Galileans, Julian criticised Christians for taking up the worst features of both Hellenic religion and Judaism.18 He declared Hebrew culture inferior to the Greek in respect to the study of logic, medicine and philosophy.19 He attacked Christian scriptures as being insufficient to teach courage, prudence and justice.20 If Christians were serious about the superiority of their sacred writings, they would not allow anyone to read classical literature.21 The successful re-appropriation of classical culture by Christians after Julian depended precisely upon disconnecting it from classical religion.

After Julian's brief attempt to restore pagan religion and culture to their former glory, there were no more non-Christian emperors. Christianisation of the majority of imperial institutions continued to the point that in 438 Theodosius I claimed - no doubt erroneously - that there were no pagans left in the empire.22 The apogee of imperial Christianity could be seen in Justinian's move to close the famous philosophy school at Athens during 529 by confiscating its endowment.23 He forbade the teaching of law except at Rome, Beirut and Constantinople, and stipulated that all teachers must be Christian. This was the antithesis of Julian's attempts at reform.

Six key figures in early Christian literary production

Before embarking on a brief analysis of the literary genres identified above, some introduction to their most outstanding proponents is required. Six outstanding authors have been chosen: Jerome, Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, John Chrysostom, Gregory ofNazianzus, and Theodoret of Cyrrhus. The first three wrote in Latin, the latter three in Greek. Together they constitute the flower of the patristic golden age, the mid-fourth and fifth centuries. Although they came from a variety of religious backgrounds, both pagan and Christian, all were educated in classical oratory. As Christians, their attitude towards the Hellenistic tradition was profoundly ambivalent, reflecting their desire to take the best and leave behind what was unprofitable for the spiritual life.

18 Julian, Against the Galileans 42E; trans. Burr, 146.

19 Julian, Against the Galileans 221E; trans. Burr, 152.

20 Julian, Against the Galileans 229E; trans. Burr, 153.

21 Julian, Against the Galileans 229C (trans. Burr, 152): 'If it is enough for you to read your own Scriptures, why do you sample the learning of the Hellenes?'

22 Runciman, Byzantine civilization, 29.

23 Alan Cameron, 'The last days of the academy of Athens'; John Glucker, Antiochus and the late academy.

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