Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Rethinking Constantine: History, Theology, and Legacy

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Rethinking Constantine: History, Theology, and Legacy

Article excerpt

BRIEF NOTICE Smither, Edward F. (Ed.). Rethinking Constantine: History, Theology, and Legacy. (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock. 2014. Pp. x, 168. $20.00 paperback. ISBN 978-1-62032-188-1.)

With the avalanche of books and articles accompanying the 1700th anniversary of the traditional date for Constantine's conversion to Christianity in 312, one would think there was little left to be said. This volume, however, addresses the concerns of a strongly underrepresented group-evangelical Christians. The six chapters (plus a brief but charming epilogue by Bruce Liftin) include such neglected topics as Constantine's effect on missionary activity by Edward Smither and on the growth of a Sunday sabbath by Paul Herzog. In a leadoff chapter, Glen Thompson surveys scholarship on the sincerity of Constantine's conversion and suggests that St. Augustine and Martin Luther's shared vision of Christians as simultaneously saints and sinners reveals a more consistent policy. Brian Shelton follows with a chapter on the influence of Lactantius on Constantine, in which he sees the rhetor's writings as a blueprint for the emperor's policies. …

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