Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity: Militant Devotion in by Thomas Sizgorich

By Thomas Sizgorich

In Violence and trust in past due Antiquity, Thomas Sizgorich seeks to appreciate why and the way violent expressions of non secular devotion turned imperative to the self-understandings of either Christian and Muslim groups among the fourth and 9th centuries. Sizgorich argues that the cultivation of violent martyrdom as a route to holiness was once by no means specific to Islam; quite, it emerged from a matrix placed into position by way of the Christians of past due antiquity. Paying shut consciousness to the position of reminiscence and narrative within the formation of person and communal selves, Sizgorich identifies a typical pool of overdue historical narrative types upon which either Christian and Muslim groups drew.

In the method of recollecting the earlier, Sizgorich explains, Christian and Muslim groups alike elaborated iterations of Christianity or Islam that demanded of every believer a willingness to suffer or inflict violence on God's behalf and thereby created militant neighborhood pieties that claimed to symbolize the only "real" Christianity or the single "pure" kind of Islam. those militant groups used a shared process of indicators, symbols, and tales, tales within which the devoted manifested their purity in clash with the imperial powers of the world.

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Additional info for Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity: Militant Devotion in Christianity and Islam (Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion)

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He asked that they do so at the risk of personal shame, the integrity of their personal relationships and even their own physical safety. As he did so, he anticipated that some of them would insist that this was not their place, that there were other Christians better suited to the erection and defense of communal boundaries of the sort Chrysostom demanded. 87 We will have much more to say about the role of monks in the policing of communal boundaries in Chapter 4. For now it is enough to note that Chrysostom clearly anticipated that the task he repeatedly demanded that his congregation must perform in these sermons, that of patrolling and enforcing communal boundaries, was one his parishioners would interpret as more properly undertaken by monks.

Do not blush. Sit down and talk with him. ” Even he has judaized ten thousand times, he will never suffer to say it. But instead he will block up his hearing and say to you: “May it never be! ” Then, when you perceive his agreement with you, resume you efforts and say: “Tell me, how can you have dealings with them? How can you take part in their festival? ”77 As they were compelled to contest their own identity at the ascriptive sites Chrysostom had set in place, as they were hailed as Christians and compelled to respond (and so made responsible, that is, subject to an injunction to respond, to explain themselves)78 to those criteria as Christians, the function of the communal boundary, and the institution of that boundary, proceeded from the very process of contestation itself.

There are among you some Christians who associate with us in the Synagogue, and who bring offerings and alms and oil, and at the time of Passover send unleavened bread (and, doubtless, other things also). 43 These realities ill fit the evolving ideas of community and identity which seem to have motivated Chrysostom and many of his contemporaries, however. 44 The contours of these boundaries, their implications, and the imperative for their protection were articulated in the sacred stories and historical narratives though which lived or recalled experience was interpreted and understood and upon which identity was increasingly dependant.

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