§ion=&combo2=&text1=&text2=&SocNetUsername=&SocNetPassword=&authCode=& 7th Decade Thoughts: A. D. 381 by Charles Freeman

7th Decade Thoughts

Thoughts about books, politics and history (personal and otherwise), pictures I've taken and pictures I've edited.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A. D. 381 by Charles Freeman

When I was reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (which I admit I haven't finished), I was struck by the fact that before Christianity, the Romans were completely tolerant of different religions. Every area (city) had its own religion and no one tried to "convert" anyone. And no one claimed that their god ( but there were usually gods—plural) was the one and only and that you'd go to hell if you didn't believe. Freeman shows how Christian leaders in the early centuries fought over doctrinal issues and more or less invented heresy to the extent that the Emperor Theodosius in 381AD made church doctrine into state law for which those who disagreed could be punished, paving the way for religious wars, heresy trials, the Inquisition, etc. The doctrinal issues themselves often seem like how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin issues, issues that were passed on through the centuries, led to the dark ages (where scholarly inquiry and freedom of expression were gone)' and weren't even questioned much by Protestant revolutions.

I think I want to read Freeman's The Closing of the Western Mind.


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