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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Temple (2)

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This name was scarcely ever used in the first three ages by any Christian writer for a church, but only for the heathen temples; but when idolatry was destroyed, and temples were purged and consecrated as Christian churches, then the writers of the following ages freely gave them the name of temples. At first no idol temples were made use of as churches, but were generally tolerated until the twenty-fifth year of Constantine. A.D. 333. In that year he published' his laws commanding the destruction of temples, altars, and images. This policy was continued until the reign of Theodosius, when another method was adopted, and we find the emperor turning the famous temple of Heliopolis, called Balanium, into a Christian church. Honorius (A.D. 408) published two laws forbidding the destruction of temples in the cities, because, being purged, they might serve for ornament or public use. Bede (lib. i. c. 30) tells us "that Gregory the Great gave Austin the monk instructions about the temples among the Saxons in Britain, that if they were well built they should not be destroyed, but only converted to the service of the true God." Sometimes the temples were pulled down, and the materials were given to the Church, out of which new edifices were erected for the service of religion.' Sometimes additions were made to the emoluments of the clergy by the donation of heathen temples and the revenues that were settled upon them, although the latter were usually appropriated by the emperors themselves. See Bingham, Christ. Antiq. bk. 5, ch. 4: 10; bk. 8:ch. 1, 6; ch. 2, 4.


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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Temple (2)'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/t/temple-2.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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