Doctrine and Power: Theological Controversy and Christian Leadership in the Later Roman Empire

Doctrine and Power: Theological Controversy and Christian Leadership in the Later Roman Empire

Hardback Transformation of the Classical Heritage

By (author) Carlos R. Galvao-Sobrinho

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  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Format: Hardback | 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 229mm x 30mm | 567g
  • Publication date: 11 October 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Berkerley
  • ISBN 10: 0520257391
  • ISBN 13: 9780520257399
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 387,415

Product description

During the fourth century A.D., theological controversy divided Christian communities throughout the Eastern half of the Roman Empire. Not only was the truth about God at stake, but also the authority of church leaders, whose legitimacy depended on their claims to represent that truth. In this book, Galvao-Sobrinho argues that out of these disputes was born a new style of church leadership, one in which the power of the episcopal office was greatly increased. The author shows how these disputes compelled church leaders repeatedly to assert their orthodoxy and legitimacy--tasks that required them to mobilize their congregations and engage in action that continuously projected their power in the public arena. These developments were largely the work of prelates of the first half of the fourth century, but the style of command they inaugurated became the basis for a dynamic model of ecclesiastical leadership found throughout late antiquity.

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Author information

Carlos Galvao-Sobrinho is Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Review quote

"Scholars of early Christianity and of Christian theology more generally will find this fascinating reading... Highly recommended." CHOICE 20140601 "A thoughtful and scholarly volume that has much to offer to anyone interested in either the Arian controversy itself or the wider subject of episcopal authority in late antiquity." Bryn Mawr Classical Review 20140505

Flap copy

"Carlos Galvao-Sobrinho has taken the story of Arianism out of the stately tomes of theologians and into the streets of Alexandria. Here he finds that the search for greater precision and the new phenomenon of a Christian emperor do not sufficiently explain the devastating impact of this heresy on Christian unity. Instead, he exposes internal dynamics that spurned consensus and demonized opponent. The means by which extremists polarized the issue and eliminated middle ground will be sadly familiar to all students of the political process." --H.A. Drake, author of author of "Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance"

Table of contents

Acknowledgments Introduction Part I. Points of Departure: Theology and Christian Leadership in the Third-Century Church 1. Christian Leadership and the Challenge of Theology 2. Not in the Spirit of Controversy": Truth, Leadership, and Solidarity Part II. God in Dispute: Devotion and Truth, A.D. 318 325 3. Precision, Devotion, and Controversy in Alexandria 4. Making the People a Partner to the Dispute 5. For the Sake of the Logos": Spreading the Controversy 6. To Please the Overseer of All": The Emperor's Involvement and the Politicization of Theology Part III. Defining God: Truth and Power, A.D. 325 361 7. Claiming Truth, Projecting Power, A.D. 325 337 8. The Challenge of Theology and Power in Action: Bishops, Cities, and Empire, A.D. 337 361 Conclusion Appendix Bishops Investigated or Deposed for Doctrinal Reasons before the Arian Controversy Compromise and Solidarity in Doctrinal Controversy in the Early Church The Workshops of Alexandria Kolluthus's Schism and the Arians The Recall of Arius and the Bithynian Bishops The Arian Community of Alexandria after Nicaea Athanasius and Arsenius of Hypsele Events Involving Athanasius from Spring 330 to Winter 332 From Athanasius's Flight to the Councils of Rome and Antioch, 339 341 List of Abbreviations Notes Bibliography Index