The Roman Empire & Christianity: An Integrated Approach

Abstract

This research draws on the insights from two disciplines, history and theology, to answer a complex question regarding an ancient society’s culture and the religion that changed it. It begins with an overview of the literature from both disciplines pertaining to the research question. The question was analyzed from the perspective of each discipline to identify all relative insights and theories on the topic.[1] Generally, when interdisciplinary research is conducted “mapping” is used to identify relevant disciplines needed to answer complex questions.[2] However, for this project the relevant disciplines were pre-determined in order to stay within a narrow timeframe. Moreover, the research question was deliberately chosen to fit within the required disciplines.          

After an extensive review of the literature was conducted, insights were chosen based on “common ground,” extracted from each discipline’s concepts and assumptions pertaining to the research question. This was done to “build a bridge” in order to integrate the two discipline’s insights related to the question.[3] For example, decisions made at the Council of Nicaea, called by the emperor of Rome, disclosed the close connection the Christian religion had with Roman politics during this time.[4] Theological insights were extracted from the discipline of theology, which correlated with historical concepts of the same time period. For instance, the decision to ban all pagan religions in AD 392, revealed how integrated the state and Christianity had become.[5] This information was extracted from the discipline of history. The theology worked out at the Council of Nicaea along with the legislation favoring Christianity during the fourth century of Roman history was integrated. Drawing on these insights (and others) from both disciplines produced verifiable results. This interdisciplinary approach proves that: since Constantine’s conversion, Christianity was a major factor in Roman culture and society, evident in their laws. Moreover, the Christian religion continued to be the bases from which Western laws were shaped many centuries into the modern era.

Introduction

When Constantine converted to Christianity it marked the beginning of the Christian influence in the Roman Empire. In 312, Constantine advanced across the Alps with the intention of capturing Rome from his rival Maxentius. The two had been struggling for imperial power after the death of Galerius. It was a dangerous move for Constantine, because Maxentius had the advantage when it came to military supremacy. However, Constantine found favor with the Christian God. In a dream, Constantine saw a vision of a cross in the sky, which he interpreted as a sign to advance. His victory over Maxentius convinced him that the Christian God was superior to all others. Historians debate the sincerity of Constantine’s conversion. Some argue it was purely political, while others point to the evidence in his private life as proof of a legitimate conversion.[6] Nevertheless, Constantine’s conversion resulted in many benefits for the Christian religion by elevating it to the same status as the pagan religions within the empire. Likewise, as Christianity began to flourish in Rome, it would have an impact on the empire itself.[7] This research paper will seek to answer the following question: How did Christianity impact social and cultural practices in Rome after Constantine’s conversion?

Research Methods, Disciplines, and Justification

The research methods included: analyzing bibliographies extracted from books and academic journals written by historians, theologians, and bible scholars, ensuring their interpretations are traceable back to primary sources, that may also be used for further inquiry.   The current information obtained on the topic comes from secondary sources used to familiarize the researcher with the literature pertaining to the topic. Many of these sources were used as primarily a foundation for the historiography or literature review and to provide general explanations. Peer reviewed journal articles were extracted from the JSTOR database. The final selections among the sources consists of a combination of history and theology integrated to form the narrative that address the research question. Moreover, the complete understanding of this question cannot be obtained by a simple historical inquiry because it is too complex and there are too many gaps in a single discipline’s literature. The two integrated disciplines were used to draw on the most insightful perspectives of each discipline, pertaining to the research question, for obtaining the best possible solution or answer to the research question.[8]        

The discipline of history is used to piece together fragments of the past to form a narrative of what most likely occurred regarding a given event. Theology is the study of God, it is an important discipline for determining doctrinal beliefs based on Scripture, which is essential for the Christian’s relationship with God.[9] This research project used historical methods to establish a broad or basic understanding of the connection between religion and empire. Insights from the discipline of theology were integrated with historical insights to provide a detailed comprehensive review of cultural, social, and traditional influences that have played a role in the events related to the research question. For example, a monotheistic approach to religion would have been foreign to most Romans. However, once a monotheistic religion was adopted by the empire, there exists evidence of such changes in the culture of Rome. To recognize these shifts in cultural norms, one must have knowledge of the concepts, in this case Christian theology, which helped produce them. Hence, the need to integrate the two disciplines.

To truly understand Western civilization, knowledge of the primary factors that have shaped its foundations is required. The Greeks were responsible for developing the idea of a democracy, but it was the Romans who developed the republic—a model still used by Western societies in their political structure. Without a clear understanding of Christianity’s impact on perhaps the greatest empire in history it is difficult to understand the origins of historical entities that succeeded these events, nor understand the motives of the historical actors and what forces played a role in their development. The development of the Roman Catholic Church, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the foundation for Western society’s laws, can all be traced back to the impact Christianity had on the Roman Empire. Most of these entities, events, and ideologies that have shaped Western civilization are indebted to Christianity’s influence on the Roman Empire. Before Constantine’s conversion Rome was a strictly pagan empire. Insights from classical historian Simon Price’s study titled, “Religious Mobility in the Roman Empire” can be used to deduce that Constantine’s conversion to Christianity provided an avenue to launch the religion on a global scale.[10] Christianity’s influence on the empire requires a intensive study in order to appreciate the historicity of cultural influences pertaining to Western societies. The historicity of cultural influence is important. Revisionist are slowly eroding the historicity of many events in the past because they find them offensive or exclusive to those they view as elitists. Once a society’s history is revised to the point it is no longer recognizable, their connection to each other is weakened. Moreover, the advantage of drawing on lessons from an accurate history to guide society into a better future is forfeited. Thus, leaving them vulnerable to destructive ideologies.

Literature Review

John Dillon is a lecture at Yale Divinity School. He is a professional translator and teaches graduate-level classes at Yale. The author has many publications and is competent in numerous languages. The insights from this source are from the discipline of history, they were extracted from his book titled, The Justice of Constantine. Dillion used many primary sources for this publication including the writings of Eusebius, a fourth-century Christian historian. Dillon compared the different styles of legislation between Diocletian and Constantine. The author argued that Constantine did not abolish or depart from classical law, nor classical jurisprudence. The departure from Diocletian stemmed from his far less jealous defense of the complexities found in classical law and classical jurisprudence.[11] Diocletian preserved the purity of Roman law, while Constantine sought to remove the complexity and occasional perversity Roman law was known to contain.[12] Constantine’s desire was to make the law more identifiable with sociocultural norms that had recently changed direction due in part to the empire’s newly accepted religion, Christianity.[13] This source disclosed the connection with Roman law and the need for reform with the acceptance of Christianity. Moreover, it reveals the impact Christianity had beginning with the amendment of Roman law. The insights from Dillon’s publication are conducive with those found in classicalist Simon Price’s publication. As previously mentioned, Price’s analysis of religious mobility argued that Constantine’s conversion to Christianity provided an avenue to launch the religion on a global scale. Likewise, the modification of Roman laws, influenced by Christianity, contributed to spreading Christianity across the region and beyond. The “common ground” evident here in the literature will be expanded upon in a later section. This is an important note that is essential to the interdisciplinary process.

Jill Harries is lecturer in Ancient History at St Andrews. She has numerous books and publications on Roman legal culture and society. This source comes from a chapter in her book, Imperial Rome AD 284 to 363. The author used a primary source, a letter by Constantine to Shapur II of Persia, to disclose how Constantine believed that his career had been under divine guidance. Harries contends that Constantine may have used Christianity to justify his expansion of the empire to same way other emperors had done prior with their pagan gods. However, this action does not discount the sincerity of his conversion to the Christian faith.[14] The publication primarily deals with Constantine as the emperor of Rome. This source contributes to answering the research question because it showed the link between Christianity and the first emperor of Rome who interacted with Christians and their religion in a positive manner, creating the foundation for a society to change culturally. This was a necessity because Roman citizens had long been pagan and polytheists; the Christian religion would demand a change in their cultural practices. The source is compatible with Dillion and Price’s publications regarding Christian influences that impacted Roman society and culture; specifically, as it relates to implementation of new laws within the empire.[15] Thus, “common ground” was not difficult to achieve among the three, because they were all within the same discipline, history.  

Otto Gierke was a legal philosopher who was a leader of the Germanist school of historical jurisprudence in opposition to the Romanist theoreticians of German law. He taught at many institutions in Germany including: Breslau, Heidelberg, and Berlin. Gierke was best known for his work on “association.” The author applied his theory of association to Christianity. Gierke argued that Christianity interrupts the concept social theory by transferring a man-made idea of a utopian state to a higher authority responsible for humanity’s fulfillment, the Christian God.[16] The individual’s purpose or value does not rest in a state that promotes fulfillment in the life of a community, rather the individual’s value was and is endowed by his creator. Society is naturally associated with the personality of God.[17] This source disclosed the significance of Christianity within society through the Christian legal system, a development of the early church. It also disclosed the close link between ancient philosophy and Christian theology. Gierke used primary sources such as Augustine’s writings to link the state and Christianity according to ancient laws of association practiced by the Roman Empire.[18] Although, this source approaches the research question regarding Christianity’s impact on social and cultural practices in Rome from the discipline of theology, “common ground” was obtainable because of the close proximity the discipline of theology has with the discipline of history. For example, “historical theology,” which may be a more accurate term to describe the discipline connected to the source, closely resembles the discipline of history. The supernatural component often present in the discipline of theology was not considered. However, its impact on the events during this time was considered, which played a role in shaping Rome’s society and culture. For instance, the Christian religion accepted by the Roman emperor impacted Roman law. This influenced Roman society as a whole; evident in their changing religious practices to reflect the newly accepted religion. Further, the supernatural component associated with theology was present in the actual event itself. It was acknowledged in Constantine’s own testimony regarding his vision and outcome of the battle, disclosed in the introduction of this paper (reason for his conversion). More will be discussed regarding the theology of Christianity and its insights needed to answer the research question. This was to note how modification can be used to reach “common ground” across different disciplines.

Peter Kaufman is George Matthews and Virginia Brinkley Modlin Professor of Leadership Studies in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond. Dr. Kaufman’s scholarly work focused on the political cultures of late antique, medieval, and early modern Europe and North Africa. This source is a chapter from his book, Redeeming Politics. Kaufman used a primary source—the Christian historian Lactantius to show the change from persecution of the Christians to their acceptance by the empire. And how Constantine’s collaboration with Christian apologists assured proper theology was incorporated into their histories. Thereby, Rome’s redeemed politics adopted by the empire might be integrated with Christianity and succeed in spreading Christianity and expanding the influence of the empire.[19] This corresponds with Gierke’s “association theory” and supports the narrative that disclosed the importance of Christian theology to the Roman Empire. Kaufman used Eusebius and Lactantius as primary sources to recall the battle that led to Constantine’s conversion. Parts of the narrative for this source are concerned with theological issues, such as, why the Christians were ever subjected to persecutions pre-Constantine.[20] However, it is approached from a historical perspective relying more on the historical record than theological aspects. Still, it raises theological question that need to be worked-out to appreciate the cultural transformation of Roman society. An important insight from this source is Constantine’s dedication to Christianity. This was a time when Hellenistic philosophies regarding divine emperors were accepted as societal norms. Thus, Constantine could have claimed to be a living god, but chose to remain loyal to Christianity. Moreover, Constantine’s reign was part of God’s divine plan, according to Eusebius.[21] This will be valuable insight for answering the research question during the integration process.

John Whittaker holds theology and ministry degrees from Boise Bible College, Cincinnati Bible Seminary, and a doctorate in preaching from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The author of this source used the original writings of the church fathers to divulge philosophical undertones in Christian writing and how the new religion would diverge with the pagan Roman World. The author examines early Christian, pagan, and Hellenistic philosophy to determine where Christian morality on loving their enemies originated. This shows a close connection between Christian theology and Hellenistic philosophy. It also demonstrates the significance of Constantine’s loyalty to Christianity, as seen in Kaufman’s narrative. The writings of Polycarp and Tertullian appear to support a Hellenistic influence, a charge that is welcome by some. specifically, Tertullian, because if true, then the Christians should be given the same respect as the Greek philosophers regarding ideas on morality.[22] The author used primary sources in their original language (Greek) to support his narrative. He looked for distinguishing features within Christianity pertaining to morality as they related to the persecution during the second century.[23] The research centered around the second century, so it fits into the timeframe of this project to answer the research question regarding Christianity’s impact on the empire. The article is not entirely compatible with many Christian theologian’s acceptance of the origin of morality, because of the suggested conclusion—Christians nor pagans can legitimately claim originality to morality regarding loving enemies.[24] Still, the source is useful for its information on early writings pertaining to Christianity and the empire because of the insights disclosed regarding cultural influences. In conjunction with Kaufman’s insights the modification of Whittaker’s theory, on the origins of morality, creates “common ground” for integration to occur. 

Guy Stroumsa is Martin Buber Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Emeritus Professor of the Study of the Abrahamic Religions at the University of Oxford. In this publication, Stroumsa argued that the new concept of “self” was largely a result of the emerging attitudes toward books in late antiquity.[25] This is when the great culture transfer took place, according to the author. Stroumsa examines the complexities between the religious revolution—Christianity and the cultural changes it entailed. He argued that it was in the monastic movement of late antiquity that the roots of cultural change began to take form and transform Western society.[26] This source is beneficial to the research question because it examines the effect the emerging Christian religion had on the region and transformations that occur in the West. Although, the West is used in broad terms, it was Rome where transformation took place and spread. Essentially, this is additional support for the emerging narrative regarding the shift in cultural practices in antiquity, that originated in the Roman Empire, influenced by a newly accepted religion.  However, this information is not accessible through the avenue of the historical record alone. As previously mentioned, to fully grasp the transformation of a complex issue within an ancient society a comprehensive understanding of the force responsible for this shift is necessary—Christian theology. Perhaps no other historical event demonstrates the origins of this forces, within ancient Rome, better than Constantine’s conversion to Christianity.

Constantine’s conversion gave legal status to Christianity. This provided an opportunity for the religion to spread because Christians were no longer living under the threat of persecution. The acceptance and legalization of Christianity led to theological debates. However, Constantine understood the importance of having a united church in his empire. Thus, he expected debates pertaining to doctrinal differences to be settled internally.[27] Constantine called the Council of Nicaea when debate ensued over the divinity of Christ. The council concluded that Jesus was “of one substance” with God.[28] This is an important theological concept because, “The Apostles’ Creed,” that emerged from the council solidified the monotheistic characteristics of the Christian religion. Without a solid foundation for believing in one God, the belief system could become distorted, further complicating matters within the Roman culture considering their pagan religious practices consisted of worshiping many gods.

Robert Wilken is Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia. In his book, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, Wilken gathers early writings outside of Christianity in an attempt to understand Christianity from the perspective of the Romans. This was not an easy task as most of the writings on Christianity are fragmented, because when the Christians gained control of the empire, they burned most of the sources that were critical of Christianity. However, many of the early Christian writers dedicated long essays to refute their Roman adversaries.[29] In doing so, they quote the Roman writing verbatim, this combined with the fragmented originals provided a glimpse into how they viewed the Christians pre-Constantine. This source reveals the transformation as Christianity became main stream in the Roman Empire. It provided many insights into Roman politics and society. In first century Rome, Pliny, a Roman official and author, disclosed the long Roman tradition of making sacrifices and offering to the gods.[30] Pliny’s writing also disclosed many characteristics of the early Christians, discovered by Wilken. The Christians mostly kept to themselves and looked for converts from the lower classes. They refused to participate in the Roman religious practices described above—making sacrifices to the Roman gods, which led to execution. Pliny had devised a test to determine actual Christians from those whom were accused of the practice.[31] False accusation had apparently become problematic. For example, if a person had a grudge against his neighbor, he could accuse him of being a Christian, possibly leading to his arrest. A systematic theology had not yet been developed and many converts who joined a Christian sect did not remain a Christian for life.[32] The information form this source demonstrates some crucial insights for the research question.  It reveals how unorganized the Christian religion was prior to the time of Constantine. It also divulges the suspicions with which the Romans viewed Christianity, and how foreign Christian practices were to Roman culture.  This corresponds with other scholarly interpretations of Christians being viewed as foreigners. For example, Marianna Saghy, who studied at Oxford University and received her PhD from Princeton University, wrote in a reference to the first-century Christians: “If they felt alienated, this was in large part a consequence of the fact that the world had cast them out for their allegedly outlandish beliefs. “Foreignness,” therefore, was not just a matter Christian self-perception or identity; it was also the way in which Christians were perceived by their contemporaries, Jews and Romans alike.”[33]

Dr. Greg Woolf is Professor of Ancient History at the University of St. Andrews, and is author of many books pertaining to Rome’s history. According to Woolf, Constantine’s decision to embrace the Christian faith had an enormous impact on Western civilization, not only during his time, but for many centuries to come. The Edict of Milan provided toleration for Christianity. Other religions, (Jewish) benefited as well, according to Dr. Woolf.[34] Moreover, Constantine banned the practice of blood sacrifice. For some, this indicate he had no intentions of a “multi-faith imperial society,” protected by a secular state.[35] The literature from this source provided insights useful in the integration process pertaining to Constantine’s relationship with the Church and the laws and edicts he created.

Integrated Approach

“Mapping” is important for an interdisciplinary research project because it identifies relevant disciplines needed to address the research question.[36]  However, as explained in the introduction, the relevant disciplines were pre-determined and the research question was deliberately chosen to fit within the pre-determined disciplines. “In-text evidence of disciplinary adequacy” was expressed in statements made regarding each disciplinary method.[37] Evidence of this is found beginning in the second paragraph of the Research Methods, Disciplines, and Justification section of this paper. “Evaluating insights,” was a process used in this interdisciplinary research project. This was to determine the degree of bias positions each author held; resulting from the discipline’s perspective on the subject.[38] Evidence of this is can be found at the beginning of each source’s introduction in the Literature Review section of this paper. By noting the author’s affiliation and discipline, that is, the institution and area of study associated with the author, the possibility of any bias positions are made known. The next step was to identify conflict between theories and concepts of the different disciplines used.[39] This was explained using Otto Gierke’s insights. The research question regarding Christianity’s impact on social and cultural practices in Rome were from the discipline of theology. Common ground was reached because of the similarities the discipline of theology has with the discipline of history. Historical theology was used to describe the disciplines connected to the source as it closely resembles the discipline of history. The supernatural component of theology was bracketed.  However, its impact on the events during this time was undeniable because the supernatural component associated with theology was present in the actual event itself, that is, Constantine’s own testimony regarding the vision and outcome of the battle seemed to legitimize the superiority of Christianity for the emperor. For the reasons explained above, (theology and history are compatible disciplines) conflicts were not common in the literature. Still, some modification of the concepts was required to achieve “common ground.”

Creating “common ground” is perhaps the greatest challenge in interdisciplinary research. The scenario above demonstrates how concepts can be modified to extract prevailing insights among disciplines in order to “build a bridge” between the two for integration.[40]  The concepts and insights of each author was extracted from the historiography in the Literature Review section, followed by connecting concepts within the literature that revealed “common ground” insights. These insights from the disciplines are now appropriate for integration; producing a narrative that supports the thesis in the introduction.

Results

 Price’s analysis of religious mobility shows that Constantine’s conversion to Christianity provided an avenue to launch the religion on a global scale.[41] Dillion’s research showed the connection with Roman law and the need for reform with the acceptance of Christianity; thereby revealing the impact Christianity had beginning with the amendment of Roman law.[42] Together, the modification of Roman laws, brought on by Constantine’s conversion, contributed to spreading Christianity across the region and beyond. Harries exposed the positive relationship Constantine had with Christian leaders and their religion, which created the foundation for a society to change culturally. This was a necessity because Roman citizens had long been pagan and polytheists; the Christian religion would demand a change in their cultural practices. Gierke argued (from a theological perspective) that Christianity interrupts the concept social theory by transferring a man-made idea of a utopian state to a higher authority responsible for humanity’s fulfillment, the Christian God. The individual’s purpose or value does not rest in a state that promotes fulfillment in the life of a community, rather the individual’s value was and is endowed by his creator.[43] The integration of these insights from different disciplines reveal how Christianity impacted Roman culture in the following way: Constantine adhered to Christian theology described by Gierke—relying on a higher authority for humanity’s fulfillment, evident in the laws Constantine modified to make compatible with Christianity.

This model can be applied to all of the authors’ reviewed literature in the Literature Review section, for both disciplines. In other words, all of the insights from the reviewed literature can be integrated the same way Price, Dillon, and Gierke’s were demonstrated in the example above, used to answer the research question. Here are some examples: The Edict of Milan provided toleration for Christianity, as indicated by Woolf. Wilken’s literature divulged many insights into Roman politics and society. Further, it disclosed the way Romans viewed Christians—an indication of just how radical the change in cultural practices would be after Constantine’s conversion (considering the Christians during this period were being executed for refusing to worship Roman gods). Another source, (Alister E. McGrath) showed how dedicated Constantine was to Christianity through his intimate relationship with the Church (it was Constantine himself who called the Council of Nicaea). Finally, Stroumsa’s insights show a shift in cultural practices in antiquity, that originated in the Roman Empire, influenced by Christianity. There is a corresponding pattern of insights that supports the emerging narratives in each discipline (Christianity impacted Roman culture through Constantine’s conversion) to answer the research question.

Conclusion

Decisions made at the Council of Nicaea, called by the emperor of Rome, disclosed a close connection that the Christian religion shared with Roman politics during this time.[44] Moreover, the decision to ban all pagan religions in AD 392, revealed how integrated the state and Christianity had become.[45] The theology worked out at the Council of Nicaea along with the legislation favoring Christianity during the fourth century of Roman history (present in the historical record) was integrated, producing new insights from the disciplines of history and theology. This supports the conclusion: after Constantine’s conversion, Christianity was a major factor in Roman culture and society, evident in their laws. Thus, answering the research question of how Christianity impacted Roman culture; it was through the modification of Roman laws, dictated by Constantine, whose conversion appears to be sincere, evident by his private confession in a letter.[46] Moreover, his involvement with the church regarding doctrine shows his desire to practice orthodox Christianity. Constantine’s actions following his conversion prepared Rome’s culture for the susceptibility of the Christian religion.

 From a single discipline’s perspective, (history) it could be interpreted that Constantine’s conversion to Christianity was strictly pragmatic—it was a way to unify his empire. However, from an interdisciplinarian’s perspective the evidence exhibits a high probability that Constantine’s conversion was sincere. Constantine’s involvement in Christian doctrine, his modification of long-standing Roman laws to reflect Christian values, and his private letter acknowledging divine intervention, leaves opponents with an enormous onus probandi to contend with, if they are to stand by their claim of pragmatism.

Suggestions and Further Research

 More research may be needed regarding the lasting effects that Christianity had on Western civilization. For instance, integrating the disciplines of history, political science, and theology may be appropriate for determining lasting influences, specifically as it pertains to political theory and current laws. Appling the interdisciplinary methods used in this research project can also enhance the relevance of certain disciplines (theology in this case) when their use and value has been restricted to a supporting role. Another example is classical studies, which engages with ancient manuscripts. Classicalists will consult archaeology to confirm or disprove the location of various ancient structures dictated by written sources. This approach has unintendedly produced a trivial value for the discipline of archaeology in the past, because of the supporting role archaeology was assigned.[47] The Interdisciplinary approach eliminates this problem by equally considering each discipline’s insights and contributions.




Bibliography

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Constantine: Law, Communication, and Control, 60-89. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2012. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3998/mpub.4348433.8.

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013.

Gierke, Otto. “Christianity and the Ancient Concept of Association.” In Associations and Law:

The Classical and Early Christian Stages, edited by Heiman George, 143-60. Toronto; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1977. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt1vxm94d.11.

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The New Empire, 134-55. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt1g0b463.13.

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            1990. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvz1b.8.

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            Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1999.

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Chronicling the Story of the Most Important and Influential Civilization the World has Ever Known. New York, NY: Metro Books, 2016. 

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[1] Allen F. Repko and Rick Szostak, Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory, 3rd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2017), 138.

[2] Ibid., 183.

[3] Ibid., 269.

[4] Roger E. Olson, The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1999), 151-153.

[5] Nigel Rodgers, Roman Empire: A Complete History of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chronicling the Story of the Most Important and Influential Civilization the World has ever Known (New York, Metro Books, 2016), 40.

[6] Bruce Shelley, Church History: In Plain Language, Edited by R.L. Hatchett, 4th ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2013), 100-101.

[7] Ibid., 100.

[8]  Allen F. Repko and Rick Szostak, Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory, 3rd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2017), 93-94.

[9] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 14.

[10] Simon Price, “Mobility in the Roman Empire,” The Journal of Roman Studies 102, (2012): 1, https://www.jstor.org/stable/41724963.

[11] John Noël Dillon, “Changes in Legislation from Diocletian to Constantine,” In The Justice of

Constantine: Law, Communication, and Control, (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2012), 60-65, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3998/mpub.4348433.8.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Jill Harries, “Towards the Sunrise: Constantine Augustus,” In Imperial Rome AD 284 to 363:

The New Empire (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012), 134-136, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt1g0b463.13.

[15] Ibid., 145-155.

[16] Otto Gierke, “Christianity and the Ancient Concept of Association,” In Associations and Law:

The Classical and Early Christian Stages, edited by Heiman George (Toronto; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1977), 143, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt1vxm94d.11.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Otto Gierke, “Christianity and the Ancient Concept of Association,” 155-157.

[19] Peter I. Kaufman, “Constantine,” In Redeeming Politics (Princeton University Press,

1990), 15, http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvz1b.8.

[20] Ibid., 14.

[21] Ibid., 20.

[22] John Whittaker, “Christianity and Morality in the Roman Empire,” Vigiliae Christianae 33, no.

3 (September 1979): 213, https://www.jstor.org/stable/1583439.

[23] Ibid., 211.

[24] Ibid., 219-222.

[25] Guy G. Stroumsa, “The New Self and Reading Practices in Late Antique Christianity,” Church

History and Religious Culture 95, no.1 (2015): 1, 4, https://www.jstor.org/stable/43946197.

[26] Ibid., 2-3.

[27] Alister E. McGrath, Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought

(Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 20-21.

[28] Ibid., 30.

[29] Robert L. Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them. 2nd ed. (Yale University Press, 2003), xvi.

[30] Ibid., 26.  

[31] Ibid., 24-25.

[32] Ibid., 25.

[33] Marianna Saghy, “Strangers to Patrons: Bishop Damasus and the Foreign Martyrs of Rome,”

The Hungarian Historical Review 5, no. 3 (2016): 465, https://www.org/stale/44390786.

[34] Greg Woolf, Rome: An Empire’s Story (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 266.

[35] Ibid., 267.

[36]  Allen F. Repko and Rick Szostak, Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory, 106.

[37] Ibid., 174.

[38] Ibid., 190.

[39] Ibid., 245.

[40] Ibid., 269.

[41] Simon Price, “Mobility in the Roman Empire,” 1.

[42] John Noël Dillon, “Changes in Legislation from Diocletian to Constantine,” 60-65.

[43] Otto Gierke, “Christianity and the Ancient Concept of Association,” 43.

[44] Roger E. Olson, The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1999), 151-153.

[45] Nigel Rodgers, Roman Empire: A Complete History of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chronicling the Story of the Most Important and Influential Civilization the World has ever Known (New York, Metro Books, 2016), 40.

[46] Jill Harries, “Towards the Sunrise: Constantine Augustus,” 134.

[47] Glenn R. Story, “Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual Archaeological Data,” in Journal of Archaeological Research, 7, no. 3 (September 1999), 206, https://www.jstor.org/stable/41053116.

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