This paper version of the 1999 cloth edition concentrates on the time after 324 AD when Christianity became the official religion of the emperor, Constantine. Accepted by Rome, Christians turned to fighting each other, specifically over the precise degree of Christ's divinity. On one side was Arius, a Greek ecclesiastic maintaining that Christ was the holiest of mortals but not the Eternal God of Israel. On the other was Bishop Athanasius and his followers arguing that Christ was precisely God on earth and equal to God. Intrigues and deaths ensued over the attempt to form a unified Church, a conflict lasting 60 years and 20 ecumenical councils. Rubenstein (conflict resolution and public affairs, George Mason U.) describes the controversy, discusses the origins of the Nicene Creed, the nature of morality and sin, the consequences of fundamentalism, and the intertwining of religion and government. You-are-there reportage and an appendix of principal characters makes the book suitable for a wide audience. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
A splendidly dramatic story...Rubenstein has turned one of the great fights of history into an engrossing story.