«Wealth is like a Snake»: Money, Martyrdom, Apostasy and Struggle for Power in Early Christian Tradition (1st – early 4th century)

Aleksey Dmitrievich Panteleev phd in history, associate professor, Saint Petersburg State University, Institute of History (7/9 Universitetskaya nab., Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russia)
a.panteleev@spbu.ru

Panteleev A. V. «Wealth is like a Snake»: Money, Martyrdom, Apostasy and Struggle for Power in Early Christian Tradition (1st – early 4th century), Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2023, vol. 12, pp. 180–201.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2022-11-174-193

Language: Russian

The article is devoted to the consideration of questions about how Church writers of the 1st – beginning of the 4th century perceived wealthy Christians, place of the rich Christians in the life of the community, and what dangers were associated with the possession of wealth. Main sources for analysis are the writings of the New Testament, the «Shepherd» of Hermas, the works of Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian and Eusebius of Caesarea. The accusation of rich Christians of a tendency to apostasy, both during persecution and tranquility, is studied. For all these authors, the possession of wealth is a problem. In peace time, wealth distracts from the salvation of the soul and weakens faith, creating the illusion of well-being and security, and forces you to communicate with pagans beyond measure. In times of persecution, wealth tempts you to defect. This attitude is based on their personal practical experience. But apostasy was not the only cause of concern for church hierarchs and intellectuals. The rich Christians could disrupt the normal course of community life, demand special treatment for themselves because of the benefits they provided. There was also a second reason for dissatisfaction with the rich within the community — insubordination to the church authorities. If a rich layman was not satisfied with his position, he could strive for leadership by taking on the role of a priest, or move to a heretical group where it was easier to achieve the desired position. Finally, he could simply loosen his ties with the church without severing them completely.

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Key words: early Christianity, Roman Empire, wealth, poverty, persecution, apostasy

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/en-panteleev-2023/

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Spiritual and Literary Precursors of Christian Writers in Roman North Africa: Urban Specifics

Alekaey Vital’evich Kargaltsev phd in history, senior lecturer, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (R. Moika nab., 48/20a, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 191186)
akargaltsev@herzen.spb.ru

Kargaltsev A. V. Spiritual and Literary Precursors of Christian Writers in Roman North Africa: Urban Specifics, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2023, vol. 12, pp. 202–215.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2023-12-202-215

Language: Russian

The article is devoted to the analysis of the Greco-Roman philosophical and literary tradition, which is based on the largest Christian writers of Roman North Africa: Tertullian, Cyprian of Carthage and Arnobius as well as the educational system of Carthage in the 3rd century. Based on the material studied, it is concluded that, firstly, it is appropriate to speak not only about the broad regional specifics along the Greek EastLatin West line, but also about the features of the urban environment. It can be noted that in the study of the education system in the Roman Empire, Carthage is traditionally in the shadows, but the city had a strong rhetorical school that trained personnel for the entire region. Secondly, in the works of African Christian writers there is a certain ideological unity, which can be described as a commitment to a materialistic picture of the world, close to the philosophy of stoicism, which was based, it seems, on the unity of the educational space to which Christian authors belonged. At the same time, they themselves differ in origin and social status, their characters and literary temperament are different, their attitude to Greco-Roman philosophy is different as well as their interest in it. At the same time, the author of the article believes that the circle of their spiritual and literary predecessors generally coincides. These are the classics of Roman rhetoric — Varro, Cicero, Quintilian, and others, which to a certain extent leveled these differences. The influence of classical rhetoric can also be found in Christian criticism of traditional Roman paganism, which was a distinctive feature not only of church preaching, but also of individual philosophical schools.

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Key words: early Christianity, Roman Empire, Carthage, education

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/en-kargaltsev-2023/

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Slaves in early Christian communities basing on the North African hagiography

Alekaey Vital’evich Kargaltsev PhD in History, senior lecturer, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (naberezhnaya reki Moiki, 48/20a, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 191186)
akargaltsev@herzen.spb.ru

Kargaltsev A. V. Slaves in early Christian communities basing on the North African hagiography, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2022, vol. 11, pp. 150–159.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2022-11-150-159

Language: Russian

The article is devoted to the analysis of the phenomenon of slavery in the writings of early Christian authors. The main attention is paid to hagiographic monuments, where the well-known maxim of the Apostle Paul that «there is neither slave nor free» (Gal. 3:28) is analyzed. It is seen not only in the traditional background of opposing the biblical ideal of social equality and the harsh truth of the life of ancient society, where slavery was the basis of economic life, but also in the light of the position of believers on the eve of suffering for the faith. This ideal seemed to find a comprehensive embodiment. It is noted that it was in the Church of North Africa, as Tertullian testifies, that the problem of slavery was no longer perceived as exclusively social and was leveled by the Christian faith. Slavery was condemned as such, since Christians themselves were servants of God, and in the pagan world it was no worse than all other social vices. The «Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity» mentions the slaves of Felicity and Revocat, but the content of the monument only emphasizes that their fate is one with their masters. In other hagiographic monuments of Roman Africa of the 3rd c. the social status of Christian heroes is completely ignored, which only emphasizes that only on the eve of martyrdom, being in prison, filled with sincere and deep faith, they could achieve the social ideal of the the Apostle Paul. Thus, the problem of the duality of social life, which obviously burdened the believers, is removed, which, among other things, explains both the popularity of martyrdom and Tertullian’s opinion that the real Church is the Church of martyrs.

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Key words: earlier Christianity, hagiography, slavery, Roman Empire, North Africa

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/en-kargaltsev-2022/

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Аpologia of marginal religiosity in the discourse of modern Russian atheism

Aleksej Vyacheslavovich Kamaldinov Postgraduate student, Department of History of Religion and Theology, The Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (naberezhnaya reki Moiki, 48/20a, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 191186)
aleksej.kamaldinov.93@mail.ru

Kamaldinov A. V. Аpologia of marginal religiosity in the discourse of modern Russian atheism, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2022, vol. 11, pp. 32–45.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2022-11-32-45

Language: Russian

Modern domestic atheism, following more successful atheist movements abroad, is active on the Internet establishing its own agenda and broadcasting its worldview. Following, apparently, the installation that it is more important to speak louder than to think about the essence of what was said, domestic Internet atheists distribute content filled with internal contradictions and ideas that are far beyond the strict scientific rational discourse, in which atheism has long been famous for its involvement. In particular, some of the statements of such atheists intersect with the worldviews of Satanists, neo-pagans, representatives of Orientalist religions and new religious movements, occultists and various outcasts. In this article, the author analyzes the activities of such communities that declare themselves as atheistic and free-thinking communities in the social network VKontakte, such as Atheist, Iter Ad Ortus, Ateo. The author doesn’t question the fact that atheism can be an integral and interesting worldview, however, this study partly demonstrates that in the widespread mainstream, modern domestic atheism is an extremely inconsistent and irrational phenomenon. Atheism in this vein is revealed as an aggressive, tribalistic doctrine that has little in common with scientific.

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Key words: Donatists, Late Antiquity, Roman Empire, North Africa

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/en-kamaldinov-2022/

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Internal conflicts of Donatists’ and their suppression: political and ecclesiastical factor

Andrei Leonidovich Mamontov PhD in History, teacher of History, SBEI gymnasium No. 49 of Primorsky District of St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg, Bogatirsky pr., 55/3, 197372)
andrey-2006@mail.ru

Mamontov A. L. Internal conflicts of Donatists’ and their suppression: political and ecclesiastical factor, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2022, vol. 11, pp. 160–173.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2022-11-160-173

Language: Russian

The paper deals with the issue of involvement of Roman authorities in the Donatist’s internal struggle between mostly accepted leaders and their opponents. Some of those established their own communities (Rogatists, Claudianists), others sought to depose their rivals and gain control over the ecclesiastical life of North Africa, and at least one, Tychonius, the outstanding African theologian, did not found any community. As demonstrated in the paper, the secular power was used in two conflicts of four. Moreover, once it implemented a conciliar decision against Maximianists. Thus the Donatist leaders employed the same scheme which in the age of Constantine was invented and put into practice to force Donatus of Carthage and his supporters into the unity with the Catholic Church.

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Key words: Donatists, Late Antiquity, Roman Empire, North Africa

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/en-mamontov-2023/

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Donatists and African revolts of the 2nd half of the 6th century

Andrei Leonidovich Mamontov PhD-student, teacher of History, gymnasium No 49 of Primorsky district of St. Petersburg (Bogatirsky avenue, 55/3, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, 197372)
andrey-2006@mail.ru

Mamontov A. L. Donatists and African revolts of the 2nd half of the 6th century, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2022, vol. 10, pp. 222–237.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2022-10-222-237

Language: Russian

Was the Early Christian church involved in political rivalries of the Later Roman Empire? The answer is positive, and this involvement of Christians is an interesting aspect of the vast issue of Church-State relations. Two early examples are provided by the history of the Donatist schism in North Africa. According to our sources, Donatists supported (and were supported by) two regional rebels of the last third of the 6th century: Firmus and Gildo. Under the later their influence was especially great: his administration turned a blind eye on their violent actions, headed by bishop Optatus of Thamugadi and aimed at their opponents. Those cases are usually treated among the researchers as a mark of a specific tendence, which is formation of a natural rebel alliance of mutinous generals and schismatic priests. The following paper provides another interpretation of that natural alliance, understood as a coalition of provincial elites with the dominant religious institution of the region.

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Key words: Donatists, Firmus, Gildo, Optate, Augustine, Late Antiquity, Roman Empire, North Africa

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/mamontov-2022-en/

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Cyprian of Carthage: a bishop or an urban elite?

Alekaey Vital’evich Kargaltsev PhD in History, senior lecturer, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (naberezhnaya reki Moiki, 48/20a, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 191186)
akargaltsev@herzen.spb.ru

Kargaltsev A. V. Cyprian of Carthage: a bishop or an urban elite?, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2022, vol. 10, pp. 212–221.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2022-10-212-221

Language: Russian

The article analyzes the social status of Bishop Cyprian of Carthage as a representative of the urban aristocracy. In our opinion, it was his education and reputation as well as professional skills that predetermined the election of Cyprian as bishop, contrary to the existing church traditions. The head of Carthaginian See used both his authority and wealth to change the position of Christians in the city, especially during the period of the epidemic known as the Plague of Cyprian. Also, he did so and in the matter of church transformations and relationships with other Christian pulpits. Another issue under consideration is the trial of Cyprian in 258. It is shown that although the bishop was sentenced to death, the attitude of the city authorities towards him was fundamentally different in comparison with other clergy of the city. Undoubtedly, the Roman governor perceived him in a friendly way, which was reflected in the type of his imprisonment before the execution, and in the last itself. Moreover, Cyprian retained ties with the urban aristocracy during the period of his episcopacy. Friends were ready to save him from death, which obviously indicates the stability of these ties. Thus, we can talk about a fairly stable social stratum to which the bishop belonged, even during the height of the crisis of the 3rd century. Its representatives could become Christian hierarchs, which explains the transfer of the initiative of anti-Christian persecutions from local authorities, as prescribed by the Edict of Trajan, to the imperial authorities.

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Key words: Christianity, Early Church, Roman Empire, Cyprian of Carthage, persecution, urban space

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/kargaltsev-2022-en/

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The religious policy of Septimius Sever in the light of anti-Christian persecution

Alekaey Vital’evich Kargaltsev PhD in History, senior lecturer, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (naberezhnaya reki Moiki, 48/20a, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 191186)
akargaltsev@herzen.spb.ru

Kargaltsev A. V. The religious policy of Septimius Sever in the light of anti-Christian persecution, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2018, vol. 7, pp. 168–181.

doi: 10.24411/2308-0698-2018-00009

Language: Russian

The name of Emperor Septimius Severus is associated with the tradition of local anti-Christian persecution (202–203), when an edict prohibiting Christian and Jewish proselytism appeared. After that many believers suffered: Perpetua, Felicitas and their comrades in Carthage, Origen’s father, the rhetoric Leonidas, Potamina and Basilides in Alexandria and others — as evidenced by the authentic hagiographic tradition and the messages of Christian historians. However, a detailed consideration of the circumstances of the death of Christian heroes causes considerable difficulties for researchers. If the martyrdom of the Carthaginian Christians is respectively well dated, the time of the death of Alexandrian comrades has been longly discussed in the scientific literature. Although formally Christianity at the beginning of the 3rd century continued to be a «forbidden religion», notable outbreaks of persecution rarely occurred, and the dramatic, according to Christian historians, change in the policy of Septimius Severus regarding the Church deserves special attention. The influence of Eastern cults on the emperor (Dio. LXXVI, 13, 2) or of his fears of possible unrest in the east of the Empire are usually mentioned. The article analyzes the extant evidence of Septimius Severus in the Roman and Christian traditions and answers the questions about the causes and circumstances of the anti-Christian persecution. A detailed analysis of the historiography on the subject is given, with diametrical divergence in the positions of individual researchers being noted. The main attention is paid to the testimony of Tertullian, who, according to the author, in his treatise «On Baptism» gave instructions to catechumens who were in real danger.

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Key words: Christianity, persecution, martyrs, Roman Empire, Septimius Severus

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/kargaltsev-2018-en/

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New inscriptions, amulets and history of the early Christianity: the Antonine age

Aleksey Dmitrievich Panteleev PhD in History, assosiate professor, Institute of History, Saint-Petersburg State University (Universitetskaya naberezhnaya, 7, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 199034)
a.panteleev@spbu.ru; alpant@hotmail.com

Panteleev A. D. New inscriptions, amulets and history of the early Christianity: the Antonine age, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2018, vol. 7, pp. 150–166.

doi: 10.24411/2308-0698-2018-00008

Language: Russian

The article discusses two finds related to the history of Early Christianity, which were published in recent years. The first is an inscription found in 2013 in Ephesus. This is the epistle of Antoninus Pius to magistrates, council and inhabitants of Ephesus, sent in 157/8 or 160/1, which refered to stop the unrest caused by a series of earthquakes. Cristiopher Jones compared this inscription with the so-called rescript of Antoninus Pius, saved as an appendix to «First Apology» of Justin Martyr (cod. Paris. gr. 450) and in Eusebius of Caesarea’s «Church History» (HE, IV, 13). Jones believes that the recently discovered inscription is the original version of the Antoninus’ rescript, which forbade persecuting Christians without all legal procedures. The second find is an amulet, discovered in 1989 in London. It’s a long narrow strip of tin with 30 lines of Greek text containing a spell against the plague. This amulet was made in the time of the Antonine plague, which began in 165. Jones noted that this spell contained an oracle that was given in the sanctuary of Glykon — New Asclepius (Luc. Alex., 36). Apollo played an important role against the plague. Perhaps the god ordered people to refrain from kissing during an epidemic. These natural disasters — earthquakes and the plague epidemic — could have caused Christian persecution. At the time when all Romans had to pray to the gods for salvation, the demonstrative unwillingness of a group of renegades to follow a common path could cause particular resentment and hatred and lead with spontaneous anti-Christian actions.

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Key words: Roman Empire, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Eusebius of Caesarea, Lucian, Glykon — New Asclepius

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/panteleev-2018-en/

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«Сonfitentium dignitas, a desertoribus et profugis recessisse»: Novatian’s schism

Alekaey Vital’evich Kargaltsev, PhD in history, senior lecturer, Theological Institute of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria (der. Kolbino, 25a, Leningrad region, Vsevolozhsk district, Russia, 188680)

kargaltsev@gmail.com

Kargaltsev A. V. «Сonfitentium dignitas, a desertoribus et profugis recessisse»: Novatian’s schism, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2017, vol. 6, pp. 150–166.

doi: 10.24411/2308-0698-2017-00008

Language: Russian

The Novatian schism is a unique phenomenon of the early Church, because the followers of the Roman presbyter were not condemned as heretics, and the schism itself lasted for several centuries. The split arose after the persecution of Decius (249-251) as a result of the confrontation between the moderate party led by Pope Cornelius and the devotional party of the Roman community led by Novatian on the question of repentance for the apostates. The schism quickly moved beyond Italy, and Cyprian of Carthage, Dionysius of Alexandria and the bishops of other centers of the Mediterranean joined the controversy. The author it was the struggle for a martyr and a confessor, because both the rigorists and their opponents, whose authority was undermined during the persecution, sought support from the most impeccable part of the clergy and laity in the eyes of believers. Novatian’s schism comparing the nature of its origin and its driving forces could be compared to the split of the Donatists. However, the fate of these movements was different: Notatian’s follows retained the status of moderate fighters for the purity of church discipline, while donatists entered into an open confrontation with the official church. This seems to have been caused by different status of martyrs and confessors in Africa and Italy. His administrative talent of Cyprian of Carthage and his appeal to the highest authority of the local council made it possible to discredit the local rigorists and attract the confessors to his side, while Pope Cornelius’s attempts to act from the position of the authority of the Department of St. Petra failed with the Novatians split having never been overcome in Italy.
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Key words: early Christianity, Roman Empire, Cyprian of Carthage, Novatian, Pope Cornelius, Rome, Carthage, Italy, Africa

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/kargaltsev-2017-en/

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