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Idle mouths and solar haloes: A.H.M. Jones and the conversion of Europe

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Chapter Summary

In the narrative chapters of the Later Roman Empire one finds the short descriptions of the persecution of the Church under the Principate and under Diocletian, and then the equally concise accounts of the major controversies within the Christian Church. Jones? own interests and priorities are better revealed in the presentation of the Church and the clergy in his thematic chapters. This chapter highlights Jones? omission of any detailed discussion of the doctrinal controversies of the period or of asceticism. Jones? interpretation of Christianity and the Church continues to exert influence on later scholars, and the chapter focuses in detail on two arguments presented by Jones which illustrate his methods and his use of primary and secondary evidence and which remain the subject of debate today: Solar Haloes and Idle Mouths. The solar halo refers to Jones? famous explanation for the conversion of Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor.

Keywords: A.H.M. Jones; Christianity; Constantine?s conversion; Diocletian; doctrinal controversy; idle mouths; Later Roman Empire; solar halo



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