For too long, the study of religious life in Late Antiquity has relied on the premise that Jews, pagans, and Christians were largely discrete groups divided by clear markers of belief, ritual, and social practice. More recently, however, a growing body of scholarship is revealing the degree to which identities in the late Roman world were fluid, blurred by ethnic, social, and gender differences. Christianness, for example, was only one of a plurality of identities available to Christians in this period.
In Christians and Their Many Identities in Late Antiquity, North Africa, 200–450 CE, Éric Rebillard explores how Christians in North Africa between the age of Tertullian and the age of Augustine were selective in identifying as Christian, giving salience to their religious identity only intermittently. By shifting the focus from groups to individuals, Rebillard more broadly questions the existence of bounded, stable, and homogeneous groups based on Christianness. In emphasizing that the intermittency of Christianness is structurally consistent in the everyday life of Christians from the end of the second to the middle of the fifth century, this book opens a whole range of new questions for the understanding of a crucial period in the history of Christianity.
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Éric Rebillard is Professor of Classics and History at Cornell University. He is the author of In hora mortis, The Care of the Dead in Late Antiquity, and Christians and Their Many Identities in Late Antiquity, North Africa, 200–450 CE.Review:
"It is certainly refreshing to have to consider 'the intermittency.... of Christianness' (p. 93) in the everyday lived experience of individual Christians during the vastly changing religious and social conditions prevailing in North Africa over these nearly three centuries. Rebillard acutely raises the pertinent questions of what exactly it meant to be a Christian over these years and what were the parameters of Christian identity. For this, Rebillard has done us a stimulating and innovative service."―Graeme Clarke, The Catholic Historical Review (October 2013)
"The sensation one gets reading Rebillard's book is similar to donning a pair of 3D-glasses. Each lens filters properly so that in combination, we see new and marvelous things. ―Erika T. Hermanowicz, Journal of Early Christian Studies (2012)
"In Christians and their Many Identities in Late Antiquity, Éric Rebillard goes much further in problematizing group formation in late Roman Africa. [Rebillard] stridently critiques the widespread scholarly tendency to assume that 'Christians' (and, for that matter, 'pagans') represented an identifiable group in late Roman society. [He] stresses that religious affiliation was only one facet of these individuals' identities and did not translate automatically into participation within the 'internally homogeneous and externally bounded groups' (2) generally presumed by historical analysis."―Robin Whelan, Journal of Roman Studies (2014)
"Christians and Their Many Identities in Late Antiquity, North Africa, 200–450 CE is a provocative and very important book. Éric Rebillard argues that 'Christian' was not a relevant or influential identity marker for insiders or for outsiders in late antique North Africa. This book offers a very important, and for many of us long-awaited, paradigm shift for the discussion of late antiquity and early Christianity. Much as ‘pagan’ seems to be merely a rhetorical construction rather than a self-definition, so also ‘Christian’ did not have the implications of boundary or group identity that most historians assume."―David Frankfurter, Boston University, author of Religion in Roman Egypt and Evil Incarnate
"This book makes an important contribution to the growing field of religious identity studies and is likely to redirect the study of Roman imperial religious identities into new and more productive directions. By identifying and offering a methodology to avoid problems―such as artificial reification and acquiescence to clerical perspectives―that have bedeviled recent studies of Christian identity, the book should have a major impact on the field."―Judith Perkins, University of Saint Joseph, author of The Suffering Self and Roman Imperial Identities in the Early Christian Era
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Buchbeschreibung Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 2012. Buchzustand: As New. 134p hardback, illustrated purple and white dustjacket, white lettering to spine, a clean copy, like new. Artikel-Nr. PAB 170756