The Cambridge History of Ancient Christianity– Part Four

The Cambridge History of Ancient Christianity– Part Four October 28, 2023

Q. Why just the period up to Constantine? Why not include the transition period when Christianity was a licit or legal religion from the beginning of the early 4th century up to and including Julian the Apostate who tried to turn back time and rejuvenate pagan religion?


A. We use Constantine as a mile-marker rather than as a boundary, and allowed contributors to negotiate that mile-marker as they deemed most appropriate to their subject matter. In some aspects, the Constantinian era was significantly different to the pre-Constantinian era; in other aspects, that is not the case. For instance, the Constantinian era put Christian architecture and art on steroids in a way that is much less evident in earlier centuries; arguably, however, much of the “proto-orthodox” theological discourse of the pre-Constantinian era meshes well with the theological discourse of “orthodox” theologians in the Constantinian era. So how the Constantinian era is navigated in relation to the pre-Constantinian era depends on the issue under consideration. We asked Éric Rebillard to address this issue in particular, and as always, he came up with a powerful essay on the subject.

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