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John R Knipfing's Effects On Christianity

Decent Essays
During the reign of Constantine I, the Roman Empire experienced great strides in religious tolerance. While meeting together in Milan during February 313 AD, Constantine I and Licinius, Roman emperors, came up with the religious policy for the future of the empire. This policy became known as the Edict of Milan and forever changed the future of religion, especially Christianity. Over 1600 years later, in January 1925, a historian named John R. Knipfing wrote an essay analyzing the religious tolerance during Constantine’s reign. This essay focused not only on the Edict of Milan, but also on the outlook on Christianity and religion that led up to it. It is evident through the comparison of these two documents how important primary sources such…show more content…
Knipfing analyzes the atmosphere of religious tolerance during Constantine I’s reign. Knipfing was an assistant professor of European History at Ohio State University when this essay was published in January, 1925. As Knipfing mentioned, this essay was written after World War I, which threw much of the world into chaos. Knipfing wrote this essay as a historian, analyzing the early part of Constantine’s reign. Since this essay was published in a Catholic journal, there is the possibility the essay may be biased in the way it looks at religion. While historians strive to be as unbiased as possible, it is almost impossible to be able to look at everything objectively, leading to at least some bias. Additionally, since Knipfing’s essay was written over 1600 years past the time it was talking about, the essay had to be based off of primary sources, such as the Edict of Milan. This leads to the possibility of double bias in this essay, as both Knipfing’s and his sources’ writings may be biased. In this essay, Knipfing begins by discussing the constant swings back and forth between religious tolerance and intolerance. Knipfing acknowledges that there had been multiple periods of tolerance before Constantine, but none of them actually lasted for long. After discussing the Diocletian Persecution, which was occurred until the time of the Edict of Milan, Knipfing begins discussing the actual edict. Knipfing spends these pages discussing things other than the edict so readers will be able to understand how people had looked at religion up until the edict. By giving this background information, readers are better able to understand the significance of the edict. Additionally, Knipfing makes note of the fact that there was probably not an actual Edict of Milan. While many people today discuss the edict, Knipfing
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