Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One man's conception of Constantine -- Frank Slaughter

I wonder what the buzz was in the literary world in 1967, when the late Frank Slaughter, a Florida physician and author, published the first in what was to be his series on notables in Christian history.

Of course, I was not yet born. I have come to the party a few decades late. My secondhand copy of his book on Constantine the Great has been well worn since it rolled off the press -- who knows how many hands it has been through -- its pages are yellowed and its cheap paperback binding is failing.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, this week. Mr. Slaughter wrote more than 60books in his lifetime. This is the first that I have read. He digs deeply into his subject -- and you have to admire a writer who would dare to take on the excruciatingly complex politics and society of 4th Century Rome, as the Eternal City had its crown wrenched away by Byzantium in the east and the old gods lost out to Christianity.

But I fear that I will have no one to talk with about the book. It's 42 years old, the author has passed away and he never seems to have become a household name.

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