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Title: The Church in the Roman Empire under the Constantians
Author: Gardiner, W. W. D.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1925
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Abstract:
The Church and State came first into relationships of alliance during the reign of Constantine, and thus the events, which occurred then and immediately thereafter, present us with a field of study wherein we may hope to discover the essential principles of their antagonism and their co- partnership. With the purpose of studying those principles in action this study of "The Church in the Roman Empire under the Constantians" has been undertaken. Our attempt is to trace the various phases of policy adopted by the successive emperors towards the Church and to elucidate their motives, character and tendencies, and also to exhibit how the Church reacted under these influences and developed her own distinctive principles of polity in the process of adjusting herself to the new relations. The surprising feature of this age was not that the Empire adopted the new religion, but that some quality in the new faith kept the church in isolation from the general administration and left her an allied but equal sovereign power. The principles which caused her to seek to do this and the methods by which she accomplished it are, we consider, our main concern in dealing with this period of history. We have also sought to show how the various points of controversy emerged one by one, which have formed the subject of debate upon the question of Church and State from that day to this. How the early Fourth Century Church dealt with them and her opinion upon them may not certainly be regarded as determinative, but it cannot but be important for the student of the subject. We have thus attempted to analyse her consciousness upon these topics with particular care. Of necessity in our attempt to elucidate the details of our special subject there has had to be said much about the Arian controversy and other general subjects connected with these reigns. Our effort has not been, however, to deal with the theological aspects of that great debate or to put on record a general narrative of events throughout our period, but to present a special study of the effects of the impact of the two great forces brought into contact by the policy of the Constantians. The general history of the time and especially that of the krian controversy have formed the subject of very many special works, but so far as is known to the author, a review of the period from our special point of view,while forming the subject of chapters or portions of larger works has not been itself delimited for a special review, and where it has been so treated,has been often marred by an excessive Roman Catholic partisanship or by a superficial acceptance of the current idea that the story is entirely one of decadent secularisation. Ordinary text -books are content with this word without further enquiry as to what secularisation may mean and wherein its evil consists. Our effort has been to probe into this process of secularisation in order to discover what elements in it were the Church's protective armour to resist the encroachment of the world and what the effects of that encroachment itself, also we have sought to consider what was her attitude to the new duties made possible by State alliance and to the new resources opened up to her by that alliance, and have endeavoured to detect what her conception of her spiritual autonomy might be, and what amount of accomodation it would by methods and ideals of government, she thought consistent therewith. As her absorbing problem was the theological one we have no theoretical statement upon this topic, for St. Augustine's De Civitate Dei is the first elaborate pronouncement upon the subject. It marks in our opinion , however, a certain modification of view suggested by the St .Augustine's fall of Rome. The earlier one can only be extracted from fugitive statements or from inferences drawn from her actions. The feelings bred by the first period of her interrelation are however so important in our opinion that they justify close consideration of this sort.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Litt.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.743439  DOI: Not available
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