3ος αἰ. κι ὄχι 4ος αἰ.: Ὁ ἐκχριστιανισμὸς τῆς Ρωμαϊκῆς Αὐτοκρατορίας:

Ἀπὸ τὸ T. D. Barnes, Christians and Pagans in the Reign of Constantius, στό: A. Dihle (ἐκδ.), L’église et l’empire au IVe siècle [Entretiens sur L’Antiquité Classique 34], Genève 1989, 301-343. Προσοχὴ τί λέει γιὰ τὴν ἐναγώνια προσπάθεια τῶν σκληροπυρηνικῶν Παγανιστῶν νὰ «ξεμπερδεύουν μὲ τοὺς Χριστιανοὺς» διαισθανόμενοι ὅτι χάνουν τὸ παιχνίδι -προτοῦ κἂν ἐμφανιστεῖ ὁ Μέγας Κωνσταντίνος (ἢ ὁ Θεοδόσιος):

Two principle views of the “mission and expansion of Christianity” dominate modern treatments. The traditional view, given classic expression by Edward Gibbon, has been that before 312 Christians were a small, persecuted and insignificant minority of the population of the Roman Empire, small clusters of believers obliged to conceal their religion in an alien society: conversion to Christianity on a large scale came after and as a result of the conversion of Constantine in 312, or at least as a direct consequence of the pro-Christian policies which he began to adopt after he defeated Maxentius. The alternative view goes back to Jacob Burckhardt, through it is in fact untenable in the form in which he expressed it. It has been developed recently in the work of English-speaking historians such as William Frend, Peter Brown, Fergus Millar, Graeme Clarke and myself. On this view, the decisive shift came during the third century rather than the fourth, so that “the triumph of Christianity” can be seen as occurring in the period between 260 and 303. Effective toleration of Christianity began with the capture of Valerian by the Persians in 260 and the accession of Gallienus to sole rule, and the ‘Great Persecution’ of 303-313 was not the final titanic struggle of two religions long set on a collision course, but a desperate attempt of die-hard pagans to reverse the course of history before it was too late. This view derives both its origin and strength from close study of the writers and the history of the third century: Tertullian in North Africa, Clement of Alexandria, the career of Origen, the Octavius of Minucius Filix, the correspondence of Cyprian, the appeal to the emperor Aurelian in 270 to oust the deposed bishop Paul from the church of Antioch, the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea –all attest the growing respectability of Christianity from c. 200 and its expanding role in Roman provincial society. By 300, the Christian bishop was a prominent figure in many an eastern city and a large church stood facing Diocletian’s palace in Nicomedia. […] It is clear that Christians formed the dynamic element in Roman society and that by 300 no emperor could rule securely without the acquiescence of his Christian subjects

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