Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Julian the Apostate

We are currently reading Abbot Giuseppe Riciotti's biography of the Emperor Julian the Apostate. Particularly interesting is Riciotti's theory that Julian's attempted reform the pagan priesthood was modeled on the administrative structure and moral qualities of the Christian priesthood.

Riciotti describes the pagan priests before Julian's accession as follows:
The unemployed priests who were recognizable in public by their woebegone look, were compelled to find various means of supporting themselves. In his letters Julian occasionally deplores the fact that such individuals made up the courts of the civil magistrates, frequented wine shops, theaters and even less worthy places, and allowed themselves to be caught in actions warranting public prosecution, while at the same time they appeared only rarely in the temples and even then did not know how to carry out their sacred chants and duties. - Julian the Apostate (155)

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