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The Church in Ancient SocietyFrom Galilee to Gregory the Great$
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Henry Chadwick

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246953

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199246955.001.0001

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Julian and the Church 1

Julian and the Church 1

(p.295) 36 Julian and the Church1
The Church in Ancient Society

Henry Chadwick

Oxford University Press

The emperor Julian (‘the apostate’) had inwardly abandoned Christianity and converted to polytheism at the age of 20 in 351, and succeeded Constantius II in 361. Initially, Julian wanted religious toleration, but the restoration of polytheism caused offence and hostility among Christians, who could make common cause with those who questioned the legitimacy of Julian's accession. In his writings, Julian criticized Christianity as a new religion, but Christian influence can be seen in his organization of the cult of the sun god. Julian's death on campaign in Persia in 363 weakened but did not destroy paganism, which continued among peasants, landowners, and intellectuals.

Keywords:   Julian the Apostate, paganism

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