The Donatist Schism

Controversy and Contexts

Edited by Richard Miles

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ISBN: 9781786941268

Publication: January 16, 2018

Series: Translated Texts for Historians, Contexts 2

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This is the first book for over twenty years to undertake a holistic examination of the Donatist Controversy, a bilious and sometimes violent schism that broke out in the North African Christian Church in the early years of the century AD and which continued up until the sixth century AD. What made this religious dispute so important was that its protagonists brought to the fore a number of issues and practices that had empire-wide ramifications for how the Christian church and the Roman imperial government dealt with the growing number of dissidents in their ranks. Very significantly it was during the Donatist Controversy that Augustine of Hippo, who was heavily involved in the dispute, developed the idea of ‘tough love’ in dealing with those at odds with the tenets of the main church, which in turn acted as the justification for the later brutal excesses of the Inquisition.

In order to reappraise the Donatist Controversy for the first time in many years, 14 specialists in the religious, cultural, social, legal and political history as well as the archaeology of Late Antique North Africa have examined what was one of the most significant religious controversies in the Late Roman World through a set of key contexts that explain its significance the Donatist Schism not just in North Africa but across the whole Roman Empire, and beyond.

Richard Miles is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History and Head of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry at the University of Sydney.



1. The Donatist Controversy: Parallel Histories, Multiple Narratives

Richard Miles


2. The Course of the Donatist Schism in Late Roman North Africa

John Whitehouse


3. The Scholarship of the Donatist Controversy

John Whitehouse


4. Martyr Veneration in Late Antique North Africa

Candida Moss


5. Donatist Martyrs, Stories and Attitudes

Alan Dearn


6. The Donatist Schism and Theology

Mark Edwards


7. Rural Society in North Africa

Cam Grey


8. Circumcelliones, Rural Society and Communal Violence in Late Antique North Africa

Bruno Pottier


9. Imperial Legislation and the Donatist Controversy: From Constantine to Honorius

Noel Lenski 172-226


10         The Conference of Carthage Reconsidered

Neil McLynn


11. Textual Communities and the Donatist Controversy

Richard Miles


12. Charitable Correction and Ecclesiastical Unity in Augustine’s Contra Epistulam Parmeniani

Jennifer Ebbeler


13. Augustine in Controversy with the Donatists before 411*

Eric Rebillard


14. Tracing the Donatist presence in North Africa: An Archaeological Perspective

Anna Leone


15. Donatism in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries

Jonathan Conant


Format: Paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

368 Pages

7 B&W illustrations

ISBN: 9781786941268

Publication: January 16, 2018

Series: Translated Texts for Historians, Contexts 2

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