Jonathan Stutz


Crowd Violence and Religious-Political Discourses in Late Antiquity

[Stasis. Massengewalt und religiös-politische Diskurse in der Spätantike.]

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ISBN 978-3-16-163510-6
Published in English.
Episodes of collective violence have come to us in forms of texts that were designed in such a way as to manipulate the perception and emotional response of a specific audience. Jonathan Stutz shows that, for this reason, early Christian narratives on religious violence have to be read against the background of ancient perceptions of violence and alongside ancient texts that aimed at legitimizing or de-legitimizing the use of physical coercion.
Building on the premise that episodes of violence also manifest through texts and narratives that originated within specific communicative settings, Jonathan Stutz explores the manifold interconnections between (religious) violence and late antique rhetoric. By focusing the fourth century in particular, he addresses a period of time that was marked by profound political transformations and religious conflicts. The author delves into various examples where manifestations of collective violence became the object of strategies of legitimation and de-legitimation, as well as of moral and theological discourses. Throughout the different chapters, he examines how orations, homilies, letters, and polemical treatises provided a platform for emperors, rhetors, and Christian church leaders in their aim to define their own role and that of their interlocutors within the conflicts they witnessed.
Survey of contents
1. How to Write about Riots
2. The Dangerous Mob
Introduction – A City of Riots – Rhetorizing the City – Disruptive Teachings – Christianity and the Limits of Concord – Beyond Alexandria – Conclusion
3. Looting Churches
Introduction – How to Define Sacrilege – Witnessing Violence – If these Walls could Speak – Conclusion
4. Contested Dissent
Introduction – Julian and the Misopogon – Anger Control – Uncomfortable Truths – Conclusion
5. A City in Lockdown
Introduction – A Madness beyond Control: The Riot – The Making of a Responsive City – Engaging Emotions – Preaching Forgiving – Conclusion
6. Concord and Communion
Introduction – The Modelling of an Ethos of Concord – Communion in Divisive Times – Conclusion
7. With All Friendship
Introduction – The Salvation of the Emperor – Exemplary Models – Violent Envy – Excursus: Salus and disciplina in Rome – Restoring the Future – Conclusion
8. The Beginning of the End
Introduction – Rufinus's Account – The Downfall of Serapis – Theodosius's Law – Concluison
9. Conclusion

Jonathan Stutz Born 1986; 2016 PhD; Assistant at the Faculty for Protestant Theology at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität in Munich; Visiting Professor at the department for Ancient Christianity at the Faculty of Theology at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin.


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