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In: Understanding the Spiritual Meaning of Jerusalem in Three Abrahamic Religions


Tertullian marked the boundaries between Catholic Christians and others—pagans, heretics, and Jews—in relation to doctrine (lex credendi), religious practices (lex orandi), and everyday life (lex agendi) in an unusually strict way. His eagerness to pinpoint differences could be explained as coming from his uncompromising personality, the threatened minority position of the Christians in Carthage in his time, and his responsibility to instruct newly-converted Christians. In this article, it is argued that the main reason for his strictness was, however, his fundamental principle in the light of which he believed that all beliefs and actions must be evaluated, namely that Christians must worship the one true God wholeheartedly and avoid idolatry in everything. In this article, several examples of concrete expressions of belief, religious practices and life will be analysed, and it will be shown that this principle steered his teaching.

In: Religious Polemics and Encounters in Late Antiquity


The Manichaean Bishop Faustus is one of the harshest critics of the Old Testament and Mosaic Torah in the first centuries AD. In his Capitula, he levels arguments against Catholic understanding and use of the Old Testament in general and Mosaic Torah in particular. Augustine, in his Contra Faustum Manichaeum, attacks against Faustus’ views and presents his own. Doing so, he formulates ideas that have lived further in Western theology, such as continuing worth of the Mosaic Torah even for the Christians, its correct understanding and use, and his later so famous doctrine of Jews as witnesses.

In: The Challenge of the Mosaic Torah in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Volume Editors: , , and
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.