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Unformatted text preview: Hi everyone! Here's some background on the conversion of the first Xtn. Roman Emperor Constantine (306-337).There's material in our Xerox Packet, in Tierney, and Hollister Reader; and here, below, is background. There are many questions about this influential conversion: why? how? to what--what sort of Xty.? what was the historical significance? It's interesting to compare/ contrast (in discussion this week) the conversions of Roman Emperor Constantine and St. Augustine. We are working on the question "what made people convert to Xty.?" and examining some of the theological, social-political-ethical, and supernatural factors in this. With Constantine's conversion we see these factors in the context of political concerns and the 3rd.C. crisis. The material below has further background. Note that these 3 figures, Constantine, Augustine, and St. Benedict, are 3 founders of the Middle Ages--founders of important Medieval institutions and theories of authority.They became models for others to follow: the ideal Christian Roman emperor, bishop, and monk/ abbot. See the summary in XP p. 24a. The material on Constantine is in XP 14-15, and Tierney.-> Please Read: Tierney sources on the conversion of Constantine and the Edict of Milan, pp. 11-13 & 16-17 and see XP pp. 13a-15 Note that Constantine and Augustine both experienced famous miraculous conversions; what are the similarities and differences in these two *influential* conversions? Compare/ contrast both with St. Paul's conversion described in Acts ch. 9. *WHY did the Emperor Constantine (306-337) convert to Christianity? *What did he experience in his conversion? *What did he hope to gain from Christianity? *What were the effects of his conversion: personal and political? **Do you think becoming Christian enhanced the power of Constantine and other rulers? In what specific ways? This question is especially important for understanding the authority of Medieval rulers. We can never know the complete answer to this question of "why?" with absolute certainty: we have no way of knowing all the motivation and reasoning and intentions of the Emperor Constantine. But besides our understanding of conditions in Rome and the Christian Church which underlie this momentous decision, we do have a contemporary account of this event from Eusebius, the Bishop of Caesarea, who was a close advisor to the Emperor. But--uh oh!--he was very biased: his main purpose was to praise and glorify Constantine; he also wanted to proclaim and glorify the triumph of Christianity in the Roman Empire. These purposes shaped his choice of material to report and his interpretations of it. Empire....
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This note was uploaded on 04/15/2008 for the course HIST 111 taught by Professor Rutenburg during the Spring '05 term at Maryland.
- Spring '05