The Senate hasn’t changed in 2,000 years…

This bollard from the U.S. Supreme Court would have looked perfectly at home in front of the Roman Curia

Anyway, to the point:

I am currently reading Eusebius Pamphylus, the greatest of all ecclesiastical historians. 

He was present at Nicaea which ended the early history of the church and set in stone the fundamental doctrines that remain unchanged to this day.

However, it isn’t doctrine that had me ROFLMAO but realizing how nothing had changed in politics in over 20 centuries.

In Book II, Chapter II Eusebius relates how Tiberius reacted to the reports of Christ’s death and resurrection as sent to him by Pontius Pilate in his routine dispatches.  Eusebius, with an apparent straight face, records it this way:

“The fame of our Lord’s remarkable resurrection and ascension being now spread abroad, according an an ancient custom prevalent among the rulers of the nations, to communicate novel occurences to the emperor, that nothing might escape him, Pontius Pilate transmits to Tiberius an account of the circumstances concerning the resurrection of our Lord from the dead, the report of which had already been spread throughout Palestine.  In this account, he also intimated that he ascertained other miracles respecting him, and that having no risen from the dead, he was believed to be a God by the great mass of the people.  Tiberius referred the matter to the Senate, but it is said they rejected the proposition, in appearance, because they had not examined it into this subject first, according to an ancient law among the Romans, that no one should be ranked among the gods unless by a vote and decree of the senate…”

Shortly thereafter, he quotes Tertullian, who lived a 150 years before him in Carthage, who gives an almost identical account:

“This is testimony of Tertullian, a man who made himself accurately acquainted with the laws of the Romans, and, besides his eminence in other respects, was particularly distinguished among the eminent men of Rome, and in his Apology for the Christians in the Roman tongue, which is also translated to the Greek, to give his own words, writes after the following manner, ‘In order to give also an account of these laws from their origin, it was an ancient decree, that no one should be consecrated a god by the emperor, before it had been approved by the Senate.  Marcus Aurelius has done this, in reference to a certain idol Alburnus, so that this evidence has been given in favour of our doctrine, that divine dignity is conferred among you by the decrees of men.  Unless a god pleases men he is not made a god: and thus, according to this procedure, it is necessary that man should be propitious to the god.  Tiberius, therefore, under whom the name of Christ was spread throughout the world, when this doctrine was announced to him from Palestine, where it first began, communicated with the senate, being obviously pleased with the doctrine; but the Senate rejected it.'”

Gotta love it!  This is presented not so much as theology, but as demonstrating just how true it is that no matter how much things change they remain the same.

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About malletteblog

If folks respond and push back, I will continue this blog. I do this to learn, not to teach. While I will defend my positions vigorously I will change them immediately upon evidence they are incorrect. This is how I learn, and I appreciate all efforts to help me not be a fool who learns only by experience.
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