Reconceiving Religious Conflict
New Views from the Formative Centuries of Christianity
Reconceiving Religious Conflict deconstructs instances of religious conflict within the formative centuries of Christianity, the first six centuries CE. It explores the theoretical foundations of religious conflict; the dynamics of religious conflict within the context of persecution and martyrdom; the social and moral intersections that undergird the phenomenon of religious conflict; and the relationship between religious conflict and religious identity. It is unique in that it does not solely focus on religious violence as it is physically manifested, but on religious conflict (and tolerance), looking too at dynamics of religious discourse and practice that often precede and accompany overt religious violence.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Foundations
1. Re-Theorising Religious Conflict: Early Christianity to Late Antiquity and Beyond
2. Religious Violence and Its Roots: A View from Antiquity
Part 2: Rhetorical and Literary Trajectories
3. Blindness in Early Christianity: Tracking the Fundamentals of Religious Conflict
Pieter J. J. Botha
4. Religious Conflict, Radicalism, and Sexual Exceptionalism in the Rhetoric of John Chrysostom
Chris L. de Wet
5. Give it Up for God: Wealth, Suffering, and the Rhetoric of Religious Persecution in
John of Ephesus’s Church History
6. Epiphanies and Religious Conflict: The Contests over the Hagiasma of Chonai
Alan H. Cadwallader
Part 3: Christianization
7. Contested Domains in the Conflicts between the Early Christian Mission and Diaspora Judaism According to the Book of Acts
8. Christianisation and Late Antique Patronage: Conflicts and Everyday Nuisances
Part 4: Threats of Violence
9. "A Wise Madness": A Virtue-Based Model for Crowd Behaviour in Late Antiquity
Peter Van Nuffelen
10. Religious Violence in Late Antique Egypt Reconsidered: The Cases of Alexandria, Panopolis and Philae
Jitse H. F. Dijkstra
Part 5: Ancient and Modern Intersections
11. Collaboration and Identity in the Aftermath of Persecution: Religious Conflict and Its Legacy
Elizabeth DePalma Digeser
12. The Usefulness of Violent Ends: Apocalyptic Imaginaries in the Reconstruction of Society
Gerhard van den Heever
Wendy Mayer is Professor and Associate Dean of Research at Australian Lutheran College, University of Divinity, and Research Fellow in Biblical and Ancient Studies at the University of South Africa.
Chris L. de Wet is Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies at the University of South Africa, and Honorary Research Fellow at Australian Lutheran College, University of Divinity.
"It is imperative that we take contemporary social and religious conflict seriously, while cultivating appropriate insights and skills to navigate our way through the storms. We live in times of superdiversity, supermobility and constant change. In such times, social and religious conflict surface with negotiation of identities and boundaries. The formative centuries of Christianity witnessed similar struggles. In this thought provoking book, leading scholars in the field of early Christianity provide fresh perspectives on theoretical aspects for understanding religious conflict along with new insights to help us proceed with ongoing discernment as the tides of change break upon the shores of our social landscape."
- Jacobus (Kobus) Kok, Evangelische Theologische Faculteit Leuven, Belgium
"Reconceiving Religious Conflict is an excellent addition to the growing body of scholarship on religion and violence. The bibliographies that accompany each chapter are exceptional and include ancient writings that have often been overlooked. At the same time, each chapter includes the application of models and methodologies that help to illuminate a more fine-tuned analysis of this literature. ... Mayer and de Wet’s collection enhances both our resources and the application of those resources to the study of religion and violence."
- Rebecca I. Denova, University of Pittsburgh, USA