The subject of this book is the discourse of persecution used by Christians in Late Antiquity (c. 300–700 CE).
Through a series of detailed case studies covering the full chronological and geographical span of the period, this book investigates how the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity changed the way that Christians and para- Christians perceived the hostile treatments they received, either by fellow Christians or by people of other religions. A closely related second goal of this volume is to encourage scholars to think more precisely about the terminological difficulties related to the study of persecution. Indeed, despite sustained interest in the subject, few scholars have sought to distinguish between such closely related concepts as punishment, coercion, physical violence, and persecution. Often, these terms are used interchangeably. Although there are no easy answers, an emphatic conclusion of the studies assembled in this volume is that “persecution” was a malleable rhetorical label in late antique discourse, whose meaning shifted depending on the viewpoint of the authors who used it.
This leads to our third objective: to analyze the role and function played by rhetoric and polemic in late antique claims to be persecuted. Late antique Christian writers who cast their present as a repetition of past persecutions often aimed to attack the legitimacy of the dominant Christian faction through a process of othering. This discourse also expressed a polarizing worldview in order to strengthen the group identity of the writers’ community in the midst of ideological conflicts and to encourage steadfastness against the temptation to collaborate with the other side.
Table of Contents
- Éric Fournier The Christian Discourse of Persecution in Late Antiquity: An
- Elizabeth Depalma Digeser Breaking the Apocalyptic Frame: Persecution and the Rise of
- Nathaniel Morehouse Begrudging the Honor: Julian and Christian Martyrdom.
- Maijastina Kahlos A Misunderstood Emperor? Valens as a Persecuting
- Byron MacDougall Theologies under Persecution: Gregory of Nazianzus and
- Adam Ployd For Their Own Good: Augustine and the Rhetoric of
- Mattias Brand In the Footsteps of the Apostles of Light: Persecution and
- Éric Fournier ‘To Collect Gold from Hidden Caves.’ Victor of Vita and the
- Samuel Cohen ‘You Have Made Common Cause with their Persecutors’:
- Éric Fournier Everyone but the Kings: The Rhetoric of (Non-)Persecution in
- Molly Lester Persecutio, Seductio, and the Limits of Rhetorical Intolerance in
- Rebecca S. Falcasantos The City a Palimpsest. Rewriting Arian Violence in Fifth-
- Jason Osequeda The Name of Ill-Omen: Basiliscus and the Church in
- Christine Shepardson Martyrs of Exile: John of Ephesus and Religious
- Ryan Strickler Persecution and Apostasy: Christian Identity during the
- Wendy Mayer Heirs of Roman Persecution: Common Threads in the
Part I: The Later Roman Empire of the 4th and 5th Centuries
Ruler in Late Antique Literature.
the Syntagmation of Aetius.
the Manichaean Discourse of Suffering.
Part II: Post-Roman Kingdoms of the Western Mediterranean (5th and 7th Centuries)
Vandal ‘Persecution’ of Heretical Barbarians in Late Antique North Africa.
Gelasius, the Language of Persecution, and the Acacian Schism.
Gregory of Tours’ Histories.
Part III: Eastern Mediterranean in the 5th-7th Centuries
Crises of the Seventh Century.
Discursive Strategies across Late Antiquity.
Éric Fournier is Professor of History at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Wendy Mayer is Associate Dean for Research and Professor at University of Divinity, Australian Lutheran College.