The Emperor Julian (“the Apostate”), in his drive to re-paganize the empire, tried to weaken Christian opposition by dividing it, setting one faction against another. He restored heretical bishops who had been deposed, so that major cities would have two competing bishops. He offered prominent Catholics high positions, so that he could neutralize them while claiming their support. Meanwhile, he made the requirements for schoolteachers so stringently pagan that no Christian could fulfill them. Banished from the public square, Christianity could be minimized as a cultural force. According to a recent biographer, Julian “marginalised Christianity to the point where it could potentially have vanished within a generation or two, and without the need for physical coercion.” Said Julian: “If they want to learn literature, they have Luke and Mark: Let them go back to their churches and expound on them.” Julian wished to remove Christians from public discourse – drive them into a cultural ghetto.
Tuesday February 21st 2012, 9:07 am