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Constantine is a man, and christian emperor.

To deal with AntiConstantinian theology, an account of Constantinian(how he fits in the


West)
Common idea: Constantine considered as a Saint for many centuries.
But Last centuryinsincere Christian, various criticisms, he simply
supported the church because he saw that the church was a growing
power, and sought to hitch himself to thatso his motivation was
political, brutal, blood thirsty, etc.
Was he Christian?
Two accounts of his conversion of contemporaries:
Peter Vaius
a. Constantine sees a cross in the sky with a sign that says
conquer by this. (may have been public with his soldiers)
b. Private Dream on Eve before battle which led into his conquest to
Rome
Changes
a. went with Christian sign on the battle standardsvery important,
very religious, very part of the roman effort to gain favor of Gods.
b. Refuses to offer sacrifices to Jupiter in Rome
c. Surrounds himself with Christian signs and symbols
d. Supports Church and its building programs
e. Changed from endorsing pagan gods and following Christian God
f. His imperial edicts show that he believes in the Christian God, he
believes that the Christian God is the God of creation.
g. He was interested in the unity of the church to make sure God is
pleased with the roman emperora political motivation that is
nevertheless inseparable from his theological convictions.
h. Constantine's Oration to the Saints (genuine product of Constantine own
hand? Did he write and deliver this to his courts)he specifically defends
Christian monotheism, he endorses the eternal generation of the Son,
summarizes the NT story of Jesus (its basic contours), and discusses a
number of OT prophesies that are fulfilled in Christ, a text from Virgil that
is fulfilled in Christ.
Was he converted? Did he come to the conviction that the Christian
God was his master that he needed to please? Why did he baptized
during his death bed.

Was he a Christian? Depends on how you define that? But did he


believe in the Christian God, Yes!
Did his conversion make an real difference in the way that the Roman
empire was handled? Yes or No.
a. Edict of MilanDID NOT GRANT TOLERATION FOR CHRISTIANS
(that was already granted in the east and west). Re-imbursed
Christians for lost property that had been taken from them from
the persecutions that preceded Constantine. In a larger effect, It
became a symbol of the recognition of the church as a legal
religion.
b. To open church courts to litigants in the Roman legal system
(transfer jurisdiction from civil to ecclesiastical courts). The
Roman legal system was very biased to the wealthy. Thus, he
provided free access to a court presided over someone more fair
a bishop; a significant shift of power to the church.
c. He also eliminated rivals, directly or indirectly

Is this political-maneuver for self-interests, some sort of pretense, halfheartedly converted to Christianity in order to gain the support of the
growing Christian populations. 10% Christian population
Can Christians have political claims? Is this theology or history?
He is not entirely an admirable emperor. He killed his oldest son and
his wife during his reign.

Theological category of anti-Constantinianism.


a. Medieval writers, Alliance of church and stateis this the fall of
the church? Position of the Anabaptists. Permanent thread of
western thought in the modern period.
b. Yodercritic of Constantinianism, an important paradigm. This is
not about the person, nor about his policies, nor the
circumstances of Constantinians reign, BUT about a shift in the
churchs relationship to the world and the churchs
understanding of itself that occurred sometime in the 2nd century

that continues well into the modern period in different forms.


Constantine is is simply a symbol of this paradigm. He thinks its
a massive betrayal of Christian faith, causing significant changes
in Christian practice related to war and political life. Yoder argues
that the early church was uniformly opposed to Christians
fighting in wars, but after Constantines reign, we begin to see
the development of the JUST WAR THEORY and Christians
involvement in wars. Yoder also argues that this paradigm of
Constantinians led to the church losing
1. a sense of its own identity. The church saw itself as a separate
country different from the Roman empire, as not of this world.
But during and after Constantines reign, the church now
begins to see political life as where the real meaning of
history resides instead of the Eucharist, evangelism, etc.
Christians now began to see providence as embodied by
political institutions, and as such, that history can be
manipulated and controlled by humanity. Is this something
that happened in Constantines timeare the effects in
drastic numbers today? But also was early Christianity
uniformly pacifist? Werent there Christian soldiers, sort of a
mixed bag? So Letihart believes that Yoder overstates what
one can know about the Early churchs stance on war.
2. A bi-focated church, a dualistic kind of ethic, a dualistic
metaphysics, ---an influx of half-converted people during
Constantines. so people come into the church not because
they truly believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Yoder thinks
this is the background to the visible and invisible church.
So you have people that have not been really transformed by
the gospel, but simply bear a gloss of Christianity.
a. Yoders negative perspectives on Augustinea Constantinian
theologian, worked when the empire was basically Christian
Implications of Yoders perspectives.
a. A perversion of Christianity from Constantine to Anabaptist
era? Are all of these people Constantinians?
b. A modernist, liberal account of politics and the church( Most
fundamental objection). Liberalism makes the individual the
central political unit, also separates neatly b/n public
(reasoned debate, power, state that has monopoly of power
and violence) and private(irrational passions and loyalties like
families and churches). This means that theology and church
has to back out from the public square. The issue is in many
respects, they concede the realm of power to secular forces,

the amoral forces of interest and sheer power. In other words,


they dont see any real possibility of redemption of the spirit
of power. They dont see political power being used in a
Christian fashion. Leitharts concern is that he wants to make
sure that we can imagine Christ, and his kingship as being
constitutive of the governance of public life. Basically we
should just leave the issue of politics to those with power and
big guns.
c. Positive Account of Constantinehow he fits into the Christian
narrative.
a. Hes not the betrayal of the gospel, or the fall of the church. Hes
the emperor who desacrificializes public life. He stopped
sacrifices, removed it from gaining such political position.
Sacrifices was the central act of almost all religious people in the
ancient world. He also forbid sacrifices during his reign. He
instead, formed a new political order---a Christian eucharistically
sacrificial cult being central to the roman order. The Church was
the true city and the true center of roman order. He publically
supported Christian practicethis is a massive upheaval of
Roman politics. Giving public support to Christian worship and
Christian eucharistic sacrifice and celebrations is key.
b. Also, how he fits into the Western paradigm is also about just
how bizarre when we hear that people are sacrificing animals for
religious purposes. But his was the most common thing to do in
the world.
c. But in the current world, what we have is a political order that is
sacrificially centereda re-emergence of sacrificial political
order. A relocation of a past sacrificial order of self-sacrifice(in the
name of Jesus) against political orders into the modern era where
we have self-sacrifice for the sake of political order( a new kind of
martyrdom that takes the from of patriotism).

Dr. George Kalantzis response


a. Constantine Greatequal of the apostles, May 21st, Divine
Liturgy of Chrysostom
b. Does Constantine needs defending?
c. Approaching as an historian
d. Defending Constantine is not a historical book!
e. Core---Leithart--the very conception of the church---a diverse
body that bears witness to Christ

Leitharts arguments weaknesses.


a. assumes too much of its readers, and gives too little at the
same time. He assumes that the non-specialist reader can
easily assess the Hellenization hypothesis( the air that Yoder
breathes), and 2) theyll agree with him that he represents
Yoders fairly.
CH12. Pacificist church?
a. Can Eusebius be really trusted as a source for Constantine.
Yes, but within the parameters of what he was trying to do. He
was trying to do that for Constantines three sons and heirs.
b. Eusebius purpose was to point his heirs to imitate their
fathers steps by trusting God and protecting the people.

Leitharts benefit of the doubt.


a. In his office, Constantine is responsible for universal
order(Roman claim, emperor claim, Pontifex Maximus,
augur of the state. Priest and Interpreter). Unfair
treatment of Yoder. Hellenization thesis being debunked
in the 1980swhich presumed the churchs captivity to
Greek philosophy.

b. Argument against uniform Pacifists.

a. bloody mary,
b. americansa cultured governed by human exploitation, to
preach the gospel
c. we must be willing to suffer for the faith and legacy of Christ---we
must be willing to share in Christs suffering, we must not
deprive ourselves of sharing that for the sake of the faith, it is
costly.