Julian and the Rejection of Sacrifice
In the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Julian attempted to undo all the religious change wrought by the Christians. Julian was the first emperor after Constantine not to institute pro-Christian policies, and he ruled at a time when Christianity’s position in the empire was sill uncertain. Julian attempted to bring the empire back to its traditional religious practices, including animal sacrifice. Julian’s anti-Christian and pro-sacrifice policies and writings provide a unique window into the ways in which Christian positions on sacrifice had impacted the empire by the fourth century. Julian is aware of the ways in which Christians have used positions on sacrifice in their theological models, and he uses this knowledge to attack Christian religious and historical claims. Ultimately, Julian’s early death marked the final triumph of Christian positions on sacrifice.
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