Julian the Apostate

Julian the Apostate

  • A.K.A. Flavius Claudius Julianus Augustus
  • Emperor of Rome from 361-363
  • Member of the Constantinian dynasty
  • Military leader, man of letters, theologian-philosopher, and social reformer
  • Repudiated his Christian faith in favor of paganism
  • Tried to destroy Christianity and revive worship of the ancient Roman gods
  • Saw Christian charity as the major obstacle to his program
  • Created an imperial welfare system as an alternative
  • Although his system failed, it remains one of many antecedents to the modern welfare state
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    How would Julian’s program fare today?

Assessing Julian’s program for today — and tomorrow.

  • Why it failed.
    • He died without a successor of like mind
    • System motivated solely by hatred of Christianity
    • Only a caricature of Christian charity
    • Ran counter to the xenophobia of ancient Roman multiculturalism
  • Why it would succeed today. It accords with …
    • Secular divestment of the church in favor of the state
    • Christian sensibilities (e.g., charity is an end in itself even if it flows from an idol)
    • Radical individualism (which needs charity disconnected from community)
  • Why it would eventually fail again
    • Waning of Christian sensibilities
    • Increasing tribalism of modern multiculturalism
    • Isa 42:8 I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images [or the State]

— historeo.com

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