Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

La Religione Impura: La Riforma Di Giuliano Imperatore

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

La Religione Impura: La Riforma Di Giuliano Imperatore

Article excerpt

La religione impura: La riforma di Giuliano Imperatore. By Giorgio Scrofani. [Studi biblici, 163.] (Brescia: Paideia Editrice. 2010. Pp. 190. euro21,90 paperback. ISBN 978-8-839-40777-1.)

The careful and well-organized scholarly research of Giorgio Scrofani- a professor of philology, linguistics, and classical history at La Scuola Normale Superiore de Pisa- has afforded his readers with an important reminder of the flawed and failed imperial policy of Julian the Apostate during his eighteen months (December 11, 361, to June 26, 363) as emperor. Julian's attempt to cleanse and purify the state from the destructive "pollution" of the Galileans was completely ineffectual. The future development of Christian civilization in Europe and elsewhere would prove that his efforts in "cleansing" did not succeed.

Flavius Claudius Julianus (331-63) was a well-educated, energetic, and wide-ranging ruler of the Roman Empire and the last Roman emperor of the Constantine dynasty (306-63). Although he was to be the emperor of Rome only for a short time, he proved to be remarkably involved in his task of governance with his own personal policies.

Although Julian was reared as a Christian, he became disgusted with the religion of the Christians- or the Galileans, as he derisively termed them. His Hellenic religion was his personal synthesis of neo-Platonism, theurgy, and the worship of the traditional Roman gods. As far as he was concerned, the Galileans were a pestilence or sickness that had been polluting the Roman religion and institutions for the last fifty years since the Emperor Constantine began his rule.

Constantine's dynasty would prove to be an extremely unstable period in the Empire's history, and this instability would touch and influence directly Julian's life. When Julian was in charge of Gaul, he himself would contribute to this instability when his Gallic army revolted and proclaimed him emperor. He and Constantius were on the verge of civil war when Constantius died of fever. But surprisingly enough, he bequeathed to Julian, as his sole heir, the imperial throne.

When the young Julian had inherited the full power as emperor, he was convinced that he had a divine mission to reform the Empire's corrupt administrative structure and cleanse it from the impure religion of the Galileans. …

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