Here are two books that I’m looking forward to. The first should be of interest to everyone and that is “Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom.” Here is the description from IVP:
We know that Constantine
- issued the Edict of Milan in 313
- outlawed paganism and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire
- manipulated the Council of Nicea in 325
- exercised absolute authority over the church, co-opting it for the aims of empire
And if Constantine the emperor were not problem enough, we all know that Constantinianism has been very bad for the church.
Or do we know these things?
Peter Leithart weighs these claims and finds them wanting. And what’s more, in focusing on these historical mirages we have failed to notice the true significance of Constantine and Rome baptized. For beneath the surface of this contested story there emerges a deeper narrative of the end of Roman sacrifice–a tectonic shift in the political theology of an empire–and with far-reaching implications.
In this probing and informative book Peter Leithart examines the real Constantine, weighs the charges against Constantinianism, and sets the terms for a new conversation about this pivotal emperor and the Christendom that emerged.
If you check out either Amazon or IVP you can read the preface and other bits to get a feel for where Leithart is going. I read his “Solomon Among the Postmoderns” and found it to be enlightening, readable, and enjoyable and I suspect his next book will be the same.
The second, while probably of more interest to those who study the Early Church is “Tradition and the Rule of Faith in the Early Church.” Here is the description from Catholic University of America Press:
The meaning of “tradition” is broad. It can refer to the deposit of faith or the “Apostolic Tradition,” to Scripture as the most perfect expression of what is handed over from Christ, or to the disciplinary and liturgical practices of the Church. It can also refer more broadly to those theological and doctrinal teachings, inherited by one generation of ecclesiastical writers and passed on to another generation of theological heirs. The Fathers themselves were always acutely aware of the traditions they stood within and especially of their relation to the Apostolic Tradition.
Tradition and the rule of faith are particularly apt themes for this collection of studies. The essays are written in honor of Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J., renowned American patristic scholar whose research and writings have focused on this particular theme. The volume brings together some of the most prominent scholars from the U.S. and abroad, specializing in different areas of patristic studies, to address tradition and the rule of faith.
Tradition is increasingly becoming important for Evangelicals and any book that deals with tradition in the Early Church is warmly welcomed.