Religious Dissent in Late Antiquity, 350-450

ISBN : 9780190067250

Maijastina Kahlos
280 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Jan 2020
Oxford Studies in Late Antiquity
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Religious Dissent in Late Antiquity reconsiders the religious history of the late Roman Empire, focusing on the shifting position of dissenting religious groups - conventionally called 'pagans' and 'heretics'. The period from the mid-fourth century until the mid-fifth century CE witnessed a significant transformation of late Roman society and a gradual shift from the world of polytheistic religions into the Christian Empire.
This book challenges the many straightforward melodramatic narratives of the Christianisation of the Roman Empire, still prevalent both in academic research and in popular non-fiction works. Religious Dissent in Late Antiquity demonstrates that the narrative is much more nuanced than the simple Christian triumph over the classical world. It looks at everyday life, economic aspects, day-to-day practices, and conflicts of interest in the relations of religious groups.
Religious Dissent in Late Antiquity addresses two aspects: rhetoric and realities, and consequently, delves into the interplay between the manifest ideologies and daily life found in late antique sources.
It is a detailed analysis of selected themes and a close reading of selected texts, tracing key elements and developments in the treatment of dissident religious groups. The book focuses on specific themes, such as the limits of imperial legislation and ecclesiastical control, the end of sacrifices, and the label of magic. Religious Dissent in Late Antiquity examines the ways in which dissident religious groups were construed as religious outsiders, but also explores local rituals and beliefs in late Roman society as creative applications and expressions of the infinite range of human inventiveness.




Introduction: Rhetoric and realities

SECTION ONE: Imperial and ecclesiastical authority

Chapter 1 The emperor and the dissenters

Chapter 2 The realities of legislation

Chapter 3 The bishops and the dissenters

Chapter 4 The local limits of imperial and ecclesiastical power

Chapter 5 Authority and aggression

SECTION TWO: People in rhetoric and realities

Chapter 6 Individuals, groups, and plural possibilities in Late Antiquity

Chapter 7 Otherness outside: Making pagans

Chapter 8 Deviance or otherness inside: Construing heretics

Chapter 9 Reactions

SECTION THREE: Time, place, practices

Chapter 10 The transformation of practices

Chapter 11 Economics of practices

Chapter 12 Sacred places and spaces

Chapter 13 Sacred times and spaces

Chapter 14 Rhetoric and realities of magic

Conclusion: The darkening age or the victory of John Doe?


Index locorum

About the author: 

Maijastina Kahlos is University researcher and Docent of Latin language and Roman literature at University of Helsinki and author of Forbearance and Compulsion: Rhetoric of Tolerance and Intolerance in Late Antiquity and Debate and Dialogue: Christian and Pagan Cultures, c. 360-430.

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