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In: In Search of Truth. Augustine, Manichaeism and other Gnosticism
In: New Light on Manichaeism
In: Ancient Magic and Ritual Power
In: Practicing Gnosis
In: Augustine and Manichaean Christianity

Abstract

Taking Paula Fredriksen’s Augustine and the Jews as representative of deeply entrenched assumptions regarding Manichaean hostile attitudes towards Judaism, the present study compares Augustine’s and Faustus’s treatment of the Jews within the Contra Faustum, and finds in Faustus a complex and nuanced set of attitudes towards Jews and Judaism which—contrary to Fredriksen—are more benign and favourable than Augustine’s. To the degree that Faustus strikes anti-Jewish notes, they derive from developments peculiar to western Manichaeism, in an environment where issues of biblical canon hardened Manichaean opposition to the Old Testament, which—rather than Jews—is the true target of Faustus’s polemic. By contrast, Mani and early Manichaeism show greater continuity with Jewish traditions, albeit in a sectarian Jewish-Christian form that apparently had marginalized Moses and Torah. Traces of this earlier position vis-à-vis Jewish traditions still can be found in Faustus.

In: Manichaeism and Early Christianity

Abstract

This essay examines Quentin Skinner's historicist use of J. L. Austin's speech act theory, corrects and clarifies some ways in which Skinner seems to misapply Austin's categories, and argues that Skinner's approach, when refined by these few adjustments, is a viable program for the historical study of religious literature. What must be left behind in refining Skinner's project is the latter's apparent interest in an author's intentions, which is a datum absent from historical evidence. It is argued that speech acts have their effect only by means of public construal and response, and that history is an account of these construals, regardless of whether these correspond to what agents subjectively intended. The use of intentional descriptions of speech and action turns out to be a mere historiographic trope, with heuristic, but not explanatory value.

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

Abstract

This essay examines Quentin Skinner's historicist use of J. L. Austin's speech act theory, corrects and clarifies some ways in which Skinner seems to misapply Austin's categories, and argues that Skinner's approach, when refined by these few adjustments, is a viable program for the historical study of religious literature. What must be lift behind in refining Skinner's project is the latter's apparent interest in an author's intentions, which is a datum absent from historical evidence. It is argued that speech acts have their effect only by means of public construal and response, and that history is an account of these construals, regardless of whether these correspond to what agents subjectively intended. The use of intentional descriptions of speech and action turns out to be a mere historiographic trope, with heuristic, but not explanatory value.

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion