Konstantin der Große und christliche Weisheit

Zusammenfassung / Abstract

“Constantine the Great and Christian Wisdom: A Note on Sapiential Political Theology in Late Antiquity” – From Constantine’s reign onwards Christian sapiential kingship also had its place within the framework of the Later Roman Empire discourse. For instance, if we take a look at late Fourth-century Imperial panegyrists, one of the most important themes in their praise of emperors was that of the ruler-philosopher, proclaiming that the perfect prince had to be philólogos as much as philopólemos. In the first place, the Emperor must strive to make an imitation of Christ, himself the incarnation of Holy Wisdom as the Logos of God, in order to turn the Empire into an image of the Kingdom of God. This Christocentric and eschatological image made the emperor play a role in the history of Salvation. In the second place, Fourth-century sapiential political theology also implied a discourse of an idealized wise emperor who made correct political decisions thanks to his education in the classical tradition. In this regard, rhetoric and eloquence, together with a perfect knowledge of classical literature and some familiarity with the deeds of the heroes of Antiquity were necessary conditions for a good ruler. Lactantius and Eusebius of Caesarea had succeeded in giving a new Christian meaning to the ancient topos of the sage ruler and thus provide Constantine and his successors with a new legitimacy added to military victory.

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