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VIRTUAL - “Christian Destruction and Desecration of Images and Temples of Classical Antiquity”

February 1, 2024 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm PST

This is an online event.

AIA Society: San Francisco

Religious iconoclasm has been a recurring phenomenon from the time of Akhenaton’s destruction of images of the gods in 14th century B.C. Egypt to promote a new, monotheistic religion down to the recent Islamic destruction of the antiquities of the Middle East. This paper focuses on Christian destruction and desecration of images and temples of Classical Antiquity in the late antique world (ca. 4th – 7th cent.), a topic that has received in the past relatively little scholarly attention. Also considered are some of the attendant problems in detecting and making sense of this phenomenon. Of the three major monotheistic religions today, Christianity proved to be the most destructive to the polytheistic religions and material culture of the Old as well as the New World, not to mention the untold numbers of non-Christians who were forced to convert, to be enslaved, tortured and/or put to death because of their refusal to convert. With the rise of radical Christian Nationalism in the United States today, this talk also provides evidence of what can happen when intolerant religious dogmatic views are backed by the power of the State. In the late Roman period, the first Christian emperor Constantine not only elevated Christianity as the state religion of the Empire but also initiated the process of eradicating both polytheistic religions and non-orthodox Christian belief systems. The continuing process of Christianizing the polytheistic peoples of the former Roman Empire and the increasing judicial savagery of Christian emperors led to harsher and more intolerant religious-based imperial laws and the growth of religious extremism and fanaticism that fueled the destruction of whatever did not conform to radicalized Christianity’s narrow view of the world.

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February 1, 2024
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm PST


Darcy Tuttle


In-person or Virtual Event
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