Discipline, Coercion, and Correction. Augustine against the Violence of the Donatists in Epistula 185.
Geoffrey D. Dunn
In the lengthy Epistula 185 to Boniface, Augustine outlines the difference between Arians and Donatists. The letter quickly turns to the question of violence perpetrated by the followers of Donatus and Caecilianus. Augustine claims that the violence inflicted by the Donatists against the Caecilianists or themselves was violence indeed, while that inflicted by the Caecilianists against the Donatists, which he could not deny was happening, was classified as discipline and correction. Further, Augustine was attempting to convince a state official that their enforcement of imperial legislation needed to be corrective, and therefore could not be shirked nor could be undertaken without the right intent. This paper examines the arguments and tactics Augustine uses to condemn the Donatists while at the same time justifying the Caecilianists.
Geoffrey D. Dunn. Discipline, Coercion, and Correction. Augustine against the Violence of the Donatists in Epistula 185. Scrinium, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp. 114–130. 2017.
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