Constantine and the Council of Nicaea

Defining Orthodoxy and Heresy in Christianity, 325 CE

By David E. Henderson, Frank Kirkpatrick

86 pp., 8 x 10, 1 map, 3 tables, appends., notes, bibl

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3141-7
    Published: December 2016
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3142-4
    Published: October 2016

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Constantine and the Council of Nicaea plunges students into the theological debates confronting early Christian church leaders. Emperor Constantine has sanctioned Christianity as a legitimate religion within the Roman Empire but discovers that Christians do not agree on fundamental aspects of their beliefs. Some have resorted to violence, battling over which group has the correct theology. Constantine has invited all of the bishops of the church to attend a great church council to be held in Nicaea, hoping to settle these problems and others.

The first order of business is to agree on a core theology of the church to which Christians must subscribe if they are to hold to the “true faith.” Some will attempt to use the creed to exclude their enemies from the church. If they succeed, Constantine may fail to achieve his goal of unity in both empire and church. The outcome of this conference will shape the future of Christianity for millennia.

Free supplementary materials for this textbook are available at the Reacting to the Past website. Visit https://reacting.barnard.edu/instructor-resources, click on the RTTP Game Library link, and  create a free account to download what is available.

About the Authors

David Henderson is Professor Emeritus at Trinity College (Connecticut). He is author of eight reacting game modules on religion, science, and public policy.
For more information about David E. Henderson, visit the Author Page.

Frank G. Kirkpatrick is the Ellsworth Morton Tracy Lecturer and Professor of Religion, Emeritus, Trinity College. He is author of eight books and numerous articles on the history of the Christian church, the development of its theologies, and Christian social ethics.
For more information about Frank Kirkpatrick, visit the Author Page.