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View Diary: Gnosticism and My Personal Religion (33 comments)

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  •  Typo (none)
       There was no Emperor Augustine.  There was an Emperor Augustus (1st century), an Emperor Constantine (4th century), and a theologian Augustine (5th century).  You are probably thinking of Constantine, who was emperor at the time of the council of Nicaea.
       Constantine's mother was a Christian convert; Constantine was Christian too (from the early 310s on), but he was a catechumen (an unbaptized adherent).  At the time, the fashion was for people who did not feel that they could live appropriately sinless lives to remain unbaptized until close to death, so that baptism could cleanse them of their sins.  That did not make them less Christian in terms of belief.
       The Council of Nicaea had nothing to do with settling the Christian canon (the major elements of the canon -- like the number of gospels -- had been settled long before Nicaea, and the inclusion of certain of the epistles and of Revelation remained unsettled for a long time after it).  The Council of Nicaea was the first Church council for the whole Roman Empire, and it had a double purpose; first, to settle a number of outstanding questions of church order and ritual where there were differences among the local churches (like the date of celebrating Easter) and second to settle one outstanding question of theology (the question of Arianism).  There were no gnostics at the Council of Nicaea, because the church that Constantine belonged to did not recognize them, and also because gnosticism had already lost much of its popularity except in the extreme east of the Empire -- where many gnostics were already going over to Manichaeism.  "Heresies" at this time tended to be splits within the established church over fairly minor doctrinal and disciplinary points, not over the major points that divided gnostics from the mainstream church.  The heyday of the gnostics had been earlier, in the 2nd-3rd centuries.
    •  Certainly (none)
      Complete inaccuracies not typos, vague memories - There are different takes on the period. A church version amongst them, I'm interested in them all. Thanks for the info.

      Avoiding Theocracy at Home and Neo Cons Abroad

      by UniC on Sat Aug 27, 2005 at 11:33:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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