Saturday, 11 April 2015

Marie-Claude L'Archer: Datation of Quodvultdeus' Credal Homilies Revisited

Quodvultdeus' three Credal Homilies have been written and pronouced for Paschal celebrations, possibly in three successive years, somewhere around 435. Homily I's terminus ante quem is 437, since it mentions bishop Capreolus was still alive, but for the two other homilies, that terminus could be as late as 439, when the Vandal threat on Carthage became imminent.
René Braun has suggested that the order of the homilies was II, I, and then III, based on the argument that the Homily II doesn't mention the barbarian peril, and that Quodvultdeus' invective was attacking the pagans and the Jews more vigorously than the Arians. According to Braun, the intensification of anti-Arianism in Quodvultdeus' discourse in the Homilies I and III is an indication that they were pronounced later. This assumption has gone unchallenged for two decades ; Even the introduction to T. M. Finn's 2004 English translation still takes Braun's assertions for granted.
It this short communication, I intend to explain why, based on recent academic research on the encounter between the Romano-Africans and the Vandals, the proposed chronology of the Credal Homilies is not entirely satisfactory, and suggest a slightly revised time frame for those sources on Late Antique North-African Christianity.

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