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Could Christianity have benefited without Constantine - Research Paper Example

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In preliminary readings,there seem to be two extreme views of Emperor Constantine who ruled the Roman Empire between 306 and 337.One school of thought asserts that Constantine was the founder of Christendom and his laws and actions laid the foundation for the institution of Christianity in the Roman Empire …
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Could Christianity have benefited without Constantine
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Download file to see previous pages In preliminary readings, there seem to be two extreme views of Emperor Constantine who ruled the Roman Empire between 306 and 337.One school of thought asserts that Constantine was the founder of Christendom and his laws and actions laid the foundation for the institution of Christianity in the Roman Empire and throughout Europe. Another set of thinkers present Constantine as an opportunist who used Christianity to further his personal political goal of unifying and ruling the Roman Empire. In either contexts, it can be argued that Constantine played a fundamental role in the promotion of Christianity. This paper examines whether Christianity could have persisted without Constantine or not. According to Professor Stark, in the year AD40, Christians were very few and some estimates put the entire membership of the religion at around 1,0001. It was like any other religious sect and any other group in the Roman empire. However, Christianity grew at a very outstanding rate of 3.42% per annum and 40% per decade around AD2502. This suggests that Christianity was already growing when Constantine took over the reign of the Roman Empire in AD 306. In light of this fact, this research will proceed on the premise that Christianity would have survived and grown even without the pro-Christian policies of Constantine. The research will test this hypothesis to ascertain its truthfulness or falsity. Persecutions Before Constantine Constantine was serving in the court of Diocletian who ruled Rome from 285 – 305 AD3. ...
om the eyes of Diocletian and other Romans of his generation, Christianity was a foreign religion that had its roots in Ancient Israel, then known to the Romans as Palestine. Due to this, the Romans could not take the criticisms in good faith and make adjustments to their beliefs. Rather, Diocletian and his government felt compelled to take action against the Christian critics of the Roman pagan religious system. Diocletian and his government launched the Great Persecution which was the last and the most severe Roman persecution of the Early Christians5. In the national context, Christianity was illegal in the Roman Empire in Diocletian's era. This was the official position and most people in the Roman Empire saw it as a secret society and looked at the members with a high degree of skepticism and suspicion6. Christianity was neither Roman nor Barbarian; it was just some kind of foreign religion that posed a threat to the Roman culture7. More significantly, Christianity in the time of Diocletian was expanding. This created an urgent need to control the expansion of Christianity. On February 23, 303, Diocletian destroyed the Church in Nicomeda and burnt scriptures and confiscated the Church's assets and treasures8. This sent a clear message that Diocletian was against the expansion and growth of the Christian Church. He was obviously not ready to tolerate the Christian Church as a competitor to traditional Roman customs and practices. On the same day, Diocletian issued an edict against Christians which prohibited Christian worship in the Roman Empire9. Three more edicts were issued by Diocletian and these were meant to ban the practice of Christianity and prevent Christians from carrying out their activities, which he thought were detrimental to the Empire and against ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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