The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great

By Henry Chadwick | Go to book overview
Save to active project

41 Donatism

A Disputed Moral Compromise

Some of the sharpest divisions in the Church have centred upon moral issues. In north Africa the party led by Donatus of Black Huts (Casae Nigrae), later dissenting bishop of Carthage, a well-educated man according to Augustine (Tr. in Joh. 6. 20), originated in protest against compromise with Diocletian's government ordering the surrender of Bibles and sacred vessels and forbidding Christian assemblies for worship. Remarkably the issue was not treated as crucial and dramatic in other western provinces. But in north Africa bishops who handed over these things, simply wanting a quiet life and rightly confident that the crisis would not last, were in both senses 'traditores', handers-over and traitors. Such action seemed like apostasy, disqualifying a compromised bishop from further priestly functions. If so, the consecrating hands of this ordaining bishop transmitted pollution, not Christ's apostolic pastoral commission. Disqualification followed not merely from proven evidence of having surrendered sacred objects but from suspicion that this might perhaps have occurred. Whether he could be readmitted as a penitent layman would be for the members of the pure Church to decide. It followed in Donatist ecclesiology that all sacraments of this compromising Church were rendered invalid. The harassment the separatists suffered from the government convinced them that they were the authentic persecuted body of Christ. A painful question, on which initially the Donatists were divided, was whether baptism, given to members of the Catholic community before the split, was invalidated and needed to be repeated. Donatists also demanded that any Catholic marrying a Donatist must become a member of their community. Augustine was sad how many Catholic clergy shrugged their shoulders and tolerated this (Sermo 46. 15).


Valid Baptism

Donatist ecclesiology presupposed that baptism had to be given by a good priest or bishop to be valid. Its power to confer grace varied according to the quality of the minister. They appealed to Cyprian of Carthage for this

-382-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 730

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.