Baylor Society for Early Christianity Presents Panel Discussion on Constantine

peter leithard
Peter Leithart, Ph.D. (Courtesy photo)
Feb. 25, 2014

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Feb. 25, 2014) - The Baylor Society for Early Christianity (BSEC), a student organization within Baylor's department of religion, will present a panel discussion and lecture on Emperor Constantine's role in religious history. The panel will be at 4 p.m. Thursday, February 27, in Kayser Auditorium in Baylor's Hankamer School of Business.

The panel will discuss whether Constantine's rule promoted the church to fall into hopeless compromise with the world or whether Constantine is actually "a model for Christian political practice," as author Peter Leithart, Ph.D., proposed in his book "Defending Christianity."

The panel will be composed of Leithart and three Baylor faculty, including Daniel H. Williams, Ph.D., and Paul Martens, Ph.D., professors in Baylor's department of religion, and Daniel Nodes, Ph.D., a professor of classics and the chair of the Baylor classics department.

Jesse Hoover, the vice president of the BSEC, said the panelists will offer interesting viewpoints on the subject.

"The whole thing is a little bit controversial," he said. "There are a lot of opinions about Christianity and Constantine's role. He was the first Christian emperor and turned the Roman Empire into a Christian state - there are a lot of reactions to that."

Because the faculty on the panel has different specialties and studies of interest, they will be able to keep the discussion lively.

"They're all going to have different opinions, and they are all respected scholars with professional academic experience," Hoover said. "This topic is one of the big issues that we are dealing with today, the issue of religion and political power and how much they interact."

"Leithart is said to be a very engaging speaker, so our hope is that people outside of the religion field will be interested in attending," he said.

The event is sponsored by the Student Government Allocation Fund, the Institute for Studies in Religion, Baylor University Press, the Honors College and Baylor's departments of classics, history and religion.

Hankamer School of Business is at 1428 S. Fifth St. For more information, contact the Baylor department of religion at (254) 710-3735.

by Kristen Bennett, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805.

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Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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