Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance / Edition 1

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Overview

Historians who viewed imperial Rome in terms of a conflict between pagans and Christians have often regarded the emperor Constantine's conversion as the triumph of Christianity over paganism. But in Constantine and the Bishops, historian H. A. Drake offers a fresh and more nuanced understanding of Constantine's rule and, especially, of his relations with Christians.

Constantine, Drake suggests, was looking not only for a god in whom to believe but also a policy he could adopt. Uncovering the political motivations behind Constantine's policies, Drake shows how those policies were constructed to ensure the stability of the empire and fulfill Constantine's imperial duty in securing the favor of heaven.

Despite the emperor's conversion to Christianity, Drake concludes, Rome remained a world filled with gods and with men seeking to depose rivals from power. A book for students and scholars of ancient history and religion, Constantine and the Bishops shows how Christian belief motivated and gave shape to imperial rule.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

New Republic
A refreshingly original and powerfully argued re-conception of the issues and the forces at work in this period of the conversion not of Constantine, but of Christianity... With laser-keen insight, bold thinking, and also a large measure of wry humor, Drake has presented a plausible and powerful interpretation of this formative moment in Western history... A riveting story, and masterfully told. Anyone who rejoices in our Founding Fathers' constitutional conviction that church must be kept separate from state will read Constantine and the Bishops with deepest appreciation; and perhaps those who long for the opposite should read it, too. The lessons of late antiquity remain pertinent, alas, to the politics of religion in our own day.

— Paula Fredriksen

Virginia Quarterly Review

If you read one book on late antiquity this year, read this one. If you read one book on politics this year, read this one again... A work of visionary brilliance.

Journal of Church and State
The strength of this work is Drake's skillful use of a wide range of scholarship... This is a stimulating book, with a persuasive thesis.

— Nathan Howard

Journal of Religion
Compelling... His overarching thesis provides a persuasive new paradigm.

— David Brakke

Journal of Theological Studies
This is a learned, broadly based, and carefully elaborated argument. It is also racily written, interesting, and hard to put down.

— Stuart G. Hall

Speculum
A thoughtful and erudite book that breaks the mold... A powerful study with a strong, coherent thesis, Constantine and the Bishops is animated by a fresh vision of the early fourth century. It skillfully incorporates major historical themes in unexpected and rewarding ways.

— Richard Lim

History: Reviews of New Books
In its scholarship and size Constantine and the Bishops is clearly a work to benefit scholars, but the clarity of its explanations make it accessible to the enterprising undergraduate as well.

— Ronald J. Weber

New Republic - Paula Fredriksen

A refreshingly original and powerfully argued re-conception of the issues and the forces at work in this period of the conversion not of Constantine, but of Christianity... With laser-keen insight, bold thinking, and also a large measure of wry humor, Drake has presented a plausible and powerful interpretation of this formative moment in Western history... A riveting story, and masterfully told. Anyone who rejoices in our Founding Fathers' constitutional conviction that church must be kept separate from state will read Constantine and the Bishops with deepest appreciation; and perhaps those who long for the opposite should read it, too. The lessons of late antiquity remain pertinent, alas, to the politics of religion in our own day.

Journal of Church and State - Nathan Howard

The strength of this work is Drake's skillful use of a wide range of scholarship... This is a stimulating book, with a persuasive thesis.

History: Reviews of New Books - Ronald J. Weber

In its scholarship and size Constantine and the Bishops is clearly a work to benefit scholars, but the clarity of its explanations make it accessible to the enterprising undergraduate as well.

Journal of Religion - David Brakke

Compelling... His overarching thesis provides a persuasive new paradigm.

H-Catholic, H-Net Reviews - Richard A. Lebrun

A well organized, well documented, and well written study.

Journal of Theological Studies - Stuart G. Hall

This is a learned, broadly based, and carefully elaborated argument. It is also racily written, interesting, and hard to put down.

Speculum - Richard Lim

A thoughtful and erudite book that breaks the mold... A powerful study with a strong, coherent thesis, Constantine and the Bishops is animated by a fresh vision of the early fourth century. It skillfully incorporates major historical themes in unexpected and rewarding ways.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801871047
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 9/10/2002
  • Series: Ancient Society and History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 632
  • Sales rank: 958,128
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.43 (d)

Meet the Author

H. A. Drake is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents:

Preliminaries

Contstantinople 335 AD

The Game of Empire

The Church Becomes a Player

Opportunities

The Old Guard Changes

In Search of a Vision

Building a Coalition

Consequences

Consensus Politics

Controlling the Message

Controlling the Agenda

Unintended Consequences

The Fine Print

Power Players

Milan, 390

Johns Hopkins University Press

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