Jesus. After the vicious civil wars that had followed the assassination of Julius Caesar, such sentiments were not surprising. Panegyrists dipped into the rhetoric of the early empire to express their delight in the results of Diocletian’s reign.

Noel Lenski (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 37, offers the more modest view that eschews universal explanations, is more skeptical of contemporary anxieties, and argues that a genuine crisis, brought on by invasions, is most evident in the imperial court and the army. : Harvard University Press, 1993), p. 3. indb 30 8/27/10 1:35:05 PM Jupiter on the Throne 31 the interests and cultural assumptions of the Senate with the brute force of the military, which he commanded. Octavius3 was a consummate player of the imperial game, ostentatiously humble in relation to the Senate, careful to keep up republican appearances by avoiding threat and intimidation.

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