Beginning in 1970 and continuing for forty years thereafter, Robert Markus informed and enlivened discussions of Constantinian Christianity. His impressive erudition still illumines our understanding of the period “during which Christian Romans came slowly to identify themselves with traditional Roman values, culture, practices, and established institutions.” Markus identifies the world in which that assimilation slowly occurred as “the secular.” Accustomed to hearing about assimilation of that sort when conversations turn to Christianity’s affirmations of—or accommodations to— democratic structures or, more pointedly, to civil religion, we may consider Markus politically correct. Yet because he conscripted Latin Christianity’s prolific paladin, Augustine of Hippo, into the service of the secular, as it were, Markus invites us to question whether he was, on that count, historically correct.

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Copyright © 2017 Fordham University Press. This book chapter first appeared in Christianity, Democracy, and the Shadow of Constantine.

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