Author William Rosen on Justinian:
…It wasn’t merely that pre-Enlightenment Christians drank from a pool of unquestioning faith; during Justinian’s time, they grew drunk on it.
Justinian’s favorite hobby, in fact, was arguing the most obscure points of Christian doctrine (you can easily see where we get the dictionary definition of “Byzantine”). This was brought home to me by way of one really illuminating scene…; an incident that took place at the Hippodrome, Constantinople’s great arena for chariot racing. Justinian was seated in the imperial box, surrounded by 50,000 racing fans, when one of them (no doubt equipped with a megaphone) engaged him directly in a debate about the nature of the incorruptibility of Christ’s body. The emperor and the fan went toe-to-toe on the issue in stanza after stanza of extemporaneous verse on the murkiest kind of Christian dogma, with occasional cheers from the crowd when one debater got in a good one. It was as if New York’s Mayor Bloomberg spent halftime at a Knicks game debating the finer points of string theory with a physicist seated twenty rows away, and not only did no one think anything extraordinary about it, but the drunks in the cheap seats applauded.