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By Peter Sarris, Matthew Dal Santo, Phil Booth

The papers gathered during this quantity discover the thoughts by which Christian gurus in the course of the early medieval global either proven and expressed their social place, whereas whilst drawing awareness to the moments whilst those self same methods have been resisted and challenged. the place prior experiences of Christianisation have for the main half approached the difficulty of dissent during the persisted lifestyles of paganism and a few of the Christian heresies, this quantity means that the adventure of doubt in the direction of, and articulation of resistance to, the claims of Christian leaders prolonged some distance outdoors the circles of pagan intellectuals and dissident theologians. the result's a view of Christianisation as way more piecemeal, advanced and incomplete than has usually been acknowledged.Contributors comprise Peter Turner, Peter Kritzinger, Collin Garbarino, Philip wooden, Ralph Lee, Richard Payne, Mike Humphreys, Giorgia Vocino, and Gerda Heydemann.

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Extra info for An Age of Saints? Power, Conflict and Dissent in Early Medieval Christianity (Brill's Series on the Early Middle Ages)

Example text

Because the system of trial and error was ultimately geared towards achieving a single definite conclusion, all these lesser moments indicated was the temporary unreadiness of his soul, and therefore served merely as a motivation for renewed patience. However much they appealed to purportedly objective criteria, the doubts that kept Augustine waiting, like those of a basically sympathetic audience addressed by hagiographers did not in themselves threaten the whole edifice of belief from its foundations.

31 The distinction is extremely important and equally valid in the late antique context. It shows that belief and doubt concerning the cult of saints was not a crude opposition, nor did it necessarily follow the contours of a modern historical scepticism. A person in the fourth century might believe in principle that saints existed, led extraordinary lives and continued to intervene after death in the affairs of the living; however, he might also doubt a particular report of a recent miracle or post-mortem healing, and doubt for any number of reasons: because there were too many such stories floating around, because the reputation of the saint concerned was controversial, because he had never seen such an event himself.

69 The techniques of spiritual scrutiny described above aimed, in a sense, at precisely the opposite of this: the discovery of, and submission to, a reality entirely and demonstrably independent and distinct from the chaos of the phenomenal world and from human influence. Since, within this intellectual context, the object of submission was the only reality which could be regarded as absolutely objective, such a quest can hardly be regarded as superstitious or, for that matter, irrational. This is, of course, a point of great significance for intellectual historians who wish to understand the nature of hagiographies and other spiritual texts.

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