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from First Things
IN DEFENSE OF CONSTANTINE
The ritual pronouncement of anathemas against Constantinianism has become so commonplace that the historical Constantine (a.d. 288?–337) has slipped from our sight. Apparently it is not what Constantine himself wrought that is the object of obloquy, but the work of mischievous kings and perfidious bishops in the centuries after him. When theologians write essays with titles such as “Is Constantinianism the Most Basic Problem for Christian Social Ethics?”, Constantine is not the sole villain. What provokes critics’ ire is an ordering of Christian society that flourished in medieval and early modern Europe and still, it is claimed, impedes an authentic Christian witness.