Thursday, March 16, 2006

What Ever Happened to Theodosius?

Christianity had a better start. For almost three centuries it avoided capture by the logic of the state, and was able to form human beings into a community that transcended class, race and geography. This tradition was eclipsed in A.D. 325, when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.

So say Phillip Blond, a lecturer in philosophy and religion at St. Martin's College, Lancaster, and Adrian Pabst, a doctoral candidate at Peterhouse, Cambridge University, and a research fellow at the Luxembourg Institute for European and International Studies, in an article for the International Herald-Tribune.

These putative scholars should be forced to write on a blackboard one-hundred times "Not Constantine but Theodosius made Christianity the state religion." In Latin, even. I believe The Da Vinci Code makes the same mistake, an error more excusable in a trashy novel than in the polemics of two aspiring academics.

1 comment:

JH said...

I know I'm commenting on a really old post but, I want information. So, correct me if I'm wrong here: Constantine was converted to christianity and set up the council of Nicaea. Then it was Theodosius who was able to use the results of that council to establish Nicene Trinitarianism as the state religion in 380. Am I missing anything? So, wouldn't it be safe to say that Constantine was instrumental in generating the rhetorical devices necessary for Theodosius to make Christianity official a generation later? I think that without the Nicene creed, it would be a difficult task to establish Christianity as a state religion.