Constantine and the Council of Nicaea

Defining Orthodoxy and Heresy in Christianity, 325 CE

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
David E. Henderson, Frank Kirkpatrick
  • Chapel Hill, NC: 
    University of North Carolina Press
    , December
     86 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Michael Owen Gaston forthcoming.


Constantine and the Council of Nicaea plunges students into the theological debates confronting early Christian church leaders. Emperor Constantine has sanctioned Christianity as a legitimate religion within the Roman Empire but discovers that Christians do not agree on fundamental aspects of their beliefs. Some have resorted to violence, battling over which group has the correct theology. Constantine has invited all of the bishops of the church to attend a great church council to be held in Nicaea, hoping to settle these problems and others.

The first order of business is to agree on a core theology of the church to which Christians must subscribe if they are to hold to the “true faith.” Some will attempt to use the creed to exclude their enemies from the church. If they succeed, Constantine may fail to achieve his goal of unity in both empire and church. The outcome of this conference will shape the future of Christianity for millennia.

Free supplementary materials for this textbook are available at the Reacting to the Past website. Visit, click on the RTTP Game Library link, and  create a free account to download what is available.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

David E. Henderson is professor emeritus at Trinity College (Connecticut). He is author of nine reacting game modules on science, public policy, and religion.

Frank G. Kirkpatrick is the Ellsworth Morton Tracy lecturer and professor of religion, emeritus, Trinity College. He is author of eight books and numerous articles on the history of the Christian church, the development of its theologies, and Christian social ethics.

Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments