The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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Entries Tagged as 'christianity'

The Gods of Ancient Rome

August 20th, 2010 · Comments Off on The Gods of Ancient Rome · christianity, culture, history, ritual

Turcan starts by providing an exquisite view of the private religious expressions of the Roman patricians. The gods of the house, the gods of the family, and the patron deities of individuals, all became part of a complex of divinity – a web which each Roman had to carefully traverse daily. Any mistake resulted in obligatory compensation to the gods in order to salvage the future welfare of the house.

The strength of the ancestors was keenly felt by the Ancient Romans. There was not a clear distinction between gods and the honored dead, and both were frequently called upon and celebrated. The spirit of the family, which had kept it continuing as a potent force, was honored as a distinct figure. The spirits of the house were also recognized and respected. In short, everything in every part of the Roman’s life was connected to divinity, and the Romans actively sought out knowledge for how to satisfy every god.

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The State Cult Hypothesis

January 21st, 2009 · Comments Off on The State Cult Hypothesis · christianity, history

The State Cult Hypothesis: “Christianity was primarily the result of a competition between the state cults of Diocletian and Constantine. It was the efforts of Constantine to defeat Diocletian’s Tetrarchy, co-opt the Persian cultural invasion, and subsequently unify the Roman Empire that resulted in the creation of Christianity.” Constantine was a keen student of history, […]

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Fixing a Hole

December 21st, 2008 · Comments Off on Fixing a Hole · christianity, history

In recent months, I have grown exceedingly confident in the theory that Constantine was the originator of Christianity. Not only has it illuminated many elements of Christian history, it explains a lot about our culture. It explains the relatively late perspective of the Church Fathers, and how all of the Imperial political hierarchy became Church […]

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Diocletian and the Roman Recovery

December 11th, 2008 · Comments Off on Diocletian and the Roman Recovery · christianity, history, media

Here’s something I’ve enjoyed greatly this last week: Stephen Williams’ Diocletian and the Roman Recovery. This book from 1985 was apparently one of the first biographies of the man written in English. The genius here is the clear and concise comparison between the Empire under the “Good Emperors” and the Empire under “Crisis”. Williams provides […]

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Assertions

October 11th, 2008 · Comments Off on Assertions · christianity, culture, history

Following are the assertions I currently use regarding the origin of Christianity. These will likely each be expanded upon over time. 1. Evidence: There is no physical evidence for the existence of a single, rapidly developed mystery cult whose theology or structure singularly informed the post 4th-century Christian church. There is no art, architecture, ritual […]

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True Believers

September 20th, 2008 · Comments Off on True Believers · christianity, culture, history

At first, I could never understand the True Believers. My first encounters with them was in Christian churches. My own, initially pedantic, attempts at Bible study repeatedly failed to illuminate the motivations or goals of True Believers. I could never understand just what was so exciting in the faith as I had ever seen it […]

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Interlude

August 22nd, 2008 · Comments Off on Interlude · christianity, history

I’m getting that sand-through-the-fingers feeling again. Just when I thought I had pegged the origins of “Christianity” via Constantine, I got all caught up on the question of pre-existing material. How can we know what it was he actually defined himself, and what was pre-existing? Of the pre-existing materials, why were some things chosen and […]

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The Eusebian Connection

August 9th, 2008 · Comments Off on The Eusebian Connection · christianity, history

I haven’t seen very much, if any, information regarding the relationship between Constantine and either Eusebius (of Caesarea or of Nicomedia). The most detailed information found so far was within one of the Constantine biographies I read last Winter. Intimations there was that the Eusebians were the Katzajammer Kids with Constantine when they were all […]

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Mile Marker

August 3rd, 2008 · Comments Off on Mile Marker · christianity, history

I’m starting to become overwhelmed (again) with revising my understanding of 1st-4th Centuries CE. On one hand, I can still clearly point to the council of Nicea in 325AD and say that this was the place at which Constantine (re-)created Christianity. On the other, I’m completely befuddled regarding which characters were real and which were […]

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Second and Third Derivations

July 31st, 2008 · Comments Off on Second and Third Derivations · christianity, history

Since discovery of PRF Brown’s site[1], I have burned a good many hours both reading and thinking. It’s clear that the “Eusebian Fiction Postulate”[2] has forced me to re-examine what I thought I understood about early church history. I have been relatively pleased, so far, to find that it seems to make more sense, given […]

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