This book explores the construction of Christian identity in fourth and fifth centuries through inventing, fabricating and sharpening binary oppositions. Such oppositions, for example Christians - pagans; truth - falsehood; the one true god - the multitude of demons; the right religion - superstition, served to create and reinforce the Christian self-identity. The author examines how the Christian argumentation against pagans was intertwined with self-perception and self-affirmation. Discussing the relations and interaction between pagan and Christian cultures, this book aims at widening historical understanding of the cultural conflicts and the otherness in world history, thus contributing to the ongoing discussion about the historical and conceptual basis of cultural tolerance and intolerance. This book offers a valuable contribution to contemporary scholarly debate about Late Antique religious history and the relationship between Christianity and other religions.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Constructing and deconstructing dichotomies; Debate, polemic and dialogue; Religio and superstitio; Ceremonies of light and dark; Gods and demons; Bibliography; Index.
Dr Maijastina Kahlos is Academy Research Fellow in the Department of Classical Philology, University Of Helsinki, Finland.
’...Kahlos has made a valuable contribution not only to the field of history and patristics, but to all who would study religious texts produced in a polemical context. Kahlos’ careful examination of the texts, their use of prior traditions, and their role in early Christianity’s struggle to define itself over against the other has provided a valuable model of how texts such as these reflect not objective reality but reality as it is perceived by the authors. Indeed, Kahlos has provided the guild with a valuable resource not only for understanding Christianity of the fourth and fifth centuries, but polemical religious texts in general.’ The Bible & Critical Theory ’This book offers a valuable contribution to contemporary scholarly debate about Late Antique religious history and the relationship between Christianity and other religions.’ Theological Book Review