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Old 08-20-2006, 03:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by youngalexander View Post
I would like to see some archeological evidence.
There are a number of threads concerning the existence
or otherwise or archeological evidence for the inference
that there was anything "christian" in the pre-Nicaean
the unutterable inference of mainstream BC&H

archeological evidence for pre-Nicaean christianity?

Some of the items usually cited (eg: Dura-Europos)
have been listed and outlined further here:

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Old 08-20-2006, 07:50 PM   #12
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Did Constantine believe in "turning the other cheek" and "loving your enemies"? Judging by his military exploits, I doubt it.

And didn't he wait until he was on his death bed before officially converting, thereby allowing himself the maximum amount of sinning before gaining absolution?
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Old 08-20-2006, 09:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Joan of Bark View Post
Did Constantine believe in "turning the other cheek" and "loving your enemies"? Judging by his military exploits, I doubt it.
He is a most interesting study. Look at arricchio's post above. We have here the first good look at how the Christian impulse plays out in the psyche of a politician. We will see this again and again over the following centuries. Isn't Bush basically the same thing? The point is that all Christians have to measure themselves against a bar set impossibly high. For most it is a private matter. For Augustus, however, it is public.

And didn't he wait until he was on his death bed before officially converting, thereby allowing himself the maximum amount of sinning before gaining absolution?
It was a common practice for Christians to wait until very late in life before undergoing baptism. They hoped thereby to not add new sins to those washed away. It was the Arian Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia who baptised Constantine.
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Old 08-20-2006, 10:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Joan of Bark View Post
And didn't he wait until he was on his death bed before officially converting, thereby allowing himself the maximum amount of sinning before gaining absolution?
Actually, he did not postpone his conversion until his death bed. He postponed his baptism. This became common practice among "Christian" Emperors and other public officials who realized that being in public life always required a certain amount of sinning either regardless of their piety, or due to their lack of it. Also, postponing baptism kept them out from under the direct authority of the Church for as long as possible. As an example, Theodosius I (emperor from 379-395) was the only emperor to reign as a full-fledged member of the church - and that was due to an accident. Theodosius allowed himself to be baptized when he thought he was dying from an illness, which he instead survived. As a result, when Theodosius later ordered the slaughter of innocent civilians in Thessalonica after rioters there killed a few of his soldiers, Bishop Ambrose was able to excommunicate him and make it stick. Ambrose later allowed Theodosius do some nominal penance to lift the excommunication. Nevertheless, it was a humiliating thing for an emperor to have happen. That's why emperors always postponed baptism for as long as possible.
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Old 08-21-2006, 08:04 AM   #15
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Here is a description of Theodosius' "nominal" penance.
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Old 08-21-2006, 07:21 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by arricchio View Post
My trouble with arguments like these is that they give Constantine far too much credit. They assume that Constantine had a firm knowledge of theology and a clear agenda for advancing it. Neither of which I think he had.

I had the privilege of having Professor Warren Treadgold as a history instructor at Saint Louis University for a number of courses including Early Medieval History and Byzantine History (his specialty). He is the author of this book (or via: A History of the Byzantine State and Society, among others.

Dr. Treadgold describes Constantine as militarily and politically skilled, but as having neither the intellect, nor the patience for understanding theological complexities.

That's why he hired Eusebius Pamphilus of Caesarea,
the right man for the right job, as editor-in-chief
of what Julian later refers to as "the fabrication
of the Galilaeans".

He did not need to understand any form of theological
complexity for his Roman fiction, so long as his newly
created church continued to assist his interests.

On Constantine at his conversion, he says:

Impressed by his briliant victory (at the Milvian Bridge)..Constantine was henceforth a convinced Christian, though at first a poorly instructed one. (pg 33)
Constantine commemorated this brilliant victory by the construction
of a monument which still stands upon which, although there are
ample references to the ancient Hellenic traditional "gods and
goddesses", and "sol invictus", there appears to be absolutely
no reference whatsoever to christianity. I wonder why?

On Constantine's character and educational background, he says:

By this time (324, after the defeat of Licinius) aged about fifty-one, he had already ruled for eighteen years, displaying remarkable luck, much personal charm, relentless ambitions, and impatience bordering on instability. His skill at political maneuvering made him seem wiser than he was. (pg 36)
He was still planning, as most successful rulers do.
He was wise enough to last another 12 years, which in
those days was not simply an academic exercise.

On Constantine' handling of the Arian controversy he says:

An unsubtle and impatient man, Constantine could not see why Christians needed to argue about something that took place before time began, had passed unmentioned in the scriptures, and had been overlooked by the church for almost three centuries. (pg 42)
Constantine in all seriousness was laughing his head off.

Our thesis is that the "Arian controversy" is in fact the
controversy over Constantine's forced implementation of the
new Roman religion called "christianity" upon the empire,
at Nicaea, now that he at last had become the supreme thug.

The Arian controversy arose in the east as a result IMO of
Constantine sending manuscript propaganda to the eastern
side of the Roman empire during the period 317-324 CE.

The Alexandrians were justifiably incensed that the respectable
authors of antiquity, such as Origen, Josephus, and others, had
ever made any reference whatsoever to this newly fabricated set
of manuscripts under Constantine.

During the Council of Nicea, Constantine was indecisive. Less concerned with theological correctness, his primary goal was to keep the peace within the church. He at first sought to appease both sides, then sided with the faction that seemed the more powerful.

Early in the proceedings Eusebius of Caeserea introduced a carefully worded creed, based on scripture, that neither affirmed nor denied Arius' view. No one could object to anything in it and Costantine praised it. But Constantine had also been listening to Hosius, and proposed to add to this creed the affirmation that the Son was "of the same substance" (in Greek, homoousios) as the Father. This one word totally excluded Arius' doctrines and by itself even left room for Sabellianism....Because the emperor had suggested the word, however, the opponents of Arius seized on it eagerly, and scarcely anyone felt able to speak against it. Further clarifications were added, and the resulting Nicene Creed was signed by all the bishops except for two from Libya. They and Arius who would not sign were condemned by the council and exiled by Constantine. (pg 43)

In our opinion, the words of Arius are the words of someone who,
being clever in disputation, and not being able to say to the
face of Constantine "this is a work of fiction" instead selected
to say the words that are even unto this very day preserved in
the exclusion clause on the Nicaean Oath (ie: it is not a creed,
in terms of the general non-ecclesiastical definition and valid
distinction between a creed and an oath. See for example, "The
Diggers Oath", Eureka Stockade).

These words are:

"before he was born he was not"


"he was made out of nothing existing"


"he is from another subsistence or substance"


"he/it is subject to alteration or change"

Our thesis is that Arius was saying that the new testament is
a fiction from beginning to end, in other words, a fabrication.
But he did not have Julian's protection at the time of facing
Constantine at Nicaea, for which very reason Constantine
purportedly called the council -- the words of Arius.

He did not want to die.
Instead, he used words that were very clever in disputation.
The above words, or close enough.

Constantine would later reverse himself and allowed Arius to return, only to reverse himself again, and order Arius exiled once more.

Dr. Treadgold concludes:

By mismanaging the Arian controversy[at the Council of Nicea]...he probably increased religious dissension and certainly increased confusion. By failing to understand that Arianism was a problem that called for a clear and consistent solution, Constantine showed that his religious inspiration was of a very limited kind. (pg 50).

Constantine summoned a whole stack of important people to appear before
him at the Council of Nicaea, immediately after becoming supreme. Our
thesis is that, apart from the christian bishops that Constantine had
bred during his beta-site in Rome (312 CE), none of the other attendees
were bishops, but in fact importangt land-holders, importantg and key
administrators under the previous eastern regime of Lucinius, brought
in to the meeting in order to sit down and talk turkey with the new
supreme imperial mafia thug, in control of the ROman empire.

They did not walk in as bishops of the new and strange Roman religious
order, but it is our thesis that most of them walked out of the meeting
as one of COnstantine's new bishops of christianity, for they all became
very very important men (almost) overnight.

Signature were obtained at the request of Constantine to seal the oath
of alliegence to his new ROman religious order, which served primarily
administrative fuctions, and tax collection functions throughout the
new acquired territories riled by Constantine.

Arius was banished as the strawman, whose arguments were written down
by the acadedmics of the newly created Roman church as involving
theology, whereas our thesis is that the statements of Arius, and
the whole Arian controversy, relate to the historical illegitamacy
of the new religion, and the fabrication and perversion of writings.

If Dr. Treadgold seems hard on Constantine, consider that his view is much more moderate than that of the great Jacob Burkhardt's, a generaton earilier. Treadgold at least accepts that Constantine was a true, if somewhat bewildered, convert to Christianity. Burkhardt didn't:

On his part it was an experiment that obliged him to nothing more than toleration, which was already in fact the rule in his previous domains and which he now extended to his conquests also. For him Christ may have rated as a god along with other gods, and the professors of Christ's religion along with the servants of pagan deities. We shall not deny the possibility that Constantine developed a kind of superstition in favor of Christ, and that he may even have brought that name into some kind of confused relationshiop with the sun-god. Jacob Burkhardt, The Age of Constantine the Great. (New York: Dorset, 1948), 295.

"Absolute power corrupts absolutely"
--- Lord Acton.

Rather than being highly intelligent, Constantine seems to have had no skills as a theologian whatsoever. When presented with differing arguments, he couldn't decide which was best based on the theological merits of the arguments alone. And so, he waffled between Eusebius' views and Hosius'. When he behaved like a "thug" it was because he had grown impatient with troublesome bishops (like Arius) whose problem was not so much that they were wrong, but that they refused to be agreeable.

Constantine needed no skills as a theologian since he was collecting tithes
from his own new and strange Roman religious order, building churches for
the faithful, and generally trying to convert as many people as possible,
by gross tax-exemption measures, to a new religious order that was clearly
not the same traditional Hellenic religious order that he was plundering
for gold, and ordering the execution of its philosopher/priests, a practice
which continued well after his death.

The new and strange fabrication of the Galilaeans overcame the literature
of the ancient Greeks, and that of the Second Sophistic, and of Apollonius
of Tyana, by supreme imperial oath, at Nicaea, signed by his attendees,
in the presence of the THRICE-BLESSED APOSTLE OF GOD, the thug Constantine.

Agreement had been planned for decades prior to Nicaea, by Constantine.
Of course he was agreeable to his new Roman religion.
Our thesis is that the following staged progression was enacted:

Stage 1: 312-324 CE

Constantine takes Rome and implements a mini-proto-Nicaea (see below)
He consolidates his position, constantly looking east, planning supremacy.
He promotes the new religion in the west, and send literature to the east.
Eventually this results in the Arian controversy.

(NOTE: Our hypothesis sees the Arian controversy
as the reaction of the eastern empire against the new
testament texts, and the new religion. The controversy
is stated by the dogmatic assertion of a series of phrases
by Arius, such as:

* there was time when he was not.
* he was made out of nothing existing)

(See above for full listP

Stage 2: 324-325 CE

Constantine takes the eastern empire, and has Lucinus strangled.
He calls the Council of Nicaea on account of the words of Arius.
(See the above words of Arius).
He summons attendees to the council.

There were no "christian bishops" in the eastern empire, as they did
not then exist. The only "christian bishops" in attendance being those
whom Constantine had "cultivated in Rome". The pope didn't make it,
but sent some juniors in his stead.

Our hypothesis is that the attendees summoned to Nicaea were the
patrician level land-holders, governors, nobility and other important
key people of the eastern empire, whom Constantine had just conquered.

They were summoned to Nicaea to discuss how the new empire was
going to fuction for the maintenance phase under the taxation and
regulation and administrative and new religious regimes, which were
to be implemented by Constantine.

Stage 3: 325 CE

Nicaean Council Meeting: what happened?

Constantine ran the show.
His mercanery barbarian storm troops were milling around outside.
He entered the meeting, not with his troops, but his family.
He berated the attendees for their discord, and quoted chapter & verse.
He pointed out the need for perceived harmony.
He burnt their written petitions in their presence.
He wined and dined them for 4 months.
He gave them presents and promises of civil works (new churches).
He supported those people who supported him.
Who was with Constantine, and who was with Arius?

Constantine sold the package of christianity to the attendees.
The whole package was subscribed to voluntarily.
New churches were going to be built on lands new you.
Signatures were collected to attest comitment to Constantine.
The big DISCLAIMER CLAUSE got rid of the words of Arius.

Stage 4: 326-337 CE

Constantine implements a new and strange ROMAN church.
He wanted to get rid of the Hellenic culture and religions.
He did not to pay tribute to any of the old traditional Roman religions.
These were all Hellenic is nature. (See Julian's summaries).
He wanted their treasure, lands, temples, statues, etc, for himself.
Once the one true religion was implemented, all else became taxable.

Adherance to the words of Arius ceased being controversial.
It became the Arian Heresy, and the downhill slide started.

The attendees at Nicaea became key figures in a power network
that distributed favors from Rome to the eastern empire, and taxation
revenue, lands, etc, etc back to Roman central.

The 22 sub-clauses on the Nicaean creed define the nature of this
administrative network, which was established by agreement at Nicaea,
and which through common interest perpetuated itself throughout the
next 12 years of Constantine's reign, and thereafter.

They knew they were not christian bishops when they set out from
their homes in the eastern empire after being summoned to the council.
But there were some bishops from the western empire present, and
they all acted in complete accord with the new and strange religion,
in a new and strange fashion, and the bishop Eusebius was there,
and he was certainly a christian bishop, because he had just in fact
finished writing a history of "tribe of christians", and of their texts,
and they even had a copy of Josephus, and Josephus mentions the
chritians back then, so they certainly exist somewhere.

But they became the christian bishops of Constantine by signing
the Nicaean creed, and when they returned home, they were full
of food, and had presents, and would represent Constantine to
their local communities and cities, and be a key figure standing
in the (new and strange Roman universal christian) channel of power
between the supreme imperial thug, and his remote subjects.

New church structures would be built by the new civil administration
of Constantine, and every one of those new christian bishops would
get a big cut of the action. They became important men overnight.

It was a complete cold start. When Constantine burnt
their written petitions, things warmed up considerably.
They were reminded of where they were, and who was
in their presence. Constantine was a thug, acting in
some ways benevolently, but why?

All they had to do was to agree with Constantine, and
disagree with the words of Arius, whatever these words meant.
In fact, it was clear that these words meant entirely different things
to different parties. Noone really had to worry about what these
words meant, so long as they disagreed with them. So they signed
the creed, in expectation of future glory of the new Roman church.

Constantine was the supreme imperial mafia thug
who forced the new and strange religion down the
throat of the Hellenic culture until
the highways were full of galloping bishops.

Julian was the young supreme imperial Hellenic philosopher
who wrote, within 40 years of the Nicaean council:

It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind
the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Galilaeans
is a fiction of men composed by wickedness.

Pete Brown
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Old 08-21-2006, 07:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by GakuseiDon View Post
It makes more sense that Julian was the highly intelligent supreme imperial mafia thug. So, MountainMan, what do you think of my Julian Conspiracy?
Hey GakuseiDon,

Ammianus Marcellinus provides sufficient evidence
for the conspiratorial behaviour of the next-in-line
imperial thug Constantius II, and generally views in
a favourable manner the behaviour of Julian.

The only conspiracy involved here was the fabrication
of the Galilaeans, the generation of fictitious histories
and supporting material, and the perversion of ROman
and Jewish historians by insertion of historical priority
dates such that the inference that there were in fact
any christians prior to Constantine might be given
some substance.

Pete Brown
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:37 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by mountainman View Post
Ammianus Marcellinus provides sufficient evidence
for the conspiratorial behaviour of the next-in-line
imperial thug Constantius II, and generally views in
a favourable manner the behaviour of Julian.
As Julian's propagandist-in-chief, Ammianus Marcellinus, who was a pagan, obviously invented the portrait of Julian as a good egg while producing a fictional picture of Constantius II. GDon's theory fits the facts so much better than yours.

Best wishes

Old 08-22-2006, 05:13 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Bede View Post
As Julian's propagandist-in-chief, Ammianus Marcellinus, who was a pagan, obviously invented the portrait of Julian as a good egg while producing a fictional picture of Constantius II.

"Ammianus Marcellinus about Constantius II"
Emperor Constantius II is described extensively in the Res Gestae. Michel R. Mulder studies Ammianus' image of Constantius.

"Christianity in Ammianus Marcellinus"
The intriguing matter of fourth-century arising Christianity is dicussed by Bouke A. van Laƫthem.

"Julian in the eyes of Ammianus Marcellinus"
Contrary to Christian authors, Ammianus was an admirer of the famous "Apostate" emperor,
as Michel Mulder points out.

Best wishes,

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Old 08-22-2006, 06:01 AM   #20
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I'm afraid I fail to see the relevance of this. The writers you linked to are clearly trapped within the prevailing 'Julianist' paradigm and are reading Amminanus accordingly. But when we realise that Ammianus is simply inventing the history in order to further the ambitions of his imperial master, all becomes clear.

Thus Ammianus's history is essentially a ficticious account of the 4th century that is intended to show the pagan Julian in a good light and deliberately suppresses his mass executions of Christians and wholesale destruction of Christian literature.

That is why so much Tacitus was lost. It contained information on the historical Jesus and early Christians that Julian didn't want to conflict with his own propaganda.

Best wishes


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