CAESARS AND SAINTS by Stewart Perowne


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For a halo-minded scholar, Stewart Perowne's study of the evolution of the Christian State is rather breezy, somewhat brilliant. Flooded with a footnoted sensibility, including tag ends from Euripedes to Renan, and housing as many strange and shifting names as in a Russian novel, Caesars and Saints attempts a survey of the Roman decline, the Semitic and Italic enterprise that rose in response to pagan dissolution, the eventual and ""indeed inevitable"" establishment of the Church, and the arrival of Constantine, the Byzantine Archangel behind it all. In between, other lauded or befuddled heroes hold sway (Aurelius, Severus, Elagabalus), along with blood baths, power politics, early heresies (Gnosticism, Marcion). There are also morals, at least on the part of the author: the collections of women and boys, par for the Caesarian course, are met with commentary such as ""repulsively lascivious"" etc. A donnish product of and for the academy.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 1962
Publisher: Norton