Religious Dissent in Late Antiquity, 350–450

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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. The groups under consideration are non-Christians (‘pagans’) and deviant Christians (‘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 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. The book addresses two aspects: rhetoric and realities, and consequently delves into the interplay between the manifest ideologies and daily life found in late antique sources. We perceive constant flux between moderation and coercion that marked the relations of religious groups, both majorities and minorities, as well as the imperial government and religious communities. Religious Dissent in Late Antiquity 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. It also examines the ways in which dissident religious groups were construed as religious outsiders in late Roman society.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages274
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-006725-0
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2020
MoE publication typeC1 Scientific book

Publication series

NameOxford Studies in Late Antiquity
PublisherOxford University Press

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • Late Antiquity
  • Roman empire
  • religious dissent
  • dissenters
  • pagans
  • heretics
  • early Christianity

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