In a discussion of the legends of Constantine ( Constantine the Great and Christianity ), Christopher Bush-Coleman notes how efforts to demythologize the man end up creating new myths:

“Many of those writers who discard in largest measure material from earlier writers as legendary have unquestionably created from the remainder a Constantine as legendary as that one described by their predecessors. Such has Burckhardt’s Constantine been shown to be; a Machiavellian prince who had no conviction but that of his own destiny, a cold, clear-sighted, free-thinking, ambitious statesman, rising to supreme power by playing with the religious faiths of his subjects – a being who exited only on the pages of over-skeptical historical critics, and yet a powerful influence upon the thought of a whole generation” (99).

More on: History

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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