10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Well Argued Thesis,
This review is from: AD 381: Heretics, Pagans and the Christian State (Paperback)
This book is an interesting review of the situation in the reign of Theodosius, with a thesis that the council of Constantinople led to a shutting down of an age of toleration and critical thinking, ushering in the dark ages.
There is much to commend the book, and the case is well argued using suitable source material. However, to my interested layman's mind (I have read a fair bit on the history of the age), the thesis fails ultimately because of the tendency to focus too much on some specifics and to think more highly of the previous situation than is deserved. The golden age of critical thinking and toleration is asserted, but it is not at all clear that such really ever existed. Neither is it clear that the decrees of Theodosius can be blamed for closing it down.
I note the review above by Dr Richard Price, which reveals some specific issues. As this is beyond my field, I would defer to his knowledge - guardedly because we should never believe anyone just because they are an authority. But the reader of this book must ultimately decided for themselves whether the author has actually discovered something the other academics have all overlooked or whether he has perhaps overstated the case a little.
Ultimately though this is a very interesting book as a starting point of a greater debate and re-evaluation about the early church history. Why should we let the academic world have all the fun with that debate?