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Bibil Identifier bibil:202542
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) Modalities of Belief in Ancient Christian Debate
Author McCarthy, Michael C.
Journal Journal of Early Christian Studies (Volume: 17, Issue: 4)
Year (Publication) 2009
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2009
Year (Copyright) 2009
Year (Reference) 2009
Language English
Pages 605-634 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract While central to most aspects of early Christianity, the concept of belief has itself received little attention. In this essay, the author challenges a common distinction between belief and practice and argues that belief itself functions, not simply as a private mental act, but as a complex social performance. Recent anthropological treatments confirm what Augustine, in De utilitate credendi, suggests: believing depends crucially on some form of recognition from one's fellows. Attention to this dynamic allows for a more amplified conception of belief, which stresses the continuity between thought and action, admits of highly textured "modalities" of believing, and helps explain the behavior of multiple sides in theological debates. As a case in point, the early Pelagian controversy illustrates how agents employ various strategies of accommodation—even at the risk of appearing inconsistent or duplicitous—in order to maintain the very ground of belief, i.e., the apparent expectation of a larger body with whom one is in consensus.
DOI DOI:10.1353/earl.0.0289
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Themes : Faith
Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Ancient Christian Literature : Texts and Authors (Church Fathers) : Texts and Authors : Augustine
Last modification 2017-10-27