Friday, July 18, 2008

The Donatists

In the age of Constantine, the Donatists were the first ones to stand up and ask, "What does the emperor have to do with the church?" It was a question that needed to be asked, but the Donatists paid a heavy price in blood for asking it. Although by no means without their own faults, the Donatists left an enduring witness that is remembered to this day.

"North African Christianity tended to be uncompromising, ready to suffer imprisonment and martyrdom, and unafraid to take a stand against the rest of the Church when it felt that its side was right.

There were periods of persecution and peace during the entire period before Constantine's "conversion." One of the most severe and widespread persecutions–called the "Great Persecution" was under Diocletian in the years A. D. 303-305. Many Christians were imprisoned and martyred. Leaders were ordered to hand over all of the Christians Scriptures and writings to be burned. Those who did so, were called traditores (Latin: tradere, to hand over) by other Christians. Our English word, traitor, comes from the Latin traditor.

Among those who denounced these clergy were a group of confessors in prison in Carthage. ("Confessors" were Christians who confessed Christ before the authorities and who were imprisoned as a result.) In Carthage, the clergy had grown quite lax. Some of them were traditores; others sympathized with the traditores. Among this class were the bishop of Carthage and his archdeacon, named Caecilian. He bristled at the preaching and accusations made by the confessors, and he even prevented Christians from taking food into prison to the confessors.

When the persecution was over, these issues continued to brew. When the bishop of Carthage died in 311, Caecilian was hastily ordained as his successor by those in power. These were the more worldly ones, and they didn't represent the general will of the people. So the majority of the Christians in Carthage, acting in conjunction with the bishops from nearby Numidia, ordained their own bishop, Majorinus. Later, after Majorinus died, he was replaced as bishop of Carthage by a vigorous, outspoken leader named Donatus.

This is the origin of the group that were called "Donatists" by their opponents. Eventually, the Donatists found themselves in a face-to-face conflict with the catholic state church."

from:
http://www.scrollpublishing.com/store/Donatists.html

11 comments:

satire and theology said...

Doughnut

Per capita, Canadians consume the most doughnuts in the world, and Canada also has the most doughnut stores per capita.[5] Many humorous Canadian stereotypes, such as the Bob and Doug McKenzie characters, include doughnuts (as well as stubby beer bottles, tuque hats, maple syrup, and back bacon) as part of their lore.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Doughnutists! (or Donutists)

Homer Simpson is a Donutist.

Jeff said...

"If you want to know the difference between a donatist and a donutist, or can’t tell an enema from an anathema, this is for you."
The Bluffers Guide

thekingpin68 said...

Thanks, Jeff.

I have heard of Donatists (at TWU), and the Doughnutists/Donutists that anonymous mentioned. Perhaps Jeff, you should arrange an academic debate between the two groups with the loser, if there is one, agreeing to change the sound of their name. This is far, far, far, too confusing.

Will the Doughnutists have holes in their reasoning? Or will they be very holy?

jeleasure said...

Jeff,
I posted a comment about Constantine and Diocletian. I don't know how many times this has happened. But, I have in the past posted comments, gone through the varification and all that. Then closed the instant message window to find my comment will not be posted. What I believe happens is, I am somtimes required to type the varification garbage twice. I close the window thinking my message will be posted. It is not.
So, as long as this message is, I choose to not retype the other message because this one is shorter.
I saw that you saw that "Kansas Bob" commented. I have not gotten that far up my email list yet. So, I, at this point know nothing about what the two of you said.
Also, your Puppet Head links are up.
Let's see how many times I have to varify before my comment is posted. Total, this makes number four. I will try again.
Jim

jeleasure said...

Jeff,
Oddly, I can't seem to post any comments on my own blog. I have been wanting to reply to You and Kansas Bob. Every time I try, I think it goes through and I look later, nothing. Must be Google's filter.
Jim

Jeff said...

Russ,

Perhaps Jeff, you should arrange an academic debate between the two groups with the loser, if there is one, agreeing to change the sound of their name. This is far, far, far, too confusing.

Will the Doughnutists have holes in their reasoning? Or will they be very holy?


Sheesh, and I thought I was the silly one! LOL! I guess I'm getting a taste of my own medicine!

Jeff said...

Jim,

I posted a comment about Constantine and Diocletian. I don't know how many times this has happened. But, I have in the past posted comments, gone through the varification and all that. Then closed the instant message window to find my comment will not be posted. What I believe happens is, I am somtimes required to type the varification garbage twice. I close the window thinking my message will be posted. It is not.

That has happened to me a number of times. If you leave the window open after a certain number of seconds (or minutes?) it times out, and you have to refresh it again and enter the new verification code. I believe this is a security feature. And yes, it can be frustrating and irritating at times.

Jeff said...

Jim,

Also, your Puppet Head links are up.

Cool! Thanks! I'll have to reciprocate and add links to your sites on my 'Puppet Head' site.

Jeff said...

Jim,

Oddly, I can't seem to post any comments on my own blog. I have been wanting to reply to You and Kansas Bob. Every time I try, I think it goes through and I look later, nothing. Must be Google's filter.

I just got an error message when I tried to leave a comment. Something about cookies not being enabled. My Firefox browser was just updated, so I wonder if the update changed the default settings. Are you using Firefox as your browser?

Jeff said...

Russ,

Will the Doughnutists have holes in their reasoning? Or will they be very holy?

I was reading your comment again in my email notification, and it just made me laugh again. LOL!