Rethinking Constantine: History, Theology, and Legacy

By Edward L. Smither (editor)

Essays exploring the historical and theological legacy of Constantine, unravelling the complexities of a significant figure in the history of the church.

ISBN: 9780227174623


Constantine’s life – his career, faith and relationship to the church – raises questions for Christians and for historians that cannot be ignored. Scholars continue to be intrigued with Constantine the man, the influence he wielded over the church and the paradigm that he introduced for church-state relations. Seventeen hundred years after Constantine’s victory at Milvian Bridge, Rethinking Constantine reinvigorates the conversation and examines the historical sources that inform our picture of Constantine, the theological developments that occurred in the wake of his rise to power and the aspects of Constantine’s legacy that have shaped church history. Rethinking Constantine reassesses our picture of Constantine through careful historical enquiry within the scope of the early Christian period.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 178

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Edward L. Smither (PhD, University of Wales, Trinity St David; PhD, University of Pretoria) is Professor of Intercultural Studies at Columbia International University, the author of Augustine as Mentor, Brazilian Evangelical Missions in the Arab World, and Mission in the Early Church (also published by James Clarke and Co Ltd).


List of Contributors

Introduction / Edward L. Smither

1. From Sinner to Saint? Seeking a Consistent Constantine / Glen L.Thompson
2. Lactantius as Architect of a Constantinian and Christian “Victory over the Empire” / W. Brian Shelton
3. Rethinking Constantine’s Interaction with the North African “Donatist” Schism / David C. Alexander
4. Reevaluating Constantine’s Legacy in Trinitarian Orthodoxy: New Evidence from Eusebius
     of Caesarea’s Commentary on Isaiah / Jonathan J. Armstrong
5. Constantine, Sabbath-Keeping, and Sunday Observance / Paul A. Hartog
6. Did the Rise of Constantine Mean the End of Christian Mission? / Edward L. Smither

Epilogue / Bryan M. Litfin



Endorsements and Reviews

Like him or dislike him, one cannot ignore Constantine in Christianity. His legacy can be seen at every turn, from Sunday observance to law to ecclesiastical dress! These essays help us to come to terms with the scope of that legacy.
Thomas O’Loughlin, University of Nottingham

In recent days, both scholarly re-assessment of this revolution and popular fiction have brought Constantine to public notice once again, and this collection of essays provides an extremely helpful guide in taking stock of one of the great turning points in church history.
Michael A.G. Haykin, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

If we are going to assess Constantinianism rightly, we have to get Constantine right. The contributors go a long way toward accomplishing this task. In place of the caricatured Constantine of popular fiction and theology, this collection of essays presents a living, breathing Constantine, flawed and failing, but a genuine believer struggling to use his power in a way that would please the ‘Supreme God’ who had chosen him.
Peter Leithart, New Saint Andrews College, Idaho