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The legacy of the 13th Apostle: origins of the East Christian conceptions of church and state relation

The legacy of the 13th Apostle: origins of the East Christian conceptions of church and state relation

McGuckin, John A.

St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly (2003)

Abstract

It is remarkable to consider how much has been written on the notion of the early Christian and Byzantine attitudes to political theory relying on the singularly useless concept of caesaro-papism. It illuminates nothing, apart from the standing-point of the user. It was, in origin, a term of disparagement, comparable in its intent to the scornful use of Byzantinism to signify all that was corrupt and devious. This bigoted Gibbonesque apologetic, so beloved of Protestant and Catholic theorists alike in their mutually conflicting critiques of Eastern Christian political theology, should by now have fallen into desuetude though a surprising amount of authors have still continued to use it well into the modern era; apparently unaware of the theological “animus” that gave birth to the word, and even more so of the fact that it is hopelessly anachronistic.

 

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