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The Song of Songs and the Fashioning of Identity in Early Latin Christianity$
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Karl Shuve

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198766445

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198766445.001.0001

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“As a Lily among the Thorns”

“As a Lily among the Thorns”

The Church as Mixed Community in Pacian, Tyconius, and Augustine

(p.49) 2 “As a Lily among the Thorns”
The Song of Songs and the Fashioning of Identity in Early Latin Christianity

Karl Shuve

Oxford University Press

Not all North African Christians accepted Cyprian’s exegetical logic, and this chapter focuses on three figures who rejected his emphasis on ritual purity: Pacian of Barcelona, Tyconius, and Augustine of Hippo. Pacian argued that the language of enclosure and purity in the Song did not necessitate that Christians be ethically perfect, but rather spoke to the absence of heresies and schisms in the true church. Tyconius used the Song to argue that evil people were inextricably mixed up with the good in the church. Augustine disputed the identification of the Song’s bride with the visible church, arguing that the sacramental community was the “lily among the thorns.”

Keywords:   Augustine, Tyconius, Pacian of Barcelona, ecclesiology, ritual purity, North Africa, Spain, bishops, sin

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