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The Period Of Peace For The Chur





After the Decian-Valerian persecution (250-260) the Church enjoyed a long
peace, rarely interrupted anywhere by hostile measures, until the outbreak
of the second great general persecution, under Diocletian (303-313), a
space of over forty years. In this period the Church cast off the chiliasm
which had lingered as a part of a primitive Jewish conception of
Christianity ( 47), and adapted itself to the actual condition of this
present world. Under the influence of scientific theology, especially that
of the Alexandrian school, the earlier forms of Monarchianism disappeared
from the Church, and the discussion began to narrow down to the position
which it eventually assumed in the Arian controversy ( 48). Corresponding
to the development of the theology went that of the cultus of the Church,
and already in the West abiding characteristics appeared ( 49). The
cultus and the disciplinary work of the bishops advanced in turn the
hierarchical organization of the Church and the place of the bishops (
50), but the theory of local episcopal autonomy and the universalistic
tendencies of the see of Rome soon came into sharp conflict ( 51),
especially over the validity of baptism administered by heretics ( 52).
In this discussion the North African Church assumed a position which
subsequently became the occasion of the most serious schism of the ancient
Church, or Donatism. In this period, also, is to be set the rise of
Christian Monasticism as distinguished from ordinary Christian asceticism
( 53). At the same time, a dangerous rival of Christianity appeared in
the East, in the form of Manichaeanism, in which were absorbed nearly all
the remnants of earlier Gnosticism ( 54).





Next: The Chiliastic Controversy

Previous: Effects Of The Persecution Upon



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