We know that Constantine ^^issued the Edict of Milan in 313 ^outlawed paganism and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire ^manipulated the Council of Nicea in 325 ^exercised absolute authority over the church,...
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We know that Constantine
^^issued the Edict of Milan in 313
^outlawed paganism and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire
^manipulated the Council of Nicea in 325
^exercised absolute authority over the church, co-opting it for the aims of empire
^^And if Constantine the emperor were not problem enough, we all know that Constantinianism has been very bad for the church.
^^Or do we know these things?
^^Peter Leithart weighs these claims and finds them wanting. And what's more, in focusing on these historical mirages we have failed to notice the true significance of Constantine and Rome baptized. For beneath the surface of this contested story there emerges a deeper narrative of the end of Roman sacrifice--a tectonic shift in the political theology of an empire--and with far-reaching implications.
^^In this probing and informative book Peter Leithart examines the real Constantine, weighs the charges against Constantinianism, and sets the terms for a new conversation about this pivotal emperor and the Christendom that emerged.
"There have been of late a splurge of populist history books damning Constantine the Great as the villain of the piece. Almost without exception they have drawn their picture of this most complex and complicated of late-antique Roman emperors from secondhand, clich d and hackneyed books of an older generation, adding their own clich s in the process. Constantine has been sketched luridly, as the man who corrupted Christianity either by financial or military means. At long last we have here, in Peter Leithart, a writer who knows how to tell a lively story but is also no mean shakes as a scholarly historian. This intelligent and sensitive treatment of one of the great military emperors of Rome is a trustworthy entr e into Roman history that loses none of the romance and rambunctiousness of the events of the era of the civil war, but which also explains why Constantine matters: why he was important to the ancient world, why he matters to the development of Christianity (a catalyst in its movement from small sect to world-embracing cultural force). It does not whitewash or damn on the basis of a preset ideology, but it certainly does explain why Constantine gained from the Christians the epithet 'The Great.' For setting the record straight, and for providing a sense of the complicated lay of the land, this book comes most highly recommended."
Peter J. Leithart (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is senior fellow of theology and literature at New St. Andrews College and pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, Idaho. He is the author of a number of books, including A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament; Against Christianity, Solomon among the Postmoderns; The Promise of his Appearing (2 Peter) and 1 and 2 Kings (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible). He is also a contributing editor for Touchstone
- 1 Sanguinary Edicts
- 2 Jupiter On The Throne
- 3 <em>instinctu Divinitatus</em>
- 4 By This Sign
- 5 <em>liberator Ecclesiae</em>
- 6 End Of Sacrifice
- 7 Common Bishop
- 8 Nicaea And After
- 9 Seeds Of Evangelical Law
- 10 Justice For All
- 11 One God, One Emperor
- 12 Pacifist Church?
- 13 Christian Empire, Christian Mission
- 14 Rome Baptized
- Author Index
- Subject Index