Defending Julian from opinions based on an uncritical evaluation of sources

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.
Julian allowed Nicene bishops who had been exiled under Constantius II to return to their towns and cities, and it has been argued that he did so to foster disunity among the Christian bishops.
 
May 2011
2,852
Rural Australia
Do you really need to refer to dictionaries to provide crude interpreations for subtle terms?
It provides a starting place for common ground or disagreements.

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.
So if I point out that Christian historians have fabricated fictional written accounts about Julian (and probably many more people and events) then I have an anti-Christian agenda?
 
May 2011
2,852
Rural Australia
Julian allowed Nicene bishops who had been exiled under Constantius II to return to their towns and cities, and it has been argued that he did so to foster disunity among the Christian bishops.
Thanks. What I was alluding to was whether Julian deals with the philosophy of the Arius and the Arians anywhere. I dont think this survives. I would have been interested to learn how Julian perceived Arius of Alexandria. Julian as a philosopher would have known what the controversy was really about.

The reason for my interest in this is that the major sources for these issues are the same 5th century ecclesiastical histories. I suspect that these same sources have obscured the historical truth about the reception of the Christian religion during the rule of Constantine and his sons. Ammianus cuts in from 353 CE. The epoch between 325-353 CE seems like a "black hole" of evidence, illuminated only by these 5th century sources and Eusebius.
 
Thanks. What I was alluding to was whether Julian deals with the philosophy of the Arius and the Arians anywhere. I dont think this survives. I would have been interested to learn how Julian perceived Arius of Alexandria. Julian as a philosopher would have known what the controversy was really about.

The reason for my interest in this is that the major sources for these issues are the same 5th century ecclesiastical histories. I suspect that these same sources have obscured the historical truth about the reception of the Christian religion during the rule of Constantine and his sons. Ammianus cuts in from 353 CE. The epoch between 325-353 CE seems like a "black hole" of evidence, illuminated only by these 5th century sources and Eusebius.
There are other sources that cover this period, but none of the quality of Ammianus. There are several pagan breviarists: Aurelius Victor, Eutropius, Festus, the Epitome de Caesaribus. But they display no interest for Christian matters. There is the chronicle of Jerome, which translates and follows on from the chronicle of Eusebius. There is the history of the pagan Zosimus, who, though writing c. 500, closely follows the lost history of the fourth-century pagan Eunapius, who was also very pro-Julian. However, Eunapius' extreme distaste for Christianity led him to fabricate things about Constantine and his sons, such as the historical context of Constantine's turn towards Christianity. There is also the History of the Arians by Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria. The Byzantine histories of Malalas, Syncellus, Cedrenus and Zonaras preserve historical traditions that originated in the fourth century as well as later traditions.
 
May 2011
2,852
Rural Australia
There are other sources that cover this period, but none of the quality of Ammianus.
Yes, and thanks for the references to the others. I'd also be inclined to add the Nag Hammadi Codices (dated c.350 CE) to the list of literary evidence. The tracts within the codices seem to me somehow related to the process of the Christianisation of the eastern Roman Empire.

I am quite suspicious of Athanasius as a reliable historical source, and I have tended to class him along with the ecclesiastical historians discussed in this thread. He is perceived as the inventor of Christian hagiography (Life of Anthony). This IMHO is not an asset when the stakes involve historical integrity.
 
Mar 2013
1,441
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
Not only did the Persians mock that weak pagan emperor of Julian by carved him on a relief under their feet, but even Romans and Christians themselves did not hold him in high esteem, and what a beautiful portrait of Saint Mercurius that wounds Julian the Apostate down on his horse right here where I have made one more satire:

Satire of the weak Pagan idiot ruler.jpg

:lol:

Perhaps if that Short Little Talker was not so busy of banning the learning and losing embarrassingly to the Persians even with a bigger army, then he might not have brought shame to his name, character and religion, and even convince the Pagans that a Pagan ruler was inept. Julian’s disastrous rule without doubt convinced both Christians and also the Pagans that Christianity was the way. Think about it: Constantine the Great and Constantius II were capable emperors, but then Julian and his ineptitude came, opposed the Christians, and got humiliated by the Persians. - What might the majority of the Christians and Pagans have thought about it?

Also after his death the ban on learning was lifted, and I am very glad that the Christians did not follow Julian’s example of suppressing the learning. Had they done that there would be no intellectual figures such of John Philoponus and Nicole Oresme among other to develope and improve the learning.

“You have won, Galileans” ?

“Certi, idiota Pagani dumbasso” would my answer be, and an “Amen” would I have added even as an Atheist being giving his mistreatment and abuse of the state and learning.
 
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May 2011
2,852
Rural Australia
... Christians themselves did not hold him in high esteem, and what a beautiful portrait of Saint Mercurius that wounds Julian the Apostate down on his horse right here where I have made one more satire.
Using fictitious Christian figures that in the 6th century rise from the dead to kill Julian is hardly satire in a history discussion forum.

It's simply another demonstration of the abuse of the historical method by an uncritical evaluation of historical sources.

Mercurius of Caesarea | The Index

Posthumous medieval representations of Julian, the last Roman emperor who championed paganism, are almost always critical. For example, a lavishly illuminated ninth-century Byzantine manuscript of Gregory Nazianzen’s homilies (Paris, BnF, gr.510, fol. 374v), depicts the ruler accompanying the pagan philosopher Maximus of Ephesus and venerating idols. In Simone Martini’s fourteenth-century fresco cycle in the Chapel of Saint Martino within the Lower Church of San Francesco in Assisi, the figure of Julian the Apostate serves as an arrogant, pagan, visual foil to the saintly Martin of Tours, who is shown renouncing military life for his Christian beliefs.​
Depictions of Julian’s death are even more damning. By the early sixth century, accounts surrounding Julian’s death shifted away from a battle against the Persians and amplified the legend of Saint Mercurius (identified as Mercurius of Caesarea in the Index database), a Byzantine soldier saint who rises from the dead and kills the pagan emperor with his lance or sword.​
 
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Mar 2013
1,441
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
Using fictitious Christian figures that in the 6th century rise from the dead to kill Julian is hardly satire in a history discussion forum.
Ignoring the speech balloon because one wants to create strawman will not convince many. On the other side everything with Julian’s paltry reign is satire after all: Causing grain shortage in one of his own biggest cities? Banning the learning? Losing to the Persians even with a bigger army? - How embarrassing for that pagan loser.





Mercurius of Caesarea | The Index

Posthumous medieval representations of Julian, the last Roman emperor who championed paganism, are almost always critical...(...)​
Indeed, it is after all not only the Persians who mock that paganistic failure after all.;)

Here one more satire I have made from that beautiful Christian manuscript:

A Pagan Loser.jpg
 
Aug 2010
15,666
Welsh Marches
It provides a starting place for common ground or disagreements.



So if I point out that Christian historians have fabricated fictional written accounts about Julian (and probably many more people and events) then I have an anti-Christian agenda?
Well you plainly do have an anti-Christian agenda, you hardly post here about anything else; that doesn't mean of course that what you post is necessarily mistaken! But I wasn't basing my notion that Julian was a crank on any fabricated accounts by Christian authors.
 
May 2011
2,852
Rural Australia
Using fictitious Christian figures that in the 6th century rise from the dead to kill Julian is hardly satire in a history discussion forum.
Ignoring the speech balloon because one wants to create strawman will not convince many.
Defending Julian from a completely non critical evaluation of the available primary sources is certainly not a strawman since it is the subject matter of the OP.



On the other side everything with Julian’s paltry reign is satire after all: Causing grain shortage in one of his own biggest cities? Banning the learning? Losing to the Persians even with a bigger army? - How embarrassing for that pagan loser.

Rhetoric is not history.

I cannot decide if this rhetoric is best viewed as Neo-Christian (as I mentioned above) or simply Anti-Pagan, or something else again entirely. Does anyone else have an opinion?
 

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