Religious Polemics and Encounters in Late Antiquity: Boundaries, Conversions, and Persuasion explores the intricate identity formation and negotiations of early encounters of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). It explores the ever-pressing challenges arising from polemical inter-religious encounters by analyzing the dynamics of apologetic debate, the negotiation and formation of boundaries of belonging, and the argumentative thrust for persuasion and conversion, as well as the outcomes of these various encounters, including the articulation of novel ideas. The Late Antique authors studied in the present volume represent a variety of voices from North Africa, passing through Rome, to Palestine. Together, these voices of the past offer invaluable insight to shape the present times, in hope for a better future.
Timo Nisula is Adjunct Professor in dogmatics at the Åbo Akademi University. He is the author of Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence (2012) and has published several articles on the theology and rhetoric of Augustine’s preaching.
Anni Maria Laato is Adjunct Professor in patristic studies at the University of Helsinki, and in dogmatics in Åbo Akademi University. Apart from her dissertation, Jews and Christians in De duobus montibus Sina et Sion, she has published articles mainly in the field of patristics.
Pablo Irizar is Faculty Lecturer and Kennedy Smith Chair in Catholic Studies at the School of Religious Studies of McGill University in Montreal (Canada). Since 2019, he has serves as Director of the Newman Centre, also at McGill. He was awarded the 2020 Louvain Studies Theological Research Award for emerging young scholars.
Contributors are Antti Laato, Erkki Koskenniemi, Sami Yli-Karjanmaa, Sven-Olav Back, Maijastina Kahlos, Anni Maria Laato, Siiri Toiviainen Rø, Joseph Grabau, Timo Nisula, Eetu Manninen, Pablo Irizar, Aäron Vanspauwen, Serafim Seppälä.
Preface Notes on Contributors
Abraham in Justin Martyr’s Dialogue Antti Laato
Excellent, but How? Abraham in Josephus Erkki Koskenniemi
Illusory Polemics: Clement and Irenaeus on the Gnostics Sami Yli-Karjanmaa
Justin Martyr as a Polemicist Sven-Olav Back
Mimus Religionis, Mimicry, and Deviance: Late Antique Polemic against Religious Others Maijastina Kahlos
Tertullian on Christian Converts and Clashes with the Pagan World Anni Maria Laato
Worshipping a False Go(o)d: Praeparatio Evangelica 7.2–4 through the Lens of Anti-Epicurean Polemics Siiri Toiviainen Rø
Anti-Donatist Polemic and Biblical Hermeneutics: Questions of Ecclesiology in Augustine of Hippo’s De Doctrina Christiana Joseph Grabau
Talking with the Enemy: Fictitious Polemical Dialogues against the Donatists in Augustine’s Sermones Ad Populum Timo Nisula
The Challenge of Shame for Philosophical Dialogue in Augustine’s Early Writings Eetu Manninen
The Grace of Merit and the Merit of Grace: Dialogical Ambiguity in Augustine’s Sermons Pablo Irizar
The Rhetoric of Appropriation and Dissociation in Evodius’ Aduersus Manichaeos: A Case Study of Anti-Manichaean Polemics Aäron Vanspauwen
Threat of Conversion in the Earliest Syriac Writings on Islam? Serafim Seppälä
All interested in the contents and modes of religious polemics and rhetorical persuasion in Late Antiquity both in interreligious contacts, between Abrahamic traditions and intra-Christian relations.