Christian History

Constantine and the Conversion of the Roman Empire

Taught by Dr. Matthew Hoskin
Difficulty: Introductory
Runs 1/8 – 3/16/2024
$225.00 – $399.00

Constantine’s conversion in 312 transformed the Roman world forever—within a century the world had pretty much seen the last pagans of Rome. To grasp this monumental shift, students will grapple with a variety of sources—works by Eusebius, Ambrose, Emperor Julian, imperial laws, inscriptions, artwork, coins, liturgies, and more.

Deadline to register: Friday, December 29th

The syllabus for this class is available now. Access it here.




Auditing ($225):

participate in readings and live class sessions, but no graded assignments and no course credit

Full course (Full-Time Discount) ($275):

for-credit courses (at least four per term) toward our Certificate or M.Litt in Classical Protestantism

Full course ($399):

individual classes on a for-credit basis; you can later apply them toward a Certificate or Degree




This Christian History course will be taught by Dr. Matthew Hoskin, and will run from January 8th through March 16th. The syllabus will be posted when available.

In 312, Constantine became sole ruler of the western half of the Roman Empire, secured freedom of religion, and converted to Christianity–the first Christian Emperor of Rome. Christianity eventually became the official religion of the empire and would have an increasingly broad impact on the individuals, institutions, art, and literature of the Late Roman world. Simultaneously, the world of the Roman Empire would have its impact on the Church. In this course, students will learn, study, and analyse the life, conversion, and religious policy of Constantine, and then his sons, Julian “the Apostate”, the famous debate over the altar of Victory between Ambrose and Symmachus, and close with Theodosius I, through Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, imperial panegyrics, laws, the anti-Constantinian writings of Emperor Julian, the letters of both Ambrose and Symmachus, and more. As the church today does political theology in a post-Constantinian world, understanding the “Constantinian settlement” is fundamental.

Dr. Matthew JJ Hoskin (PhD University of Edinburgh) is a specialist in the history of ancient and medieval Christianity, especially the early Latin theological tradition, canon law, and manuscripts. In 2022, he saw the fruit of 10 years of research with the publication of his book The Manuscripts of Pope Leo the Great’s Letters (Turnhout, Brepols). While the Later Roman Empire may be his favourite place to do research, he has an enduring interest in medieval Britain and Ireland, and he has published about the influence of Boethius’ ideas on Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with his wife and sons in a house bursting with books and toys (many of which are his own).


Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2 hr./wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion on the Davenant Common Room Discord server. Register to reserve your spot and schedule will be set after a poll of participating students; if the class time does not fit your schedule, you will be eligible for a full refund.

This is a graduate-level course. Although a BA is not a necessary pre-requisite for this course, students should come prepared to do graduate-level work.

The syllabus for this class is available now. Access it here.