Church and Empire

Harold A. Drake

in The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780199271566
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Church and Empire

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Persecution contributed to the development of Church and Empire in two fateful ways. First, it made opposition to Rome an important aspect of Christian identity, embedding the heroic role of the martyrs in both literature and liturgy. Second, persecution solidified communities around the person of their bishop. Constantine's alliance with Christian bishops set that relationship in motion. This article considers the political implications of his reign. It also discusses the way in which a newly muscular Christianity used that relationship to suppress variant means of understanding divinity, and the analytical tools which scholars have used to explain that phenomenon. The final sections consider the implications of these developments for the concepts of Church and Empire.

Keywords: persecution; Constantine; Christianity; divinity; Church; Empire; Christian bishops

Article.  8954 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity ; Religious Studies

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