OK, I am ready now to finish up my thread on the conversion of Constantine, based on the vision or visions that he had. So far I have narrated the three relevant accounts. If you haven’t read those posts, you should do so to make the very best sense of this one.
The differences among the three accounts, and one can readily see why various scholars have suggested different ways of reconciling them. Some think he had just one vision, two years before the Battle at the Milvian Bridge (just before the panegyric of 310 CE), which at the time he took to be of Sol Invictus but later came to interpret as being instead a vision of Christ. In this view, at a still later date Constantine came to think that he had always understood it to be Christ and that, since the vision was so closely connected with his ultimate victory, he came to “remember” that it occurred the night before the battle. At the other extreme of interpretation, others have argued that Constantine was simply a visionary and that he had lots of visions and dreams and sometimes muddled them all up. It is striking that Eusebius himself, in a speech praising Constantine near the end of his life, indicates that Constantine was a famous visionary, that he had “thousands” of visions along with “thousands” of dreams in which Christ appeared to him. There is obviously a range of reconciliatory options.
The accounts do share some striking features, however. For one thing…
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