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Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity

Ed. by Brennecke, Hanns Christof / Drecoll, Volker Henning / Heil, Uta / Markschies, Christoph

Together with Elm, Susanna / Gemeinhardt, Peter / Meier, Mischa / Perrone, Lorenzo / Pollmann, Karla / Riedweg, Christoph / Schöllgen, Georg / Williams, Rowan / Wischmeyer, Wolfgang

3 Issues per year

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.189
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.705
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.081

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Volume 16, Issue 2 (Dec 2012)


Christianisierungen im Römischen Reich: Überlegungen zum Begriff und zur Phasenbildung

Hartmut Leppin
  • Historisches Seminar, Goethe Universität, Grüneburgplatz 1, D-60629 Frankfurt am Main
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Published Online: 2013-01-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac-2012-0016


Although the word Christianisation is used frequently in Late Antique studies, definitions are rare. This article proposes a very broad definition: Christianisation denotes historical developments, which lead to a hegemony of Christian discourses or practices in certain spaces, areas, or sections of society. Christian discourses and practices refer to narrations about Christ as a key figure and later on foundational texts which contain them. These developments are not necessarily contemporaneous in various sections of society and they are not linear. Based on this definition, which is not teleological and not normative, a model of stages of Christianisations is put up for discussion: In the beginning, there were particulate Christianisations, affecting only certain groups or areas. It was a special case, when emperors turned to Christianity, deeply changing the political and normative order. Yet, at first, we can observe neutralisation in various social spaces, as for example in political communication; even discourses about forbearance were articulated in imperial panegyric. This stage, however, was short and led to a totalisation of Christianity during the sixth century, when Christian discourses and practices asserted themselves nearly everywhere, preserving, on the other hand, an impressive polyphony within Christianity.

About the article

Die Überlegungen wurden in Frankfurt am Main und Berlin vorgetragen; den Diskussionsteilnehmern habe ich für zahlreiche Hinweise zu danken, insbesondere zudem F. Goldbeck, J. M. Kötter, J. Rüdiger und J. Wienand. Es versteht sich, dass Literaturhinweise nur exemplarisch erfolgen können

Published Online: 2013-01-31

Published in Print: 2012-12-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity, ISSN (Online) 1612-961X, ISSN (Print) 0949-9571, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac-2012-0016. Export Citation

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