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Document Details :

Title: De bello intestino
Subtitle: In Search of Tyconius' and Augustine's Use of a Term
Author(s): VAN OORT, Johannes
Journal: Augustiniana
Volume: 68    Issue: 1   Date: 2018   
Pages: 125-140
DOI: 10.2143/AUG.68.1.3285186

Abstract :
Starting with an analysis of Gennadius of Marseille’s biographical notice on Tyconius, the present article first discusses the possible contents of the African Donatist’s lost work De bello intestino. It then moves on to define the possible meaning of the expression 'bellum intestinum'. It is concluded that in the later tradition, there was an 'external' and an 'internal' meaning, the inward shift beginning with Augustine and his correspondent Paulinus of Nola, and prevailing among Augustine’s many disciples. This 'internal' meaning of 'bellum intestinum', denoting the Christian’s permanent inner struggle between flesh and spirit (see, e.g., Rom. 7 and Gal. 5:17) is not attested in the works of Tyconius in so far as they have come down to us. From his recently reconstructed commentary on the Apocalypse of John, the most likely solution appears to be that, in the title of Tyconius’ De bello intestino, the expression is used in its 'external' meaning, referring to the enduring war between good and bad Christians within the Church.

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