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< 70. Unregenerate!
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71. The Council of Nicaea

Rating Votes
10
9%
9
9
16%
16
8
38%
39
7
17%
18
6
12%
12
5
1%
1
4
1%
1
3
2%
2
2
3%
3
1
2%
2
Average Rating
7.4
Votes
103
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User Rating:
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Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 8/14/17 7:22 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This story is probably better than I'm giving it credit for, but it's just not to my taste. I don't mind historicals, but it's the religious themes that bug me. Like "The Marian Conspiracy", this story basically just takes it as a given that people on the wrong side of a religious disagreement are in for some heavy-handed oppression. I understand that this is, to say the least, historically accurate, but it's also categorically wrong. There is a very simple yet very important moral principle at stake: that people shouldn't be punished for having dissenting religious views. I don't expect such a modern concept as religious pluralism to carry the day in the 4th century Roman Empire, but it at least merits a mention.

The abstractness of the doctrinal point at issue in this story should serve to underscore this point. Peri was right to laugh at Arias's description of the conflict. It's irredeemably silly. People are violently clashing over a question with no answer. Indeed, there is no way the question ever could be answered. It simply isn't the sort of question that can be tackled through observation and reason, which renders all possible equally arbitrary. What possible justification can there be for punishing people who adopt the wrong arbitrary, evidence-free alternative? None at all.

The script sidesteps the religious question by centering on politics. The issue isn't the nature of God (how could Erimem possibly care about that?), but rather the fairness of the process by which the question is to be decided. That almost works, but it's undermined slightly by putting all the focus on Constantine, who ultimately takes no part in the actual decision. Arias still never gets the kind of fair hearing Erimem thinks he decerves, and the bishops are under no obligation to consider the views of the people at all. Nothing was really accomplished.

So what was the story all about? Well, like some of the best Hartnell historicals, it's really just about visiting an important historical event and running around for four episodes. And there's nothing wrong with that. The conflict between Erimem and her friends is quite powerful, even if it is a bit irritating. I don't find Erimem's behavior to be very credible, nor very laudable for that matter. But without it, there's no story, and the dramatic conflict is good even if the moral conflict is not.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
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Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 5/15/17 3:12 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Out of all of the Big Finish stories I've heard, this is the one that I've listened to the most and somehow keep coming back to. 'Nicaea' is a pure historical drama of the Doctor, Peri and his audio only companion Egyptian princess Erimem getting involved in and around the events surrounding the titular Council of Nicaea that established major Christian doctrine and dogma that is still believed by billions around the world. Inspired by the First Doctor story 'The Aztecs' in terms of plot and drama, Erimem is determined to get involved and see a degree of justice happen for those on the opposing side against Rome who will eventually lose the debate which brings her in to direct conflict with Five who is simply here to see events play out. It may be a story dynamic we've seen before but I like the drama of it here a lot more as opposed to 'Aztecs' and while it's not the most historically accurate at times, this one still remains one of my all time favorite Five stories with a great atmosphere, conflict, and history.
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User Rating:
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Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 7/3/15 7:47 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Council of Nicaea is a story highly inspired by The Aztecs in terms of message and pacing. The focus of the story is on Erimem who being from Ancient Egypt doesn't know anything about Christianity, but takes on the role of Barbara Wright because of a sense of justice she has towards the persecution of heretic Arius who is portrayed as a conflicted and persecuted man here. Before I go any farther a little background.

The Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical council, called to clarify the nature of Jesus Christ, being both human and divine, and to stop the spread of Arianism. Arianism was a heresy started by Arius, bishop of Alexandria, that tried to state that Jesus Christ was only pretending to be a human being which goes against Catholic doctrine. The Council of Nicaea saw Arius's excommunication and is important in history because it saw the Church use its authority for the first time and clarify doctrine.

The portrayal of historical characters here is hit spot on with a key point being that history was written by the victors and here the play tries to be historically accurate. The drama between the Doctor and Erimem is also amazing and makes the story one of the best especially after the previous two to feature Erimem have been so lackluster.
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Reviewed By: FlyingTigerComicsReview Date: 3/1/15 6:34 am
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Historical drama with a terrible awful horrible grasp of accuracy. Too many howlers to mention. If you have even a passing familiarity with this era of history - avoid this one.

Horrible Histories at least pretend to accuracy and get their "facts" correct. This is a car crash. And once again the shoe horned "original" companion turns a car crash into a train wreck.

PASS THIS ONE UP.