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Document Details :
Title: Augustine's Attitude towards the 'Religious Other'
Author(s): DUPONT, Anthony
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 37 Issue: 2-3 Date: 2013
Against the background of the religious diversity that colored late antiquity, the current article studies how Augustine of Hippo (354-430) approached the ‘religious others’ of his era. His dealing with religious diversity is exemplified through two case studies: his attitude vis-à-vis the Donatists as ‘Christian others’ and his appreciation of the pagans as illustration of his attitude to the ‘religious other’ ad extra. Augustine’s initial invitation for a peaceful dialogue was not accepted by the Donatists. This refusal caused him to accept a by the state organized policy of forced conversions of the Donatists, during which he appropriated Cyprian’s adage 'salus extra ecclesiam non est'. He however did not accept the forced conversion of non-Christians to Christianity, as the example of his approach of the pagans clarifies. In theory, Augustine only saw truth and salvation within the one Catholic Church. In concrete life he was tolerant, and was of the opinion that nobody should, or even could, be forced to convert.