Emperor Constantine, Eusebius, and the Bible

Authors

Emperor Constantine

We always have learned in school that god wrote the bible,but after doing research I starting to think that its not true.If Constantine did have some involvement with the bible how did we as a society come to worship it and why does the catholic church embrace it so much if it wasnt written by god. Also what is the timeline of the bible meaning from when it was written to now.

Answer:

1) What involvement did the Roman emperor Constantine have with the bible?

Very indirect. He commissioned Eusebius to construct 50 of what we might call “proto-bibles” – collections of Christian Scripture that were made before any set list of authentic Scriptures had been established. Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus are believed to be two of these 50 – and they do not include the same content.

Claims that the contents of The Bible were established at the council of Nicea are verifiably false
http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/nicaea…

The contents were not established in council until several decades after Constantine’s death (393 synod of Hippo, 397 council of Carthage)

2) how did we as a society come to worship it

I know very few who worship The Bible

3) why does the catholic church embrace it so much if it wasnt written by god

That’s like me asking you, “Why do you drive an automobile if it was built by child-raping Nazis?” It’s known as a “Straw Man Argument”. First, you have to establish that it was not written by God, **or** that the Roman Catholics believe that it is not the word of God, before you can legitimately (logically) ask such a question.

4) Also what is the timeline of the bible meaning from when it was written to now

The Bible is a **collection** of several independent writings (over 60). The latest were completed no later than the mid-second century C.E. The earliest were completed no later than the 6th century B.C.E. SO, at the very least the Scriptures included in The Bible are 1850 years old.

http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/papyrus/…

150 C.E. – final Scriptures of The Bible completed
397 C.E. – council of Carthage establishes the Western Biblical canon
405 C.E. – first Bible know *as* “The Bible”, the Latin Vulgate, follows the Carthage Biblical canon
~450 C.E. – Codex Alexandrinus establishes the Greek Orthodox Biblical canon
~500 C.E. – Decretum Gelasianum agrees with the Carthage Biblical canon and additionally lists several Scriptures recognized as unauthentic
~750 C.E. – Codex Amiatinus follows the Carthage Biblical canon
1382 – Wyclif Bible, first complete English Bible, inclusive canon
1534 – Luther Bible follows the Carthage Biblical canon plus adds the book of Baruch
1535 – Coverdale’s Bible, first printed English Bible, follows the Carthage Biblical canon plus adds Baruch, 1 & 2 Esdras and Prayer of Manasseh
1563 – Church of England Convocation of Canterbury establishes the English Protestant Biblical canon; includes all the Scriptures found in the Coverdale’s Bible
1564 – Roman Catholic Church council of Trent establishes the Roman Catholic Biblical canon which, like Luther’s, uses the Carthage Biblical canon plus the book of Baruch
1590 – Puritans are the first group to publish a 66-book bible; soon after such Bibles are outlawed in England (source: HarperCollins Bible Dictionary)
~1700 – 66-book Bibles become more acceptable, found not only among Puritans but also in other languages produced by Protestant sects
~1800 – 66-book Bibles become the common Bible of English-speaking Protestants

Jim, http://www.bible-reviews.com

The Formation of the New Testament Canon (2000)

Richard Carrier

Contrary to common belief, there was never a one-time, truly universal decision as to which books should be included in the Bible. It took over a century of the proliferation of numerous writings before anyone even bothered to start picking and choosing, and then it was largely a cumulative, individual and happenstance event, guided by chance and prejudice more than objective and scholarly research, until priests and academics began pronouncing what was authoritative and holy, and even they were not unanimous. Every church had its favored books, and since there was nothing like a clearly-defined orthodoxy until the 4th century, there were in fact many simultaneous literary traditions. The illusion that it was otherwise is created by the fact that the church that came out on top simply preserved texts in its favor and destroyed or let vanish opposing documents. Hence what we call “orthodoxy” is simply “the church that won.”

Astonishingly, the story isn’t even that simple: for the Catholic church centered in Rome never had any extensive control over the Eastern churches, which were in turn divided even among themselves, with Ethiopian and Coptic and Syrian and Byzantine and Armenian canons all riding side-by-side with each other and with the Western Catholic canon, which itself was never perfectly settled until the 15th century at the earliest, although it was essentially established by the middle of the 4th century. Indeed, the current Catholic Bible is largely accepted as canonical from fatigue: the details are so ancient and convoluted that it is easier to simply accept an ancient and enduring tradition than to bother actually questioning its merit. This is further secured by the fact that the long habit of time has dictated the status of the texts: favored books have been more scrupulously preserved and survive in more copies than unfavored books, such that even if some unfavored books should happen to be earlier and more authoritative, in many cases we are no longer able to reconstruct them with any accuracy.*** To make matters worse, we know of some very early books that simply did not survive at all (the most astonishing example is Paul’s earlier Epistle to the Colossians, cf. Col. 4:16), and have recently discovered the very ancient fragments of others that we never knew existed, because no one had even mentioned them.***

Consequently, to tell the story of how the Bible came to be requires an essay of some length, organized into sections of roughly chronological order. This is a summary of the consensus of scholars on the formation of the New Testament

It is believed that Jesus died c. 30 A.D. Specifically, if he died under Pontius Pilate, the date must have at least been between 26 and 36, the ten years we know Pilate to have served in Judaea.[1] Whatever the date, Paul’s conversion follows one to three years later. The earliest known Christian writings are the epistles of Paul, composed between 48 and 58 A.D. ***Some of these are of doubted authenticity (and were even in antiquity), but the debate is too complex to summarize here. The other letters, and the Revelation (a.k.a. the Apocalypse of John), are of even more uncertain authorship and date. They are presumed to have been written in the same period or later (1 Peter, for instance, may have been written, some scholars say, as late as 110 A.D.).

The Gospels cannot really be dated, nor are the real authors known.*** Their names were assigned early, but not early enough for us to be confident they were accurately known. It is based on speculation that Mark was the first, written between 60 and 70 A.D., Matthew second, between 70 and 80 A.D., Luke (and Acts) third, between 80 and 90 A.D., and John last, between 90 and 100 A.D. Scholars advance various other dates for each work, and the total range of possible dates runs from the 50’s to the early 100’s, but all dates are conjectural. It is supposed that the Gospels did not exist before 58 AD *** simply because neither Paul nor any other epistle writer mentions or quotes them, and this is a reasonable argument as far as things go. On the other hand, Mark is presumed earlier, and the others later, because Mark is simpler, and at least Matthew and Luke appear to borrow material from him (material that is likely his own invention, cf. my review of The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark).

All the Gospels except John contain possible allusions to the destruction of Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., and thus it is likely they were all written after that date.[2] But that assumes the statements attributed to Jesus are apocryphal–they may have been genuine, the usual doom and gloom apocalyptic fantasizing, and then confirmed only by accident (or, if one is a believer, divine destiny) when the city and its temple were actually destroyed. They could also have been added to the text later. On the other hand, it has been argued with some merit that Luke borrowed material from Josephus, and if so that would date his Gospel (and Acts) after 94 A.D.[3] Finally, there are good arguments for the existence of a lost source-text called Q which was used by Matthew and Luke to supplement their borrowing from Mark, and this has been speculatively dated as early as the 50’s A.D.[3a]

This is only an example of the state of ignorance we are in whenever scholars try to debate the dates of these writings. Although it remains possible that all the Gospels were written after 100 AD, those rare scholars who try to place all Christian writings in the 2nd century have nothing to base such a position on. At least some of Paul’s epistles can be reasonably taken as dating no more than 16 to 32 years after the oral tradition had begun to flourish after the death of Jesus, although adulteration of those letters by later editors remains possible, and it is also possible that even in Paul’s day forgeries were being made and circulated (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:2). The Gospels were not likely to have been written down so soon, and we have clear evidence, in numerous variations, that they were altered at various points in their transmission, and scholarly work in the last two centuries has gone far to get us to the earliest versions possible.

Nevertheless, any number of unknown alterations could still have been made that have not been detected (a great many have been–both errors and deliberate alterations or omissions), and it is important to note that the ancients did not have at one glance the scope of manuscript data we have, nor did they (with a few exceptions) even have the analytical and palaeographical skills now employed to derive a reliable manuscript archetype from a scientific collation of numerous exemplars. In other words, no one in antiquity ever saw a completely accurate collection of what would eventually become the 27 New Testament books, until perhaps the time of Origen or Clement of Alexandria (see XII and XIV), and even then most likely only those few scholars would have enjoyed the privilege. But this is still doubtful–it does not appear that either man went out of his way to find and trace the history of all existing manuscripts, in all churches, and in all translations, yet that is what would have been required to decisively collate a close approximation to the original texts (and with regard to facing an even worse problem today, cf. M 267ff.; and for an example, see Bible).
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XVI. Eusebius, the First History of the Church, and the Earliest Complete Bibles

The first Christian scholar to engage in researching and writing a complete history of the Christian church, Eusebius of Caesarea, reveals the embarrassing complexity of the development of the Christian canon, despite his concerted attempt to cover this with a pro-orthodox account. Two things must be known: first, Eusebius was either a liar or hopelessly credulous (see n. 6), and either way not a very good historian; second, Eusebius rewrote his History of the Church at least five times (cf. M 202, n. 29), in order to accommodate changing events, including the ever-important Council of Nicea, where Arianism, the view that Christ was created by God and not entirely identical to God (the greatest advocate of this was Eusebius’ contemporary Arius, after whom the doctrine was named, but the idea was not entirely original to him), was decisively declared heretical, and for the first time in history this decision had the full backing and enforcement of the Roman Empire. Eusebius was an Arian until that day, and, not desiring to lose his position in the church, he abandoned his Arianism. We may never know what effect this had on his final revision of his history–but any view he may have taken about the canon that was pro-Arian was certainly expunged. This may reveal once again how doctrine more than objective scholarship affected Christian choices concerning canonical texts.

Even in 327 A.D***., when Eusebius published the final draft of his Church History, two years after the great Council of Nicea, which set out to establish a decisive orthodox creed that would be enforced by law throughout the world, there was no official Bible. Bruce Metzger paints the picture superbly (202), for what drove Eusebius to pay so much attention to the history of the Bible must have been:

Eusebius’ search for certainty as well as…the absence of any official declaration having an absolute value, such as a canon issued by a synod, or the collective agreement among churches or bishops. Of these there is not a trace in the long series of literary notices, so conscientiously amassed by the historian. But, when all is done, the most that Eusebius can register is uncertainty so great that he seems to get confused when making a statement about it.

The only standard Eusebius employed in deciding which texts to call “recognized” is to accept every book that is recognized by every (orthodox) author he knows (Church History 3.25, cf. M 201-7). The next category of texts includes those that are recognized by some but disputed at least by someone (someone, that is, who was regarded by him as orthodox–hence, the opinions of early church leaders like Marcion did not count). The final category of texts includes those universally regarded as heretical by those adhering to his idea of orthodoxy. This standard is obviously multiply flawed: first, it begins with his own subjective doctrinal judgment of who is orthodox and thus whose opinion counts at all, and second it is based solely on the doctrinal opinions of these writers. There is no reference to standards of historical research or textual criticism, for example. And against general sentiment, Eusebius only voices one opinion of his own, in defense of the Revelation of John, which was already in the second category and thus half-way to being canonical.

In giving priority to the Four Gospels, Eusebius calls them the “Holy Quaternion,” thus showing signs of the belief that there could only be four Gospels for mystical or numerological reasons, a belief we have seen before (in the cases ofIrenaeus and Cyprian). He adds to these Acts, 1 Peter and 1 John, and all the Epistles of Paul (whether he meant to include Hebrews is unknown–he elsewhere supports the view advanced by Clement of Alexandria that it was written by Paul in Hebrew and translated by Luke or Clement of Rome, cf. Church History 3.3, 3.38). Eusebius hints that there were some disputes about the Apocalypse of John, but places it confusingly in the first category. Among disputed but not heretical texts he places James, Jude, 2 Peter, and 2 and 3 John, but also confuses the case further by including among these “partly disputed” texts some other works that he otherwise classifies as notha, “base” or “counterfeit” (literally “bastard texts”), giving no indication of what he means by that, or what criteria he applied. These include the Acts of Paul, book of Hermas, Apocalypse of Peter, Epistle of Barnabas, Gospel of the Hebrews, and a certain “Teachings of the Apostles,” but also, confusingly, the Apocalypse of John again. As heretical forgeries he identifies the Gospels of Peter, Thomas, and Matthias, and the Acts of Andrew, John, and others.

Most astonishing is the fact that, after leaving us with this confusing state of affairs, Eusebius reports that the Emperor Constantine commissioned Eusebius personally to produce fifty excellent copies of the sacred scriptures which would be the basis, no doubt, of the official imperial Bible (Life of Constantine 4.36.37), yet we are never told what books Eusebius chose to include, or on what authority or criteria. Two nearly-complete Bibles survive from the 4th century which some believe may be copies of this imperial standard text: the Codex Sinaiticus, which has the four Gospels, Acts, fourteen Pauline Epistles (including Hebrews), seven Catholic Epistles, the Revelation of John, the Epistle of Barnabas, and the book of Hermas, and the Vaticanus Codex, which appears to contain the same material in the same order, although both texts are incomplete (Sinaiticus breaks off in the middle of Hermas, Vaticanus in the middle of Hebrews). We may wonder what books, if any, were appended after Hermas.

Finally, we have another anonymous list (in Latin) of the books included in the Bible, found in a 6th century manuscript, which cannot be dated securely, though c. 300 A.D. is most likely, and it confirms the state of confusion met by Eusebius, as well as the esteem still reserved for certain books no longer in the Bible today (cf. M 310-11). The list includes the four Gospels and Acts, as well as the Acts of Paul (astonishingly, cf. discussion of this text above), only ten of Paul’s Epistles (it excludes Hebrews, Philippians, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians), 1 and 2 Peter (curiously, the list says these are letters to Peter), James, Jude, 1, 2, and 3 John, Barnabas, Hermas, and the Apocalypses of John and Peter. Metzger suggests likely scribal errors here (230), but clearly, before the late 4th century, the contents of the Bible were neither entirely settled***, nor quite like what they are today.

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FATHER EUSEBIUS – FORGER

Christianity-Revealed

Who was Father Eusebius? He was just about the most important man in the early history of the Christian church. Some say he was the “yeast” and his history of the Church was the “bread” on which Christianity was formed. Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea was born in 260 CE and died in 339. He wrote the famous “Historia Ecclesiastica,” which was published in 325 CE, seventy-two years before the New Testament was canonized.  His book has been referred to as the History of the Church, which laid down the course of Christianity that is still in effect today.

It was with Eusebius’ help that his close friend, pagan-turned-Christian Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, won the crown. His close relationship with Constantine, then made it easy to bring about the Edict of Milam in 313 CE which removed penalties for professing Christianity.  It was not until Theodosius I, on February 27, 380 CE, declared “Catholic Christianity” the only legitimate imperial religion. Until this time the New Testament as we know it today did not exist. What did exist were various writings and notes written by unknown authors. Constantine with Eusebius at his right hand presided over the Church Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. It was there that the cardinal principle of the trinity was invented and canonized. From that time until the Reformation in the 16th Century there was only Catholic Christianity―that which Eusebius engineered.

Eusebius wrote, “the names of Jesus and Christ were both known and honored by the ancients” (Hist. Eccl. lib. i. ch. iv). Eusebius, who is Christianity’s chief guide for the early history of the Church, confesses that he was by no means scrupulous (giving careful attention to what is right or proper), to record the whole truth concerning the early Christians in the various works that he has left behind him. (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., ch.8 p. 21).

The book “Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire” states that: “Eusebius indirectly confesses that he had included stories that would do credit to the glory of Christianity and he had suppressed all that could tend to discredit Christianity. The carefulness of the historian has exposed his own character of censorship”(Eusebius and the Christian Martyrs, Chapter 16, pg. 197).

Edward Gibbon, speaking of Eusebius wrote:

“The gravest of the ecclesiastical historians, Eusebius himself, indirectly confesses that he has related what might rebound to the glory, and that he has suppressed all that could tend to the disgrace, of religion. Such an acknowledgment will naturally excite a suspicion that a writer who has so openly violated one of the fundamental laws of history has not paid a very strict regard to the observance of the other; and the suspicion will derive additional credit from the character of Eusebius, which was less tinctured with credulity, and more practiced in the arts of courts, than that of almost any of his contemporaries”(Gibbon, Rome, vol. ii., Philadelphia, 1876).

Gibbon also wrote:

“It must be confessed that the ministers of the Catholic Church imitated the profane model which they were impatient to destroy. The most respectable bishops had persuaded themselves that the ignorant rustics would more cheerfully renounce the superstitions of Paganism if they found some resemblance, some compensation, in the bosom of Christianity. The religion of Constantine achieved in less than a century the final conquest of the Roman empire; but the victors themselves were insensibly subdued by the arts of their vanquished rivals” (Gibbon, Rome, vol. iii. p. 163).
Dr. Robert L. Wilken, first Protestant scholar to be admitted to the staff of Fordham University recently wrote:

“Eusebius wrote a history of Christianity in which there is no real history. Eusebius was the first thoroughly dishonest and unfair historian in ancient times”.  (The Myth of Christian Beginnings, History’s Impact on Belief, Chapter III: The Bishop’s Maiden: History Without History,  p73, p57)

 

Another scholar, Joseph Wheless charged that Eusebius was one of the most prolific forgers and liars of his age in the church, and a great romancer; in his hair-raising histories of the holy Martyrs, he assures us “that on some occasions the bodies of the martyrs who had been devoured by wild beasts, upon the beasts being strangled, were found alive in their stomachs, even after having been fully digested”! (FORGERY IN CHRISTIANITY: A Documented Record of the Foundations of the Christian Religion, 1930; quoted Gibbon, History, Ch. 37; Lardner, iv, p. 91; Diegesis, p. 272)

After reading the above, one should ask two questions:

  1. Just how genuine/honest are the writings in the New Testament? And
  2. Are Christians following just another man-made Abrahamic Derivative Religion (ADR)?

Paul L. Maier (1999) wrote:

“They cannot deny their crime: the copies are in their own handwriting, they did not receive the Scriptures in this condition from their teachers, and they cannot produce originals from which they made their copies. Some have even found it unnecessary to emend the text but have simply rejected the Law and the Prophets, using a wicked, godless teaching to plunge into the lowest depths of destruction. They have not been afraid to corrupt divine Scriptures, they have rescinded the rule of ancient faith, they have not known Christ, they ignore Scripture but search for a logic to support their atheism. If anyone challenges them with a passage from Scripture, they examine it to see if it can be turned into a common syllogism. Abandoning the holy Scripture of God, they study “geometry” [earth measurement], for they are from the earth and speak of the earth and do not know the One who comes from above.” (Eusebius: The Church History, from Book 5 section 28)

After reading how the Church Historian, Eusebius altered early writings to fit his own idea and concept of how he believed Jesus was, could the Christian truly believe that Jesus said all the things credited to him? Are Christians willing to put their souls on the line? Those who will never question what has been written and use “blind faith” as their logic will always dismiss any claims, evidence and facts that have been produced to show that this religion is faulty and could never had happened in the way the New Testament presents it. Like the old saying goes: “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind’s already made up!” Are you one of them?

Paul Maier continues:

“Many manuscripts are available because their disciples zealously made copies of their “corrected” ― though really corrupted ― texts. This sinful impudence can hardly have been unknown to the copyists, who either do not believe the Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit and are unbelievers or deem themselves wiser than the Holy Spirit and are possessed.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia, published with the imprimatur of the Roman Catholic authorities, tell us that the decision to have four gospels instead of just one is credited to the early church father St. Irenaeus, who was the first writer to mention the four gospels by name.

St. Irenaeus wrote:

“It is not possible that the gospels be either more or fewer than they are. For since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principle winds, while the Church is scattered throughout the world and the pillar and ground of the Church is the gospel, it is fitting that we should have four pillars breathing out immortality on every side” (Catholic Encyclopedia vol. VI, pg. 659). 

As for the writings of Paul, the Encyclopedia Biblica states categorically:

“With respect to the Canonical Pauline Epistles, none of them are by Paul.  They are all, without distinction, pseudographia (false writings). The group (ten epistles) bears obvious marks of a certain unity, of having originated in one circle, at one time, in one environment, but not of unity of authorship” (Encyclopedia Biblica III pg. 3625-26).

The father of Christianity appears to be Paul and the father of the history of the Christian Church appears to be Eusebius.  Both never knew or walked with Jesus ― according the Christian scriptures, but primarily because there was no real Jesus. The Jesus man-god character is simply fictitious.  Yet, Christians today believe everything these two men ― Paul and Eusebius ―want them to believe. Christians believe every word they read and hear to be the words from God ― their Invisible Friend in the Sky!

And they are betting their earthly beliefs, behavior and living on these man-made words. Why? To obtain some imagined eternity in a heavenly condo in the sky. How sad!

“Faith is believing something you know ain’t true.” – Samuel L. Clemens/Mark Twain (1855-1910)

Copyright © 2003, Christianity-Revealed.com. All rights reserved.

http://jdstone.org/cr/files/fathereusebiusforger.html

Gospels Not Written By Matthew, Mark, Luke or John

Christians believe that the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) were written by those whose names appear in the title of the books. Most also believe that they were written in the same order as they appear in the Bible.

The Truth is …

Even though the Gospels go under the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, they were, in fact, written anonymously. These names first appeared in the second century and were assigned to the anonymous writings  to give the writings apostolic authority. The Gospel of Mark was written before any of the other canonical gospels and was written after the fall of the second temple  which occurred in 70 CE.

The Gospel of Mark is the most important of the synoptic gospels because it is the primary source for Matthew and Luke. Seventy six percent of Mark is reproduced almost word-for-word in both Matthew and Luke. An additional 18% of Mark is reproduced in Matthew but not in Luke, and a further 3% of Mark is in Luke but not in Matthew. This means that 97% of Mark is reproduced in Matthew and/or Luke.

Matthew contains 606 of Mark’s 661 verses. Luke contains 320 of Mark’s 661 verses. Of the 55 verses of Mark which Matthew does not reproduce, Luke reproduces 31; therefore there are only 24 verses in all of Mark not reproduced somewhere in Matthew or Luke.

Gospels Not Written By Matthew, Mark, Luke or John

Bottom Line

The canonical gospels upon which the Christian faith is built, the ones which present the words of Jesus are writings by unknown authors writing to buttress the particular points they wished to make. The quotations allegedly from Jesus were most likely, made up by the authors to support their positions.

  • The titles in our English Bibles are later additions; they are not original to the Gospels themselves.
  • The Gospel narratives are always written in the third person.
  • The tradition that they were written by two disciples (Matthew and John) and by two companions of the apostles (Mark and Luke) is first attested in the 2nd century!
  • What we can say for certain about the authors is that they were all highly educated, literate, Greek-speaking Christians of (at least) the second generation, contrast this with the apostles of Jesus, who were uneducated, lower class, illiterate, Aramaic-speaking peasants.

Even IF the gospels had been written by the “eye-witness” apostles, Matthew and John, it is unlikely that they reported everything accurately. Remember that their “testimony” comes thirty years (Matthew) and sixty years (John) after the fact. This would-be “eyewitness” testimony is, at a minimum, 30 years after the events it purports to describe and the authors were in or nearing their dotage. In any event,  recent research has found that eyewitness testimony is not reliable. Read an excerpt from an article entitled “34 Years Later, Supreme Court Will Revisit Eyewitness IDs” By Adam Liptak Published: August 22, 2011, NY Times.

Discrepancies And The Holy Spirit

Irrespective of the above, Christians argue that the authors of the Gospels and in fact the authors of all the books of the Bible, were guided by the Holy Spirit and therefore cannot be in error regardless of who wrote the words. We would like to throw out just a few of the discrepancies that one finds between the same story told by the different authors.

  • For example, the accounts of Jesus’ birth in Matthew and Luke are strikingly different from each other.
  • In addition to major discrepancies in Luke’s and Matthew’s versions of the birth of Jesus, and his family’s relocation from Bethlehem to Nazareth, there are historical problems.
    • These include the nature of the miraculous star in Matthew that leads the wise men to the exact location of Jesus’ birth, and the census in Luke that required knowing where one’s ancestors were from. Moreover, this census involved the entire Roman Empire, and there is no account of such a huge census anywhere except in Luke.
  • The genealogy  of Jesus given to us by Matthew is much different that the genealogy given by Luke.
  • John has Jesus teaching for three years; Mark, Matthew and Luke present a one year ministry.
  • Mark and Luke follow this with an account of teaching and healing in Galilee, then a trip to Jerusalem where there is an incident in the Temple climaxing with the crucifixion on the day of the Passover holiday.
  • John, by contrast, puts the Temple incident very early in Jesus’ ministry, has several trips to Jerusalem, and puts the crucifixion immediately before the Passover holiday, on the day when the lambs for the Passover meal were being sacrificed in Temple.
  • And the accounts of Jesus’ death in Mark and Luke are strikingly different.

Edict of Milan

The Edict of Milan refers to the February 313 AD agreement to treat Christians benevolently within the Roman Empire. Western Roman Emperor Constantine I, and Licinius, who controlled the Balkans, met in Milan and among other things, agreed to change policies towards Christians.

The document known as the Edict of Milan (Edictum Mediolanense) is found in Lactantius’ De Mortibus Persecutorum and in Eusebius of Caesarea’s History of the Church with marked divergences between the two.Whether or not there was a formal ‘Edict of Milan’  is debatable.

The version found in Lactantius is not in the form of an edict. It is a letter from Licinius to the governors of the provinces in the Eastern Empire he had just conquered by defeating Maximin later in the same year and issued in Nicomedia.

People commonly point to the Edict of Milan as Constantine’s first great act as a Christian Emperor, although, it is unlikely that the Edict of Milan was an act of genuine Christian faith on Constantine’s part. The document instead should more accurately be seen as the first step in creating an alliance with the Christian God, whom Constantine considered the strongest Deity. Constantine at that time was more concerned about social stability and the protection of the empire from the wrath of the Christian God than he was for justice or care for the Christians. The Edict of Milan is more indicative of the Roman culture’s obsession with seeking the gods intervention than of Constantine or Licinius’ religious beliefs.

The Edict of Milan required that the wrong done to the Christians be righted as thoroughly as possible. From the state’s perspective all wrongs should be righted as it claims “it has pleased us to remove all conditions whatsoever.” The edict further demanded that individual Romans right any wrongs towards the Christians as well, claiming that “the same shall be restored to the Christians without payment or any claim of recompense and without any kind of fraud or deception.” These provisions indicate that more than just the establishment of justice was intended. After stating that they should return what was lost to the Christians immediately, the edict states that this should be done so that “public order may be secured”, not for the intrinsic value of justice or even for the glory of God. The sense of urgently righting wrongs reflects the leaders’ desires to avoid unfavorable consequences, which in this case included social unrest and further conquests. The sooner the Romans maintained a state of justice with the Christians, the sooner the state could become stable because, it was thought, the forces of evil would be more balanced. Constantine was known to be superstitious and believed enough in the existence of the non-Christian gods to not want to offset the balance of good and evil. Because Constantine held this fear of all the gods worshiped in the Roman Empire at that time, this fear of and desire to form an alliance with the Christian God demonstrated in the Edict of Milan is insufficient to claim he was a Christian.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_Milan

The Edict of Constantine  321 AD

“On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.”

Constantine was, like Aurelian and Diocletian before him, a worshiper of the sun. He was also the first Emperor to profess belief in Christianity. Historians debate whether or not his conversion was genuine, since he maintained his pagan superstitions throughout much of his reign.

It seems that Constantine’s personal religion was a mixture of Mithraic sun worship and Christianity. According to his Christian biographer, Eusebius, he taught all his armies to zealously honor the Lord’s day—Sunday—referring to it as “the day of light and of the sun.” This was distinctly pagan terminology.

For Christians today it may seem ironic that the first Sunday law—the famous Edict of Constantine—uses the language of sun worshipers rather than Christian expressions. The first day of the week is exalted as “the venerable day of the sun.” There is no mention of Christ or of celebrating His resurrection. That first Sunday law had no Christian flavor whatsoever.

 Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (in Arabic كنيسة القيامة kanissat al Qi’yama in Hebrew כנסיית הקבר הקדוש Knesiyat HaKever HaKadosh) also called the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, or the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a church within the Christian Quarter of the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is a few steps away from the Muristan.

The site is venerated as Calvary (Golgotha),[1] where Jesus was crucified,[2] and also contains the place whereJesus is said to have been buried. The church has been an important Christian pilgrimage destination since at least the 4th century as the purported site of the resurrection of Jesus.

According to Eusebius, the Roman emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century built a temple dedicated to the Roman goddess Venus in order to bury the cave in which Jesus had been buried.[4][5] The first Christian Emperor,Flavius Constantinus, ordered in about 325/326 that the temple be replaced by a church.[6] During the building of the Church, Constantine’s mother, Helena, is believed to have rediscovered the True Cross, and a tomb (although there are some discrepancies among authors).[4] Socrates Scholasticus (born c. 380), in hisEcclesiastical History, gives a full description of the discovery.[7]

Golgotha altar

Constantine’s church was built as two connected churches over the two different holy sites, including a great basilica (the Martyrium visited by Egeria in the 380s), an enclosed colonnaded atrium (the Triportico) with the traditional site of Golgotha in one corner, and a rotunda, called the Anastasis (“Resurrection” in Greek), which contained the remains of a rock-cut room that Helena and Macarius identified as the burial site of Jesus.

According to tradition, Constantine arranged for the rockface to be removed from around the tomb, without harming it, in order to isolate the tomb; in the centre of the rotunda is a small building called (in Greek) the Kouvouklion[8] or (in Latin) the Aedicule,[9] which supposedly encloses this tomb.

Each year, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the anniversary of the consecration of the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre) on 13 September

According to Eusebius, the Roman emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century built a temple dedicated to the Roman goddess Venus in order to bury the cave in which Jesus had been buried.[4][5] The first Christian Emperor,Flavius Constantinus, ordered in about 325/326 that the temple be replaced by a church.[6] During the building of the Church, Constantine’s mother, Helena, is believed to have rediscovered the True Cross, and a tomb (although there are some discrepancies among authors).[4] Socrates Scholasticus (born c. 380), in hisEcclesiastical History, gives a full description of the discovery.[7]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Sepulchrehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Sepulchre

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