Eastern Christian Books: How Apostate Was Julian?


In the 21 Feb. 2019 problem of the London Assessment of Books, there is a extended and fascinating critique of H. C. Teitler’s current book,¬†The Final Pagan Emperor: Julian the Apostate and the War against Christianity¬†(Oxford University Press, 2017), 312pp.

What I uncover fascinating is how–according, that is, to the reviewer, Christopher Kelly, master of Corpus Christi College at Cambridge–Teitler’s book demonstrates the extent to which the factors stated of Julian have been largely invented soon after his short twenty months on the imperial throne by a re-ascendant Christianity, whose propensity for triumphalist and tendentious constructions of history has in some strategies remained undimmed from then till now. The makes use of and abuses of historical memory, about which I have written so typically, are not inventions of the twentieth century, but appear to be constructed into the human situation. We all want to uncover patterns in the previous, and if they have to have to be finessed a bit to grow to be patterns in which our enemies turn out to be justly slayed losers, and our tribe glorious victors and moral heroes, then fiat iustitia.¬†

Julian was not held in terrific favor even by non-Christians, quite a few of whom regarded him as one thing of a crank and loser. He appears to have had the typical fetish amongst these of his class for esoterical and ascetical labors proving superior discipline of character more than the obese peasants. So when it came time to traduce his reputation it was not a difficult sell. As Kelly ends his critique, “for a Christianity triumphant, the invention of ‘Julian the Apostate’ was a godsend.”


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