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City of demons : violence, ritual, and Christian power in by Saint Bishop of Milan Ambrose; Saint Bishop of Jerusalem

By Saint Bishop of Milan Ambrose; Saint Bishop of Jerusalem Cyril; Saint John Chrysostom; Saint Bishop of Milan Ambrose; Saint Bishop of Jerusalem Cyril; Kalleres, Dayna S

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Extra info for City of demons : violence, ritual, and Christian power in late antiquity

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By defining demons as a form of discourse, Brown situates demons in a manner legible to the late antique world, certainly, but he also repackages demons in a manner that aligns with modern standards of rational perception—a construct or category that fits naturally within the disenchanted, secular, and desacralized city. In light of late antiquity’s enchanted and animated worldview, though, we have to reconsider and adjust our understanding of the places, spaces, and categories where demons are legible, rational, and familiar phenomena to someone who lives in a late antique city.

While John utilizes the demonization of non-Christian activity, he is far more dependent upon diabolization. 9 Chapter 2 then pieces together several different demonological narratives that exist in his corpus of sermons. John also puts together powerful Nicene images in balance against his depictions of demonic predation. In his baptismal sermons as well as elsewhere he also projects persuasive images of sacramental and ecclesiastical ritual. He promotes these practices as effective weapons of spiritual warfare against a growing diabolic power.

Nonetheless, the irrationality, superstition, overwrought religiosity, and magical thinking that Gibbon, A. H. Jones, or even A. A. Barb have emphasized in their depictions of the decayed and dying city have lingered in the collective imagination of recent scholars. As scholars have recovered the survival and growth of a number of late antique cities, certain interpreters have presumed a narrowly modern set of criteria when describing city and civic success—a disenchanted, desacralized, and secularized urban environment.

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