History Of Christianity
The Conversion of Constantine
In the peer-reviewed Catholic Historical Review, author Charles Odahl explains that there was an "arduous military campaign" to regain control of Rome from "usurper Maxentius" in A.D. 312 (three hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ). The campaign was brutal and so Constantine the Great sought "supernatural assistance" against the enemies of Rome (Odahl, 1995). Of course previous emperors had sought power and influence from "traditional pagan cults" and had persecuted the Christian Church, and it hadn't worked out well in terms of military successes. So Constantine was said to have invoked (through prayer) "the Highest God" of the universe to help his troops; and because he believed he had an answer from the Christian God, he ordered placed on troops arms the "caestia signa of Christ" (the Cross). Because Roman troops won the Battle of the Mulvian Bridge (on October 28, 312), that was enough to convince Constantine that the Christian God was on the side of the Romans. Constantine did indeed become the first Christian emperor, but at the outset he knew very little about the "characteristics of the Christian Deity" or the sacraments and practices of the...
2). In time, however, he began reading Christian literature and he summoned Christian clergy to his court and made "Christian ministers his advisors and traveling companions" (Odahl, p. 3). With Constantine's blessing and encouragement, Christian teacher Lactantius wrote a small book pointing to the "ultimate truth" and recognizing the "fallacy of pagan religions" and that there is "One Supreme God" and that God sent Christ to earth to bring salvation to all believers (Odahl, p. 3).
The Impact of the fall of the Western Empire on the Church
Scholar Walter Pohl writes in the peer-reviewed journal Early Medieval Europe that there were "many ways to be Roman" after the fall, and as the "imperial pretenses began to fade," those pretenses were "more or less smoothly replaced by a Roman Christian vision of social coherence" (Pohl, 2014). At the court of Emperor Antoninus Pius it was written that after the fall, "Roman" was no longer just the name of a city, but of a "common kin group" (Pohl, 412). Among that kin group were Christians that used ethnic metaphors to offer a description of themselves as "new people, a kin group before God" (Pohl, 412). Meanwhile the quickly expanding…
Lamoreaux, John C. "Early Eastern Christian Responses to Islam." In Medieval Christian
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Odahl, Charles. "God and Constantine: Divine sanction for imperial rule in the first
Christian Emperor's ... " Catholic Historical Review, 81, no. 3 (July, 1995), 327-353.
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