Possidius of Calama: A Study of the North African Episcopate at the Time of Augustine

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Possidius, the bishop of Calama, was a lifelong friend of St. Augustine best known for writing a biography of the bishop of Hippo, the Vita Augustini. Hermanowicz analyzes both the biography and the legally oriented career of Possidius to illustrate how active Augustine's colleagues were in soliciting imperial support against their religious competitors and to show just how often Augustine's close friends disagreed with him on important matters of law, coercion and diplomacy. It is still widely asserted by scholars that St. Augustine dominated the theological landscape of North Africa, but this engaging study demonstrates how often he was, in fact, singular and isolated in his beliefs.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Offers lucidly written insights into the reception of the person and writings of Augustine. ... I highly recommend [Hermanowicz's] volume for seminary and graduate libraries and...to scholars of Augustine." —Theological Studies
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199236350
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/15/2008
  • Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations     xiii
Introduction     1
The Vita Augustini: Augustine's Life and Text According to Possidius
The Vita Augustini     17
Possidius Defends Augustine     23
Legal History     43
The Vita Augustini as Catalogue Raisonne     54
The Literary Possidius     64
Possidius Takes the Stage     66
'Vox Tua Nempe Mea Est': Autopsy and Allusion     72
'He Himself Told Me'     75
A Life as a City as History as a Book     77
Possidius and the Legal Activities of North African Episcopate
The Life and Carrer of Possidius     83
Donatists, Catholics, and Appeals to the Law: 392-404     97
Attempting to Rouse the Law     100
Theodosius' Law of 392     102
Crispinus and Possidius, the Bishops of Calama     108
The Law of 381 Against the Manichaeans     120
The June Council of 404     124
The Donatists and the Law     126
Conclusion: Heresy and Schism     129
Donatist Strategy and Catholic Response, 403-5     132
The Violence     134
The Response     142
A Display of the Wounded     149
The Edict of Unity     150
The Problem with Success     153
Possidius Goes to Court, 408-9     156
The Riots at Calama, June 408     157
Local Rule and Imperial Law     164
The Fall of Stilicho and Violence in Africa     168
Sirmondian Constitution 14     174
Possidius and Augustine in Disagreement?     180
The Conference of 411     188
The Conference of 411: Preliminaries     192
The Legal Details: Rescripts and Mandates     196
Neither Council nor Court Case     200
The Legal Strategy     203
Donatist Numbers and Catholic Lies     212
Ending to Begin Again     218
Conclusion     221
Bibliography     229
Primary Sources     229
Secondary Sources     230
Index     251
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