Christianity blended particularism and universalism more effectively and seems to have begun to win over the masses at the critical moment of crisis in their collective history when a search for spiritual intimacy with the divine power(s) in the heavens was perceived increasingly as a way to prevent the imploding of a world once thought to be imperishable. Porphyry devised a counter-argument to Christian universalism which coincided with two important developments: the Tetrarchy’s revitalization of the traditional cults and the exponential growth of the Church since Gallienus’ peace in A.D. 260. Constantine’s revolution had many things in common with the pro-pagan policies of his predecessors who used religious culture to unify their regimes. The unique success of Christian universalism can be found in the fact that became for increasing numbers of people the best “crisis manager” at a critical moment in the history of both Empire and Church.
Keywords: tripartite soteriology, Eusebius, Arnobius, De regressu animae, Philosophia ex oraculis, Contra Christianos, soteriology of ascent, soteriology of descent, Constantinian Revolution, Third Century Crisis
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