Julian the apostate

Julian the apostate - HIST 4060 Near the end of antiquity...

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HIST 4060 Near the end of antiquity, the Roman Emperor Julian ruled as an anomaly of particular interest. During Julian's brief reign between 361 C.E. and 363 C.E. he became known as "the Apostate" because of his open rejection of Christian faith. Though he was a member of the famously Christian Constantine dynasty, he the was the the last pagan emperor ever to rule the Roman Empire. After assuming power in 361 C.E. Julian's brash personality immediately put him at odds with the Christian majority that resided in the empire. Julian, in his political life, remained particularly hostile with the Christian establishment for the purposes of exterminating the religion from the empire, and starting a pagan revival and a return of Roman Empire to its former glory. Much of his time in power is marked by controversial political measures to combat the growth of Christianity. In explicitly anti-Christian acts he reapproprated Church basilicas back to pagan owners, attempted to restore the Temple of Jerusalem, and pardoned heretical bishops all in a great effort to attack and presumably end Christianity. Perhaps the most controversial edict set forth by Julian was his education edict of 362 C.E. Fearing that Christian teachers would indoctrinate school children into converting to Christianity, Julian proposed a secular educational system. His edict against Christian schoolteachers effectively forbade them from teaching Greek and Roman classics, hence removing Christian teachers from schools. The controversy surrounding the education edict effectively aligned Christians and even pagan intellectuals against the emperor and in the scope of the empire the edict could not help curb the rapid spread of Christianity. Julian's education edict failed him in his attempt to revive Roman pagan culture due to his policy being too antagonistic towards repelling Christianity. The failures of the edict highlighted the excessive extension of political power which could not have helped bring about a classical pagan revival in the Roman Empire. The education edict was a clever tactic in that Julian hoped it would deprive Christians from indoctrinating children with anti-pagan thought. It was evidently a fear of Julian's that Christian
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teachers posed a threat to converting their pupils through the persuasion of their teachings. Julian reasoned that part of the problem was that Christian teachers taught classic Greek and Roman text, but denounced the morals of the authors and were especially critical to the Greeks' impiety towards the Christian God. In Julian letter 36 he accuses Christian teachers of hypocrisy in their defamation of the great classical writers. "Therefore, when a man thinks one thing and teaches his pupils another, in my opinion he fails to educate exactly in proportion as he fails to be an honest man. .. and, above all, I believe it it necessary that those who associate with the young and teach them rhetoric should be of that upright character. ..I think it is absurd that men who expound the works of these
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course HIST 4060 taught by Professor Rohmann during the Spring '08 term at Colorado.

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Julian the apostate - HIST 4060 Near the end of antiquity...

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