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Universal Salvation in Late AntiquityPorphyry of Tyre and the Pagan-Christian Debate$
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Michael Bland Simmons

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190202392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190202392.001.0001

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Religious Universalism

Religious Universalism

Paganism and Christianity

(p.198) 11 Religious Universalism
Universal Salvation in Late Antiquity

Michael Bland Simmons

Oxford University Press

Christianity was the only religion in the Roman Empire that offered universal salvation. Porphyry came to the same conclusion, but opted for the creation of his tripartite soteriology to compete with Christian universalism. Yet none of the pagan cults was equipped to offer one way of salvation to everybody during times when people were looking for a sense of safety and well-being. With its central message of salvation through Jesus Christ for all people, Christianity could offer such a benefit, and its program of benevolence during the period of crisis undoubtedly reinforced its attractiveness. Constantinian universalism, which attempted to use Christianity as the primary unifying agent of the Roman Empire, cashed in on the stocks that had been bought by preceding pagan emperors, the major difference now being that there was One God, One Emperor, and One (unified) Empire.

Keywords:   Jesus Christ, Isis, Mithras, Manichaeism, Cybele, Jupiter Dolichenus, Sol Invictus, Imperial Cult, Constantine

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