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The Donatist ChurchA Movement of Protest in Roman North Africa$
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W. H. C. Frend

Print publication date: 1985

Print ISBN-13: 9780198264088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198264088.001.0001

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Factors Relating to the Conversion of North Africa to Christianity

Factors Relating to the Conversion of North Africa to Christianity

(p.94) VIII Factors Relating to the Conversion of North Africa to Christianity
The Donatist Church

W. H. C. Frend

Oxford University Press

The previous two chapters showed how the victory of the Christian Church in North Africa was won probably in the latter half of the third century A.D. If that was the case, then it is also true that the change in religion coincided with economic and social changes, for it was in these years that the predominant unit in society ceased to be the city state and became instead the village and the villa. It is against this background that this chapter examines why Christianity took over. No clear-cut answer can be given. Among the minority of wealthy and educated men who became Christians during the third century a.d. two factors seem to have dominated. In an age of the deepest pessimism and uncertainty they accepted the Christian promise of immortality for the believer, and they admitted the moral superiority of the Christian teaching over the paganism of the day.

Keywords:   Saturn, Christ, immortality, paganism, moral superiority

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