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Donatism of History: Recent Questions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 September 2018

DAVID E. WILHITE*
Affiliation:
Baylor’s Truett Seminary, One Bear Place #97126, Waco, Tx76798-7126; e-mail: david_wilhite@baylor.edu

Extract

Two roads diverged in Roman Africa. One led to the movement that came to be known as Donatism, and the other to the so-called Catholic party. The controversy emerged soon after the Diocletian persecution, one side selecting Caecilius as the bishop of Carthage, the other eventually selecting Donatus (and therefore dubbed ‘Donatist’). The schism widened when Constantine supported the former and attempted to enforce his party's status. Violence sporadically erupted between these two parties for the next century, around which time Augustine led the charge to bring about unity, ultimately through legal and coercive means. The success of this unification, however, and the ultimate fate of the Donatists is open to debate, along with virtually every other datum from this controversy. The debated nature of the controversy, therefore, needs to be closely examined, for just what paradigm one takes from the outset could make all the difference.

Type
Review Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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