A. D. 381

A. D. 381
Charles Freeman

With the the explosion of books detailing how seemingly innocuous events and inventions “changed the world,” one may be forgiven for not immediately knowing what it was that happened in 381 A.D. that was “one of the most important moments in the history of European thought.” What happened was the Roman emperor Theodosius I issued an edict declaring the orthodox position on the Trinity, after the Nicene Creed, and making all other beliefs – Christian and pagan – heretical. Thus ended a tradition of religious tolerance and lively philosophical debate, with an authoritarianism based on irrational principles taking its place. The argument is a more specific example of the process Freeman outlined in his previous book, The Closing of the Western Mind, and is quite engagingly and for the most part convincingly presented.