When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight Over Christ's Divinity in the Last Days of Rome

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Richard E. Rubenstein
Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999 - Religion - 267 pages
3 Reviews
We all know the story of Jesus' life, his death, his resurrection, and the persecution of his early followers. Less well known is the struggle the early Christians had in deciding whether Jesus was God Himself or the holiest of men, adopted by God and raised to divine rank. This controversy was at the heart of the most fateful conflict in Christendom until the Reformation. It was characterized by fervent debate, riots, a series of ecumenical councils, and civil strife. The key players were two priests, Arius and Athanasius, brothers in Christ, ideological opponents, and mortal enemies. Arius, a firebrand bishop, intelligent and eloquent, preached that Jesus was less than God. Athanasius, a brilliant and violent deacon, ardently opposed Arius's subversive preaching. Between them stood Alexander, the powerful bishop of Alexandria, the man on whose shoulders lay the need for a speedy resolution, which was essential both to keeping the empire united and to the continuation of the Church. Richard Rubenstein presents a vibrant portrait of the thriving Roman Empire in the centuries after the birth of Jesus Christ, as he brings to life the ideas of the most influential leaders and shows us a major religion at the crossroads of its faith.

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User Review  - Razinha - LibraryThing

Quite interesting look at the Council of Nicea, the opposing factions of early Christianity and the political maneuvering that resulted in the doctrine of Jesus' divinity as opposed to him being just ... Read full review

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User Review  - DubiousDisciple - LibraryThing

After nearly three hundred years of persecution, Christianity made a breakthrough in 324, when Constantine became emperor of Rome. Led by two charismatic priests—Arius, who preached that Jesus is ... Read full review

Contents

The Silence of Apollo
22
A Quarrel in Gods House
48
The Great and Holy Council
68
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

RICHARD E. RUBENSTEIN is professor of conflict resolution and public affairs at George Mason University and an expert on religious conflict. A graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, he was a Rhodes Scholar and studied at Oxford University. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.

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