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Being Christian in Vandal AfricaThe Politics of Orthodoxy in the Post-Imperial West$
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Robin Whelan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520295957

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520295957.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 21 October 2019

Elite Christianity, Political Service, and Social Prestige

Elite Christianity, Political Service, and Social Prestige

Chapter:
(p.195) 7 Elite Christianity, Political Service, and Social Prestige
Source:
Being Christian in Vandal Africa
Author(s):

Robin Whelan

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520295957.003.0008

This chapter explores the limits to the importance of heresiological distinctions in the kingdom’s social and political life. It argues that elite individuals could use their Christian piety to display their social status in spite of contemporary ecclesiastical controversy. Apart from specific moments that required a courtier or aristocrat to define their Christian faith more exactly, the nature of courtly and aristocratic social interaction and the limits of government enforcement provided ample scope for artful dissimulation regarding doctrinal or ecclesiastical affiliation. The evidence of Christian martyrology, poetry, letters, and tombs is adduced to demonstrate that elite Christians, both Vandal and Romano-African, found ways to claim a determinedly Christian prestige that was nonetheless potentially acceptable to other members of the religiously heterogeneous elite.

Keywords:   furnished burial, funerary epitaphs, martyrs, confessors, Victor of Vita, Dracontius, Christian poetry, status, confession

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