Defending Julian from opinions based on an uncritical evaluation of sources

Jan 2010
4,265
Atlanta, Georgia USA
#91
I’m going to post this last comment, using Kooky Jack’s citation system: An article in the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia says that all sources concur that, regardless of how Julian died, his dying words were “Thou hast conquered. O Galilean” I read the article, and it cites sources which you can look up for yourself if you’re interest.

To Julian’s dying words, I say, Amen and thank God!
 
#92
I’m going to post this last comment, using Kooky Jack’s citation system: An article in the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia says that all sources concur that, regardless of how Julian died, his dying words were “Thou hast conquered. O Galilean” I read the article, and it cites sources which you can look up for yourself if you’re interest.

To Julian’s dying words, I say, Amen and thank God!
I don't really want to get involved in this back-and-forth, but I think it worth noting that the account of Ammianus, who took part in Julian's Persian campaign, does not attribute such words to Julian (25.3). The quote you're referring to is considered to be apocryphal. It is not known to predate the fifth-century Christian account of Theodoret.
 
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Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
15,231
Welsh Marches
#94
Sorry gents, I meant the above as a reply, thus:


View attachment 15815 The logic here is not particularly impressive. You assert that Julian was stupid because why again? Because he believed in the old gods (as did every genius who ever lived before JC)? Because he wasn't taken in by the Christian's idiocy? I'm not saying you are wrong, just that you have provided zero evidence. And it's pretty funny to me how you look down on Voltaire and Gibbon, two of the greatest people (first) and historians (second) who ever lived.....yes I know appeal to authority can be a logical fallacy, but remind me---who are you again?
As appeals to authority go, that is in fact pretty inept, Voltaire and other C18 philosophes regularyl appealed to historical myths for controversial purposes, and soemeone hardly needs to 'greater' than Voltaire to pont that out, and it is universally recognized that Gibbon shows consistent anti-Christian bias and one has to be very cautious in approaching his work in that regard, since this one of its weakest points. Gibbon could show exemplary qualities in examining his source materials, but his prepossessions in this particular regard often distort his judgement.

Nor is it true that every 'genius' who lived earlier believed in the old gods, since many philosophers and other educated people interpreted the old myths and beliefs as being symbolic in nature, and 'belief' in general has a different significance in polytheistic and monotheistic religions. Nor will you ever understand anything about the old religion or about Christianity if you view them in the light of modern polemics and dismiss either the one or the other as being 'idiocy'.

More genrally, Julian was not an idiot by any means, but he was definitely a crank, and one needs to appreciate that to understand boththe course of his career and the way in whic people reacted to him (which had a strong effect on his career).
 
Jan 2010
4,265
Atlanta, Georgia USA
#95
As appeals to authority go, that is in fact pretty inept, Voltaire and other C18 philosophes regularyl appealed to historical myths for controversial purposes, and soemeone hardly needs to 'greater' than Voltaire to pont that out, and it is universally recognized that Gibbon shows consistent anti-Christian bias and one has to be very cautious in approaching his work in that regard, since this one of its weakest points. Gibbon could show exemplary qualities in examining his source materials, but his prepossessions in this particular regard often distort his judgement.

Nor is it true that every 'genius' who lived earlier believed in the old gods, since many philosophers and other educated people interpreted the old myths and beliefs as being symbolic in nature, and 'belief' in general has a different significance in polytheistic and monotheistic religions. Nor will you ever understand anything about the old religion or about Christianity if you view them in the light of modern polemics and dismiss either the one or the other as being 'idiocy'.

More genrally, Julian was not an idiot by any means, but he was definitely a crank, and one needs to appreciate that to understand boththe course of his career and the way in whic people reacted to him (which had a strong effect on his career).
I agree with all this. I’ve never heard Julian described as stupid or an idiot until Kooky Jack said Christian sources described him that way. You didn’t become an emperor in those days by being either stupid or idiotic. The Catholic Encyclopedia article I mentioned described him as very intelligent.
 
May 2011
2,733
Rural Australia
#96
I’m going to post this last comment, using Kooky Jack’s citation system: An article in the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia says that all sources concur that, regardless of how Julian died, his dying words were “Thou hast conquered. O Galilean” I read the article, and it cites sources which you can look up for yourself if you’re interest.

To Julian’s dying words, I say, Amen and thank God!
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Julian the Apostate

Various reports concerning the circumstances of his death have come down to us.
Both Christians and pagans believed the rumor that he cried out when dying:
Nenikekas Galilaie (Thou hast conquered, O Galilean).​

The Catholic Church here has indulged in an uncritical evaluation of sources in order to promulgate this 5th century fictional embellishment (of Theodoret) as 4th century history of the Emperor Julian.

From "Killing Julian"
Like Sozomen, Theodoret embraces the notion that Julian’s killer was an agent of God, but not necessarily Libanius’s charge that the murderer was a Christian. He writes:

Some say that he was wounded by an invisible being, others by one of the Nomads who were called Ishmaelites; others by a trooper who could not endure the pains of famine in the wilderness. But whether it were man or angel who plied the steel, without doubt the doer of the deed was the minister of the will of God. It is related that when Julian had received the wound, he filled his hand with blood, flung it into the air and cried, “Thou hast won, O Galilean.”​
 
May 2011
2,733
Rural Australia
#97
More genrally, Julian was not an idiot by any means, but he was definitely a crank,
Crank (person) - Wikipedia

"Crank" is a pejorative term used for a person who holds an unshakable belief that most of his or her contemporaries consider to be false.[1] A crank belief is so wildly at variance with those commonly held that it is considered ludicrous. Cranks characteristically dismiss all evidence or arguments which contradict their own unconventional beliefs, making any rational debate a futile task and rendering them impervious to facts, evidence, and rational inference.​

The last pagan emperor will almost automatically be viewed as a crank by the Christian regime of the 4th century.


... and one needs to appreciate that to understand boththe course of his career and the way in whic people reacted to him (which had a strong effect on his career).
One also needs to appreciate the fact that Julian's written works were mutilated, censored and burnt by the 4th and 5th century Christian regime. Any critical character assessment of Julian must be aware of this political situation.

Rather than a crank, I am atm inclined to see Julian, in his role as the author of his three books "Against the Christians", as a type of whistle-blower in regard to "the fabrication of the [Nicene] Christians".
 
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Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,609
Blachernai
#98
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Julian the Apostate

Various reports concerning the circumstances of his death have come down to us.​
Both Christians and pagans believed the rumor that he cried out when dying:​
Nenikekas Galilaie (Thou hast conquered, O Galilean).​

The Catholic Church here has indulged in an uncritical evaluation of sources in order to promulgate this 5th century fictional embellishment (of Theodoret) as 4th century history of the Emperor Julian.

From "Killing Julian"
I think the only issue here of interest is understanding why the fifth-century sources feel compelled to make such claims. As for Julian's actual death, we have Ammianus so I see no reason to bother with later historians whose views on the matter are more representative of their own time than what actually happened in Persia in 363.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
15,231
Welsh Marches
#99
Crank (person) - Wikipedia

"Crank" is a pejorative term used for a person who holds an unshakable belief that most of his or her contemporaries consider to be false.[1] A crank belief is so wildly at variance with those commonly held that it is considered ludicrous. Cranks characteristically dismiss all evidence or arguments which contradict their own unconventional beliefs, making any rational debate a futile task and rendering them impervious to facts, evidence, and rational inference.​

The last pagan emperor will almost automatically be viewed as a crank by the Christian regime of the 4th century.




One also needs to appreciate the fact that Julian's written works were mutilated, censored and burnt by the 4th and 5th century Christian regime. Any critical character assessment of Julian must be aware of this political situation.

Rather than a crank, I am atm inclined to see Julian, in his role as the author of his three books "Against the Christians", as a type of whistle-blower in regard to "the fabrication of the [Nicene] Christians".
Do you really need to refer to dictionaries to provide crude interpreations for subtle terms? I wasn't actually saying that Julian was a crank because he opposed Christianity, that would be like arguing that Robert Graves was a crank because he attached serious importance to mythology! He was cranky right through just like Graves, one just has to read any of his treatises, as much if for instance he was writing about beards as about Chritianity or in his own brand of cranky paganism, and to consider how he interacted with other people. I suspect that your own sense of humour has abandoned you in relation to this odd character because you view him only in relation to your own personal anti-Christian obessions.
 
May 2011
2,733
Rural Australia
I think the only issue here of interest is understanding why the fifth-century sources feel compelled to make such claims. As for Julian's actual death, we have Ammianus so I see no reason to bother with later historians whose views on the matter are more representative of their own time than what actually happened in Persia in 363.
I am in complete agreement here. The claims of these Ecclesiastical historians in this specific instance are entirely fabricated. But why? The author of the "Killing Julian" article enters into various arguments, for example:


In addition, Theodoret’s version betrays a special concern to show the triumph of Christianity over paganism, probably motivated by the stubborn persistence of paganism in Syrian and the empire. [303] Thus, after a spear wounded Julian, Theodoret has Jesus appear in front of him. Julian then takes some of the blood from his wound and flings it at the apparition exclaiming, “Thou hast won, O Galilean!” [304] This phrase would permanently enter the annals of church history as Julian’s last words and as an acknowledgement of defeat not only by a devout worshipper of the gods, but above all, by the Roman emperor. Such acknowledgment would have had enormous symbolic value because it depicted a champion of the pagan gods admitting defeat in the presence of the “one, true God.” Theodoret thus recast Julian’s death as an episode in what he imagined was a war of religion. But of course, regardless of Theodoret’s and Sozomen’s attempts to have their readers believe that paganism had been defeated with the death of Julian, this was far from reality. Pagan worship was still present in many regions of the empire, including in heavily Christianized Syria, in the fifth century, and beyond. This will be discussed further in Chapter Three.

[303] Cf. Theodoret, Eranistes, which discusses numerous heresies still present in the empire, including paganism. For more on this point see p. 125-126.
[304] Theodoret, Hist. Eccl. 3.20. See Appendix I, v. 20.​

These three ecclesiatical historians are often referred to as the continuators of Eusebius. Their extremely untrustworthy works cover the entire history of the Christian revolution of the 4th century. They are positioned firmly within the imperially sponsored church organisation of the 5th century, looking outwards and backwards not just at the Emperor Julian, but also at narratives concerning the Council of Nicaea, Constantine and his sons, Arius of Alexandria, and the Arian controversy.

SO far I have not found any evidence of how Julian viewed Arius or the Arian controversy. Obviousy Julian would have had an opinion on this. Does Julian mentions Arius or Arians in any of his extant works? IDK.
 

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