There was no single, central “Church” which dictated these things at this early stage – each community operated in either relative isolation or intermittent communication with other communities and there were no standardised texts or a set list of which texts were authoritative and which were not at this very early stage of the Christian faith. Still what people say about Nicea does feel much more accurate when said about Ephesus or the 5th Council. It also gives some approval to other, more recent works like The Shepherd of Hermas, but says they should not be read in church as Scripture. I have little reason to believe the Bible was immune to that if done by a majority long ago. Really? Why not? It seems that it can be traced to a quip made by Voltaire in reference to a miracle story of no historical value. Erin is a Bible study editor and COO of The Popcast Media Group from Birmingham. (Constantine actually resisted baptism until he was on his deathbed.) By the early second century Christianity had a similar problem, with a wide range of texts, letters and gospels in circulation all claiming to be authentic works of the first generation of Christians. The King James Bible is written in English -- a language that only began to appear in A.D. 449 and was totally unlike the 1600's style of speaking the language. Luke, for example, is written to Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, who lived in the late 2nd century. Confira também os eBooks mais vendidos, lançamentos e livros digitais exclusivos. Marcion was struck by the strong distinction made by Paul between the Law of the Jews and the gospel of Christ. In 306 AD, Constantine (274 – 337 AD) became ruler of the Roman Empire. Constantine And The Bible. On October 28, 312, Constantine marched on Rome and met Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge. But when we do we find that they are the same. Study Notes on Constantine 1. A classic example of this was the dispute over the nature of Christ that led the Roman emperor Constantine the Great to convene the Council of Nicaea (in modern-day western Turkey) in A.D. 325. Kōnstantînos; 27 February c. 272 – 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was a Roman emperor from 306 to 337. Sad if the validity/credibility of atheism depends on the historicity of one particular guy who lived 2000 years ago. But this request (and another one made to Athanasius of Alexandria around the same time) simply reflects the fact that such an enterprise was so massively expensive that it took Imperial sponsorship to fund it and it seems to be one of many acts of patronage of Christianity by Constantine, not some attempt at establishing a canon of his own. With his instructions fulfilled, Constantine then decreed that the New Testimonies would thereafter be called the "word of the Roman Savior God" (Life of Constantine, vol. And a quick Google of “Constantine + Bible” turns up a plethora of detailed links debunking the whole idea. As works by key philosophers circulated in the decades after their deaths, other works wrongly or falsely attributed to them also found their way into circulation. This might complicate matters somewhat. Being at least a nominal Christian, Theodosius made himself subject to Church law, and he was forced to repent and do penance. Most people either try to determine what is true and follow it, or become enamored with an ideology and interpret everything as if it proved the ideology is true. His writings in proof of the divinity of Christ demanded the use of these Gospels had they existed in his time. It looked not so much as if Christianity was bad enough to include any vices, but rather as if any stick was good enough to beat Christianity with. Irenaeus (130-202CE) listed 20 forms of Christianity that he himself was aware of. Interesting article and discussion. “….. actually agree with Irenaeus ” So he sought his father's God in prayer, pleading for him to tell him who he was and to stretch forth his hand to help him. So we rely on careful analysis to give us assessments of likelihood. I don’t think it’s possible to have politics without ideologues. He ordered for the new copy that highlighted gospels that made Him god-like and deleted those that talked of the human traits of Jesus Christ. I’m an atheist because I find no evidence for any gods, Christian or otherwise. In the year 553 A.D., 165 Church officials condemned reincarnation. We can actually test this claim by comparing the alterations of the texts from before Constantine (since we have them) with those coming later. So the gloriously stupid (and grammatically bizarre) pastiche of nonsense above was posted to “Philosophical Atheism” yesterday, with the group’s followers reverently genuflecting to its mighty historical truth and insight. This row actually had echoes down church history, because the filioque clause in the Creed which triggered the schism between Roman Catholic and orthodox churches in 1054, originally came from an attempt in 6th Century Spain to defend the Trinitarian position against Arianism, which had remained popular in Northern Europe. Marcion decided that there were actually two Gods – the evil one who had misled the Jews and the good one revealed by Jesus. A vast majority of atheists, if they believed what is written here, if they did not believe that Constantine created the Bible, that Jesus wasn’t a “myth”, and that no person believed that Jesus rose from the dead, until they aggrandized his story several decades and centuries later, there would be almost no atheists in America. A synod convened in Rome by Pope Damasus in 382 AD also considered the question of the canon and, with the help of the great multi-lingual scholar Jerome, settled on the same twenty-seven books set out by Athanasius. You just don’t know the material well enough to avoid basic errors like this one. And it also seems that recent works, whether they were “heretical” (like the Gnostic gospels) or not (like The Shepherd of Hermas), did not have the status of works from the earliest years of Christianity. I’ve never believed. The Myth of the Biblical Canon at Nicaea During Constantine’s reign, controversy arose over the teachings of Arius, who denied the full divinity of Jesus. Tertulian’s Trinity doctrine was basically the same as Nicea, he says he was in the minority but that could have been his Western perceptive. Go look it up.” is particularly amusing. One such campaign was sanctioned by Emperor Trajan after he received a letter from Pliny (A.D. 111-113). However, most Americans (especially atheist Americans), are utterly historically illiterate, and they base conclusions on their historical illiteracy. A manuscript called the Muratorian Canon dates to sometime in the late second century AD and was discovered in a library in Milan in the eighteenth century. years with no monarchy. C aesar Augustus, more commonly referred to as Constantine the Great, in A.D. 321-325, established a new and uniquely stylized solar planetary calendar. But it is quite clear he was referring to the gospels. 2. In A.D. 325 the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, along with his mother, Helena, had deleted references to reincarnation contained in the New Testament. None of the accounts of the Council from the time give so much as a hint about any such event, so Voltaire was clearly working from much later sources. They may also have had copies of a few of them, but have only heard of others (since copies of any books were expensive and precious). Your reference seems to be to this Council's endorsement of Athanasius' 39th Festal Letter and therefore his endorsement of the twenty-seven book New Testament canon. No. People often wonder if the gospels were changed or corrupted, or even selected (in some back-room conspiracy) for inclusion in the Bible at this time. Much like many religious believers, ironically enough. This ninth century miracle story is only found in this one work and is not referenced in any earlier material on the Council of Nicaea. All the evidence works against the idea that this or anything like it was his intention and his initial actions strongly indicate that he did not want to alienate his pagan subjects and did not want to make Christianity the sole religion or even the state faith. People don’t get talked into being atheists based on bad history. As mentioned above, it was Irenaeus who made the first know defence of the four canonical gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – as the oldest and only scriptural ones, and he did so at least partially on the grounds that these four had always been regarded as the earliest and most authoritative. “And I take it that since you didn’t respond directly to my theory about Luke being written in the 2nd century that you either agree with it or think it’s too stupid to even address?”. “how you can know for sure that the memoirs he mentions are actually referring to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John because, as you said in your article, there were so many different works floating around at the time that called themselves Gospels”. Not long after Irenaeus’ defence of the four canonical gospels we get our first evidence of a defined list of which texts are scriptural. How's the book going? But okay, let’s “look it up”. It seems the status of the Trullan Council or Quinisext Council was debated in the west and that, overall, it was not regarded as a true "Ecumenical Council" and therefore not binding on Christendom overall. a pseudo-atheist shill for Christian triumphalism [and] delusionally insane.”, – Dr. Richard Carrier PhD, unemployed blogger, Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine, Did Emperor Constantine Create the Canon? gMark is generally dated to not long after 70 AD, gMatt and gLuke to the 80s AD and gJohn from 90-120 AD. Does is prove that Theodosius sincerely aknowledged the moral authority of the church? Why do you think most people in the world are, or have ever been, any different from you? So much of it has been shown to be flawed/contradictory/untrue that I see I ought not base my life on it. It's not just Baptists – the idea that the "true" Christianity was hijacked by the wicked Constantine for political ends and turned into the Catholic Church and that the Reformation just reversed this situation has been a mainstay of Protestant historiography for centuries. These claims are essential to the plot in The Da Vinci Code because the novel claims that the so-called "Gnostic gospels" were the original Christian documents and Constantine replaced them with the New Testament.. The "hijacking" idea also fundamentally misunderstands the ancient world and people's relationships with gods. He constantly quotes the Old Testament and other New Testament books, but never quotes the Gospels. My main thought is “So?” None of the gospels explicitly claims authorship by anyone, except perhaps in the final sentences of gJohn, which Justin does not seem to have used. And it continued. So it appears to have found its way via its publication by the Lutheran theologian Johannes Pappus (1549-1610) to Philippe Labbé’s appendix and thus to Voltaire. I’m still an atheist. Constantine saw that the pagan gods failed to protect their worshipers. Marcion tried to get his radical reassessment of Christianity and his canon accepted by calling a council of the Christian community in Rome. Dungan, a student of early Christianity who has published studies Bede called it a a "reprobate" synod, and Paul the Deacon an "erratic" one. Neither the Catholic Church, nor Constantine changed the Bible. In Czech Republic: Literature …and diplomat, Cyril (originally named Constantine), and his brother Methodius (see Saints Cyril and Methodius).The brothers translated the greater part of the Bible and the essential liturgical texts into what must have been a Slavonic literary language of Cyril’s devising, based on the Macedonian-Slavonic vernacular of his native Salonika… Ok, so I’ve done a little bit more research since our last chat and I found this quote “The very names of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are never mentioned by him [Justin]—do not occur once in all his writings.”. You can also subscribe without commenting. Combine this with Justin never directly quoting the Gospels and Luke being addressed to Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, it becomes a little too suspicious to be a coincidence. The memoirs might have been late 2nd century. If you have some evidence that the “Theophilus” of gLuke’s prologue is the one who was the bishop of Antioch then perhaps I’ll address it. How can we know? Jesus was most probably a real person, but deeds attributed to him (miracles) are most likely recycled, misinterpreted or simply made up. I don't disagree about the inherent dangers of power combined with religion, but even today we find negotiating a suitable and workable separation of church and state difficult. This happened later, but the communal nature of religion in the Roman world and the hierarchical nature of political power, patronage and sponsorship of religion made this fairly inevitable once Christianity got a certain momentum in the mid fourth century. The message of the texts from 200 AD is the same as those from 1200 AD. Just adding my 2c to say I can't wait for the book. The Holy Bible: Texts of shady origin collected by competing bishops on order of politically motivated Roman Emperor Constantine to stabilize his empire and since then repeatedly adapted to suit the needs of contemporary rulers and clergy, but never made to comply with reality. Constantine and the Week The Witty Invention that Changed Times and Laws. They worship the Bible, and not the God who commissioned it. His teachings made the Bible clear and easy to understand, and impacted millions of lives. Including emperors. This meeting, known as the First Council of Nicaea, was specifically called to make a decision about Arianism—the belief that God created Jesus, and that Jesus was not eternal or one with God. I still believed Jesus was a historical figure, that the NT was composed by the early Church in the late 1st/early 2nd centuries, and that belief in the Resurrection arose within a few years of the events. The Great Myths 4: Constantine, Nicaea and the Bible, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window). It also continued for a long time after he died. Hi Tim, Tim O’Neill’s forthright blog does a valuable job in keeping us all honest, and reminding us that historical evidence rarely behaves as one might want it to.” – Professor Tim Whitmarsh, A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge, “A brilliantly erudite blog that stands sentinel against the wish-fulfilment and tendentiousness to which atheists, on occasion, can be no less prey than believers” – Tom Holland, best-selling history writer, “Tim O’Neill’s blog is a fantastic place to turn for critical investigation of commonly-held assumptions about religion in the ancient world.” – Professor James F. McGrath, Butler University, “Tim O’Neill is a known liar …. Constantine waited until death drew near to be baptized as a Christian. What again could this astonishing thing be like which people were so anxious to contradict, that in doing so they did not mind contradicting themselves?”. They are just fanatics who post whatever tickles their emotional and irrational prejudices. “This began to be alarming. What I mean is that they didn’t just pick them out, but also actively tampered with them. Some historians also believe that while he reproduced the New Testament, he considered eighty different gospels and eventually chose only four gospels for inclusion in the final version. Lots of Protestants want to make the break off point later then Constantine though. Actually, given he didn’t just have Ambrose beheaded, I suspect he took his religious beliefs seriously. Constantine and the Week The Witty Invention that Changed Times and Laws. This was before the Church developed the mechanics of penance and confession that turned into a sacrament in later centuries, so a sinner had to undergo this kind of ritualised public atonement in this period. There is evidence that this idea was beginning to be applied to some of the early Christian writings as well, with references to four definitive gospels being made by Irenaeus in the mid second century and a reference to interpretation of the letters of Paul alongside “the rest of the Scriptures” being made as early as c. 120 AD (see 2Peter 3:16). Dungan, a student of early Christianity who has published studies As Ehrman notes above, far from being determined by one council and an emperor in 325 AD, the formation of the Christian canon was one of slow development over several centuries. The story of early Christianity is a story of struggle, persecution and martyrdom, often at the hands of the ruling government. “As for the “memoirs of the apostles” he mentions, well, we don’t really know what he meant by that”. I’m not as concerned by claims about Nicea and the Canon as I am by claims that the Trinity doctrine flat out didn’t exist before. In Czech Republic: Literature …and diplomat, Cyril (originally named Constantine), and his brother Methodius (see Saints Cyril and Methodius).The brothers translated the greater part of the Bible and the essential liturgical texts into what must have been a Slavonic literary language of Cyril’s devising, based on the Macedonian-Slavonic vernacular of his native Salonika… For the first time in nearly 300 … Guaranteed sale here. The novel essentially claims that Constantine convened a council at Nicea, created the New Testament, and had it canonized. But no, the form that won out in the end was not the product of “more literal interpreters” and that form of Christianity had become predominant long before they “got in bed with the Roman state”, which is why it was the form adopted by Constantine when he converted. Constantine saw that the pagan gods failed to protect their worshipers. This is something I see over and over again with people who have great confidence in their private theories about fringe ideas despite not actually knowing what the hell they’re talking about. Those who doubt he saw some kind of vision and must have been lying also don't seem to realise that people in the ancient world were constantly on the lookout for signs and omens and so "saw" all kinds of things that they invested with divine significance. None of your “factors” stands up to scrutiny. It’s similar to the old saw, that if a division is made between scholars and warriors you will have your thinking done by cowards, and your fighting done by fools. Justin clearly refers to material found in gMark, gLuke and gMatt, e.g. (Eusebius, The Life of Constantine, chapter 62). People often wonder if the gospels were changed or corrupted, or even selected (in some back-room conspiracy) for inclusion in the Bible at this time. It rejected the truth of Gnosticism and featured the 4 Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s thirteen epistles, John’s three epistles, and Jude, the Apocalypses of John and Peter. Only gJohn is possibly early second century. — Positief Atheïsme (@positiefatheism) March 9, 2018 First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council of the Christian church, which took place in 325 in the ancient city of Nicaea (now Iznik, Turkey). an asscrank …. Of course, there certainly was a council held by the emperor Constantine at his palace in Nicaea between May 20 and around June 19 in 325 AD and at it bishops from across the Roman Empire gathered to vote on several things, including the date of Easter, the role of church law and a number of administrative issues. Whether it would have been a good policy or not is beside the point. It seems the “Philosophical Atheism” group on Facebook is going to be the New Atheist bad history gift that just keeps on giving. Exactly which “sacred Scriptures” is not specified, so it’s unknown if this refers to the Old Testament, some canon of the New Testament or both. This is crackpot stuff. a tinfoil hatter …. The story goes that Constantine had a vision of the words in hoc signo vinces ("in this sign you will conquer") upon a cross, and he swore that, should he triumph against great odds, he would pledge himself to Christianity. He made several mentions of the idea that the Biblical canon was decided at the Council of Nicaea in his Dictionnaire Philosophique (1764), noting with amusement the rather silly way the Council supposedly chose the relevant books: “Il est rapporté dans le supplément du concile de Nicée que les Pères étant fort embarrassés pour savoir quels étaient les livres cryphes ou apocryphes de l’Ancien et du Nouveau Testament, les mirent tous pêle-mêle sur un autel; et les livres à rejeter tombèrent par terre. Of course there is the problem that Constantine spoke Latin since he rule the Roman Empire. What the Council did NOT vote on or even discuss was the Biblical canon – i.e. The council condemned Arius and the Arian heresy that Christ is a created being and revised the creed to clarify the equality of God the Father and God the Son. Constantine and the New Testament - Why did books like the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Thomas, and other ancient books (like 1 Enoch) never make it into the Bible? Question: "Did Constantine decide what books belonged in the Bible?" of recent bishops to the ranks of cardinals in Rome. Why doesn’t Justin actually QUOTE the Gospels like he does with other books in the Bible? While historians are yet to have a solid evidence of Constantine's decision of choosing… In 325 AD Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea, the first empire-wide meeting of church leaders to discuss various controversies. You’ve got that backwards. Unfortunately Jerome is simply noting that Judith was considered scriptural in that it was referred to in the deliberations of the Council. Of course there is the problem that Constantine spoke Latin since he rule the Roman Empire. “Simple – because it’s anti-Christian.” Edit 23.05.17: After making detailed critical comments on this and other pseudo historical memes on the so-called “Philosophical Atheism” Facebook group I have now been banned from the group, blocked from commenting and all my many detailed comments have been erased. Allow me to present why I think the anonymous synoptic Gospels are late 1st to mid 2nd century writings written to support Christianity. He never mentions them. C aesar Augustus, more commonly referred to as Constantine the Great, in A.D. 321-325, established a new and uniquely stylized solar planetary calendar. Council of Nicaea. He refers several times to “the memoirs (ἀπομνημονεύματα) of the apostles” and in one place makes it explicit that these are the gospels, referring to “the memoirs (ἀπομνημονεύματα again) which are also called gospels” (Apology LXVI.3). which Christian books and texts could be considered divinely inspired and therefore “Scripture”, which were useful but not scriptural and which were actually “heretical”. And, thanks to the popularity of Voltaire’s work across Europe, his quip about this miraculous selection of books at Nicaea has given rise to the whole myth. As has already been shown above, the canon was well on the way to being established well before this anyway. However, as legend has it, he did request bishop Eusebius of Caesarea to create fifty copies of the New Testament for the newly established capital, Constantinople. Kōnstantînos; 27 February c. 272 – 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was a Roman emperor from 306 to 337. One of the most enduring myths today about the Council of Nicaea is that the council members voted on which books to include in the Bible. The statement of the Council on this matter formed the Nicene Creed which became the basis of future Christological formulations (and the subject of later disputes on the matter). There were plenty of Pre-Nicene references to Jesus being Divine, and even already debate about “Modalism”. The Muratorian Canon document accepts twenty-three of the twenty-seven works which now make up the New Testament in the Bible. Eusebius rejected the deity of Christ and claimed that Christ was a created being . Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. stupid …. priests. Peter never believed in Paul as part of them but Paul’s books are in. Constantine’s decision to cease the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire was a turning point for early Christianity, sometimes referred to as the Triumph of the Church, the Peace of the Church, or the Constantinian Shift. (Eusebius, The Life of Constantine, chapter 62). “Again, weren’t the Gospels originally written in the 2nd century? Do you, personally, look around at all the competing ideas and decide which one gives you the most power, regardless of whether it's true or nonsense, and then espouse that? So no, they were not written in the second half of the second century. In 367 Athanasius wrote his 39th Festal Letter in which he laid out the current twenty-seven books of the New Testament – the first time this canon had been definitively stated by any churchman. One of the most enduring myths today about the Council of Nicaea is that the council members voted on which books to include in the Bible. Call me naive – I think it’s anti-atheist. But in Hermas you will not find one passage or any mention of the New Testament, nor in all the rest is any one of the Evangelist named” (Dissertations Upon Irenaeus). In the latter half of the 2nd century then, between Justin and Papias, and the time of Theophilus and Irenaeus, the four Gospels could have been written or compiled, correct? When I rejected Christianity, I’d never even heard of Mythicism, let alone the absurd theory that Constantine invented the whole story and retconned it into history. During Constantine’s reign, controversy arose over the teachings of Arius, who denied the full divinity of Jesus. He is the author of all the teachings here, and all materials are available free of charge! And Theodosius was clearly a devout believer, so it makes sense that he would behave as a devout believer of the time would behave to be readmitted to the congregation. Do you know anything about that? Indeed, without being aware of the scholarly consensus, it’s obvious the guy(s) did a fine job picking the stuff that comes closest to early christianity.