Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

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Book Chapter

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Late Ancient Christianity: A People's History of Christianity



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The phenomena of private chapels and private ritual during the late antique period remain as cloaked in shadow as Melania's private midnight vigil. Indeed, the Christianity of the fourth through sixth centuries is typically characterized as rejecting the private for the public, as the church emerged from the homes that had sheltered it during the persecutions to assume the mantel of state-sponsored religion of empire. And yet, by defining the "triumph of the church" as the triumphal procession away from privately based cult to public religion, we have almost wholly overlooked one of late antique Christianity's most important substrands, the continuation and flourishing of private cult and the significant challenge it posed to a nascent institutional church.

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From Late Ancient Christianity (People’s History of Christianity V.2) copyright © 2005 Fortress Press. Reproduced by permission.



Date Posted: 18 October 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.