From the Inside Flap
Flavius Claudius Julianus (331/332-363 CE), better known to history by the name imposed by his Christian opponents, Julian "the Apostate," was a nephew of the first Christian emperor, Constantine I. Julian is one of the most fascinating figures of late antiquity. More information is available about him from both pagan and Christian sources than about any other Roman emperor. His reign inspired both admiration and contempt.
Julian's ambitious program was to reign state the religion of his ancestors and, in the process, to subdue the growth of the Christian church, which had achieved legitimacy under the reign of his uncle. Once in power, he immediately sought to revive the religion of classical Rome, to reform the pagan priesthood, to revitalize training in classics and pagan philosophy, and--as an affront to Christian prophecy--to rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
This is the first modern English translation of the complete corpus of Julian's AGAINST THE GALILEANS and related writings, including letters and edicts bearing on Julian's attitude toward Christians and the Church, together with the most famous accounts of his short career written by the Christian historians Socrates Scholasticus and Sozemon, both composed within a century of Julian's death. It not only puts the work of the philosopher-emperor into historical perspective but also offers important insights into the waning days of pagan philosophy and the growth of the Christian church against the background of intellectual and religious opposition. The translations are supported by a full historical introduction to the life of Julian and a detailed treatment of his religious philosophy, including the origins of his understanding of the Christian faith.
This translation is essential reading for anyone interested in the religions of late antiquity, the growth of the Christian church, and the final phase of the conflict between paganism and Christian teaching.
About the Author
R. Joseph Hoffmann is the author of many books on early Christianity including Porphyry’s Against the Christians. He is Campbell Professor of Religion at Wells College, New York, and chair of the Council for the Scientific Examination of Religion. He has taught at the University of Michigan, Oxford University, and the American University of Beirut.